Book III begins as Archidamus, King of Sparta, invades Attica. This triggers a revolt, notably on the island of Lesbos, because of Athens's enslavement of its allies, which causes a proxy war for Athens with the Mytilenians. The Plataeans were attacked by Thebes and retreat to Athens, and Athens defeats the revolt of the Mytilenians, … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book III: Invasion and Revolution
Book II begins the rise of the war chronologically. The thirty years peace ends when Thebes (allied with the Peloponnesians) attacks Plataea (allied with Athens) and the Thebans surrender. Both cities are loctaed borth of Athens in Boetia. Plataea executes its 180 vaptured prisoners in the country before Athenian emissaries could arrive to instruct them … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book II: Proxy Wars and Pericles’s Funeral Oration
The Freshman (1925) Director: Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor The Freshman is the original college satire film. It was Harold Lloyd's second big hit comedy film after Safety Last! in 1923. The film was shot at a variety of California college campuses, including USC and the sports teams at the close of the film were actually Stanford and UC … Continue reading The Freshman
In Aristotle's Poetics the poetic art (or poieses meaning "to create" in Greek) is a natural activity. It is an imitative act (mimesis) and is also a kind of reflection of nature. Aristotle's examination begins with a larger exploration of poetry in itself, and then the book concludes with a dramatic duel between epic poetry and tragedy. He … Continue reading What is the Teaching of Aristotle’s Poetics?
In the pantheon of great American literature, Booth Tarkington stands alone as the most forgettable writer to ever win the Pulitzer not just once, but twice. He is one of three writers to accomplish the feat. At one time, he was one of the most celebrated writers in America. Today, he is wholly forgotten, except … Continue reading The Forgettable Alice Adams
The Bacchae (Bacchantes) is Euripides's greatest play. It tells the story of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, as he jealously rebukes Pentheus, ruler of Thebes (the latter city of Oedipus), for his lack of faith in Dionysus's sovereignty. Pentheus's impiety ultimately costs his city and family their nobility -Dionysus, in disguise, persuades Pentheus … Continue reading The Dangers of the Poets in The Bacchae
In Classical Greek drama, the existence of a Chorus strikes the modern audience as odd. Why is there a Chorus? What role does it play? Where did the Chorus come from? The origin of the word "khoros" is cloaked in mystery, however it has been suggested by modern scholars that the word references an open dance … Continue reading What is the Chorus in Greek Tragedy?
Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes is an odd, archaic play. The bulk of the play a long reflection and recital of the blazonry on a champion's shield, during the backdrop of the impending duel between Oedipus's two sons, Polynices and Eteocles, with Eteocles playing the main role. As David Grene (the play's translator) notes, the play … Continue reading The Seven Against Thebes and The Phoenician Women Considered
Euripides's Phoenician Women comes down to us as a heavily edited dialogue. Some have suggested it was performed during Euripides's lifetime, while others have suggested it remained unfinished and was expanded upon by later Greek writers. The play is an interpretation of Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes - in which Oedipus's two sons, Polynices and Eteocles battle for the kingship of Thebes. Recall … Continue reading Thoughts on The Phoenician Women
In Euripides's Electra he draws swords with Aeschylus's much earlier and superior version of the same Orestes story, in The Libation Bearers. In Aeschylus, there is a kind of hero-worship in which Orestes triumphantly returns to Mycenae and he kills his parents, only to be troubled by the Furies. In Euripides's version, the story is told … Continue reading Electra in Aeschylus vs. Euripides