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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 1:40 pm 
Pharaoh
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If you would please actually read my post you would realise that I wwasn't criticising Ancuient Greek literature. If you had read my post you may have noticed that I condemned their non-fictional writing. Unless you consider the Orestia as a history, or the Odyssey as a geographical treatise then I suggest you re-read what I acvtually wrote. I love Greek FICTIONAL writing, I am literally in love with the story of the Agamemnon so please dont tell me that Greek literature is good, I am aware of the fact. I slated the Greek NON-fictional writings, which in all fairness are quite dire compared to their Roman or later counterparts.
As to your reference on the Classical influence on the Rennaisance in Europe I have to agree, but only to a certain extent. It is far more to the Romans that we have to thank for the "re-discovery" of classicism. It was in a Roman style that the Medici built Florence, using Roman books and Roman ideas. Apart from thought Greece had relatively little influence in Renaissance Europe. At the time of the early Medici Greece was ruled by Turkish armies and thus inaccesible for study. Il Duomo in Florence is based on a Roman temple in Rome. Greece influenced Florentine thought through Philosophers such as Plato (who spent most of his education in pre-Socrates in Egypt in exile from the thirty tyrants of Athens). As a classical scholar you will understand all about Plato's exile and his influences. I refer to FLorence and Florentine thought so much in reference to the Renaissance as it was the birthplace of the actual convention. The Medici in particular were responsible for this reinvention of thought and idea, and through studying Roman ideas and employing pro-classicist Romans like Bruneleschi they kick started the renaissance.
As a final point I would recommend you actually read my posts before lecturing me. I find it incredibly tedious to have to sit here and write a virtual essay because people cannot be bothered to read what I have written.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:24 pm 
Gods/Goddesses
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Lol :lol: I don't read long posts unless I'm in a reading mood, which, I haven't had a reading mood in a LONG time. DAMN this homeschooling!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:03 am 
Pharaoh
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Before I start, I would just like to pray that I haven't got your point of view confused here again. :)

I am sorry that I misread your post. Seeing the phrases ‘miserable excuse for a civilisation’, ‘as you can tell I am a huge fan of Hellenistic culture! (Sarcasm detected)’ and "It seems quite common though for the ancient greeks to come up with strange ideas and pass them off with no thought of backing them up" sent me off on the wrong track. However I do still disagree with your newly explained viewpoint, if you are condemning the Greeks’ non-fictional writing. I shall continue to put forward my argument as to why Greek non-fictional literature is some of the finest ever composed:

You say that the Greeks rarely back up their strange ideas. I agree that Herodotus did this occasionally, but I think that you have over exaggerated his stupidity greatly. In his writings he often provides several versions of particular events and this helps readers to make up their own mind. He is without doubt the best source on the XXVI Dynasty and Egyptologists have uncovered evidence that suggests that most of his writings on the subject were in fact true. With regard to the Phoenix episode, I did find your anecdote about him taking studious notes quite funny, but Herodotus writes in book two: “I give this story as it was told to me…but I don’t believe it”. It seems he wrote what he was told- not necessarily what he believed.

Herodotus was of course writing in the 5th century BC. Only a handful of other (Greek) historical writings survive from that period, and they are all exemplary. It was Thucydides (c. 460–c. 400) who first applied himself to a drawn out examination of the nature of political power, and researched the factors that determine the outcome of history. As a part of the board of generals he acquired inside knowledge of the way cultures are shaped.
After his failure to save Amphipolis, he spent 20 years in exile, which he used as an opportunity for getting at the truth from both sides (Hellenites and Persians). The result was a history of the war studying both military, political and economic decisions, and of the most penetrating quality. He appreciated the fact that he could not accept information at face value and so he spoke with hundreds of eyewitnesses and locals in an attempt to compile the true story of the war. His techniques are almost identical as those used by historians today.
Thucydides investigated the effect on individuals and nations both of psychological characteristics and of chance. His findings were interpreted through the many speeches given to his characters. The result of his many years of labouring was the masterpiece that is ‘The Peloponnesian War’.
It had been he who had continued the story of Greece’s battle with Persia after Herodotus’ death. Thucydides learned from the mistakes of that first historian and improved upon them. His son Xenophon in the same way continued in his father’s stead in 411, with his continuation of the story, Hellenica.

No other historical writings survive from this era, and yet the books of Histories, The Peloponnesian war and Hellenica give modern historians an unbroken, well-researched and dramatically written insight into the history of that early stage of Greek History and the formation of the Delian League.

