Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time isn't real

i found it very frustrating that the damned souls cannot see the present. The present is merely the instant in which you are currently in. Every instant, your future becomes the present and your present becomes the past. Even if a soul can only see the future, then they can see the instant before the present which,  in a moment will be the present. Therefore, being able to see the instant you are in is unecessary if you can see an instant into the future.

Hell no!

Date's he'll is ridiculously unfair, at least by today's standards. I can understand that virtuous pagans belong in he'll, but the fact that people who died before Jesus was born are there is ridiculous. There is nothing they could have done in their lives to prevent going to he'll. It is ridiculous that none of these people are allowed into heaven.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Hell Yeah!

Dante the Pilgrim's attitude towards Hell progresses as he visits the various circles of Hell. In Canto V, he feels pity for the two lovers: Francesca and Paolo. Contrarily, in Canto VIII, Dante is ruthless towards Filippo Argenti, the shade that attaches itself to the boat while Dante crosses the Styx. He transcends from pitying the shade of hell, to believing that their punishment is just or even that they should be punished farther. Therefore, he has a more positive attitude towards the necessity of Hell then he did at the beginning of his journey into Hell.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Christianity vs. Mythology

Dante manages to blend Christianity and Mythology. Normally, we think of these two things as irreconcilable. But Dante makes a whole epic poem containing both. Obviously, Hell is a Christian doctrine. However, Dante inserts Roman poets and mythological creatures into Hell. Charon, Cerberus, the River Styx, and Phlegyas, to name a few, are mythological people who appear in the Christian Hell. Dante also compares himself to Paul and Aeneas by saying "I am not Paul, I am not Aeneas." Dante blends these two religious beliefs together to great an amazing epic poem.


I am really enjoying Dante's Inferno. The Bible does not really give us a really a description of Hell, so Dante wrote an epic poem about it. He inserts himself in the poem to give it a personal aspect. His construction of Hell is very interesting. He includes Pagans in the first circle because they weren't really sinners; they just didn't believe in God because Christianity did not exist yet. The farther down in Hell, the worse the sin.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nudity in Ancient Rome

In the Roman baths, people did not wear clothing most of the time. But, this was in stark contrast to the normal values of Rome. Unlike the Greeks, Romans often thought that nudity was distasteful. Unlike Greek sculptures, Roman sculptures were often clothed unless specific figures were being portrayed. Despite this, interestingly, the Phallus was a very prominent symbol in Roman culture.

Rulers Trajan and Augustus

During this period of Roman history, two main rulers made significant impacts on not only the overall Republic, but also the people that encompassed it. Augustus's rule is interesting because it directly followed his uncle's, Julius Caesar, assasination. After much conflict with Antony and Cleopatra  during the Battle of Actium, Augustus sealed his role as the first real emperor of Rome. With titles like, Augustus, a name given to him by the Senate, and "First Citizen of the State," it is evident that Augustus wanted to relate to the people, especially Caesar's followers, rather than rule by fear. Similarly, Trajan was all about ruling for the people. Both leaders attempted to beautify the city and make economic improvements such as better roads, aqueducts, and systems of protection, like the Praetorian Guard.  All these public works signify both leaders as in line with Cicero's ideal of the best and most fit ruler.

Architecture and art matches values

Nowadays, people don't necessarily think of architecture as a way to see the values of modern society. This is because you must look at something from the past in order to make assertions on the progression of values. Knowing this, the architecture from the times of the reign of Augustus and Trajan definitely portray the values of Roman society at that time. For example, the Ara Pacis Agustae was built under the command of Augustus and related to the total peace that he wanted under his Pax Romana. Under Trajan, the values are different in that they stress expansion and regional domination more. The most clear example of this is Trajan's column, which was located in the new forum that he had built. On this column, there are depictions of the Dacian wars that Trajan himself took part in to dominate the barbaric empire. Therefore power and strong leadership was a more important value in the reign of Trajan.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Roman Country Clubs

