Friday, July 10, 2020

The Wooden Horse -- It Begins

The flood myth, Keld, p. 555:
In a spectacular historical retrospective, Plato (as in the Timaeus) provides an account of how existing civilization and its laws have arisen. Possibly inspired by the myth of how Zeus launched a flood on the world to punish the wicked people of the Bronze Age, in which, as in the case of Noah, only Prometheus' son Deukalion and his wife were saved on an ark, Plato imagines that there existed a highly developed human world which was destroyed in a catastrophe reminiscent of the Fall of Man.
Only mountain spherhers survived, and they lived long without hostility. But gradually larger social groups were formed requiring rulers and laws, and they begna to make war upon each other, each with their own view of the law.

The Wooden Horse

External vs internal reality; Orestes, p. 475
Avenging goddesses of his mother, Klytemnestra: the Semnai (408); the highly honored; while these furies in the Elektra are called Keres (1252), and in Iphigenia at Tauris are referred to Erineyes (292) — p. 475

They will change their names once again.

Euripides does not distinguish these furies — as external or internal reality — the important thing is that Orestes has come to an awareness of himself as a subject, as something essentially different from his surroundings. — p. 475

He has attained “self-knowledge.”

Suffered from PTDS — p. 475 — the jerking of his head.

With the death of Orestes and Elektra, Menelaos inherits their kingdoms. They came from Thebes. Wow.

Oresetes kills Helen
As daughter of Zeus, Helen cannot die but rappers in an airy vision above the palace roof and is taken to Mt Olympos.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Euripus Strait -- July 9, 2020

The Literature Page

This is so cool. Back on April 27, 2020, I stumbled across the Bay of Fundy while reading a biography of Wyndham Lewis.
The Bay of Fundy.
Sail down the St Croix River, which forms part of the border between Maine, US / New Brunswick, Canada, sail through the Passamaquoddy Bay, and then make a hard turn to port, on a 45° heading, to enter the Bay of Fundy, located between New Brunswick to the west-northwest and Nova Scotia to the east-southeast.
Link here.
The Bay of Fundy is one of the 7 wonders of North America. The highest tides on earth, the rarest whales in the world, semi-precious minerals and dinosaur fossils; all this convinced an international panel of experts in 2014 to choose the Bay of Fundy as one of the natural wonders of the world. 
Today,  while reading the Greek tragedies, I stumbled across the Euripus Strait, separating the Greek island Euboea from Boeotia, mainland Greece.
The strait is subject to strong tidal currents which reverse direction approximately four times a day. Tidal flows are very weak in the Eastern Mediterranean, but the strait is a remarkable exception. Water flow peaks at about 7.5 miles per hour, either northwards or southwards, and lesser vessels are often incapable of sailing against it. When nearing flow reversal, sailing is even more precarious because of vortex formation.

The Swiss scholar François-Alphonse Forel contributed to an understanding of the enigmatic phenomenon by his study of limnology and the discovery of seiche, where layers of water of differing temperature oscillate in thickness in a confined body of water.
But the problem was solved completely only by D. Eginitis, director of the Athens Observatory, who published his conclusions in 1929.
So, the word for the day:
  • seiche (pronounced like "latch" but with a long "a"): a temporary disturbance or oscillation in the water level of a lake or partially enclosed body of water, especially one caused by changes in atmospheric pressure.
So, how is the Euripus Strait related to the Greek tragedies? This is where the Greek flotilla staged prior to setting out for Troy. From wiki:
As the Greek fleet was preparing to sail to Troy to force the return of Helen, they gathered in Aulis near the Euripus Strait.
While there, king Agamemnon killed a stag sacred to the goddess Artemis. The enraged deity caused a contrary wind and eventually forced the king to agree to sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia in order to ensure a favorable wind for the Greek fleet.
In one version of the myth, a surrogate sacrifice was provided through the divine intervention of Artemis, and the saved girl then became a priestess of the goddess among the Tauri, a people living near the Black Sea in the Crimean peninsula.
Subsequent to these events, Iphigenia returns from among the Tauri with the assistance of her brother Orestes. In Euripides' version of the myth, the goddess Athena reveals that Iphigenia will make landfall in Brauron and there be the priestess of Artemis, die, and be buried.
Aulis: Its site is located at modern Mikro Vathy/Ag. Nikolaos. It was said to be three miles south of Chalcis, located on the island.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


Atreus: family tree --

Penelope: cousin of Helen and Clytemnestra.

