429 Lipsius prevented his treatise from being too ponderous by introducing his own personal situation and venting his spleen, by using evocative metaphors, by offering historical examples and by inserting quotations. The setting is a garden; the interlocutors are Lipsius himself and his senior friend Carolus Langius (Karel De Langhe, ca. 1520-1573), who had died approx- imately ten years before. This philologist edited for instance Cicero's De officils, De senectute and De amicitia, so he was more or less predestined to be Lipsius' 'teacher'. Lipsius himself, in the guise of a pupil, takes the read- ers with him, at their own level, in the search for right conduct in mat- ters of general misfortune. He offers four arguments that may comfort people in their misery. Firstly, misery is sent by God. Secondly, it is nec- essary. In the third place it is useful. Finally, it is neither heavy nor new. Lipsius is very careful in matters of Fate and free will, thus writing a philo- sophical consolation that is above parties or religious denominations. As in Cicero's Tusculanae disputationes the dialogue is presented as having taken place on several days, each day described in one book. Cicero treated
Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis (in 2006 continued as Church History and Religious Culture) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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