Board Vice Chairman David V. Hicks: Classical Education Pioneer and Author

TASIS Portugal board of directors Vice Chairman David V. Hicks is one of the pioneers who helped start the conversation in modern America as to what classical education is and why this type of education is of critical importance in our current age. His book, Norms & Nobility: A Treatise on Education, won an American Library Association Outstanding Book Award in 1982. It continues to sell out to this day.

Norms & Nobility

"A reissue of a classic text, Norms and Nobility is a provocative reappraisal of classical education that offers a workable program for contemporary school reform. David Hicks contends that the classical tradition promotes a spirit of inquiry that is concerned with the development of style and conscience, which makes it an effective and meaningful form of education. Dismissing notions that classical education is elitist and irrelevant, Hicks argues that the classical tradition can meet the needs of our increasingly technological society as well as serve as a feasible model for mass education."  (

"Hicks, too, is writing about classical education, but he largely avoids these common approaches to the subject. His approach is deeper; he is working on the foundations. For him, classical education is, among other things,

“a spirit of inquiry and a form of instruction concerned with the development of style through language and conscience through myth.” 

As this description makes plain, it is an education concerned not only with knowledge — though certainly that — but also with ethics and aesthetics. Entering on this terrain, therefore, we find ourselves enveloped by pre-modern habits of thought, in which a full human rationality involves truth, goodness, and beauty, all three, because this corresponds to our nature, but also because these three are, at the deepest levels, unified." (blog All Manner of Thing)

The Emperor's Handbook

Hicks also penned The Emperor's Handbook with his brother, Scot Hicks. The book is now available in Portuguese.

"The Emperor's Handbook offers a vivid and fresh translation of this important piece of ancient literature. It brings Marcus's words to life and shows his wisdom to be as relevant today as it was in the second century. This book belongs on the desk and in the briefcase of every business executive, political leader, and military officer. It speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever exercised authority or faced adversity or believed in a better day." (

The Lawgivers

Scot and David agreed last year to produce a series of new annotated translations of Plutarch's Lives for young people.The Lawgivers, their book on the lives of Numa Pompilius and Lycurgus of Sparta as told by Plutarch, came out last fall:

"Long considered an essential title in classical literature, Plutarch's Lives has, unfortunately, fallen out of favor among many contemporary readers and educators. Most translations have rendered Plutarch's original language, which is so energetic in the Greek, quite dryly in English, thus relegating these classic tales to the dusty bookshelves of specialists. However, this new translation by C. Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks (The Emperor's Handbook) brings Plutarch's original tales to life, making them accessible for today's readers and students thanks to their highly readable rendition of Plutarch's prose. Featuring thorough commentary on the historical context of these two great men, maps, illustrations, and more, The Lawgivers will introduce a new generation of readers to this truly essential and enjoyable writer." (

Their newest book, The Statesmen, is due to come out in September, and the brothers are already well into working on their third volume, The Tyrant, which will be a marriage of Plutarch's Life of Caesar with Shakespeare's play by that name.

In addition to his abundant writings and translations, David Hicks is also involved in the family's organic farm in Montana (Three Hearts Farm) and the construction of a monastery (St. Peter's Monastery). 

We are pleased to have David's guidance and direction for our school and academic program!