At the end of the war: Agamemnon returns home with a mistress, Kassandra, who foretells the future.

Iphigenia at Aulis, the sacrifice

Iphigenia at Tauris, the reconciliation

Aulis, Greece, near the Euripus Strait (see this link)
  • narrow channel, separates the Greek island of Euboea in the Aegan Sea from Boeotia on the mainland
  • one of two bridges across this road is accessible taking a fork on the main road at Aulis
a narrow channel of water separating the Greek island of Euboea in the Aegean Sea from Boeotia in mainland Greed
cult of Artemis at Brauron
Brauon: one of the twelve cities of ancient Attica, never mentioned as a deme;
Artemis Brauronia: the goddess in whose honor a festival was celebrated in this place

Artemis: moon god; sacrifice to Artemis; at midnight;

Tauris -- the historical name for the Crimean Peninsula
Greeks had established a colony there
wiki says Greece colonized the peninsula in the 5th century
considered the original inhabitants, the Tauri, savages

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Three Great Tragedians -- July 6, 2020

  • the three great Greek tragedians wrote after the Greeks defeated the Persians in 480 BC
  • this was during the fifty years of the Golden Age of Greece
  • the three playwrights:
    • looked at the "Heroic Age"
    • provided a history of Greece
    • developed the mythology of the Gods
    • duality: the gods and the state
    • moral lessons
  • the three tragedians probably saw things differently; they were each of a different generation
    • Aeschylus: very, very old; a true Greek patriot of the old school;
    • Sophocles: middle age; comes of age at the very time Greece enjoys its Golden Age
    • Euripides: a rebel? we'll see; he's a youngster; would want to make a name for himself
Aeschylus, 525 BC - 455 BC: myth and trilogy, the father of tragedy.

Single play: The Persians (472 BC)
  • oldest extant play in existence
  • not a trilogy and not based on myth
  • battle of Salamis, 480 BC, Xerxes defeated
Trilogy: Oedipodea, only Seven Against Thebes survives;
  • biggest conflict, last conflict before Trojan War 
  • the three plays + a satyr play:
    • Laius
    • Oedipus
    • Seven Against Thebes (only one of the three that survives) 
    • Sphinx, a satyr play 
Trilogy/Tetralogy (presumed): the Danaid Tetralogy
  • most likely one of his last plays
  • three plays + a satyr play
    • The Suppliants (The Suppliant Maidens
    • The Egyptians (Aigyptioi)
    • The Daughters of Danus (Danaïdes or The Danaids) -- worshipped as water-nymphs
    • Amymone, a satry play
Trilogy: the Oresteia (458 BC)
  • after Agamamnon returns home from the Trojan War
  • the three plays+ a satyr play (all have been lost except a single line from Proteus) :
    • Agamemnon
    • The Libation Bearers
    • The Eumenides 
    • Proteus, a satyr play 
Sophocles, 497 BC - 406 BC: dispenses with the trilogy; adds a third actor. Wrote over 120 plays but only seven survived in complete form.
  • Oldest play: Ajax
  • Next: Antigone, written about the same time, about 440 BC
  • Two Oedipus plays, bookends over 25 years: 
    • Oedipus Rex -- first
    • Oedipus at Colonus -- twenty-five years later
  • Last play: Philoktetes (409 BC)
  • Two other extant plays: 
    • Women of Trachis
    • Electra
Euripides, 480 BC - 406 BC: 93 plays; only 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete; represented mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
  • The Phoenician Women, history of King Eteokles, 410 BC
  • two written shortly before his death
    • Bacchae -- a vision
    • Iphigenia at Aulis, the sacrifice, 
  • Elektra -- the matricide
  • Orestes --the Erinyes of conscience
  • Iphigenia at Tauris -- the reconciliation
  • Media -- uncontrolled passion
  • Hippolytos -- sexual purism
The end of tragedy.


The Oresteia: An Aeschylus Trilogy -- July 6, 2020

Written in 458 BC.

About the Atreid family. It begins with the old man Atreus.

