Journal Entry #5 (GiL)

Thursday February 9th (1.5 hours class time + 2 hour reading)

That morning turned out to be rather okay. Today would be my last day before my weekend break after a very long week to say the least. I could not wait any longer for it to arrive, i needed it. I had read probably half of book 2 in total because that’s all i really had time to accomplish. Not that i am uninspired to read, rather the fact that i never really had the chance to read. I was still recovering from being sick that weekend so i was more focused on getting better/resting rather than study, the faster i recover the faster i can get back on track. To add on to being ill, i had to have a minor surgery on my neck(infected cyst) that Wednesday morning. Even though it was a minor, it burnt the rest of me up for this whole week and i ended up just sleeping in all day after that. I did end up making it to class today, i ended up skipping the journal entry due today in exchange for rest because i was not doing so well. I needed to take the quiz at the very least, which wasnt hard but having not read the whole book 2, i was behind.

We discussed a few topics from book 2. One was Herodotus’ assumption in the world that the farther you travel from what he considered the center(Greece), the stranger things can get. This also can tie into the differences in customs that can be seen between the Greeks and Egyptians. More so that the Egyptians customs of male/female religious roles are reversed compared to others. Herodotus discusses the strangeness of the priests; they’re obsession with cleanliness, and their method for determining whether an animal(bull) is pure for sacrifice. While they use bulls for rituals, they considered cattle as a higher being due to its relation to one their gods, often orchestrating an elaborate and sacred burial for a dead cattle.

Later that day i ended up trying to make up for my missed readings by reading the rest of book 2.

Sunday February 12th (4 hours reading)

Today i started reading book 3 and got through half of it. Book 3 which primarily focuses on Cambyses’ campaign in Egypt, which was actually exciting compared to the many other events in books 1 and 2, and his resulting fate due to his madness.

I find it really interesting but also funny how similar Herodotus’ Histories and Game of Thrones can be very similar.

Cambyses’ ends up conquering Egypt, but also the surrounding area (mainly Libya) because they decided to surrender to Cambyses without a fight after seeing what has come of Egypt. Obviously it was not worth starting a war with another country if you’d most likely just lose it. Due to Cambyses’ continued success in war, he decides to further his conquest to obtain even more land for his empire. Off of his war high, he decided to send his army to Ethiopia without proper preparation. Later to find out that the army he had sent had been lost in the desert leading to the Ammonians. Cambyses basically acted recklessly and lost his army because of his greed (nothing new for all the people we follow in this book). This is what i would say to be the catalyst for his descent into madness here on after.

He was so indulgent in his success, he ended up doing another reckless act. Cambyses had stabbed a precious cow. The Egyptians were celebrating the arrival of a new Apis cow, which the Egyptians find to be sacred; but Cambyses thought they were celebrating his loss to the Ammonians, so he ends up stabbing the cow (which was hilarious he would do that, like he literally chose the worst option out of his many options).

I find it really interesting but also funny how similar Herodotus’ Histories and Game of Thrones can be very similar. His actions reminded me of the Mad King Aerys. Similar that over time as ruler, his madness soon ate them up.

Tuesday February 14th (1.5 hours class time + 3 hours reading)

That morning i was greeted into class pleasantly surprised that the professor was holding a guitar, looking like he was ready to play it. It was interesting how he found a way to connect our lives and music and used that as a tool for discussion. Talking on the subject of remedies/stress relief, of how people now-a-days dont use/create music to relieve stress. To which i agreed, now-a-days people are more likely to lean towards instant gratification, which is what games and other hobbies consist of. Most young students love playing video games, so picking that over creating music is very likely in today’s society. Nevertheless, i am listening to “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright right now as i type up this journal, which is very calming i might add. Its not often that i get serenaded by a professor at 8 am in the morning(lol).

Later that day after i had finished all my classes and homework, i decided to finish reading book 3 instead of waiting for Wednesday. Got myself a hot cup of coffee and started reading again.

To no surprise there was another instance when the main character we are following misinterprets the projections of an oracle/dream. Cambyses had a dream in which his brother Smerdis was the one sitting on the royal throne. In an effort to keep that from happening, he send his most trusted aid, Prexapes, back to Persia in order to murder his brother. But the Smerdis that was causing an uprising back in Persia was not his brother, rather the Magus’ brother named Smerdis also. Cambyses ends up killing off many of his own aids and servants, including one of his sisters because of an insult. Cambyses in a rush to ride back hope to Persia, he ends up stabbing himself in the thigh. That spot where the cow Apis was stabbed was the very same spot Cambyses would later die after the accident. Another example of irony in this book. Its unfortunate that Cambyses died in that fashion, but at the same time due to his recent actions after conquering Egypt, i felt like he got what was coming to him. Which is a reoccurring topic brought up in the stories of destiny. Which includes the story of Polykrates, tyrant of Samos; he had tried to give up something precious to him in an effort to avoid the gods hatred for him because he was too successful. Later to find that very ring he threw away in a fish that was later served to him.

I find it really interesting but also funny how similar Herodotus’ Histories and Game of Thrones can be very similar. His actions reminded me of the Mad King Aerys. Similar that over time as ruler, his madness soon ate them up. Willing to not only get rid of any one that opposed them, but also trying to cut off anything uncertain of their own future.

Darius would later take the throne from the now dead Cambyses. I did not find Darius’ path to the throne that interesting, the constitutional debate was rather boring. More so the fall of Cambyses’ reign was the most exciting part in the book so far. Now that he was dead, Prexaspes had confessed to murdering the real Smerdis(Cambyses’ brother), while the seven conspirators of Otones act upon Darius’ behalf to murder the false Smerdis(Magus’ brother).

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