Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Current Readings

As March begins winding down, we are currently getting acquainted with one of the political classics of all
time--Plato's Republic--and enjoying the opening books of that greatest of travelogues--Homer's Odyssey.

On the cover, a portion of the School of Athens:  Plato, left, argues with his student Aristotle, right. 
Neither was right.

For now, we are looking at the opening books--The Telemachia.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Back from Lemnos--Humanities Blog Revives

Assignments for the Week of February 6--10

Philoctetes:  Oh, my aching foot!
Monday:  Finish the Thermopylae Test on Chapters 4 and 5

Begin Reading  Prometheus Bound.  This will enable us to complete all 3 volumes of Greek Tragedies.

Read the following for Homework:  Essay--"Tragedy and Comedy"
                                                       Thermopylae, Chapters 6, 7 & 8

Tuesday:  Test Over Thermopylae, Chapters 6, 7, & 8.

Finish Reading Prometheus Bound.

Classwork and Homework on Greek Tragedies

Wednesday:  A Test to Overshadow All Tests Over Greek Tragedies

Continue with the Film:  300 Spartans

Reading:  Chapters 9--11 of Thermopylae

Thursday:  Test Over Chapters 9--11 of Thermopylae


Homework:  Write the Tragedies Paper, Step 1--The 3 Paragraphs

Friday:  In-Class Peer Reviews of THE TRAGEDIES PAPER

Continue (finish) 300 Spartans

Instructions for THE TRAGEDIES PAPER
Decide which 3 Tragedies are your favorites.
Rank them--from 3rd to 1st
Decide what factors make a tragedy a favorite
  • Heroic characters
  • Feminine characters
  • Surprise endings
  • Sin or Forgiveness
  • Struggling against Fate
  • Human flaws
  • or whatever else you can think of.
Write a paragraph on each of the three plays you chose, using the factors you chose.

"The Greeks present a picture of their culture and say, this is the way it is--thsi is what we value, this is what makes us who we are, this is who is included, who excluded--and then blast the entire conglomeration to pieces.  What is most often misunderstood about Classical literature is that almost all of it was composed as a critique of Greek society and the very values that allowed it to flourish.  The most important legacy of the Greeks and Romans is this uniquely Western urge to pick apart everything--every insitution, tradition, individual. Only in this manner do ideas change at all--and only in this way does an author find any credibility with the reading or listening audience."
Victor Davis Hansen and John Heath, Who Killed Homer?


Friday, December 9, 2011

To the Gates of Troy

Assignments for the Last Weeks of the Semester: 
 In the Tenth Year of the Trojan War

To Book 24 of Homer's Iliad

Finish the Iliad

First to finish was brilliant Mr. House, wielder of books read and students broken under his ashen spear.
Finished on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.

The Paper:

Write a 3 to 5 paragraph paper comparing the situations, personalities, and connections between two of the characters of the Iliad.

Achilles and  Agamemnon
Achilles and Thetis
Achilles and Patroklos
Achilles and Priam
Achilles and Hektor
Or whatever combination you prefer.

The paper will be read in class as part of your semester test.

Monday, November 28, 2011

To The Ships, O Achaians

Week of November 28--December 2

Poised to Press to the End of the Iliad

Monday:  The Goal This Week is to Complete Our Reading Through Book 18

Discussion up through Book 11 (The Book of Wounds)
Overview or Preview of Book 12
Discussion of the PAPER--The Aristeia of Humanities Students in their Kleos

***Tonight:  Read Books 13 and 14***

Tuesday:  Book 12 Hektor smashes through the gates

Book 13  The Greeks rally and Poseidon encourages the Achaians
Book 14  Nestor meets wit the wounded Heroes; meanwhile, Zeus is distracted from the Trojan War

THE PAPER:  ideas, thoughts, initial plans...the brainstorming of the gates of lethargy.

***Tonight:  Read Books 15-16***

Wednesday:  Book 15  Hektor's Aristeia continues as he breaks through to the ships

What can Dr. Leithart show us?  Will he help us with our papers?

***Tonight:  With fires blazing at the very black ships, read Book 17  (or get caught up).***

Thursday:  Book 17 The Fight for the Body of Patroklos

Writing about The Iliad--Students rush in where epic poets fear to tread.

***Tonight:  With tears shed for Patroklos, read Book 18***

Friday:  Book 18      THE SHIELD OF ACHILLES

Read it, discuss it, explain it, and draw it.