Remember, this all started ten years earlier when Agamemenon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to get the wind blowing to move the Greek ships out of harbor to Troy.

Unlike the Theban trilogy, this trilogy takes place in Argos.

From wiki:

Orestes: son of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra, both parents killed by their son, Orestes. So, both Oedipus and Orestes both killed their fathers.
The Oresteia (Ancient Greek: Ὀρέστεια) is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus in the 5th century BC, concerning the murder of Agamemnon by Clytemnestra, the murder of Clytemnestra by Orestes, the trial of Orestes, the end of the curse on the House of Atreus and the pacification of the Erinyes.
The trilogy—consisting of Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides —also shows how the Greek gods interacted with the characters and influenced their decisions pertaining to events and disputes.
The only extant example of an ancient Greek theatre trilogy, the Oresteia won first prize at the Dionysia festival in 458 BC.
The principal themes of the trilogy include the contrast between revenge and justice, as well as the transition from personal vendetta to organized litigation.
Oresteia originally included a satyr play, Proteus, following the tragic trilogy, but all except a single line of Proteus has been lost.
As soon as I read that Orestes killed his mother for killing his father, I immediately thought of HamletIt turns out others have had the same thought. Google it.

The women:
Helen and Klytemnestra were stepsisters -- same mother; different fathers
Klytemnestra: father/mother, King/Queen of Sparta; Tyndareus/Leda
Helen: father/mother, Zeus/Leda (Queen of Sparta); the King was cuckolded;
Penelope: cousin of those two

The men:
Helen and Klytemnestra: marry brothers, Menalaos and Agamemnon.
Orestes: son of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra

The Oresteia.

Klytemnestra has two reasons to kill her husband:
Agamemnon sacrificed their daughter, Iphigenia
Agamemnon returns with a new mistress, Kassandra (who is killed at same time as Agamemnon is killed
Klytemnestra, herself, has a new lover, the no-goodnik, Aigisthos, a cousin of Agamemnon's

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Great Sea, David Abulafia

Wow, what an incredible find!

I normally pick up books on regional history at Books on Broadway when I am in North Dakota.  But for the moment, my library seems fairly complete with regard to this sector. I normally don't explore the rest of the bookstore, but yesterday I did, and wow! What a find.

A "human history" of the Mediterranean Sea.

During my Air Force years I spent a fair amount of time on the island of Sardinia, and have had occasion to be near the Mediterranean on other occasions outside my Air Force life.

The book has the "right" feel to it. It is 648 pages long, not counting the bibliography, end notes, or index. When I skimmed through it, it seemed to read very, very well. And then I saw why: the author is professor Mediterranean History at Cambridge University. I have said many, many times that, without question, English, Irish, and Scottish authors are the best writers. Period. Dot. Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Shakespeare (Sir Henry Neville). I rest my case.

I became interested in the Mediterranean a few years ago. First, the subject became personal when I spent a number of months with a most wonderful women in Yorkshire, England. She was Lebanese, and the first, perhaps to help me understand the history of the Lebanese.

And then coincidentally, or ironically (a word often used incorrectly by me according to one of my readers), I found myself teaching high school students the history of the Punic wars while substituting last school year. If one wants to learn about something, one great way is to teach it.

Personal Notes 

Mediterranean: "medit" -- between; "terrane" -- lands: between the lands
  • Romans: "our sea"
  • Turks: "white sea" -- Akdenize -- the "white sea" vs the "black sea" further north
  • Jews: "Great Sea" -- Yam gadol
  • Germans: "Middle Sea" -- Mittelmeer
  • Egyptians: "the Great Green" -- very questionable
One always forgets the Sea of Marmara, but compared to the "white sea" and the "black sea" the Sea of Marmara is a "lake."

