Weekly Mandated Report #10
Thursday (3/30/17)- The quiz today was different than usual and I don’t know if I liked it or not. I honestly don’t think it was much better or much worse than the old version. I don’t have to remember the spelling of names but I also have to remember all the little details about every person. So we won some, we lost some. We also talked about “Dr.” Lance Wallnou’s book that apparently brainwashed too many christians into voting for Trump. I’m very ashamed that this guy came from my hometown. But it’s also not surprising. Due to this election, I’ve lost respect for probably around 60–70% of the people I remember from home. Especially my pastors. Can’t go back to those churches now. And this guy is also making Christianity look bad — though the religion has so many unexplained contradictions that it’s been hard for me to stay with it anyway. But why must people do this? And why must other people buy into it? Those poor, ill-informed bigots don’t know any better; he’s taking advantage of them honestly. After that we compared the book and trump to Cyrus, though I wasn’t too clear on it because I was busy writing this. (I know I should have waited, but I had a strong opinion and needed to jot it down before I forgot.) And we connected that to how transparent our leaders should be. We ended the class talking about the old Herodotus theme on dying when your life is at its greatest. All of the Spartan men were included in this because they died in battle for their country and they also all had children.
Sunday (4/2/17)- Today I spent an hour starting book eight of Herodotus’s The History. I was in my room in the late afternoon, as usual. My first reaction, though small, was that Themistocles impressed me. He really finessed that bribe he got. He convinced those other armies to stay AND kept almost all of the money. Respect. Kind of selfish, but I hear that’s how you get ahead in life. Themistocles also wrote a note/insciption/message thing for the Ionians and for them to do something, but I couldn’t quite get what he was trying to tell them to do in context with everything. I get names and nationalities confused a lot. I also don’t believe that Scyllias could swim that far to snitch, but more importantly I can’t believe how many snitches/traitors/spies/what have you that the Persians have. They really need to cross check the people they’re appointing; it’s getting ridiculous. Is having spies a theme? Because it has occurred pretty often in Herodotus. There was another ignored-oracle-theme sighting again with the Euboeas and the Bacis oracle. Xerxes was being weird and disrespectful again — weird with trying to pretend a battle was even by hiding corpses and then disrespectful by just completely destroying Phocis. I’m not good at elaborating more on my thoughts when I’m not in a thinking mood. This journal wasn’t very introspective as a result and I apologize but I have other homework to do. End of the year and all.
Monday (4/3/17)- Today was another hour dedicated to book eight. In my room, I begin to read about the Greeks at Salamis. There’s so many different groups of people helping out/allied with them. I noticed there’s a lot of voting and council meetings going on. It’s easy to see the process of a democracy/republic taking place in this book; there was more getting together to get to a collective decision than a tyrant just taking over and being like: We’re going to invade this now. It’s been in other recent books to but I remember how at the very beginning of Herodotus it was very much a monarchy — even if once in a while they’d consult an advisor it was really mainly up to one person. Themistocles finessed another situation in this section. Even when the Corinthians were being kind of harsh when they were debating, saying he didn’t have a country, he still managed to take over the conversation and get his way. He did it by threatening to leave but still that’s what got the job done. I think he can be considered another trickster character in The History. He reminds me of that really down to earth guy who became king, I forgot who he was but it was a while ago. He had his subjects worshiping a foot bath or something like that. Themistocles is definitely that kind of person. The earthquake is being said to be a bad omen for Xerxes, an example of natural phenomenon being predictive of the future. I see a queen being mentioned and now I’m excited. Artemisis advises Xerxes not to attack right away but to wait a minute. I don’t even know if her advice is good or not but she’s a woman so I trust her. Ask around, it’s a thing. Women trust other women. Especially if a man is trying to have input on the same topic. But of course Xerxes doesn’t follow it; he’s crazy after all. Throughout this whole time, I’ve been having trouble being able to tell which side the Peloponnesians are on. I’m only 51% sure they’re on the Greeks side. I’m gonna look that up later when I have more time.
Tuesday (4/4/17)- Class today started out with talking about the Greek city-states. I remember learning about these in my humanities class for world history in 9th grade. I had no idea how many there actually were. This book has made it clear to me now though. Jeez Louise. I hate trying to keep track of them, especially when 5+ new ones are introduced in every new book. We talked about what these city-states need to ask themselves when their being invaded by another one. One thing that wasn’t mentioned of all the things to ask is what making alliances/asking other city-states for help will cost them. It’s a small thing so I didn’t want to bring it up — and also low key because I’m just shy and really tired and 8 am. I think it’s important to consider for the city-state because we’ve witnessed in the past how one city-state will ask for help from another because they’ve helped out that city-state in the past. Furthermore, they could ask for a hefty price in return or something, and they need to consider this stuff. We also talked about the newest member of the Greek Lit. Trickster Squad™ a.k.a Themistocles. He has a lot in common with the orange menace running our country. He finesses the mess out of people and their money in order to get he wants and yet he’s still praised for it. I wish he would try to pull that kind of stuff today. On the other hand, I’m sure Trump would love to have lived back then.
Wednesday (4/5/17)- I’m spending two hours on the reading today because Tuesday was a bit hectic for me. I’m going to finish the rest of the book today. There’s just about a third of it left anyway and it was a short book to begin with anyway. A battle has begun again and right off the bat, an example of female excellence occurs. So it might have been an accident on her part but Queen Artemisia still did it. She tricked the ship pursuing her into believing she was fighting with the Greek’s side by hitting another random boat. And better yet, Xerxes saw the whole thing so he has no choice but to believe how great she is. Maybe now he’ll start taking her advice more seriously. But overall she is another great contribution to the theme of strong women in power in Herodotus. Later I see that Xerxes does finally listen to her when he asks her whether he should leave the battle up to Madronius or stay and direct his army himself. After reading so much about Themistocles, now I’m just automatically assuming that every time he’s mentioned, he’s definitely about to trick someone. And I’m honestly right. This guy has an ulterior motive for almost everything he does. It’s almost tiring to hear about. Sure, it’s really cool how he can get away with almost anything, but imagine never being upfront with people ever. Is there a genuine bone in this guy’s body? It’s like he’s treating every interaction he has as a means to an end. It reminds me of what I learned in philosophy last week when we were discussing Immanuel Kant. Kant has three rules to how we should live and Themistocles broke two of them but I want to focus on the second one. The rule is to never treat people as a means to an end but as ends in themselves. So I think Kant would definitely hate Themistocles. Just like the other Greek commanders all seem to hate him. The end of the book goes into a lot of detail about Madronius’s messenger, Alexander, and I don’t know why Herodotus did that. I can’t remember any themes like this where they talked extensively about a single character. But maybe I just forgot. It doesn’t really matter too much anyway because his request to surrender to Xerxes was denied by the Athenians. Hopefully we’ll go over this in class.