Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Philosophy of Epicurus

Epicurus was born in Samos Greece in 341 B.C. He was born there but lived in Athens for most of his life. Epicurus was the founder of the Epicurean School that he named The Garden. His followers, the Epicureanists, were instructed under rational living."Many aspects of his thought are still highly relevant some twenty-three centuries after they were first taught in his school in Athens..." Source 1 Source 2

Epicurus' main belief is that pleasure is the end of life. By pleasure he meant absence of pain. He believed that pleasure is the soul being freed from confusion and the body being freed from pain. He also taught that self denial, independence, and self control should be at a moderate level. He also believed that no person should take on large and heavy responsibilities or have serios involvement. He believed that the pleasures that are sought out and looked for will endure a life-time. Also, if your life escaped other people's notice than Epicurus praised it.
Source 3 (Nardo 84)

Epicurus also believed that a troubled soul lacks pleasure. Epicurus believed that every pain is evil and ever pleasure is good. Therefore by following Epicurean thought then you will reach a calm and peaceful life. He always taught to avoid the extreme pleasures and that a lasting pleasure will not and will never be a bodily sensation. Source 3

Epicurus went farther into his study of pleasures. He distinguished between "higher" and "lower" pleasures. The higher pleasures included intellectual pleasures, pleasures of intellect. Lower pleasures were those that were bodily pleasures including food, sex, and drink. Source 3 (Nardo 125)

Epicurus sought virtue. He also believed in reason and reasoning our lives. He also believed in prudence and natural science. Source 3

There are two main downfalls of Epicurus. The first one is that the absence of pain is a pleasure in his view. Epicureanism is incomplete in his ethics. How should we rview virtues such as good in societies view, pleasure for others, and justice. Source 3

Nardo, Don. Lost Civilizations:The Ancient Greeks. San Diego Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004

Friday, November 23, 2007

Biography of Plato

The great Greek philosopher Plato was born in Athens Greece in 428 B.C. Plato's mother was Pericitone and his father was a named Ariston. Both of his parents came from important families. When Ariston died his mother married again and his step father was very interested in politics.source

Many family members tried to get Plato to join the Athens oligarchy. Plato choose to be a student of Socrates along with his two brothers instead. Socrates, being the type of man that he was, challenged Plato to examine his life. Socrates is all the education that Plato got, and all that he truly needed. source

Plato had many accomplishments including being the founder of the Academy in Athens, he wrote 26 dialogues, one of them being The Republic. When Socrates was executed Plato created the Academy to join other leaders of philosophy He founded his Academy in Athens in 387 B.C. The Academy was devoted to researching science and philosophy. Plato ran the academy for forty years.source (Grant, 93)(Nardo 14)

Plato had great significance. Plato recorded most of what Socrates did and thought and Socrates' discussions. Plato was also the founder of most of the thoughts of today in the areas of politics,logic,psychology, and philosophy. He came up with the theory of forms which some say was one of the most influential ideas of the philosophy of today. Not only did he record Socrates and have great influence on us he also influenced and taught Aristotle. source

In conclusion Plato led an extraordinary life. He was taught by Socrates and influenced the thinkers of today plus he was the teacher of Aristotle. Plato founded an Academy in Athens and researched philosophy and science. Plato died in 347 B.C. and was buried right on the grounds of his Academy.source

Grant, Michael. The Founders of the Western World: A history of Greece and Rome. New York: Macmillan Publishing company, 1991

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Plato's Meno

Plato was born in the 5th century B.C. and was executed in 399 B.C. He was born in what is known as the golden age of Greece. "Socrates wrote nothing because he felt that knowledge was a living, interactive thing." The only writings about Socrates were written by the man that he mentored, Plato, and Xenophon. Socrates was the mentor of Plato and Plato was the mentor of Aristotle, it is kind of interesting how that all plays out. (Class Podcast)(Nardo, 55)

Socrates has many methods that he is known for. He is known for his method of Know Thyself. He also believes that a bad man could never really harm or hurt a good man. He also believes that if you remove ignorance you remove evil. According to Socrates the difference between man and animals is that we have a concious and animals do not. Socrates is always trying to find out more and question more things. He always asks why and this is known as the Socratic method. (Class Podcast)

One of Plato's works is called "Meno". Meno is a diolouge between Meno and Socrates and a few other characters including one of Meno's servants and Anytus. Plato used a diolouge between characters most frequently to format his writings. Meno is about defining virtue. In this diolouge virtue is a result of trial but these men are trying to define it. (Nardo 35) (Class Podcast)

Meno starts off with Meno asking if virtue can be taught and what virtue is. In the first phase of "Meno" Socrates keeps asking for a general definition of virtue. Socrates says that you can't find out if virtue can be taught unless you known the definition. Socrates wants to know the definition and not just examples of virtue.

