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  1. I just finished this book yesterday and would highly recommend it, for multiple reasons: - It's fascinating history, giving us a view of the lives of Caligula (briefly), Claudius, and especially Nero. For anyone who enjoyed the excellent miniseries Rome, it'll feel good to revisit this world. The chapter titles of Suicide, Fratricide, Matricide, etc., tell you that it won't be a peaceful ride, but it's a frequently suspenseful one. - The book makes the basics of Stoic philosophy comprehensible, particularly through the life and writings of Seneca, who attempted to be young Nero's tutor, even if the lessons didn't take. I could see this being of particular interest for Christians, since as I understand it, Seneca was/is considered by many to be a proto-Christian (given the overlap of some of his teachings with Christian virtues, and his rumored - though likely falsely - interactions with Paul). Also, as I understand it, isn't the whole Johannine notion of Logos thought to have been borrowed from the Stoic notion of all-governing, all-cohering, all-inhering Reason? - The interaction of Seneca and Nero raises all sorts of nifty questions that should be of interest to the crew here (and made all the more timely by Charlie Hebdo and Raif Badawi): the place of art and philosophy in speaking truth to power; self-expression under autocratic rule; when is compromise acceptable in hoping to influence society for the better; the spiritual damage inherent in such compromise; the flow between real life and artistic expression.
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