We Will Finish The Iliad Next Week.


Write a brief journal entry after reading each book.  At home, on your own, to have and hold in class, for a possible grade.

"When modern readers ask what makes men and women keep reading the Iliad....Surely the answer lies in the unsparing beauty of the heroic vision that the poem perennially renews: it inspires heroic enterprises, whether the conquest of nations, explorations of consciousness or massive literary undertakings. To make the poem one's own is to enter the dimension of the heroic imagination, and the Iliad is able to issue the liberating call to such heroic possibility with less cultural or historical static than any other work one could name."
Glenn Arbery, "Soul and Image: The Single Honor of Achilles" 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Of Arms and Armaments--Battling with Spears and Rhetoric

Assignments for the week of November 14-18

This vase paints shows Diomedes (left), being aided by Athena, attacking Aeneas (right), being protected by Aprhodite.
Monday:  Discussion of The Iliad

Tuesday:  Visiting Teacher Dave Richardson:  The Greek Language--From Homer to the New Testament

Wednesday:  A wily surprise test on unsuspecting Trojans.

                     Discussion of The Iliad,

                      including the fine poetry ending Book 8

Thursday:    Words of Wisdom from Glenn Arbery concerning the Iliad, of course, and the topic of honor.

                     A pleasant retake of unpleasant tests on Book 3 and 4
Friday:  A Discussion of the Exemplary Rhetorical Discourses of Book 9

A Note from Agamemnon to the Achaians:
As a lion that stalks a hapless deer for days without obtaining a meal,
So we have lingered too long by the ships and have not pressed against the gates
of far-reaching Ilion, on the plains beyond the river Skamandros.
With times of feasting and respite before us in the days ahead, yet we must be armed
for dark days loom ahead and the mist of illiteracy unless we take up the ashen spear.
Meaning, folks, we will need to be on Book 18 by the end of the next week of school.

Notable Quotables:

"My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through the eyes of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented. I regret that the brutes cannot write books. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee; more gladly still would I perceive the olfactory world charged with all the information and emotion it carries for a dog....

"But in reading great literature, I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see.  Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, in knowing, I transcend myself, and am never more myself than when I do."
C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Premiering on Friday, December 16

Western Christmas Corral

Ben House

As Written for the Humanities Class of Veritas Academy

With apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens, in hope that his heirs will not find out about this literary rustling.

Aresteia and Honor and the Bronze Ashen Spear

Assignments for the Week of November 7-11

Waging War Outside the Gates of Troy:  All in a Day's Work for Achaians

According to Homer, the Trojan War lasted ten years....It was the greatest war in history, involving at least 100,000 men in each army as well as 1,184 Greek ships....Ironically, the Iliad focuses on a pitched battle on the Trjan Plain, although most of the war was fought elsewhere and consisted of raids.  And the Iliad concentrates on only two months in the ninth year of the long conflict.
Barry Strauss, The Trojan War: A New History

Discussion of Books 4 through 6:  The Wounding of Menelaus and the Aristeia of Diomedes.

Handout:  Key Issues from Books 3-5and Outline of Books 5 through 7

 Opening Question:  What does it mean (or what might it have meant) for a mortal, like Diomedes, to wage war against not just the Trojan Army, but the Olympian gods themselves?
(How might it relate to the greater theme of the book?)

Book 6:  Key Achaian Victories and Hektor's Visit with Family

History from Spielvogel:  Survey Chapter 2, pages 30-48.  Write a one page synopsis of either Assyrians, Neo-Babylonians, or Persians.

For Tonight:  Read Book 7 of the Iliad

Synopses of Synopses:  The Ancient Near East: Peoples and Empires in Brief

Discussion of Book 7 of the Iliad. 

For Tonight:  Read Book 8 of the Iliad
& Read Leithart's Discussion of Books 1--8 from Heros.

Role Playing:  The Class as Peter Leithart, discussing Books 1--8.

Into the History of Greece:  A Race Across Spielvogel, Chapter 3, "The Civilization of the Greeks."

A Chart:  10 Defining Statements About Greek Civilization

For Tonight:  Read Book 9 of the Iliad

The Epitome of Rhetoric:  The Envoy to Achilleus

More About Greek Civilization

Warning:  All Readers of The Iliad of Homer are subject to being given a test over the more recent readings, themes, ideas, notes, or discussions.  Read, think, listen, take notes, reflect, remember.

Agamemnon, Leader of Men, forward into battle