As I began reading this book, I found that it is amazing how so many historians whether they may be researching Grecian history or any other country. It seems that they all or the majority has different opinions on their findings. Therefore, it puzzles me to what is fable and what is fact. In many cases, some things are yet to be seen. Even the ancients them selves seem to be uncertain. Even through glimpses of links connecting them with there past. They to argued about what was fact and what was fable.
It appears that the country Helene that in imitation of the Romans came to be known as Hellas, we now call India. I found it amazing how the progress of time came through the names of the following. Originally the city Thessaly built by Hellen son of Deucalion; next Phthiotis, Thessaly, all of Greece except of Peloponnesos, sometimes of Macedonia, now thessaly it self sometimes of Epeirous, and then all of Greece was within Aegean, and all these countries were inhabited by Greeks. It would appear that the most annuitant Pelosgia left from the race whose first people occupied that part of Europe.
There does seem to be one fact established that the Hellenes were not the first who occupied Greece they came after a number of tribes of the Pelasgion origin. No one really knows there are many arguments about this as well. I found it funny or odd that these discussions would be dismissed when an agreement could be met; however they would easily remove the difficulty by coming to an agreement by inventing a hero or demigod that suited everyone’s purpose. So as earlier mentioned, from Hellen they agreed on the name of Hellenes, also Heracleidae came to be known as Heracles and Ionians as Ion; and Pelasgos the son of Zeus.
Up to this point, there was little information to guide us, although there was always light poetry that dawned around them. Although historians tell us there were, facts that couldn’t be ignored such as the Thoacians being entirely of Pelasgian origin. Also, the Macedonians were plainly of the same stock as with the Thracians. It is obvious that there were many tribes and even different denominations and it seems to me that they all came from or descended from the same race. This brings me to the characteristics of the Greeks.
As I have read this too if one would think long, enough about it how even our characteristics of today are not so different from a time long ago. When poetry places them before us, it is profound for the divinity and everything connected with service of religion. Gods and men moved together over the earth cooperated in bringing about events. Although we as a whole worship one God instead of many; history shows us in many ways it has had to take men and God in bringing about events whether it be by what some call faith, and like history books some must have had it proven to them.
As for the Greek’s keeping up with a constant interchange of beneficence the Gods aiding the mortal repaying his aid with gratitude an example of this was the mortal submitting to the Gods guidance and to be directed. Sometimes as in the case of Odysseus and Athena, the feeling of grace and favor on the one side and of veneration and gratitude on the other was unexpected. Don’t we in some since expect the same from our prayers? By that I mean give gratitude to our God and by giving offering each Sunday, isn’t this also a way we give gratitude for what God has done for us.
I found it amazing as I read how much a like in characteristics we are in the twenty first century to our ancestors who lived so many years ago. Many of us today are very merciful and caring for the poor. The Greeks also had a high respect for their elders. I also found it extremely fascinating that the Greeks had believed that parents held or had no right to any type of higher honor. People who were blessed with children were regarded as instruments by which God had communicated the mysterious and sacred gift of life.
These people actually believed the parents were supposed by their children to be forever invested with a high degree of sanctity as ministers and representatives of the creator. Hence, the anxiety experienced to obtain a Father’s blessing and the indescribable dread of his curse. A peculiar set of events, the terrible Erin’s, all but implacable and unsparing were entrusted with the guardianship of parent’s rights. Now, I can’t help but think about how the Greeks felt toward friendship almost as if their friendships were more important than the wonderful blessing of parenting.
Not that friendship is not extremely important especially true friendship, but nothing is more precious than the gift of being blessed with a child. The Greeks adored friendship between two men. There is no evidence shown in any other country’s history or traditions so many examples of this virtue as in those of the Greeks. In Greece, these people felt that when two men became friends it was more important than a marriage between a man and wife. The friendship through their eyes was as one they were completely united as one. They were like twins, what one felt the other felt.
Their thoughts were the same. One did not have and independent thought, if one was slashed than the other as well. They had the same opinions. They faced adventures, dangers, absolutely everything together, even death. As peculiar as I personally may find their friendships to be, I find it also peculiar of the configuration and productions. This was considered the most remarkable feature in Greece consisting in great many varieties of forms, which its surface assumes in the territories of the numerous states into which the country was divided.
Of these, two resemble each other, whether in physical structure, climate, or production. It is said that the general atmosphere of Greece is mild, but not in every part. Greece is known to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. They have palm trees and the myrtle flourishes in sight of the pine. Greece is known to have tropical birds of beauty that can not be found any other place in the world. Although they do have storms frequently with what we might say is giant sized hail there is also eternal snow. In Macedonia, it is known to be rocky and bold.
Speaking about the beauty of Greece and it’s surroundings a person can not help but think of Athens and Sprat, which are known to be representatives of Greece when it came to education. I can not help but think of what Apollo once commanded. If the citizen wanted respect and intelligent children, they must put what is most beautiful in the ears of their sons. They bored one of the lobes and inserted a gold earring. Those people who wore a gold earring would become good men and be preservers of the country. Whatever education had to give was also to be given to every citizen.