One thing I found interesting while doing research for the presentation, was the Roman Imperial Baths. These "baths" had hot and cold swimming pools, gymnasiums, restaurants, bars, walking paths, libraries, shops and more. The baths were open to everyone, and were a common hang out spot for the Roman citizens. The baths seem very progressive and close to modern day country clubs that would be open to the public. The Roman rulers were expected to give back to the people in some way, and the imperial baths were a way to build something to provide entertainment for the citizens of Rome. Today country clubs and community centers are similar, but I do not think either draw as much attention as the imperial baths did. The sense of community also most likely strengthened Roman culture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Aeneid

In doing my research on the spirit of Rome, I found that the Aeneid was actually written for Augustus by Vergil. They were friends, and Vergil wanted to paint Augustus in a good light. Augustus was the first emperor, which was the end of the Republic. People weren't thrilled about having an absolute ruler, so Augustus needed some propaganda. Vergil was able to insinuate that Augustus is related to Venus and Aeneas through a long lineage. He also made Aeneas a very loyal and virtuous person, suggesting that Augustus is the same way.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cicero and the Communist

I think several parallels can be drawn between Cicero and the communist party in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Cicero very much wanted what was best for his people, as did the communist. But they were both often blind to the truth. The communists failed to see that they were actually hurting not helping people until it was far too late. Cicero also went too far trying to better the lives of his people. At one point, he enacted martial law, and later he even executed people without a proper trial.

Cicero and Alexander Hamilton

Learning about Cicero reminded me a lot of one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton's number one priority was always ensuring the best for America. Hamilton wasn't perfect; he made many mistakes in his life, such as having an affair. Cicero made a few mistakes in his life too, such as executing conspirators without a trial. Both dies honorably: Hamilton died in a duel after firing his gun in the air, and Cicero willingly gave way to his assassins. Overall, both men did a great deal to further democracy in their countries.

Democracy vs. Tyranny

Cicero's letter to his son Marcus is also an important piece in detailing the transition in Greek culture from democracy to a period of tyranny. First and foremost, a tyrant isn't a dictator that oppressed the people, but instead is one person that the people support who rules mostly by himself. Cicero idealizes the past in which public officials didn't take bribes and were less corrupt. This past with less political corruption was held in check by the power of the people in places such as Athens. Here, we see the difference in Roman society from Greek society and also the transition from democracy to tyranny. Tyranny by itself isn't bad, but it is an easier system to take advantage of and obtain too much power.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Cicero is a very confusing person. On paper, he says he supports the republic and the people. He plays peacekeeper after Caesar is murdered. He was also a lawyer who defended controversial cases. However, he does not always live up to his own expectations. He executed conspirators without a trial. He thinks the people should hold power, not the military, however, he enacted martial law. To me it seems like he was very wishy-washy.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cicero's perspective

I find Cicero's perspective and life very interesting. He is a person that lived and interacted with such well known Shakespearean figures such as Caesar, Pompey, and Brutus. He was also ordered to be executed by Marc Antony. Cicero seems to be a philosopher of worthy moral standards, but that is not the case for his entire life. He starts off by wanting to defend the poor in court and other times, and he believes in right to a fair trial. He follows the ideas of Plato and is an example of something similar to the philosopher king because he is a philosopher and he also was a Roman consul and political leader. Later in his career, it seems that the political power might have gone to his head. He was exiled for not giving someone a trial, even though this was one of his key beliefs earlier on. Perhaps Cicero's firm belief in justice led him to wrongly administer the justice himself...

