Journal Entry #7

Date: Thursday February 25, 2016

Time: 9:40am- 11:00am

Location: Douglas Hall, Rm 203

Today in class we reviewed for the midterm. The exam format is going to be four essay questions and we are required to answer three. Points are only going to be awarded to relevant answers, so details were definitely necessary. Names, places, events, themes, and Greek terms are all important when answering the questions. The texts to be tested on were Books I, IV, IX, X, XXII, and XXIV of Homer’s the Iliad, Books I, IV, XI, XXIII, and XXIV of Homer’s the Odyssey, Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis, and Euripides’ Rhesus.

Dr. Sandridge began the exam prep with a content mastery diagram. In the center of the diagram was the information of that you knew, the area surrounding that was the information of that you do not know, an the area surrounding that was the information that you don’t know you don’t know. He then referenced the term “anosognosia”, which came from the Greek term for “without”. Anosognosia is the lack of insight or the lack of awareness. Dr. Sandridge also stressed the importance of being aware of what you do not know and also being aware that there are things that you do not know.

He then provided us with different ways that we could approach the midterm. We could start with the texts, characters, themes, or stories and then build off of that. We then started a class discussion on everything that we knew about Book I of the Iliad. For starters, some of the major characters in Book I are Agamemnon, Achilles, Apollo, Thetis, Zeus, Nestor, Chryseis, Briseis, and Hera. Some of the main events that occurred included Agamemnon and Achilles’ quarrel, Nestor trying to reconcile Achilles and Agamemnon, and Hephaestus trying to reconcile Hera and Zeus. Another important event was the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, which sparked the events that led up to the Trojan War. Aros came to the wedding and introduced the apple of discord. This was interesting to me because I remember talking about it in a Classical Mythology course that I took last year. The major themes that presented themselves were god vs. mortal, honor (time) and status, and god vs. god.

We also did another brief discussion on the character, Achilles, from the Iliad, in which we listed all of the characters that came to mind when we thought of Achilles. Some of the characters were Thetis, Agamemnon, Athena, Iphigenia, Patroclus, and Chiron. We also discussed the different themes that were associated with Achilles such as education, excellence, and honor.

We did one final activity that brought us back to the start of class when we were introduced to the content mastery diagram. We took three minutes to make a list of all of the things that we knew we did not know about Book I of the Iliad. This was actually a little difficult for me because I was not exactly sure on what I did not know; however, I did come up with a few things. I did not know what the major focus of Book I was, who the major characters were, the reasoning behind the conflicts that took place, the results of the plot within the book, or why Hephaestus wanted to reconcile Hera and Zeus. Being that I started the class late, Book 1 had already been discussed and although I skimmed the story, I wasn’t fully clear on major details. It was then when I realized that I needed some serious preparation for the midterm. One of my classmates shared the different topics that she didn’t know about Book I, and interestingly enough, many of us in the class didn’t know those topics either, so we knew how we should and exactly what we should study. Class was actually very helpful in terms of how to go about studying because I have horrible study habits.

Time: 3:30am- 4:30pm

Location: National Mall, Lecture Hall.

I was excited about today’s program because I really enjoyed last week’s presentation. I was a little lost during today’s presentation, however I did pick up on some pretty interesting things. One of the themes for the presentation was “god or poet”. Something that the speaker spoke about was a statue of a god or poet in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Most of the back of the head was destroyed, the front was only fairly preserved, and the statue was also missing its color. There was copper for the mouth and silver for the eyes and teeth. The face was somber but it was also intense which created a dramatic feeling. The bronze version of the statue had been argued not to resemble a god, but there were some areas of god-like beauty on the statue. The statue resembled Poseidon but some experts argue that the statue could also be Aristotle. Some of the indicators that supported the argument of Poseidon being the face of the statue was a dolphin and seaweed crown that the statue wore. The dolphin and seaweed crown are symbols that were used to represent Poseidon.

