From my diary

A week or two back I placed an order for Croke and Harries, Religious Conflict in Fourth Century Rome.  This has now arrived at my local library, it seems.  I’ll pop in at the weekend and pick it up.  The library demand $8 for every loan of this sort, which means I can do few of them.  But it will be most interesting to see.

On a different note, I was thinking about Cicero’s The Dream of Scipio earlier today.  There’s a Wikipedia page on it, from which I found a link to both Latin and English.  But I first looked in Google books.  There, to my surprise, I found myself reading a passage on the work in The Discarded Image, by a certain C.S.Lewis!  Yes, this is one of Lewis’ academic works, and includes a page or two on the Dream of Scipio

The work includes a description of the universe, which made it very popular in the middle ages.  Lewis tells us that over 50 manuscripts survive.  His quotations from it are given from a modern American translation, by Stahl, published in 1956.  These are much more interesting than the online translation linked by Wikipedia, which looks incomplete in all the most interesting areas.  Among other things we learn that Cicero knew that the men at the Antipodes would not simply fall off the globe.  The earth, indeed, is described as a globe, at the centre of the universe.

Now 1956 is before US copyright law started to get all silly.  Books published at that period had to be renewed in 1984 for the copyright to persist.  And not many were.  So it is possible that this book is out of copyright in the US.  Unfortunately a search reveals that it was renewed in 1980; by Columbia University Press, who seem to have been assiduous in renewing books, whether they needed them or not.  That means it will come out of copyright after 95 years, in 2051.  By that date I doubt I will be still alive!  Curiously tho, the book still seems to be available to buy.  It was reprinted in 1990.  But who on earth is interested in the Dream of Scipio?

UPDATE: Hunting around the web I find a Latin edition of the text by Pearman, 1883, with English notes here; and better yet a translation in the same year by the same person here!

UPDATE: I scanned the Pearman translation, modernised it, and added it to the Fathers collection here.

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