Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Greek Way. Edith Hamilton (7).

Time, Inc. 1930 (7).

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.

One thing you will recognize: There’s a significant difference between the Athenian democracy and the U.S. democracy: citizen responsibility.

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.

“Aristotle, with no expressed or implied disapproval defines a slave as ‘a machine which breathes, a piece of animated property.’ ” P 144. ……….. Socrates: “For wisdom begins in wonder.” P. 145. ………. “Leisure meant activity in those days.” P. 145. ………. “Herodotus never judged or condemned.” P. 149. ………. “The gods…hated beyond all else the arrogance of power….” P. 158. ………. Aeschylus: “All arrogance will reap a harvest rich in tears/ God calls men to a heavy reckoning/ For overweening pride.” P. 158. ………. “Thucydides wrote his book because he believed that men would  profit from a knowledge of what brought about the ruinous struggle precisely as they profit from a statement of what causes deadly disease.” P. 165. ……… “…circumstances swayed by human nature are bound to repeat themselves and in the same situation men are bound to act in the same way unless it is shown to them that such a course in other days ended disastrously.” P. 165. ………. “Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is really a treatise on war, its causes and its effects.” P. 166. ………. “The motive power was greed, that strange passion for power and possession which no power and no possession satisfy” .P. 167. ………. “Power, whoever wields it, was evil, the corrupter of men.” P. 167. ……….. “…great power brought about its own destruction.”

To be continued.

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