The presenter then switched the topic to Homer and how he was the only candidate to be regarded as divine. There was even a fine series of silver coins with portraits of Homer on them. There is also a description on one of the coins that read, “Here the head covers the sacred divine…Homer”. According to the speaker, if it was not for the description on the back of the coin, one could think it was Zeus on the front of the coin. The presentation then discussed Homer’s blindness. Apparently there were many different versions of how Homer came to be blind. Some say that Homer was blind since birth or from a sickness; others say that it was a punishment. Homer’s blindness is usually depicted with lifted eyebrows, half-open eyes, or eyes with no pupils. Some of the coins from 320–200 BCE lacked pupils, which made it easier to prove if a coin was Homer or not. It has also been reasoned that Homer holds Zeus’ image and position with the muses with respect to the arts and mankind. This brought us back to the beginning statement as to whether Homer was a poet or god. The speaker simple concluded that, “Homer was a poet who was a god in his own right.”

Although at times the speaker was a little hard to understand, I actually really enjoyed the presentation. I had never really viewed Homer as being godlike, I always saw him as just a great poet but today’s program really showed me a new perspective.

.Date: Friday February 26, 2016

Time: 12:00pm- 2:00pm

Location: My Living Room

I read Euripides’ The Trojan Women so that I would be prepared for Tuesday’s Sunikoisis forum. I also planned on using this weekend to study for my midterm so I just wanted to go ahead and familiarize myself with the content and focus solely on the other readings from the semester.

Time: 10:00pm- 11:30pm

Location: My Living Room

Today, when I got home from work, I studied the Iliad. I broke down each book that we were assigned to read and I identified the major characters, themes, and events that took place. I even made detail webs to organize the information I studied.

Date: Saturday February 27, 2016

Time: 12:00pm- 2:00pm

Location: My Living Room

Today I decided to dedicate my studying to Books 4 and 9 of the Odyssey since these are the books that I felt the least familiar with. I also made a detail web for these stories also.

Date: Sunday February 28, 2016

Time: 6:00pm- 8:00pm

Location: My Living Room

I went through my notes on all of the readings that we have studied in class up until this point. I also reviewed my detail webs that I made for the books in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Date: Monday February 29, 2016

Time: 8:00pm- 12:00am

Location: My Living Room

I reviewed my notes on all of the readings and also had a pretty good study session with my roommate Diamond. It felt good to bounce ideas and observations off of someone else. It made me look at the readings from a new perspective.

Date: Tuesday March 1, 2016

Time: 7:00am-8:00am

Location: My Living Room

I woke up a little bit earlier for class so I could briefly review my notes and just familiarize with the content one last time.

Time: 9:40am- 11:00am

Location: Douglas Hall, Rm 203

You ever stay up all night and all morning preparing for a test until you just couldn’t study anymore? And then when you finally see the test you can’t help but thank God because you actually know the answers to the questions. The only issue I had with the midterm was deciding which questions to answer because really wanted to answer them all.

One of the quotes we had to identify was from Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis when Iphigenia was speaking to her mother about how she was okay with her father killing her if it meant helping the Achaeans win the war. Some of the tensions/themes that I related the quote to were philotemia, family vs. family, husband vs. wife, honor vs. shame, and hopeful reverie vs. lament.

Another quote that I chose to write about was from Euripides’ Rhesus when the charioteer accuses Hector of killing Rhesus. Perception vs. reality and Greek vs. barbarian were two of the major tensions that we related to the plot. I also spoke about God vs. mortal and the role that Athena played in Rhesus’ death.

The last quote that I chose to answer was from the Book 6 of Iliad by Homer. It was the scene where Andromache was speaking to Hector and asking him not to return to war. She also talks about the death of her father and her seven brothers by the hands of Achilles. I referenced the themes and tensions of husband vs. wife, shame vs. honor, lamentation, and kleos while I was answering this question.

I honesty feel like I was really prepared for this midterm. I don’t know how much information I really did not know until I actually started studying and rereading the stories. I think I got a pretty good grade as well but… we will see.

Date: Wednesday February March 2, 2016

Time: 9:00pm-10:30pm

Location: My Living Room

I read through some of my notes that I took on Euripides’ The Trojan Women to prepare myself for tomorrow’s discussion.