The second phase of the dialogue starts with the challenge of Meno to Socrates saying that if you dont know what virtue is already then even if you were to look you would not know when you have found it. The second phase of this diologue is where Socrates says that knowing is a kind of remembering. During this phase of Meno we have"reached a new understanding of the nature of knowledge." (source)

The third phase of Meno starts when Socrates agrees to look further into whether virtue can be taught. Socrates explains the way he wants to examine the idea. First they are to determine if virtue is a kind of knowledge. If it is a kind of knowledge we can conclude to say that it can be taught. If it is not a type of knowledge than we can conclude that it can not be taught. (Source)

At the end of "Meno" we can see that none of the questions asked earlier were answered. We never get the answer to whether virtue is knowledge or what virtue is. We do reach the conclusion that knowledge is important. Also that knowledge is explained and supported by true belief. (source)

Nardo, Don. Lost Civilizations:The Ancient Greeks. San Diego Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004

Kreeft, Peter. What Would Socrates Do?: The History of Moral Thought and Ethics (CD 2, Lecture 3-Being Good and Being Wise:Can Virtue Be Taught). New York, NY: Barnes and Noble, 2004.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Architectural Advances of the Greeks

There were many different aspects of Greek architecture that set it apart from many others. Take the different types of marvelous columns that illuminate Greece into consideration. Also think of the magnificent building in Greece known as the Parthenon. These aspects advanced the Greek architecture far ahead of its time.

The Archaic Greeks were the people who launched the development of monumental architecture. This was around 550-500 B.C. Different types of architecture were created during this magnificent time period. There were the Greek temples, which truly are the only architecture of Greece that stand in numbers, amphitheatres, and homes.(Nardo, 28)

One major aspect that set apart Greek architecture from all the others is the styles of their columns. There are three major styles of Greek columns, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric is the most plain out of the three styles. It is more sturdy and is used throughout mainland Greece and colonies in Italy. The Ionic style is thinner and more elegant and the top has a scroll like design and is used throughout eastern Greece and the islands. The Corinthian is used the least in the Greek architecture and is usually seen on Roman temples. It is very elaborate and decorated with leaves. An example from the Ionic style is the Erechtheum. An example of the Doric is the Parthenon.

Many of the Greek architectures are still intact. One of them being the Parthenon. The Parthenon was an Athenian temple devoted to the Greek god Athena. It is located on the acropolis in Athens. This temple served as a treasury for Athens along with spiritual aspects. Around 430 B.C. the statue of Athena was taken out of the Parthenon because it was being put to use for Christian purposes. An explosion destroyed the Parthenon's roof on September 26, 1687. (Nardo, 10)

The Parthenon is a great explanation of Greece's architectural achievements. So are the three different types of columns. These advances catapulted Greek architecture ahead of it's time and showed what could be accomplished with stone.

Nardo, Don. Lost Civilizations:The Ancient Greeks. San Diego Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Homer's Influence

Homer was born around 800 B.C. He was born somewhere in Greece, not much is known about him that is exact. He died around 750 B.C. and is best known for being the writer of the Iliad and the Odyssey. His writings had great influences on literature and people in general because of very many reasons. One of them being because literature was studied and Homers writings were some that was very deeply studied. (Nardo 117)

One reason why Homers writings are so influential is because the Greeks thought of his two epics as the highest cultural achievement of the Greeks. These two epics are what we think of as for Greek world view and for Greek values. Everything that occurred in Greek history was compared to his two epics.

Another reason why Homers writings are so influential is because of the way he portrays things within his writings. There are two very important words that are used throughout his writings. Arete and Kleos. Arete is honor reached when you earn it. Kleos is honor that is given to you at birth. Dying without honor or fame is called akleos. Homers writings also portray men and women.

"As portrayed in Homers works, society was male dominated and generally characterized by a competitive spirit, the desire to be recognized as "best" (aristos) and there by to aquire honor and respect.(time')" (Nardo 26)

In conclusion Homers writing was so influential because of the way he portrays honor and people. He is also influential because he led the way for what people think of the Greeks due to his two epics. Homers influence has affected the Greeks in so many ways.

Nardo, Don. Lost Civilizations:The Ancient Greeks. San Diego Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004

Thursday, October 4, 2007

New Kingdom

The New Kingdom began with the 18th dynasty in 1550 B.C. The New Kingdom consists of the 18th through 20th dynasty. This Kingdom began with the end of 2nd Intermediate Period. The New Kingdom is commonly known for the leadership of Hatshepsut.(Romer 216)

"About 1675 BC a foreign people called the Hyksos poured into Egypt, overwhelmed the land, and took the throne without a battle. For the next two hundred years Egypt would chafe under Hyksos rulers who pillaged the land and destroyed much of the grandeur of Egypt." (Lasseur 58)
Ahmose became the first king in the New Kingdom. He starts off the 18th dynasty by defeating the Hyksos , reuniting the torn apart Egypt. The 18th dynasty had 13 kings and 1 outstanding Queen. Some of the well known kings are Ahmose 1, Thutmose 3, Amenhotep 3, Akenaten and his wife Nefertiti. This outstanding Queen was named Hatshepsut.

