Time, Inc. 1930 (6).
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.
The purpose of this blog? To find interesting ideas in books.
“The society he [Plato] introduces us to is eminently civilized, of men delighting to use their minds, loving beauty and elegance, keenly alive to all the amenities of life, and, above all, ever ready for a talk on no matter how abstract and abstruse a subject.” P. 95. ………. Socrates: “I am a lover of knowledge…and men are my teachers.” P. 100. ………. “If the Platonic Dialogues point to any one conclusion…it is that the Athenian did not want someone else to do his thinking for him.” P. 106. ………. Voltaire: “True comedy is the speaking picture of the follies and foibles of a nation.” P. 108. ………. “…Aristophanes is capable of more kinds of vulgarity and indecency than Shakespeare ever dreamed of.” P. 108. ………. “There is a connection between the sublime and the ridiculous.” P. 109. ………. “The freedom of speech in Athens is [by comparison] staggering to our own ideas.” P. 110. ………. “Aristophanes was amused by grand talk that covered empty content.” P. 125. ………. “Some things, however, were seen by the Athenian Aristophanes which the Englishman W.S. Gilbert was constrained not to see and this fact constitutes the chief point of difference between them.” P. 137. ………. “…Aristophanes’ audience set no limits at all.” P. 138. ………. “Aristophanes is so frank, so fearless, so completely without shame, one ends by feeling that indecency is just a part of life and a part with specially humorous possibilities.” P. 139.
To be continued.