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hellenistic art

I really enjoyed studying the Hellenistic sculptures. I like these a lot more than the Hellenic sculptures because they are more realistic. They focus a lot less on idealism and more on realism. They even show bodily imperfections and deformities unlike the Hellenic period which only sculpt "perfect" humans. I like how the Hellenistic sculptures also convey how the person is feeling by their facia expressions.
Hey guys, hope you're enjoying your three-day weekend! Some of you may be stressing out over Tuesday's test, so I found a resource to help everyone study.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Artifact complications

Almost all of the artifacts including items and statues that we have studied have been taken from their original land and are in some foreign museum. Some of these items were legally attained by donations to the museum, but the countries that the items originally came from want their historical items back. A few examples of such items that countries want returned are the Rosetta Stone, Chinese imperial treasures, and the Old Fisherman from Aphrodisias, which was from the Pergamon. Such artifacts as they range in their acquisition. For example, the Rosetta stone was discovered by French officers in Egypt, but later changed hands to the British when they defeated France in 1802. The Old Fisherman from Aphrodisias was bought for the museum at an art market, and therefore they do not think that it should be given back. Museums in general have no reason to give artifacts back, because they might have gotten them legally even though the people who owned the artifacts before might have attained them illegally. This creates a problem for countries that want to maintain their own historical pasts through items such as these.
The link to the article I used follows:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Medea and Jason's changing roles

In the beginning of the play, the audience is inclined to feel sorry for Medea. She was lost her husband to another woman and is heart broken. We originally think of her as the protagonist. We dislike Jason because of what he is done to Medea; he is the antagonist. However, as the play progresses, their roles change. We learned that Medea betrayed her father and killed her brother for Jason. Medea also becomes obsessed with revenge. She eventually ends of killing Jason's bride, her father, and even their kids. By the end of the play, the audience is disgusted by Medea and considers her the antagonist. When Jason loses everything, we feel sorry, making him the protagonist. It is interested to see the flip-flop between the two characters, and a clever move on Euripides' part.

Then vs. Now

Today in class, we talked about if we felt Medea's actions were appropriate. Obviously, by today's standards, her actions are completely unwarranted and insane. It is understandable that she would be furious with Jason, but committing murder is too much. Certainly, Athenian men of the time would've also thought that her actions were crazy. But I am not so sure women would've thought the same thing. Women back then were probably very frustrated with having no rights and being a slave to their husbands. Although they realistically could do nothing if their husband left them for another woman, they probably wished they could. Perhaps Medea's actions were the fantasies of Athenian women. Although they are insane, being able to do something would probably satisfy the women.


Euripides was very brave in writing Medea. The play focuses on the bad treatment women in ancient times. They had no rights, were not citizens, and were force to stay home. No woman could speak out against their treatment, and no man was going to stick up for them. Men liked the way society worked because they were in charge. Euripides was really the first person (that I've learned about) to draw attention to the gender inequalities.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Guys, incest is still the best

OK, after reading Oedipus I'm sure a lot of you might be convinced that incest is no longer the best. I'm here to prove that it is. Some animals actually use incest to their benefit. For example, wasps use inbreeding to actually strengthen their gene pool. That is because wasps and other similar insects are haplodiploid. This means that, while females inherit genes from both their mother and father, males only inherit genes from their mother. Because of this, any inbred negative traits will be expressed in males, even if they are recessive. These males will soon die, therefore strengthening the gene pool of the population.

Greek Mythology in Oedipus the King

The role of Greek gods is apparent in Athenian society and translates into Sophocles's use of invocation to the gods to depict their significance in society and in his play. One of the first instances where the role of gods is mentioned is when the chorus tells Oedipus that he is not as great as the gods, but is the best fit to help save the Athenian people. Oedipus, a very confident ruler, often tries to put himself on the same level as the gods. This is significant of his character because he lacks humility. Another point mentioned throughout the play in connection to Oedipus is blasphemy. As mentioned prior, Oedipus's confidence leads him to feel superior to the gods at some points, especially when he describes how he solved the Sphinx riddle and the gods did not. However, the Athenians recognize this and know that ultimately, the gods hold superiorty over anyone else in all they do; the gods are the supreme power. The Athenian people often call out and pray to the gods seeking salvation because they know that the true power lies in the hands of the gods.