Greek Lit Week 6
Location: Uprising Muffin Company
In the tribe of Issedones, when a father dies, there is a huge feast made of the flesh of the father and sheep and goats, it is put together like a stew. They remove the insides of the head, making almost an alter of the head in the center of the table.
The Scythians live in a land that has winter 8 months out of the year. And King Darius wanted to attack the Scythian tribes. The three contintents which the Scythian tribes reside are on Asia, Europe and Africa. The beginning of Book 4 mainly consists of Herodotus devling into the history and landscapes of the various Scythian tribes.
Location: In Class
Today we reviewed the rest of the Greek translations and surely got our fill of the full course meal. We also looked back at book 3 on page 248 chapter 81.
patria nomaia- ancestral customs
isonomia- the laws are the same for all
thopi-lose lose situation becuase of amount of flattery a leader needs. if done moderatly then leader is not happy but if you are excessive then the leader still is unhappy
thouma=thoma…. wonder, awe, admiration
pthonos-envy, feeling of resentment, or being threatened that a person in power may possess
Location: Health Sciences Library
The Scythians worship Hestia especially then Zeus and the Earth, the Earth is Zeus’ wife. They then worship other gods after those, and some Royal Scythians worship Poisiden as well.
In war, the blood first man killed by a Scythian is consumed. The heads of the rest that the Scythian warrior kills in battle are worn and carried to the king. By having a head, he recieves a share of the loot, so the head works like that of a token. The heads are scalped and softened to the texture of a napkin, the warriors with the most “napkins” are considered the greatest. Similarly, scalping was a common practice throughout North America preformed by Sioux and Appache tribes, as well as some colonists.
The burial for the King is extremely elaborate and in my opinion a waste of resources. The kings 5o best horses are slain, 50!!! And he is buried with them and some servants and gold cups, pointless. The also use Kannabis in the ritual when burying non-kings.
Anacharsis = Scythian killed by his brother for practicing Greek traditions
Scyles = King of Scythia who preferred Greek way of living, so he would go to Greece and dress and live as a Greek for periods of time. He was later beheaded for taking on foreign customs.
Pontus, Bosporus and Hellespont are three parts of a river.
Herodotus spends a few pages talking about the land Scythia including the bay in Thrace and the Ister that leads all they way to the city of Carcinitis. Anyhow, the Scythians believed that they would not be able to fight Darius so they sent for help from their neighbors: the Taurians, the Agathyrsi, the Neuri, the Man-Eaters, the Black Cloaks, the Geloni, the Budini, and the Sauromatians. It is rumored the the Neuri are werewolves and turn once a year. The Sauromatian women were formally Amazonian who were captured and brought about a ship by Greek. The women killed all the Greek men and unable to steer a ship landed at The Cliff. They battle many including the Scythians. Once the Scythians realized they were women, the sent some of their men to camp beside the Amazonians in hope of mating. Once the men and women came together they separated from the Scythians becuase the women could not take on the traditions of the Scythians and leave behind their traditions, so the Sauromatians were formed. Of the requests from the Scythians, only the Budini, the Geloni and the Sauromatians agreed to aid them in battle. The Scythians devised a plan to lead the battle into their neighbors land who refused to help, by this they forced them into battle. The Scythians sent a bird, a frog and a mouse to King Darius with no message attached. The king interpreted the gift to mean that the Scythians were surrenduring by way of gifting the land, the air and the water. But another interpreted it as,
“If you do not become birds and fly away into the sky or become mice and burrow into the earth or become frogs and leap into the lakes, there will be no homecoming for you, for we will shoot you down with our arrows”.
To which I agree with the later statement.
Location: My Room
King Darius commanded the Ionian army to build a bridge and gaurd it for 60 days until he returns. If he does not return within the allotted time, then the Ionians were under directions to destroy the bridge and have freedoms to return home. The Scythians made a drastic mistake and trusted the Ionians. They bade them to destroy the bridge and strand King Darius with his troops. But the Ionians fooled the Scythians and only destroyed the part of the bridge on the side of Scythia. When the Persians came to the bridge that covered the Danube River the loudest man yelled for the Persians, after the first shout, they sent ships to retrieve the Persians. By this manner, King Darius and his army evaded the Scythians. King Darius had come to the realization that he could not beat the Scythians, for this reason he fled across the Danube.
A common theme we see within the text is the murder of family members. This theme where blood does not matter seems to be a repeptive norm within Herodotus. For instance, Arcelisaus was strangled by his own brother! We also know the Cicero killed his brother! Whoa. No good. Or another example, is a King who killed his grandson because of a prophecy that his grandson would become king. I think that yes, this indeed makes sense because it becomes a game of survival of the fittest. While the idea of “family comes first” is nice, no one can pick their family. We are forced into the world with no choice of our parents or our siblings. We CAN choose our friends, and we can choose our lovers. But we have no choice in our family. So if one sees a family member as a threat then they are killed. Killed off. Killed. Killed. Killed. Becuase self preservation. Because this is the time of rise to power at any means necessary.
Pheretime, the wife of Battus, requested an army from the ruler of Salamis, Euelthon, this army was to escort her and her son back to the land of Cyrene. But Euelthon instead gifted her a spindle made of gold, a distaff and wool because these were gifts for a woman, NOT an army. This can be compared to the women’s suffrage movement that took place in England, where peaceful protests seemed to fail the needs of progress. Instead, women who were protesting for equality were literally ran over, and beaten before they were given a chance at equality. Such is the will of men to not only obtain power, but to hold it over a minority group that in reality should have all the same privileges. Pheretime requested an army not for selfish reasons, not for conquest, but for a nobler cause of protection of a land that she had come to love. Pheretime found help from the Persians, the soon pillaged the city of Barca. The Barcans put up a fierce fight and it paid off when they were able to save their city from the Persians. Amasis realized that the Barcains could not be forcibly taken, instead, they must be strategically convinced to join forces. Eventually, an agreement was made and the two sides were able to come together as one. The oath stood as long as the earth stood. The earth was represented by a particular bridge, which the Persians then destroyed, breaking the pact! The most guilty of the Barcaeans were given over to Pheretime; she hung their heads around the wall. Of the Barcaean women, Pheretime cut off their bosom and displayed it on the wall along side the heads. The rest of the Barcaeans were made slaves.
Herodotus later goes on to describe the desert of wild beasts that resides in Libya. In this land, the blistering heat arrives in the dead of night, while cooler breezes flow midday. Libyans are know to be the healthiest of all the land, yet Herodotus has no explanation to support this claim. We know that the Libyans burn their children… maybe this makes them stronger. The nomads have a great number of wild and unique beasts including; oryxes, lions, elephants, bears, asses, asps and many, many more.
Today’s study of the text proved to be taxing. I found myself rereading chapters of the book and having to search the interweb for more clarification. I enjoyed book Four but I found other books to prove more exciting. This book had a lot of lead away stories from the main plot which made following the plot more confusing. My favorite story from this chapter was of the Amazonian women. As a woman, I enjoy hearing about other women who persevered against the odds. The Amazonian's started a new life for themselves and they excelled in the new land. When men sought their attention, it was given under certain conditions. These women did not bend over backward for their men, nor did they change their customs to please the Scythian men. This story is powerful.
King Battus- named Battus because he had bad speech, a speech impediment, most likely a stutter