With education mentioned, I must mention of what I read about the children, their birth, as well as the women who gave birth. The care of the children was taken care of even before they were born. The mothers were actually given rules while they were pregnant, although as I read many things women were made to do are what women today choose to do, such as eating certain foods and exercising. Wine was prohibited and only water was the drink allowed by the expecting mother. I for one did not drink wine when I was pregnant either and I still drink a great deal of water.
During the period of a woman’s pregnancy she was believed to have been watched over and protected by the goddess Eileithyia, who was considered the mother of love. Newborn infants in Greece bathed in cold water. In Sparta, they bathed in wine. In Athens, newborn children were laid on golden amulets in the form of dragons, which were supposed to commemorate Athena’s delivery of Erichthonios to the care of the two guardians. Under certain circumstances, instead of joy and gladness, the birth of a child was, as in Thrice, and event of sorrow and misery. It supposedly announced the fact of an approaching enemy.
I find it extraordinary that when it came to education the Greeks atlas tried to educate the poor as well as the wealthy in one form or another, but when it came to the birth of the poor woman’s child she many times would be driven to despair. Therefore, her hands would be filled with the blood of her child, with many boogies and rejoicing. On the fifth day from birth, a ceremony took place, which was called amphdromia. The child was named usually until about the tenth day, this was because if an infant was going to die they believed it would be within ten days.
The child was usually named according to what derived from some circumstance that had been going on around the time of conception or the birth. For example, thus Mariposa, Homer being born away from Apollo attained the name of Halcyon, was inconsolable for the loss of her baby. Of course when we mention children we have to think about what on earth kinds of toys did the children have and what kind of games did they play? I found it interesting that some played with a rattle that was actually made from that of a rattlesnake.
Some had little chariots built by their slaves of course these were probably the richer children. Boys when able would pretend they were at war. In Greece as everywhere else education took place in the nursery. At birth a child was furnished with ideas in his mind, as his intelligence would seem to strengthen the five sluices, which let in, as they believed to be all the flood of knowledge, this afterwards overflows his mind. Most education consists of observing the child. A most important part of the education for the boys consisted of physical discipline.
Whether it was started by the men for lack of something to do, instead of going to war in a far off place, or as a tribute to the Gods gymnastics played an important role in every boy’s education. It was discouraged for a boy or a young man to make a profession of gymnastics, because as a warrior this person could not go very long without water or food. Although they were huge in stature and had enormous strength, they were susceptible to fatal attacks from disease if they departed form their usual habits and regime.
It seems that dance also played an important part of gymnastics routine. In Athens, it was a mark of illiberal education to be ignorant of the various forms of dancing. It was considered an absolute necessity by all Greeks to excel in the accomplishment of dance. Whether it was for the preparation for the performance or the learning of the movements to help in battle dace was widely accepted as much as any religious right. The Cretans, the Spartans, the Thessalians, and the Boeotians held this division of gymnastics in particular honor, chiefly with an outlook to war.
The Athenians and Ionians most generally contemplated it more as a means of developing the beauty of the form, and conferring ease and elegance on the motion and display Its really becomes clear in this chapter of the book that the Olympic games both winter and summer, track and field, and inside games were started by the ancient Greeks. I never really understood their importance until now, I knew they had a lot to do with the creation of the games, but it seems they covered all the bases.
They prepared them selves for war they were fulfilling their duties as citizens and at the same time brought to perfection their strength, their vigor, and their manly beauty. They also knew that a healthy body created a healthy mind and improved learning performance. The healthy body was of great use during the hunt. The chase would often last for hours or days. To herdsman and shepherds, it was an occupation to them. The highly learned and educated often hunted for the fun of the chase, while the poorer population hunted for food and clothing from their kills.
Dogs or hounds were often used in the chase or hunt, and many great fables of that time were of fearless dogs that in the presence of their master would even attack a lion. Their use of camouflage and knowledge of traps and snares was used extensively for they were very intense hunters. It seems to me that a lot of their hunting skills came from education and enrichment of their athletic abilities and they were able to use what they had learned in the gymnasium or on the field to track or hunt their game.
Last but certainly not least in the education of the young was philosophy and poetry it was even considered a branch of the field sports and was enjoyed rather than studied. They were taken to small amounts of material and would go over and over it to let it sink in rather than to learn large amount of knowledge that they might soon forget. Philosophy in Greece comprehended religion, and to be religious was to act justly, benevolently, mercifully towards men, humbly and reverent toward God.
It was necessary to possess knowledge of the whole theory of ethics, since virtue in their opinions was incompatible with ignorance. They believed like I do that if a man is a moral being he is accountable to the laws of God and his country and his duties to that country. And as in all free states (I thought this was a powerful statement) reasoning and persuasion, not blind will and brute force are the instruments of government. As I end this report, I can’t end it without giving my feelings about what I have read. In my opinion, I found this book overwhelming at times. Many words as in emotions came to me as I read it.
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