Time, Inc. 1930 (3).
Why read It? The Athenians were a people who lived their view of truth which was many-sided and often contradictory. They accepted and lived the contradictions. They were individuals who also participated in the community. They were poets who were also soldiers. They needed to suffer in order to achieve exhilaration. The ancient Greeks’ view of life is summed up in this quotation from Edith Hamilton’s The Greek Way: “The Roman games played an important part in the life of the Romans, but, as has often been remarked, the Greeks played; the Romans watched others play.” P. 320.
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert F. Kennedy was completely distraught. His sister-in-law Jackie Kennedy gave him a copy of The Greek Way. That book enabled Robert to survive the tragedy in his life. The Greek Way provided a model for how to deal with tragedy.
Anaxagoras: “All things were in chaos when mind arose and made order.” P. 21. ………. “The Greeks said, ‘All things are to be examined and called into question. There are no limits set to thought.’ ” P. 21. ………. “The Greeks meant by philosophy the endeavor to understand everything there is, and they called it what they felt it to be, the love of knowledge.” P. 25. ………. “Socrates was the only man in Athens who suffered death for his opinions.” P. 27. ……….. Aristotle: “Such to man is the life according to reason, since it is this that makes him man.” P. 30. ………. “The truth of poetry and the truth of science were both true.” P. 31. ………. Socrates: “Think this certain, that to a good man no evil can happen, either in life or in death.” P. 34. ……….. Socrates: “For the partisan, when he is engaged in a dispute, cares nothing about the rights of the question, but is anxious only to convince his hearers.” P. 34. ……….. “Art is to us of the West the unifier of what is without and what is within.” P. 42. ……….. “…brush aside all obscuring, entangling superfluity, and see clearly, plainly, unadorned, what they wished to express.” P. 49. ………. “…mind and spirit in equilibrium.” P. 49. ………. “The Gothic cathedral was raised in awe and reverence to Almighty God, the expression of the aspirations of the lowly…. The Parthenon was raised in triumph to express the beauty and the power and the splendor of man….” P. 51.
To be continued.