Teaching Liberal Education

If ever our city flourished with respect to liberal studies, now it flourishes especially. There are many famous examples. I'll mention one, the philosopher Euphrates. I tried once in Syria to make him my friend, but there wasn't any difficulty. He's accessible and open and filled with humanity. He argues simply, authoritatively, elegantly. His speech is eloquent but varied. There is no roughness in his style, no harshness. But I sit in my official capacity, I settle accounts, I write many letters. I am accustomed to complaining about these tasks with Euphrates. He gives me this consolation-this is a beautiful aspect of philosophy: to conduct public business, to recognize, judge, produce, and administer justice. Nevertheless he had not persuaded me!

--Pliny, while prefect of the Roman treasury, as translated by Melissa Morison