Today’s Classics Challenge delves into the importance of Xenia… and how resurfacing this concept can make for both better individuals and society as a whole.
But first… What is Xenia? Watch the video below to learn of this critical part of Ancient Greek (and indeed modern Greek) culture:
While this was an essential part of Ancient Greece, perhaps tragically it has become less pervasive today, a loss to our communities and cultures. Indeed, the reverse “Xenophobia” is something encountered more and more instead.
Enjoy the little Things: Epicureanism
Epicurus was a philosopher that began flexing his intellectual muscles only a few decades after the death of Aristotle. Born on the island of Samos, Epicurus would spend his life traveling across much of Greece before winding up in the philosophy headquarters of the world, Athens.
He is often accused of being a hedonist because his philosophy would appear to define good, ethical behavior as anything that is pleasurable… but this is not necessarily correct.
In ancient Greece, prior to being written down, stories were recounted orally. Due to that, memory played an important part in the life of an ancient Greek storyteller. The Odyssey for instance, had 12,110 lines – and each one of those had to be recited by memory – a seemingly impossible task today.
Did the Greeks simply have better memory than we do now? Probably not… but what they did have was methods to improve their memory. These were helpful to recall the epic poems or narration… today the techniques are useful for tests, orations, and just as importantly, exercising your brain to avoid age related memory loss.
One of the methods invented by the ancient Greeks to improve their memories was the Method of Loci. This technique is known alternatively as the Memory Journey, the Memory Palace, or the Mind Palace Technique.
Heraclitus (535 – 475 BC) was a Greek Pre Socratic Philosopher who believed that the universe was governed by a divine logos or reason. This fundamental law of the universe held all things in perfect balance.
“Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
As quoted by Plato in Cratylus, 402a
Welcome to the Classics Challenge!
Today we are going to start off with one of the most important tenets of Stoicism… but before we do, a quick historical recap for those just joining us.
Stoicism is a brand of philosophy that focuses almost exclusively on the areas of ethics, virtues, and the very difficult task of living a good life. Stoicism as a way of life would originate in Greece, as most philosophy does, in the later years of the Hellenistic age and would gain momentum right up to the height of the Roman Empire.
By Wu Mingren, Contributing Writer, Ancient Origins
Time is a concept that exists in most, if not all cultures, and exerts a strong influence on how a culture sees itself and the world around it. Time has been, and still is a major topic in various fields of studies, including philosophy, religion, linguistics and science. Thus, there are many aspects of time that one could consider, and, despite the millennia of investigation into this subject, many issues regarding time have yet to be resolved. One aspect of time that has been studied is the way this concept is perceived by different cultures, and how this affects them.
Broadly speaking, perceptions of time may be divided between ‘linear’ and ‘cyclical’. The former is often associated with the West, whist the latter with the East. In general, the linear perception of time may be illustrated by an arrow. On one end is the past, and on the other is the future. The present lies somewhere in between. According to this view, time is a one-way street on which one can only move forward and never back. As for the cyclical perception of time, time may be said to be regarded as a repetition of events. Examples to illustrate this concept include the rising and setting of the sun each day and the changing of the seasons.