Journal Entry #5
Friday, February 10th (hour completed = 1)
On Friday, I decided to watch the music video that is posted on medium. The song was titled “Spirits in the Material World” by Police and this was the first time I heard it. I believe the song was about some of the failures of our nation. Things that were in the hands of our leadership in which we trusted was not always solved in a way that benefited the people. If I could understand it correctly, one of the lyrics from the song says “My so called leaders speak with words they try to jail ya.” In my opinion, the singer speaks of the deception that some leaders use in order to gain followers. The leaders present problems of our nation and trick you into believing that those issues will be solved if you follow their lead. The singer used the word “so-called” which clearly exhibits the doubt he has in those leaders. From all of the political issues in our nation, this band brings up this unending cycle of failure advising us not to have faith in their leadership or their proposed political solutions.
Saturday, February 11th (hour completed = 2)
How is the composition arranged? Who goes where and who is doing what? Can you tell which figure is Alex the Great, and which one is Darius? How does the artist convey who is the victor in this struggle and who is the defeated party?
Alexander the Great is the one depicted on the left of the mosaic, while Darius is the one on the right sitting up in his chariot. This specific scene captured in the mosaic was intended to show the audience the point at which Darius fled the battle. It is very obvious that Darius is trying to flee the scene because his charioteer looks like he has a destination to get to. He looks like he is in a rush to flee and save not only himself but Darius as well. If you look at the eyes of the charioteer, Darius, and Alexander, you can predict the emotions or thoughts that they were experiencing in that moment. You can imagine the fear that gripped Darius as he reaches his arm out to one of his defenders. The charioteer’s eyes expressed dismay, but determination to flee the scene as quickly as possible. Alexander is portrayed as a king who is fearless and bold in my opinion. Although there are some physical characteristics that exhibit Alex’s identity by his wavy hair, the artist clearly conveys to the audience the character that was victorious and the one that was defeated.
What message does the artist send about leadership and retreat in the facial expressions of these two kings?
In this mosaic, Alexander looks like he is in total control of his army. Although pieces of the mosaic are not there for the audience to get a clear image of Alexander’s army, the confidence on his face shows that he had more control over his army and more confidence in the skills of his army. On the contrary, Darius’ army looks disorganized and fearful. Even though it is a common emotion to be in fear during times of war, I believe that fear should not overpower your overall vision to win the battle. Perhaps the pieces of the mosaic that do not clearly show all of the Macedonian soldiers is significant to Alexander’s leadership. Although those pieces probably came off because it is an ancient painting, perhaps, displaying Alexander in the center exhibits his bravery and willingness to keep fighting despite the condition of his soldiers or any other circumstances that may distract him from pursuing his main goal. His boldness and fearlessness that is depicted in this mosaic shows some of his leadership qualities.
Monday, February 13th (hours completed = 2)
Sunday afternoon after church between 2pm and 4pm, I worked on step 3: Understanding Roman Leadership from a Sacred Monument, the Ara Pacis. This monument is one of the most important from Augustan Rome because it honors the peace that Augustus planted during this century. It means (Altar of Peace). The video explains that the Pax Romana was the event that prompted the building of the Ara Pacis. The amount of detail and precision put into the reconstruction of this altar is amazing to me. There are fragments from the 17th and 20th century that the narrators in the video explained. I believe that this altar can also be a center for people to experience a sense of peace when near it. In a sense, someone could be encouraged to take the spirit of peace with you everywhere you go after that experience. In terms of Augustus’ clothing, he truly looks like a powerful leader standing there with his armor and in a posture that seems like he is giving instruction. While viewing his statue, I like the posture that he stands in because it also shows leadership. His arm is up and he is possibly making a declaration or even a solution of some sort. I believe that his clothing represented his honor, his strength, and confidence in the Roman republic. In fact, his first name was Octavian and then he was named Augustus which meant “the illustrious one.” He exemplified power in a natural way. It was apart of his name. He had leadership roles that demonstrated his power such as princeps and Pontificus Maximus. So one can imagine that Octavian not only displayed leadership politically but also spiritually.
One of the listening for leadership questions asks “What does it mean to have women and children on this monument — what is Alexander trying to convey about them, do you think?” I believe that women and children usually symbolize fertility but in this instance, I believe the artist is trying to convey this nurturing and caring presence on this monument. In some ways, I see the children as being symbol of the future of what’s to come under new reign or new laws. It can represent a sign of hope for the years to come. Additionally, the women and children can represent unity within the Roman culture. I say unity because I think of a family as a unit in whichever way you use family. Some people refer to family as a group of people who are unified, on one accord, and support one another in a way that brings up everyone in the group. Having that view of what family is and how there is a unit of children, women, and men in this monument can signify the collectiveness of the people of that time. The scholars in the video mention that this monument also represents peace and fertility.
Tuesday, February 14th (hours completed = 2 and 20mins)
9:40am-11am class period and 8pm — 9pm
During class, we had a discussion about the meeting between Betsy Devos and President Frederick. During this conversation, we were pushed to put ourselves in the shoes of our president of Howard University which was a challenging role for me. We talked about the financial challenges that Howard faces and some of the concerns of the students. Something that I have noticed is that many Howard students are struggling financially as well, not only because of their own economic status but also because of the lack of financial resources at Howard University. Several students in our class were upset that the picture of both Devos and Frederick went viral on social media without the students being notified of their meeting. Now, this is not something that particularly rubs me the wrong way. Although I would have appreciated the transparency, I understand why President Frederick did not share the information about the meeting to his students. In my opinion, that was an act of great leadership. Sometimes when you are in a position like this, it is more crucial to make a sacrifice for the sake of your students. Perhaps, this meeting could open up more financial opportunities for Howard University students which would be awesome; however, even if it does not, we have to remain faithful in the decisions and responsibilities of our president.
How does this “look” differ from that of Alex the Great, and what do you think the significance is?
The amount of detail and precision in Trajan’s column is remarkable to me. One can imagine that the level of honor the architects and the people of the Roman community had for Trajan was indescribable. By constructing a monument such as this that commemorated his leadership in the greatest military expansion in Roman history. It is only right to build something with a height like this that metaphorically matches the expansion of Roman territory. Not surprisingly after such accomplishments for his empire, Trajan’s reputation has endured for about 19 centuries.
Step 5 of the module titled “Reading” the images on Trajan’s column asks “Can you see any women, and what are they doing?” Yes, you can see several women and their children but they are not engaging in any aggressive or hostile behaviors. Instead, Trajan is instructing them to the waiting ships. In my opinion, this is important. Although that scene can be seen as a way to protect women, it can also be interpreted as a message that women are only seen as supporters and not leaders especially in battle. It was expected that men were the ones who led almost every aspect of a culture in a way that shadowed the leadership capability of a woman. On a positive note, one can argue that the men were just trying to protect their families and by doing so sent women to waiting ships until further notice. Both sides of the coin are significant to me but one can make connections about the standards of leadership during that time.