Weekly Mandated Report #6
Thursday (2/16/17)- Today’s quiz during class went better than I was expecting. A pleasant surprise for someone who was so sleep deprived and only read a little over half the book. Of course I want to do better than that but it was relieving after such a stressful and overwhelming week. Class discussion surprisingly didn’t remain on the topic of book three for very long today. We went over the quiz, mentioned similarities between Kim Jong-Un with his brother and Cambyses and Smerdis, Professor Sandridge mentioning how rich the content was (comparing it to an exploding fire hydrant or a thanksgiving feast — focusing a suspiciously long amount of time on eating saran wrap), and then we were done. What we moved onto next was honestly so cool. Translating those greek words into English was fun, like solving a puzzle. I wish we could do more of that! Maybe I should take a course in latin or something if I loved it that much. The best part was learning what a specific word meant and then seeing it later on in the text only to immediately know what it meant. Again: so cool. I can’t wait to do the last two sentences on Tuesday, even if it’ll only be a short amount of time.
Thursday (2/16/17)- During my hour of reading book four I spent it in my room before my last class of the day. Right off the back, I don’t understand what exactly the Scythians and slaves are milking, I assumed it was cows but then it never mentioned a cow so I looked up the term they used “mare” and got a female horse. This also doesn’t seem right though, if only because I’ve never heard of people who drink horse milk. Moving on, the mention of Zeus having a son, Targitaus, with a river nymph of some sort reminds me of my childhood reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. In my head, I’m calling Targitaus a half-blood. I wonder if, in Riordan’s world, he can control the sky or fly or anything else Zeus related. Anyway, Herodotus describes how the Scythians all came from the one guy and how they came to be. Then he goes on to tell the Greek’s version starting with Heracles. (Another story I recognize from Riordan’s books: Hercules and Geryon, one of the five tasks he had to complete on a quest.) His son, by the half-woman half-snake, Scythes was said to be the start of Scythians. But the story Hrodotus trusts most is where the Scythian invaded the Cimmerians. The civilians ran away while the princes killed themselves. There’s a ton of Cimmerian evidence that this is true so that’s why he trusts it. The stuff he says about Aristeas makes no sense to me. Then he goes over the geography within and surrounding Scythian land as well as describing all the different Scythians that existed. He’s also really concerned with the ability of an animal, livestock, to live in certain habitats. But geez, I sure hope we don’t have to know all this geography.
Friday (2/17/17)- I hoped today’s section of reading would include less geography but the first four pages seem to be hinting towards the opposite. I’m going to spend two hours reading twenty-five or so pages because I have a feeling I’m not going to want to read tomorrow and I don’t have much to do anyways. Before class this week, I didn’t know we were allowed to read for more than an hour a day. I might fit two days worth of reading into one more often. Hopefully this will help me catch up on reading instead of being so inconsistent. Besides the short story of Sataspes and King Xerxes, there wasn’t really any narratives in this section of book four. The geography ended with Herodotus’s conclusions about the European and African/Libyan continents as well as discussing the many Scythian rivers — of which Ister is the biggest. Next he talks about Scythian culture, a lot of which is super gore-y in my opinion, such as their views on adopting other cultures instead of keeping their own. Some seem odd, like how they kill prophets by setting them and a wagon full of wood on fire but also attaching oxen to the wagon to possibly burn to death too — why are they wasting oxen like that? And then other customs I just really remember because they seem interesting, such as how they somehow clean themselves with weed — hemp, marijuana, kannabis, same thing. After all these Scythian traditions, Herodotus gets back to describing the Persian invasion by Darius on Scythia. He talks about preparation and crossing bridges over rivers, one of which Coes, a general, stops him from destroying so that he has a backup escape plan or something. Meanwhile the Scythians were also preparing by gathering reinforcements, eight different groups of people. Herodotus describes each of them briefly.
Sunday (2/19/17)- I sat down to read for two hours again today, since it seemed to work well last time, in my room in the late afternoon. This began with the decision of the eight Scythian reinforcements: they declined. Unless they were directly invaded by Darius and his Persian army they weren’t going to intervene and help the Scythians because technically they started the war. Because of this set back, the Scythians set out a plan for how they would face the Persians. They were going to try to avoid directly facing off with them as much as possible. And using their mobility to somewhat run away from Darius’s army was working really well, they ran through their “reinforements” territories and never came to direct combat. Their king, Idanthyrsus told Darius as much. But then something angered the Scythians and they attacked when the Persians were “gathering provisions.” They did it in a clever way though that didn’t hurt them. They sent Darius a gift of a bird, frog, a mouse, and five arrows which he, as advised by Gobryas, took to meant they needed to give up before they were destroyed. They fled, and the Persians tried to catch them but were tricked by the Ionians. The Persians escaped. I’ve got to say this was one of the more interesting of the wars we’ve read about. Megabazus is left by Darius to be a kind of ruler over his stuff. After this I started skimming pages more than reading because it was beginning to get boring and cluttered again. Lacedaemonians take over Thera. Herodotus ends this section describing groups of people in Lybia, or northern Africa. There are many.
Tuesday (2/21/17)- During class, again, we didn’t spend too much time on the book. Not that I minded. I love translating greek to english; I even got a few on my own this time around. I really do wish we did this more often or that this was even half the class. Learning to read, write, and speak ancient Greek would be so cool. As it is, I’m venturing outside my basic Spanish foreign language into Korean and Japanese. However though I’m always interested at the beginning of learning new languages, once the hard parts of conjugation and things like that come along I lose more and more interest. I hate that about myself, but I’m trying to cut it back. Later on, we talked more about government — mainly democracy. I agree that hardly anyone on earth has a true democracy. While on one had it seems unfair, on the other it makes complete sense. Why should only a couple people with a limited perspective have complete power? But also, why should someone who has absolutely no clue about all aspects of the government have a say in serious and complex issues? I can argue for either side. It makes me try to form a different type of government that is more fair to everyone, but that’s such a hard thing to do. The possibilities are almost endless. And I really don’t think I know enough to create such an idea. This isn’t to say I’m going to switch my major to political science and run for office — that seems like an honest to goodness nightmare. I do think America needs to change from being to business oriented. It is like a kleptocracy. The people with the most money have the most power and thus everyone is after the goal of getting as much money as possible, at any cost. I don’t think the country nor the world can survive in the long run if that’s the case. But hey, the environment is so bad that we might not even make it to the long run. Maybe that’s why this is happening.
Wednesday (2/22/17)- Due to how I divided my sections of the book, I didn’t have much left to read for the final section. Because of this and being busy yesterday, I decided to skip yesterday’s hour and finish today as well as study. It’s far into the evening after my last class and the fiber arts club meeting I went to, and I’m reading in my room. This section is right after Herodotus finishes describing Libyan groups of people. He describes the customs of the Cyrenaeans then quickly shifts to Pheretime invading and killing Barcaeans until stopped. She died bitterly. I spent the rest of the hour trying to figure out what to study because it’s hard to know when everything was so vague with the geography and the hundreds of cultures mentioned.