"Hatshepsut was an 18th-dynasty pharaoh who was one of the handful of female rulers in Ancient Egypt. Her reign was the longest of all the female pharaohs, and her funerary temple still stands as a tribute to her incredible rise to power."Source
As this quote says, Hatshepsut was an amazing Pharaoh with extraordinary talents of ruling under incredible pressure. During her reign she accomplished many things including building her own Burial Chamber and many Obelisques. Hatshepsut was the first and only successful woman pharoah.

The first King of the 19th dynasty was Ramasese I. He moved the
capital from Thebes to Memphis. There was 7 other Pharoahs after Ramases I dies. Ramases restored numerous monuments and he built himself a beautiful temple. Ramases II, his son, was the most well known king of this dynasty though.

Ramases III was the last great king of the New Kingdom. He was the greatest king of the 20th dynasty as well. He built a temple for himself in a large royal area. The 20th dynasty withheld one of the greatest Pharaohs of all time.

In conclusion, the New Kingdom began after the Hyksos invasion and finished with a marvelous leader. During the New Kingdom the only successful woman Pharaoh rules. The New Kingdom was a very interesting and successful time period of Egyptian History.

Lassieur, Allison. The Ancient Egyptians. San Diego, Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Romer, John. People of the Nile. New York: Crown Publishers, 1982.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Middle Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom is the kingdom that follows the First Intermediate Period. One hundred years after the Old kingdom fell the Middle Kingdom arose. During the Middle Kingdom they had 2 different dynasties. Also during the Middle Kingdom, kings accomplished many things including the repairing of irrigation projects and the writing of texts.(Romer 216)

The Middle Kingdom began with the 11th dynasty, when Mentuhotep Nebhepetre II reunited upper and lower Egypt. The great monument of this time was Mentuhotep's mortuary complex. It was built against the mountains of Thebes, the capital of the time. Mentuhotep's mortuary was centered on a terraced temple with pillared porticoes. Mentuhotep ruled for 51 years. During this time he made Egypt a very strong country again but do to some family problems their dynasty fell and a new dynasty began.

During the time of the Middle Kingdom trade picked up by a dramatic incline. Mines that produce gold, and quarries, were now dug up for projects. Another change was the fact that now pyramids were being built like they were during the Old Kingdom. They built them for burial purposes. Many projects were constructed during the Middle Kingdom. Amenemhet built the Wall of the Princes. Senusret I built a 13 fortresses from the Second Cataract up along the Nile to protect them against invaders. (Lassieur 50)

The 12th Dynasty started with Amenemhet I's rule. Amenemhet moved the capital from Thebes to a new city called Itj-tawi. The Climax of the 12th Dynasty was when Sesostris III brought political, economical and cultural climax to the Country.

The Middle Kingdom was the first Kingdom after a very destructive Intermediate Period. It was a very accomplished Kingdom and many things were improved during this time. After the Middle Kingdom came the Second Intermediate Period.

Lassieur, Allison. The Ancient Egyptians. San Diego, Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Romer, John. People of the Nile. New York: Crown Publishers, 1982.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Old Kingdom

The Old Kingdom took place between 2650 and 2150 B.C. There were four dynasties that took place during the Old Kingdom. The biggest events during the Old Kingdom were the making of the Pyramids. The Old Kingdom was the time of the highest point of Egyptian civilization occurs. It is commonly reffered to as the Golden Age of Egypt.(Lassieur, 34)

In total there were four dynasties to exist during the Old Kingdom. The third dynasty was the first dynasty in the Old Kingdom. It took place from 2650-2575 B.C. The rulers of the third dynasty created the amazing step Pyramid at Saqqara. The fourth dynasty,2575-2465, had six rulers. They accomplished a strong centralized government and they also accomplished the pyramids at Giza and Dahshur. The five rulers of the fifth dynasty accomplished pyramids aswell. They also accomplished temples at Abu Sir and Saqqara during 2465-2325 B.C. The last dynasty,2325-2150, during the Old Kingdom was the sixth dynasty. It's four rulers accomplished pyramids at Saqqara.(Romer, 216)

"The Old Kingdom is known as the golden age of the Pyramids because this era saw the construction of the first pyramids ever built."(Lassieur 34) The Old Kingdom was full of the contrusction of many pyramids. Many well known pyramids were built during this time aswell. Some of them are the Great Pyramids at Giza, The Bent Pyramid, and Zosers Monument, which was the first stone pyramid.

