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Mesopotamian Echoes in Greek mythology

by on September 11, 2020

Written by Ronan McLaverty-Head, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
When Alexander the Great marched into Babylon in 331 BC, it was not the first time that the Greek world had encountered the cultures of the ancient Near East. From around the 8th century BC, the Greek states had entered an “Orientalizing Period,” deliberately absorbing and adapting influences from Egypt, the Levant, and Mesopotamia.
This period was also the heyday of Mesopotamian political and cultural power, as part of the imperial expansion of both the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. A diffusion of Mesopotamian ideas made their way across the wider world, including the Greek states.
The term “Mesopotamia”—itself a Greek word—refers to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now mostly modern-day Iraq and Syria. This fertile crescent saw the first urbanization and the first writing, cuneiform. Its peoples and cultures—Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians—had an important influence on the Classical world, particularly in the form of myth. One such mythic motif that found its way from Mesopotamia to Greece was the divine journey.

Communism, Class Struggle, and the Roman Republic

by on September 9, 2020

Written by Titus, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Karl Marx said that humanity has been in a constant class struggle. According to him, the rich and poor have been in a perpetual war throughout history. His philosophy gave birth to modern communism which went on to add another dimension in the social and international divide between people and governments since the twentieth century. Marx gave what seemed to be valuable solutions to ending this struggle and achieve societal equality.
Roughly after a century, we have come to realize it was not as potent as it seemed to be. It was also not as groundbreaking or original. Ancient Roman society had successfully acknowledged and integrated the class struggle into their ruling apparatus thousands of years ago.
Roman society was much more successful than the modern communist and capitalist regimes as it incorporated both of these philosophies that often clashed with each other politically. It was a healthier inclusion of the working class into the government. It also made it infinitely more complex.

The Age of Homer, or the Dark Ages (12th-9th century)

by on September 8, 2020

Written by Edward Whelan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
We often regard the Greeks as the epitome of Civilizations. However, before the great achievement of the Fifth Century BC in Athens and elsewhere, they underwent a period of decline and dislocation. For over three centuries Greece endured a Dark Age when cities were abandoned and society collapsed. However, out of this grim period there emerged trends that contributed to the glories of Greece Civilization.
The Collapse of Mycenae Civilization
Before 1200 BC, what is now modern Greece was dominated by the Mycenaeans. They are regarded as early Greeks and they were a warrior, people. Based on their archaeological remains they developed a hierarchal society. They constructed vast palaces at sites all over Greece and were renowned seafarers. The Mycenaeans were probably the source of the legends concerning the siege and fall of Troy.

Is Subjective Equal to Objective?

by on September 7, 2020

I remember the day vividly. I had moved to Moscow unwisely in the middle of winter, and finally, around four months later, the first real spring day had arrived. The sun bore her rays magnificently, forcing the city’s residents into an ant-like procession, navigating small trails between the remaining ice blocks and the rapidly increasing streams. It was a glorious day.
I remember it clearly because it was only -5 C (23 F) and so, for the first since I had come to Russia, I didn’t need to wear a hat.
How liberating it felt!
And yet, if you were to take me right now to the Falkland Islands (or Malvinas as they like to say here), then I would most definitely need a hat… even though it’s only 4 C (40 F).

School is in Session

by on September 7, 2020

“Give thyself time to learn something new and good, and cease to be whirled around.”— Marcus Aurelius
“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” — Aristotle
“Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul.” – Epicurus
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”— Aristotle

How to Deal with Change: Advice from the Stoics

by on September 4, 2020

Written by Lydia Serrant, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
‘’You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength’’ ~ Marcus Aurelius
Are you finding yourself struggling with both expected and unexpected changes in your life? Change is common to the human experience, and no one understood this better than the ancient stoics.
Stoicism was a philosophy that spread throughout ancient Greece and Rome from the 3rd Century BC and was popular among all classes of society for around 400 years.  The three most prominent stoics of the time were Seneca the Younger, a playwright and empirical advisor; Epictetus, who rose from slave to teacher; and last but certainly not least, Marcus Aurelius ‘The Philosopher Emperor’ who ruled Rome between 161-180CE.