Greek as Reason for Prosperity

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Greek as Reason for Prosperity

Post by Rameses_Rex » Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:24 am

ΧαιÏ￾ετε,

Recently I have been assigned to write a rhetoric text for my Greek course. I chose to take Greek itself as subject, but decided to use an unorthodox ΠÏ￾οθεσις: I stated that Greek is a condition for civilisation.
As I started doing research, it seemed more and more plausible that my statement isn't all that absurd.
My Narratio could be summarised as the following:

The Greeks, as they knew Greek, had a florishing civilisation.
The Romans, as long as they studied Greek (Late Republic and Principate), had a mighty empire.
Romans stop learning Greek, empire splits.
Greek part of Roman empire florishes, Rome, without Greek, falls.
Byzantium transfers Greek to Arabs, who then have a florishing culture and mighty empire.
Byzantians flee to Italy with Greek texts, Renaissance starts.
Europe learns Greek, Europe conquers the world.
Explanation: studying great examples and thinking about them makes you a better person, as thoughts eventually form character.


Am I seeing things or might there actually be a connection.
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Post by Turendil » Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:52 am

For a really good analysis of your hypothosys read Who killed homer by Victor David Hansen &john heath.
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Post by Rindu » Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:12 pm

This is absurd.

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Post by Rameses_Rex » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:25 pm

It may look absurd, but you can't prove it's wrong. And by the way, it was a speach: rhetoric isn't about being right, just about making people believe you're right.
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Post by Chris Weimer » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:28 pm

It's a logical fallacy. Just because two things coincide doesn't mean one follows the other. See here for an explanation of the fallacy.

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Post by edonnelly » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:39 pm

Chris Weimer wrote:It's a logical fallacy. Just because two things coincide doesn't mean one follows the other. See here for an explanation of the fallacy.


While I don't agree with his thesis, I don't see anywhere where he claimed cause and effect. He seems to be asserting that Greek is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for civilization. That is definitely not the same as asserting cause and effect.
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G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
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Post by Chris Weimer » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:48 pm

The way he wrote out his arguments seemed to me to be equating Greek as a cause of civilization. The notion is patently absurd, however, and can be easily disproven if one looks at Egypt, the Incans, the Aztecs, the Chinese, the Indus valley civilizations, Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, and many other civilizations that lacked Greek.

Or am I still misunderstanding what he's saying?

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Post by Turendil » Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:18 pm

Let me state an answer for what it's worth. Greek is not a condition of civilization chris you are right on the money with that. However I don't think that is what is being implied here. At the risk of soundling a bit cliched, Greek civilizaation is a starting place for western culture. Athenian Democracy and Spartan oligarchy were not Egyptian theopotism or the absolute Persian monarchy. The greeks loved life and freedom to a larger degree than many other surrounding principles. In this respect I think that Ramses is right. However the study of greek is not a condition for freedom and never will be. The english system of Jurisprudence developed free of any greek influence and largley free of the Latin one as well.
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Post by Rameses_Rex » Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:29 pm

I don't deny that Egypt, Mesopatamia, Assyria, etc had a high level of culture, but when the greeks came... who won? So I might have to restate my thesis here to avoid further misunderstanding:
if a people with an advanced culture, add Greek to their culture, they will have a huge advantage over other cultures that don't.
I know it might sound a bit von Daniken-like at first, and I started writing my speech as a joke, but the more research I did, the more it seemed to me that when a people studies Greek, their culture benefits greatly from it.
To give a more contemporary example: America. The founding fathers were all lovers of Greek, if i'm not mistaking. So America got big and eventually became more powerful then Europe. But now they've stopped learning Greek, and what do you get?
Bush.
Irrefutable evidence! :wink:
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Post by Chris Weimer » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:09 am

You may want to note that Rome conquered Greek before they adopted their culture, Alexander was actually Macedonian, and Greek culture now is minimal - in fact, Latin has remained dominant in Western culture after the Renaissance, despite the rediscovery of Greek, and the importance of Greek in the New Testament.

And for all the love of the Greeks, Latin literature was still more important to the early Americans.

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caution a little shouting. and some igpay atinlay.

