Vacation Reading: Quintus Curtius’s “Digest”

I’m hitting the road with my family for a fun-filled trip to Florida.  As such, posts will be a bit shorter through the weekend.

That said, it’s also the perfect time to catch up on some reading.  Classicist and antiquarian Quintus Curtius just released a massive collection of his blog essaysDigest, which I am excited to, um, digest.

Readers may recall a post I wrote last summer about an essay from Curtius about the ocean.  That essay is indicative of Curtius’s depth of thought and erudition; his mind is keenly analytical, and he writes with the perspective of someone who has lived and learned much.

As such, I’m excited to dig into Digest.  The book is designed to be picked up and leafed through, enabling readers to pick up anywhere in the book, as the essays are all standalone.  He does organize them into separate sections dealing with broad themes.  The first is “Thought”; the second is “The Wisdom of the Near East,” which deals with the works of now-obscure Islamic and Middle Eastern philosophers; “Travel and Exploration” is the third part; and “History, Language, and Literature” rounds out the sections.

I love books like Digest that can be picked up and scanned for topics of interest.  And there is a LOT to thumb through:  the book is over 700 pages in length.  You can scroll through the table of contents and see for yourself.

It’s also beautifully formatted, with classic frontispieces, and a title page like a work of philosophy written in the sixteenth century.

I’ve been reading Quintus Curtius’s blog for a couple of years now, and his authorial voice is pleasing and precise.  He writes efficiently and gracefully, without any excess of sentiment.  That makes his occasional expressiveness all the more welcome.

I’ll write some more thoughts on the book after I’ve read through some more of it.  With a seven-hour car ride, I’m sure I can put a dent in it.

Happy Wednesday—and Happy Reading!


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