  • in remote geological time, it was entirely closed
  • between 12 and 5 million years ago, evaporation -- > the "sea" became a deep and empty desert
  • Atlantic Ocean broke through; flooded the Sea in about two years (wow, the great flood, the Deluge; one can understand the Biblical story -- how would they have known about it?)
  • evaporation overtakes what the puny little rivers draining into it can provide
  • the Black Sea, in contrast, has an excess of unevaporated water, and that creates a fast current that rushes past Istanbul into the northeastern Aegean -- but this only compensates for 4% of the water loss in the Mediterranean;
  • the principal source that replaces Mediterranean evaporated water is the Atlantic Ocean -- the latter provides a stead inflow of cold Atlantic waters, to some extent counterbalanced by an outflow of the Mediterranean water (which is saltier -- due to evaporation -- and thus heavier; the Atlantic water flows inward on top of the Mediterranean flowing out
  • the fact that Mediterranean is open at both ends (Gibralter, Istanbul) is critical for the sea; the Suez provides minimal water, but significant fauna from the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean
naturally prevailing: counterclockwise from west to east along northern Africa, brushes northward along the Levant, and then easterly back toward Italy
mistral wind: from the northwest of France toward the sea (there are 8 winds in the area); roars like a Lion over the Bay of Lion (southern France)
sirocco wind: from the southeast (Sahara)
the bora (Boreas) -- from the north/northeast; a very long history suggesting pre-historic winds similar to present-day winds
the author mentions that it was not common practice to cut across from Crete to Egypt until the steamship came along; rather ships hugged the coast along Greece to the Levant to Egypt; I don't think it had as much to do with wind or steamship per se; I think it had to do with fear of the open waters; better to stay along the coast

Author has identified five distinct periods
  • First Mediterranean: descended into chaos after 1200 BC (about the time Troy is said to have fallen)
  • Second Mediterranean: until 500 AD
  • Third Mediterranean: emerged slowly and then experienced a great crisis -- the Black Death (1347)
  • Fourth Mediterranean: a period that had to cope with increasing competition from the Atlantic, domination by Atlantic powers; and, ending about the time of the opening of the Suez Canal (1869)
  • Fifth Mediterranean: the sea became a passageway to the Indian Ocean, finding a surprising new identity in the second half of the 20th century
Question: are we still in the Fifth Mediterranean period?

The author focuses on what was "important in the long term" such as:
  • the foundation of Carthage
  • the emergence of Dubrovnik
  • the impact of the Barbary corsairs
  • building of the Suez Canal
Much about Christians and Muslims, but author notes the importance of the Jews:
  • as merchants in the early Middle Ages
  • again, as merchants in the early modern period
Mediterranean shaped by:
  • in antiquity: Phoenicians, Greeks, and Etruscans
  • Middle Ages: Genoese, Venetians, Catalans
  • centuries before 1800: Dutch, English, and Russian navies
  • after 1500, and certainly after 1850, the Mediterranean became decreasingly important in wider world affairs and commerce
Some concentration on places but with emphasis on their links across the Mediterranean
  • Troy
  • Corinth
  • Alexandria
  • Amalfi
  • Salonica
Introduction: A Sea With Many Names

Some of this was written above; won't be repeated.


Part One: The First Mediterranean
22000 BC  -- 1000 BC

Isolation and Insulation: 22000 BC - 3000 BC

Copper and Bronze Age: 3000 BC - 1500 BC (Thera explodes)
Cu + Sn --> Bronze; copper soft; bronze weapons

Merchants & Heroes: 1500 BC - 1250 BC

Part Two: The Second Mediterranean
1000 BC -- 600 AD

The Purple Traders: 1000 BC -- 700 BC

The Heirs of Odysseus: 800 BC -- 550 BC

The Triumph of the Tyrrhenians: 800 BC -- 400 BC

Towards the Garden of the Hesperides: 1000 BC -- 400 BC

Thalassocracies: 550 BC -- 400 BC

The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean: 350 BC -- 100 BC

"Carthage Must Be Destroyed": 400 BC -- 146BC

"Our Sea": 146 BC -- 150 AD


querns, page 4: stones used for grinding; the lower stone, the quern; the upper, mobile stone, the handstone

Gozo, p. 10: very small island, almost touching northwest Malta


Copper and Bronze Age

Crete, King Minos
Old Dynasty Egypt


Crete: 1st major Mediterranean civilization
Great King Minos
Bronze Age Crete
Early Minoan II: 2600 - 2300 BC

Greece: copper
Melos: southwesternmost island of the Cyclades; just n of Sea of Crete; obsidian
Turkey: tin
Crete: pretty much in the middle of Cu/Greece, and Sn/Turkey