Post by Turendil » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:23 am

if a people with an advanced culture, add Greek to their culture, they will have a huge advantage over other cultures that don't.


ullfay ofay itshay ouyay aray.

Sorry. Don't buy it. It's a logical fallacy. Plenty of people spoke and read ancient greek and still managed to be uncivillized. Think the dominicans who burned heretics in the auto del fays of the spanish inquisition they all knew greek AND they were at the "highest civilization" of their time. By contrast I don't think Rouseau ever managed to learn any greek.

Phalaris rosted people in a bronze bull.

Aristotle thought that nature had made some people "natural slaves"

Plato believed benevolent dictatorship was the best form of government and that the mass of people were dumb stupid ignorant and couldn't be educated.

let me be more blunt. Greek is not a magic ingredient that makes some civilizations taste better than other civilizations. PEOPLE make civilizations not the study of a language. Many intelligent erudite people who knew greek contributed greatly to western civ. However many dumb, ignorant, well educated people with no insight or understanting also knew greek.

The course of a civilization is in a nutshell a diagram of national character at a certain point in time. To those who dislike bush (I'm not a fan either but at least I try to understand him) I would tell them to go and strudy Wilson's foreign policy equally disaterous and filled with the same hackneyed phrases about democracy. Wilson BTW knew greek as well.
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Re: caution a little shouting. and some igpay atinlay.

Post by edonnelly » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:07 pm

Turendil wrote:
if a people with an advanced culture, add Greek to their culture, they will have a huge advantage over other cultures that don't.


Sorry. Don't buy it. It's a logical fallacy. Plenty of people spoke and read ancient greek and still managed to be uncivillized.


Wait a minute, who has the logical fallacy here? Rex says that having Greek gives a culture an advantage, just because there are examples of cultures with Greek who didn't prosper doesn't mean that they didn't have an advantage and it doesn't counter his theory that Greek is necessary since he never claimed it was sufficient.

Turendil wrote:PEOPLE make civilizations not the study of a language.


People are only a part of the puzzle. Surely it takes more than people, it takes the ability of those people to work together, to share ideas, etc. Ultimately, Rex's theory comes down to how you define civilization, I think. Some would consider Greek ideas (maybe not the language itself) to be so central to our definition of a great civilization that his proposal is not so far off. We hold ideas like democracy, civilian control over the military, the right of the public to openly criticize its government and a host of other incredibly important "Greek" ways of thinking as so central to our definition of civilization that "Greekness" is almost a part of our definition of civilization.

Turendil wrote:Many intelligent erudite people who knew greek contributed greatly to western civ. However many dumb, ignorant, well educated people with no insight or understanting also knew greek.


Again I think your counter examples show that you are confusing necessary with sufficient.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Re: Greek as Reason for Prosperity

Post by Bert » Sat Mar 24, 2007 4:19 pm

Rameses_Rex wrote:ΧαιÏ￾ετε,

Recently I have been assigned to write a rhetoric text for my Greek course. I chose to take Greek itself as subject, but decided to use an unorthodox ΠÏ￾οθεσις: I stated that Greek is a condition for civilisation.
As I started doing research, it seemed more and more plausible that my statement isn't all that absurd.
My Narratio could be summarised as the following:

The Greeks, as they knew Greek, had a florishing civilisation.
The Romans, as long as they studied Greek (Late Republic and Principate), had a mighty empire.
Romans stop learning Greek, empire splits.
Greek part of Roman empire florishes, Rome, without Greek, falls.
Byzantium transfers Greek to Arabs, who then have a florishing culture and mighty empire.
Byzantians flee to Italy with Greek texts, Renaissance starts.
Europe learns Greek, Europe conquers the world.
Explanation: studying great examples and thinking about them makes you a better person, as thoughts eventually form character.


Am I seeing things or might there actually be a connection.

I guess there might be some connection but I am not convinced.
Also the Greek empire fell.
When the Greek civilization stopped being a civilization the empire declined and fell.
The same with the Roman empire. Do you think there might be a connection here?

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Post by Turendil » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:11 pm

With many apologies for the pig latin. Sometimes my roots show in an argument (grew up a little rough around the edges).

