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The Bacchae: the Morals of Murderous Women

by on January 5, 2020

If I invited you to a bacchanalia what would you expect? Wine? Dancing? Sex? Of course you would. How about harmonizing with nature? Mass hallucination? Violence? Carpaccio? You’re beginning to think you should call and cancel, aren’t you?
Well don’t worry, it might not be as wild as you think. Then again, it might be much worse. The ancient Athenians, like you and I, did not seem to have a crystal clear idea of what constituted a bacchanalia.
This reason for this is simple – it was a secret. Well, a mystery to be precise.
The shroud of secrecy that hung over these proceedings is appropriately reflected in Euripides’ The Bacchae. Appropriate because, despite a straightforward plot, The Bacchae is probably the least easy of Euripides‘ extant plays to analyse. Written in Macedon and performed posthumously in Athens, the story is simple:

Fitness Tips from Ancient Greece

by on January 3, 2020

Written by M. Reed Myers, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
If you are like most people, you probably wonder what life would be like if you had the body of a Greek god.  You wonder what doors would open for you if you had the kind of physique that only a Praxiteles would be fit to sculpt.
Wonder no more, dear reader.  This article presents fitness concepts derived from the best of classical Greek sculpture, pottery, and literature, adapted for us all-too-human moderns.
Read on: adventure and heroic stature await you.

Three New Year’s Resolutions from Epicurus

by on January 1, 2020

Written By Alex Barrientos, Associate Editor, Classical Wisdom
Resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. It’s why we joke and tease about the fact that gyms tend to be packed in the beginning of January but return to normal by February. Whatever motivation there was seems to fade, and the resolution with it.
But just because they’re tough to keep doesn’t mean resolutions are wrong to make. In fact, I think it is good to challenge ourselves to improve our lives, whether it be a physical change for the better such as getting in shape, or a mental/psychological improvement such as overcoming bad habits or forming better ones.

“We utterly eliminate bad habits like wicked men who have been doing great harm to us for a long time.” ~ The Vatican Collection of Epicurean Sayings

Christmas: Its Origins in Ancient Greece and Rome

by on December 24, 2019

By Edward Whelan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
The modern world owes so much to the Greeks and the Romans, they influenced how we live and our society in so many ways. For instance, now we think that Christmas is a very Christian festival, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, but in fact, the holiday was greatly influenced by the pagan Greeks and Romans… in more ways than one.
A Greek icon of the Nativity

A Greek icon of the Nativity

Ancient Greece and Christmas
Every society has religious festivals that are accompanied by feasting and celebrations. The Greeks were no different. The ancient Greeks regularly celebrated festivals in honor of the Olympian deities they worshipped. One of the most popular religious festivals was held for the god Dionysus, the Olympian god of wine, fertility, pleasure, festivity, delirium and frenzy. This god was something of a shapeshifter and he was often portrayed as either an old man or an effeminate youth. This ability meant that he was also the god of drama and the theatre. He was a very popular god with the ordinary people and so every year they held a celebration in honor of the god of wine on December 25th or the 30th.

Three Stoic Lessons from a Galaxy Far, Far Away

by on December 20, 2019

By Alex Barrientos, Associate Editor, Classical Wisdom Weekly
It is no secret, to those who are familiar with the saga, that Star Wars is filled with wisdom. Those not familiar with Star Wars are at least familiar with its iconography, such as the helmet of Darth Vader—that great symbol of the dark side of the force.
Some are also likely familiar with the little green Jedi master, Yoda (not to be confused with the cute little creature of the same species from the Mandalorian). Yoda is first introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke seeks him out on Dagobah to learn the ways of the Jedi. He appears again only briefly in The Return of the Jedi (but not without failing to impart some more wisdom), and is present throughout the prequel trilogy.
The great thing about being a reader of the Classics is that you can recognize almost immediately the Stoicism of Yoda’s teachings (one may also locate some Buddhist elements as well, though I think that is to be expected given the similarities between the two). He preaches against attachment, cautions against giving into fear, and speaks of the Force with the same reverence that the Stoics spoke of Nature, among other things. So, let us look at some of the Stoic lessons we can learn from Yoda.