3000 - 1500BC

Cycladic art -- a powerful influence on modern artists
- growing concern with proportions of the human body
- a sense of 'harmony' -- no parallel in other monumental sculptures of the period: Malta, Old Kingdom Egypt or Mesopotamia


Impact of Troy: twofold -- at the beginning of the Bronze Age
1)  a staging post linking the Aegean to Anatolia and Black Sea
2) historical consciousness
 -- Greeks claimed to have destroyed the city
 -- Romans who claimed to be descendants of its refugees

Mound of Hisarlik: 4 miles from where Dardanelles flow into the Aegean

Greek knew Troy as Troie' and Ilios

Greeks built a new city: Ilion

'Troy I': 3000 - 2500 BC
'Troy II': 3500 - 2300 BC -- destroyed by fire
'Troy III': 2300 - 2100 BC -- poorer settlement than Troy II; destroyed by war
'Troy IV': --- not much better
'Troy V': 1700 BC

Merchants and Heroes, 1500 - 1250 BC

Jericho: oldest city --> Crete, one of the world's 1st civilizations; Crete came to an end after series of fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions.

Crete drawn into the world of the Mycenaean Greeks (Mycenaea: named after one of the early strong kings) (p. 29)

Homer's "Catalog of Ships" incorporated into the Iliad --> 12th century

Cretan's Egyptian-like hieroglyphics --> different language sound than Egypt --> written Linear A --> Linear B (Mycenaean Greece) (p. 31)

Mycenaean Greece: modern term for Bronze Age Greece (14th century)

Origin of people of Mycenaean Greece: in reality, most likely Balkans; myth/legend that Mycenaean Greeks came from Anatolia/Troy

Mycenaean Greeks:
  • great builders of fortifications
  • navy --> fleets --> "wooden walls" --> protecting their cities
  • Achaeans -- known as "Acheaeans" by their contemporaries (?)
  • contact with Cyprus (copper) -- bronze -- 10 parts copper; 1 part tin (p.33)
Descriptions of the Minoans merge imperceptibly with accounts of the Mycenaeans (p. 30)

Rise of the Mycenaean Greeks -- eastern Greece
12th century BC -- a line of settlements across Grece -- according to Homer -- recognized King of Mycenae as their leader

Minoans <---------->Mycenaeans

What distinguished the Mycenaeans? Their warlike character.

Pelops: a founding father of the Greeks

Mycenaean: a modern label for Bronze Age Greek civilization
 -- maybe they were referred to as Achaeans by their contemporaries

One new feature of Mycenaean trade: a link to Italy
-- Minoan Crete did not link with Italy -- specifically
-- thus the early Greek relationship with Italy (will come up again)
-- Sicily (Lipari) -- source of obsidian

Thapsos (Sicily) <-------------->Mycenae ------------> Eukomi (Cyprus -- off Anatolia)

Mycenaean period: "Mediterranean became enlarged in the eyes of those who sailed it"


Much more important to Mycenae --> Syria / Lebanon coasts
 -- Ugarit: important trading center -- bridge between Egypt and Mesopotamia; port on northern Syrian coast
 -- Ugarit: inhabited by speakers of Canaanite; the language from which Phoenician and Hebrew evolved
-- Ugarit: a center of trade since 3rd millenium
  • supplied Egypt with cedar from Lebanon
  • married into Egypt; close relationship
maryannu: young heroes ("mar" --martyrs?) (according to wiki: young warriors)

Ugarit --> Levantine trade network

Levantine trade --> long history with Nile Delta; an Egyptian port under oversight of Canaanite merchants; textiles, purple dye ( a specialty of Levantine coast; made form murex shellfish), oil, wine, and cattle

Hyksos: 100-year dynasty; ousted 1570 BC
  • bronze armour
  • chariots
replaced by pharoah Akhenaten
Egypt's "center" was the Nile, not the Mediterranean; Mediterranean came much later)
Egyptian navy: operated by foreigners

A number of port cities in the delta


Sea Peoples and Land Peoples, 1250 -- 1100 BC

Troy: an outpost of the Hittite world; not Mycenaean; only language -- Luvian

18th century BC --> Troy VI until 13th century; lasted 500 years
Troy: Hippodomoi (horse tamers)  (p. 42)

Troy (Hittites) to the north, Egypt to the south fought at the seams -- came in conflict over Syria; Mycenaea often intersected itself into this conflict;