"During this remarkable period of 300 years, the Egyptians learned by trial and error to create the massive structures that remaine to this day."
This quote explains how the Egyptians created the pyramids that still stand today.
The Pyramids during the Old Kingdom are the main events that took place during this period of time. The pyramids built during this time also include the pyramids at Saqqara, a pyramid at Abu Sir, and the Meidum Pyramid.

The Old Kingdom is full of architecture wonder. The pyramids are a wonderful way to remember the Old Kingdom by. The reason the Old Kingdom fell is because of drought but the Pyramids trully keep the Pyramids alive.

Lassieur, Allison. The Ancient Egyptians. San Diego, Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Romer, John. People of the Nile. New York: Crown Publishers, 1982.

Monday, September 10, 2007

King Khufu

Khufu was the second king of the fourth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled during the Old Kingdom. His father was King Senefru, his mother was Queen Hetep-Heres 1. He was maried to Maritates, and Henutsen, and two unknown Queens. Khufu was the father of six sons and three daughters. He was also known and Cheops. (Clayton, 42) (Stalcup 118)

Khufu's father, King Senefru was remembered as a gentle and beneficient person and ruler. Khufu was seen to be more cruel and violent. He was said to like to listen to mystical stories and enjoyed magic. Khufu's father also built pyramids so Khufu had the joy and benefit of watching pyramids be built.

Khufu's greatest accomplishment was his Great Pyramid at Giza. It was built around 2560 B.C. There are two other pyramids at Giza, but of them his is the largest and the one with the greatest detail. His Pyramid is now one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This pyramid was said to have taken twenty years to build. When it was built it was 146 Meters tall, but now it is 137 Meters tall. It was covered with stones so it would be smooth. The base was 230.38 Meters in width. The only remaining Ancient Wonder that is still standing today is The Great Pyramid at Giza.

A large discovery was made in the pit of the base of the Great Pyramid. A large ancient wooden boat was found. The boat was found in pieces but since then they restored and now it is reassembled. Also found in the Pyramid was a nine centimeter statue of the great ruler, Khufu.

King Khufu was buried in his Great Pyramid when he died. Khufu was a cruel leader but he changed History in a big way with his pyramid. Many tales were told about Khufu and he was remembered throughout the history of Pharoahs, and will be remembered for his accomplishments.

Clayton, A. Peter. Chronicle of the Pharaohs. New York: Thames and Hudson, Inc., 1994.
Stalcup, Brenda. Ancient Egyptian Civilizations. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press, 2001.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi was written in 1760 B.C. It was created by Hammurabi, the King of Babylon, to set a standard for a way of living. It is the earliest sets of laws, and one that is preserved the best, of ancient Babylon.

Hammurabi thought that he was chosen by the gods to bring standards to the people he ruled over. He says, in the code, that two gods came to him and told him to bring the law to his people. So, in return, he wrote the Code of Hammurabi. The reason Hammurabi created the laws was because he felt instructed to by the gods. That is the history of the creation of the Code of Hammurabi.

The code consists of 282 laws that cover all the areas of life of that time period. The areas it covered were divided into sections. "The Code of Hammurabi makes a legal distinction between people based on their status as free or not free."(Leick, 186) Also the punishment was given depending on the social class you were in. The Code is written in Semitic language. One of the sections was written on economic problems. It included trade, prices, commerce, and tariffs. Another section was written on the family. It included divorce and marriage. Criminal Law was another section. This included theft and assault. Civil law is the last section and it covers debt and slavery. The two classes that existed were the nobles and the commoners. The nobles were the upper class and the commoners were the lower class. It was also very obvious that men had more privileges than women. One thing that is also seen very common throughout the Code is the use of lex talionis.

Hammurabi wanted his set of laws to be used forever and for justice to be administered under his rules. He says, "To the end of days, forever, may the king who happens to be in the land observe the words of justice which i have inscribed on my stele."(Nemet-Nejat, 226) Hammurabi implicated that this is the way he felt the law should be set up. This is also how he believed wrong doers should be punished. He felt that the whole world should be run like this forever, as he says. These were the first set of written laws so it really did have an effect on the world. Some of the things he includes in the Code are still used in our society. The Code of Hammurabi had a very large effect on the world and History would have been entirely different if he had not written his code.

As one can see the Code of Hammurabi has a very interesting creation. As the first law code ever written down, it contains a great importance. Hammurabi wanted his law code to continue for ever and still today we use some of the concepts throughout the world. Without the Code of Hammurabi the history continuing after it could have changed the world. The Code of Hammurabi has had a great effect on our world.

Leick, Gwendolyn. Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City. England: Penguin Group, 2001.

Nemet-Nejat, Karen. Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 1998.