Greek Philosophy, Rhetoric and Prose, irrelevant of its ocassional unreliability is without doubt some of the most excellent in existence. A culture of democracy provided (for perhaps the fist time in history) a great reason for politicians and writers to study in techniques of persuasion and influence. Demosthenes was without doubt the greatest of the Greek orators. His skills at public speaking and writing roused Athens to oppose Philip of Macedon and, later, his son Alexander the Great. His speeches provide invaluable information on the political, social, and economic life of 4th-century Athens.

I have only written about the 4-5th centuries BC, despite the fact that Greek Literature increased steadily in quality for decades. Has this not shown you that Greek non-fictional literature (especially historical literature) is hugely exciting, interesting and useful to the modern historian?
Really I could go on ad-infinitum Si-Amun, but I won’t for all our sakes. If you genuinely do believe that all Greek non-fiction is rubbish then I would be interested in your opinion. I ask for it not because I want to laugh at it, but because you seem a very persuasive person, and I am open to new ideas.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:00 pm 
Pharaoh
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I wrote so damniningly on Greece as it wasn't ever a proper civilisation at all. A small collection of warring city states more preoccupied with fighting than the culture they apparently adored. Greece was not a civilisation, at a push we could call it a dozen but in its very nature I find it hard to call Greece civilised. Athenian culture was perhaps relatively civilised but the culture of Sparta was, in my opinion, far from it.
The Histories of Herodotus are of course mere descriptions of what he was told but still he did write them. Some of the ideas are so fanciful that he must have either been a fool or wildly imaginative. Greek Philosophy is also based on absolutely no reasoning. The argument for the world of forms cannot even be regarded as A priori ir A posteriori as it is so unfounded. The Platonic idea of the demiurge too is founded on absolutely nothing but random speculation. It isn't until much later that we are graced with Philosophers that actually try and provide reason behind their arguments (Aquinas, Copleston, Nietchze etc). It isn't that I condemn everything written by the Greeks, just their factual writings. And the pettiness of their states of course. And not forgetting the way they couldn't go thirty years without overthrowing their government, or the fact that their democracy was a sham.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:50 pm 
Pharaoh
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I really cannot argue against the fact that ‘Greek’ civilisation is a misnomer. When we speak of the Greek civilisation we include all of the city-states as though they are all one large community. I am all to aware that the Greek civilisation was not really a civilisation until the Delian League was formed, and after that it was only a few short years until Philip of Macedon conquered most of Greece and began his mass conquest of the known world.

Call the Greeks rowdy if you will, regardless, they collectively did influence history in a great way, and the key city-states reached advanced states of society that surely deserve the title of ‘civilisation’.

In regard to Plato’s argument of forms, I have read a few articles and I remain unconvinced. Although Plato's theory was originally weak, later geniuses like Kant and Wittgenstein fully fleshed out and incorparated the ideas of epistemology and so on. They also furthered the idea to include semantical, logical and metaphysical distinctions, all of which were based on Plato's rationalist ideas. As one of the first Philosophers to investigate rationalism I would say that Plato was certainly on of the greatest philosophers to arise before the christian era. Plato was evidently slightly confused with his thoughts, but without the foundations that he laid out, further developments may not have occurred until much later.
I do believe that you are overstating things when you say that Plato bases his ideas on 'no evidence'. Admittedly his models were more like alegories than philosophical models. In his books he does draw comparisons between the political status and the models that surround forms. Maybe he was too worked up with these to pursue the concepts fully? Claiming that a rationalist is basing their ideas on 'no evidence' is really a poor avenue to pursue though! Lol :)

Anyway . . .. I take it that you are into philosophy?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:59 pm 
Pharaoh
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I find Philosophy incredibly interesting, but mainly the Philosophy of Religion. I have studied in depth the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God and am currently looking into the teleological arguments of William Paley. I took Philosophy as an A-level so I am doing tonnes of background reading so I get a good grade. My favourite Philosopher has to be St. Thoman Aquinas though, I sdon't know why but I just love reading his works. The Theodicy of St. Augustine of Hippo is also quite fascinating. If I had to home down my expertise on Philosophy I would have to pin it down to the nature of God and Evil and Suffering. My favourite wirk on Evil has to be the Theodicy of St. Augustine, lots of people say that it doesn't hold up to scrutiny but I have to disagree. Although the work may not be faultless it is one of the best and most concise explanations for evil alongside the "omnibenevolent", "omnisicent" and "omnipotent" God of Classical Theism.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:32 pm 
Egyptian Architect
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Location: Palatine,IL
Daniel prophesised that Alexander would liberate Israel from the Persians.


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