Mycenae <------>Hittites: seam at Troy

Wilios: Ilios, Troy

Hmmm -- King of Wilium -- Alaksander -- sounds similar to Alexander, the alternative name given for Helen's seducer Paris

Hmmm -- the 'man of Ahhiya' -- Attarssiya -- a name strikingly similar to Atreus -- the father of Agememnon and Menelaus -- none of this proves veracity of Homer's tales -- but certainly Homer is full of Anatolian names

Steep Wilusa: a Homeric epithet for Ilios. (p. 45)

Certainly Hisarlik was Homer's Ilios and Vergil's Troia.

Trojan War: history of war between great kings of Mycenaea and Hittites; Troy VI in earthquake zone; "The Trojan War" -- p. 45 - 47 -- Troy VIIA -- already past its peak

Tursha: area next to/fused with Wilusa --> in other words, the Trojans were both Sea Peoples and victims of the Sea Peoples (p. 52)
Following decline of Mycenaean culture
Some places escaped destruction: most important -- Athens
Question of invasions (p. 53)
Greeks: first real settlement in Cyprus at this time, p. 53
Contacts between Sicily and Greece ended by 1050 BC

Meanwhile, Libya threatens Egypt

Libya aligned with Anatolians -- people of the seas

Palestine: seafarers -- farmers
Philistines: turned inward -- came in contact with Israelites
Philistine settlements (1300 BC) along coastline north of Gaza: Gaza, Ekron, Ashkelon, Ashdod

Philistines come from the Greek world -- the kinsmen of Agememnon and Odysseus;
Philistines: Mycenaean origins
 -- sea-faring to farming
 -- adopted Semitic speech
 -- adopted Canaanite gods

Sea peoples and land peoples -- 1250 - 1100 BC

Israelites --> Canaan
Philistines --> Canaan (god Dagon)
Danites --> Hebrews (God of Israel)

Much of the area in chaos --> it would take centuries to reconstruct the Mediterranean trading routes

V, p. 57: the story of Moses, Canaanites, etc.

p. 59: Israelites, one of many restless tribes not important now, but will be important

"The end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean has been described as 'one of history's most frightful turning points,' more calamitous than the fall of the Roman Empire,' arguably the worse disaster in ancient history.'

The First Mediterraneans -- a Mediterranean whose scope had extended from Sicily to Canaan and from the Nile Delta to Troy, had rapidly disintegrated, and its reconstruction into a trading lake which stretched from the Straits of Gibralta to Lebanon would take several hundred years.

Before proceeding to Part II
Neolithic to Bronze Age
Crete: one of world's first civilizations; cross-roads of Greece (copper); Turkey (Sn) --> bronze
Greeks to Sicily
Crete and Mycenaea cultures merge impertibly
Egyptians and Hittites (Troy) come into contact at northern Syria
First Greek settlement on Cyprus
Mycenaean culture disintegrated; Athens survived 
Trading routes with Sicily disappeared
Will take centuries for old trading routes to be re-established

Part II: The Second Mediterranean
1000 BC -- 600 AD

The Purple Traders, 1000 BC 00 700 BC

Remember: disaster of the 12th century -- recovery was slow

Wow! the art of writing was lost except among Greeks; refugees in Cyprus; art vanished; trades withered; palaces decayed

Power of the pharoahs weakened

Dark Age

12th century - 8th century: new networks of trade emerged

New trade routes established by merchants

 -- Canaanite merchants of Lebanon known to the Greeks as Phoinikes -- Phoenicians

[}--nikes -- Nikes?]

 -- resented by Homer for their love of business and profit -- "So begins the long history of contempt for those engaged in 'trade.'"

