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review 2020-05-14 15:33
The Persians and Other Plays
The Persians and Other Plays - Alan Sommerstein,Alan H. Sommerstein,Aeschylus

The Persians and Other Plays is a collection of plays and commentary about plays by Aeschylus (525/4 - 456 BCE). 

 

The book contains the following:

 

The Persians

Seven Against Thebes

The Suppliants

Prometheus Bound

 

Each play comes with a thorough introduction of the play itself as well as details of what we (think we) know about the history of the play's performances and how they may have influenced other Classical plays and playwrights, references in which inevitably have been used to date the plays themselves. 

This is followed by more commentary and notes on the plays and on related plays that may have existed.  

 

For example, it appears from the commentary that it has long been unclear in what order Aeschylus wrote the plays:

The production of 472 is the only one by Aeschylus that is known to have consisted of four plays whose stories were, on the face of it, unrelated - indeed, they were not even placed in proper chronological order. The first play was Phineus, about an episode in the saga of the Argonauts. This was followed by The Persians; then, jumping back to the heroic age, by Glaucus of Potniae, about a man who subjected his horses to an unnatural training regime and was devoured by them after crashing in a chariot race; and then by a satyr play about Prometheus ("Prometheus the Fire-Bearer" or "Fire-Kindler"). Repeated efforts have been made to find method behind the apparent madness of this arrangement, so far with little success.

As entertaining as it is to imagine someone making a simple mistake when noting down the running order of the plays in Ancient times, this must be quite frustrating to Classicists.

 

It took me way longer to read this collection than I thought but I don't regret a single minute of it. 

 

While some of the concepts discussed and displayed in the plays were not instantly recognisable to a 20th- and 21th-century reader, the context an explanatory notes provided by Alan H. Sommerstein was so excellent that each of the plays not only made sense but actually made it a joy to discover how Aeschylus' may have raised smiles in some and incensed others of his audiences. 

 

And some ideas and points of view in his plays - especially the description of the Persian's defeat (in The Persians), the exposition that women may refuse marriage (in The Suppliants), and some of the rather humanist views of Prometheus (in Prometheus Bound) - we quite different from what I had expected. Or rather, different from what I have come to expect from the Ancient Greek world when coming to Ancient Greek drama after reading the Greek myths (in whichever version: Apollodorus, Ovid, or any of the modern retellings). But even coming to Aeschylus with some familiarity of other playwrights such a Sophocles, I found Aeschylus surprisingly empathetic, satirical, and ... oddly modern.

CHORUS: You didn't, I suppose, go even further than that? 

PROMETHEUS: I did: I stopped mortals foreseeing their death.

CHORUS: What remedy did you find for that affliction?

PROMETHEUS: I planted blind hopes within them.

CHORUS: That was a great benefit you gave to mortals.

PROMETHEUS: And what is more, I gave them fire.

It is easy to think of Prometheus only as the rebel who went against Zeus' wishes and brought fire to mankind, but there is more to him. I loved how Aeschylus focuses not on the fire-bringing alone but also on his shared humanity, and on the prophecy that Prometheus knew of that would lead to the decline of Zeus' power, the proverbial Götterdämmerung of the Ancient Greek gods.

 

PROMETHEUS:

It's very easy for someone who is standing safely out of trouble to advise and rebuke the one who is in trouble.

I knew that, all along. I did the wrong thing intentionally, intentionally, I won't deny it: by helping mortals, I brought trouble on myself. But I certainly never thought I would have a punishment anything like this, left to wither on these elevated rocks, my lot cast on this deserted, neighbourless crag. Now stop lamenting my present woes: descend to the ground and hear of my future fortunes, so that you will know it all to the end. Do as I ask, do as I ask. Share the suffering of one who is in trouble now: misery, you know, wanders everywhere, and alights on different persons at different times.

 

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url 2020-04-05 17:17
The Truth About Roman & Greek Myths
Ama Dios: 9 AoL Consciousness Books Combined - Nataša Pantović Nuit

The Truth About Roman & Greek Myths

Learning from D. H. Lawrence about Ancient Rome GoddessArtEducationSymbols and SignsQuotes

 

The City of Rome and the Great Mother 

Esoteric teachings of Golden Citizens of Ancient Greece

by Natasa Pantovic

It is in the nature of humankind to tell stories, and at the root of every culture we find myths and legends. A Hellenistic myth considers Rome to be an Ancient Greek city, narrating a story of a Hellenic Gods and Goddesses. The city of Romolo e Remo, Venus and Mars, cats and dogs, the center of the original conflict of a female Goddess based worship and a male God dominated rituals.

The story goes back to the Ancient Greece and the Great Mother who has all through the ancient history had a role of the Creator Goddess. Shakti if your wish, with her Kundalini force.

The First Language

The Goddess of Quintessence: Sound

ancient-roman-capitoline-myth-of-rome

Lupa Capitolina: she-wolf with Romulus and Remus, Rome, Italy, 1300 AC (twins are a 1500 addition

Source: www.artof4elements.com/entry/268/the-truth-about-roma
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text 2020-03-31 21:36
Reading progress update: I've read 19%.
A Thousand Ships - Natalie Haynes

"A man who cannot stand cannot fight."

LoL. Is Haynes quoting The Karate Kid here?

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text 2020-03-31 20:13
Next in the Ides of March ... and all of April Project
A Thousand Ships - Natalie Haynes

A Thousand Ships comes highly recommended after @Lillelara finished it and liked it only a few days ago. 

 

I read Haynes' The Amber Fury last month and really loved her style, so I hope that this one is equally thrilling.

 

Despite the weird times that we find ourselves in, I am still pressing on with my current reading projects, even if the Ides of March...and all of April project will, no doubt, make for some dark and challenging reading. I mean, A Thousand Ships itself starts with a scene right in the middle of the siege of Troy, in city that is burning, amidst a people in distress.

 

I'll probably need to lighten this up in between reads, but all I am looking for right now is a book that transports me into a story.

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text 2020-03-25 01:37
Reading progress update: I've read 221 out of 311 pages.
Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations - Mary Beard

Is it really the case, for example, that Greek tragedy has a unique power to ‘say the unsayable’, as the contributors repeatedly suggest? When Hall writes of Bobby Kennedy’s speech that ‘only Aeschylus would do’, why does she think that a carefully chosen quote from Shakespeare, say, would have done Kennedy’s job any less well? It would have been useful, in fact, to see some discussion of how the fate of the Bard (who has his own honourable record as a vehicle for political dissent all over the world) differs from that of Greek tragedy. It would even have been useful to get a glimpse of some opposition to the current theatrical enthusiasm for all things Hellenic. What of the argument, for example, that ancient tragedy is more the problem than the solution, and that part of the reason why Western culture deals so ineffectively with the horrors of war, or the inequalities of gender, is that it cannot think through these issues outside the frame established in Athens more than two millennia ago? And what of the argument, rather briefly skated over by Lorna Hardwick in her essay on post-colonialism, that performances of the Bacchae in Cameroon or Antigone in South Africa – far from being politically empowering interventions – in fact represent the ultimate victory of the colonial power. Native culture may throw out its political overlords, but it is still left performing their damned plays.

This is from the article "Only Aeschylus Will Do", which, as I am approaching the end of the book, is proving an excellent bridge to my upcoming reading project about the Classical world.

 

It also poses interesting questions about cultural imperialism, and how insidious it is. Beard poses the question of whether a quote by Shakespeare could not have had the same effect. But to what extent is using Shakespeare not just another example of the same cultural imperialism?

 

It's a rhetorical question more than anything, but the mention made me think.

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