Can biography arm you against misfortune? Beethoven turned to Plutarch when he went deaf. It may have been the story of Sertorius - the greatest Roman rebel - that inspired him to keep going. What can we take from Sertorius’ story that will sharpen us, and prepare us to face the present, whatever it throws at us?
How world class performers deal with setbacks
Why Beethoven turned to Plutarch
What Sertorius can teach us about learning to defy fate
The Battle of Arausio
The rise and fall of General Gaius Marius
The origins of the Roman Civil War
Saturninus the rogue Tribune
The Gold of Tolosa
Sertorius - the greatest Roman rebel - was a commander whose story inspired both Beethoven and Machiavelli. As Beethoven realised he was going deaf, he turned to the ancient philosopher, Plutarch, and his work, Parallel Lives, for inspiration.
Plutarch’s biographies gave Beethoven the strength and determination to carry on, to cope, to overcome his aural tragedy and go on to become one of the greatest composers of all time.
But what is it about Sertorius’ story that Beethoven, and many famous and ambitious people who followed him, admired? What can we take from Sertorius’ story that will sharpen us, and prepare us to face the present, whatever it throws at us?
“Sertorius was a traitor in the eyes of many, and a hero to others. He went on to be perhaps the greatest Roman Rebel, and certainly he was the greatest Roman Guerilla warrior.”
We start with his early career.
We meet Sertorius as he attends his first triumphal parade. We hear about that hot August day in 105 BC when the Romans were defeated by the Cimbri in battle. We learn that as a kid from Nursia, trying to get ahead in this world, he was looking for ways to stand out in front of the people who could make or break his career. But when there weren’t any great battles where he could win glory, he realized he’d have to create an opportunity. When he met with setback, he knew there was no use wallowing in resentment, waiting for yet another big shot to notice him.
“He focused on what he could control, and that is… honing his craft, the art of war.”
On today’s podcast:
- How world class performers deal with setbacks
- Why Beethoven turned to Plutarch
- What Sertorius can teach us about learning to defy fate
- The Battle of Arausio and the Cimbrian Wars
- The rise and fall of General Gaius Marius
- Saturninus the rogue Tribune
- The Gold of Tolosa
- The origins of the Roman Civil War
What is Cost of Glory?
The most influential biographies ever written, admired by leaders, creators, soldiers, and thinkers for nearly 2,000 years: Plutarch’s Parallel lives. Essential listening for anyone striving after greatness. Alex Petkas, former professor of ancient philosophy and history, revives and dramatically retells these unforgettable stories for modern audiences. The subjects are statesmen, generals, orators, and founders; pious and profane, stoics and hedonists. The stakes bear on the future of Western civilization. The cost of glory is always great. Visit ancientlifecoach.com to find out more.