Inhabitants of Levantine littoral --> source of alphabet for the Greeks
 -- Canaanites up to about 1000 BC
 -- Phoenicians after that

Language of the Canaanites --> Aegean Philistines; Hebrew farmers; town dwellers -- Tyre and Sidon

Towards the Garden of the Hesperides
1000 BC - 400 BC

Italy, Sardinia, Sicily -- impact of Greece

550 BC - 400 BC
Persia, Xerxes

Athens and Democracy

Peloponnesian War; 120 years; the Aegean Sea transformed from an Athenian to a Spartan lake

The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean
350 BC - 100 BC

I - IV

'Carthage Must Be Destroyed'
400 BC -- 146 BC

Punic Wars

'Our Sea'
146 BC - AD 150

Ascendancy of Rome

Old and New Faiths
1 - 450 AD



400 - 600

I - II
Decline and fall of Rome

Part III: The Third Mediterranean
600 - 1350

Mediterranean Troughs
600 - 900
The unity of the Mediterranean Sea had ended by the sixth century
Part IV: The Fourth Mediterranean
1350 - 1830
Would-be Roman Emperors
1350 - 1480
Plague, decline in population; less pressure on growing enough food (grain)
Part V: The Fifth Mediterranean
1830 - 2010
Ever the Twain Shall Meet
1830 - 1900
Suez Canal, steamships;

Development of the Tragedy: The Wooden Horse, Keld Zeruneith - Second Note

Discursive thinking: proceeding by reasoning or argument rather than intuition.

Poets, philosophers, tragedians.

First note here.

The subtitle: The liberation of the western mind, from Odysseus to Socrates.

Chapter I: the Wooden Horse -- where the author begins his book. The author's theme:
... the invention of the Wooden Horse constitutes a divide in the history of European civilization and consciousness. For the first time, we witness a human being thinking discursively -- that is to say, separating action from awareness, internal and external, which until then had been a unity.

Chapter II: Homer is analyzed as a metaphor for the narrative structure. Comment: perhaps, metonym might have been a better word?

Chapter III: Homer intends to replace the original cult of fertility goddesses, linked to the earth and the realm of the dead, with the divine patriarchal rule of Olympus, which he more or less invents

Chapter IV: The Trojan War itself is seen as a paradigm of the fundamental experience of the Greeks -- that development pre-supposes and takes place through an unbroken rotation of strife and eros

Chapter V: read summary of Chapter VI below first. Then, Chapter V -- the maternal bond is the primary theme in the Telmachy in which Telmachos' paralysis derives from his bond to his mother. His voyage away from her -- to seek information on the fate of his father -- describes his liberation and maturity so that he can meet his father -- and the father in himself

Chapter VI: the precondition for realizing Homer's utopia of a peaceful world order is for his hero Odysseus to prove himself in the trials that await him on his ten-year voyage home. We are given a detailed outline of his psychological character. All the monsters of the voyage home emerge as deadly forces from the revolt against the mother that is a hidden them in Homer's texts. Now back to Chapter V.

Chapter VII: during the adventures on his voyage, Odysseus integrates the demonic, primeval maternal realty from which he freed himself as a younger man. WOW!

Chapter VIII: his final trial  consists of regaining his kingdom, Ithaka, by slaying the arrogant suitors. After this he is reunited with his wife ....

Chapter IX: Homer's guiding utopia stretches through both his works: to achieve a lasting peace, which in a contemporary perspective corresponds to the social order or eunomia for which Solon becomes the spokesman

Chapter X: the subjective and reflective breakthrough in poetry and philosophy

Chapter XI: in the second main section, Homer is developed further -- in new genres. As the first poet of whose biography we know anything. Hesiod is viewed as a transitional figure from Homer to later writing, philosophy, religiosity, and science

Chapter XII:  the individuality that the Odysseus figure partly represents is fully established in the first subject-oriented poets: Archilochus and Sappho, who each in their own way put their personal passions at the center of poetry

Chapter XIII: Alongside them, the first philosophers emerge .. try to explain the world on the basis of objective observations. Against the background, several of them (Xenophanes and Heraclitus) criticize the divine worlds of Home and Hesiod as human projections. Key figure in this section is Heraclitus, while Parmenides is the philosopher  of pure logic, who forms the transition to Plato's idealism

Chapter XIV: the origin of tragedy; tragedy defined as an existential necessity

Chapters XV - XVIII: now the three great tragedians -- Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Clear differences among the three

Chapter XVIII: the study ends by showing the in Plato's description of Socrates, we find the answer that Euripides and the crisis of the time sought. Socrates attributes the highest value to the inner being. Plato's utopia reflects Socrates' desire to convert his doctrine of the soul into a new form of state. Here, women would have equal status with men, which they did not have in the Athens of the day.