Greek isn't necessary for civilization. period end of sentence. The study of greek isn't nessecary for civilization. The study of greek doesn't even confer an advantage for the civilizations who study it. It doesn't make any sense to say that the study of greek or greek ideas confer an advantage for those who know them. Greek and civilization as concepts are entirely seperate. Civilization is a human condition and as cultures evolve they develop ideas that are peculiar to their point in time. However just because these ideas were first set down by greeks does not mean the greeks have priotrity in their distribution.

That being said the study of greek is nessecary for our understanding of history and expecially the history of western civilization. So many of the ideas that we hold dear were first evolved by greek speakers, and so much of the literature of the church was first written in greek that to have an understanding of the evolution of the human conditon as it evolved in the west greek is necessary. However many people manage civilization quite well with no understanding of the roots of the culture in which they inhabit. And if the ideas were first advocated by persians we would now be trying to learn old persian.

I was speaking earlier of the flaws inherent in any civilization. To which greek neither adds nor detracts. I was not confusing nessary and sufficent. Each of the examples that I quoted, aristotle, the dominicans etc. were all products of a civilization that would have evolved with or without the knowledge of greek. All the study of greek does is add a little garnish to the people who study it. Studying greek won't change your character. It won't change the condition of the society in which you live. However it will add to your understanding about that soceity.

Saying that greek ideas and concepts are nessecary to civilization is like saying that it jerome was nessecary to translate the vulgate. If he hadn't done it someone else would have. Greek civilization was a confluins of ideas and culture inhereted from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Crete. These ideas as they evolved and were put into practice were given their own greek twist. However unique they may be to say that the greeks and only the greeks could develop such ideas is not only wrong but completely misunderstanding of the processes whereby which civilization evolves.

That evolution in a nutshell is the slow progression from hunter-gatherers into clans, into settled society with a stable code of laws. The path taken by every group varies, however there are within the matrix very few social models which are workable over a long period of time. This evolution is unique to every society at every point in time even though some ideas may be borrowed from other societies. Tracing the evolution of society does not depend on the knowledge of greek or on greek ideals. The reasons why some societies develop into representative democracies and others into despotism are inherent within their history. That history encompases the total experience of the group of people. Language, culture, geography, and social structure none of which have anything to do with greek ideas or greek culture.

To equate greekness in any sort of form with civilization to say that it gives cultures which study it an advantage or to say that such ideas are required to for anything that makes a civilization a civilization is much like saying that white people have smaller brains than asian people and thus cannot compete intellectually. It smacks of racism although that isn't quite the word I am looking for. such statements smell wrong. Although I am inclined to agree with Ramses statement that
Studying great examples and thinking about them makes you a better person, as thoughts eventually form character.


However these have nothing to do with greek examples or culture. Does this help to clarify my position?
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Post by ethopoeia » Tue May 22, 2007 6:41 pm

The point 3. of your argumentation is particularly wrong. Roman citizens never studied so much Greek as during the late Empire, and there's no doubt that the language of the early Church in Rome was Greek. Accordingly, the more Greek the Romans learnt, the feebler the Empire got. Besides, Greek is certainly not a sine qua non condition for civilization -even though ancient Greeks would be too glad to support this view ;-)

BTW My Greek professor used to say that you needed to be a real barbarian to invade a land of milk and honey like Greece. The characters of the Iliad, also represented in Cycladic pottery, displaying long-haired warriors wearing tusk helmets and driving light chariots are the best image of what the original Greek settlers looked like, i.e. a sort of Iron Age Vikings.

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Post by megas_yiannakis » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:14 pm

Chris Weimer said:

"You may want to note that Rome conquered Greek before they adopted their culture, Alexander was actually Macedonian, and Greek culture now is minimal - in fact, Latin has remained dominant in Western culture after the Renaissance, despite the rediscovery of Greek, and the importance of Greek in the New Testament."

Without trying to be mean or anything...

i cannot believe that an educated person learning classical languages can even show a slight ignorant beliefe in the idea that Alexander the Great was Macedonian and not greek. this bothers me greatly. anybody who knows anything about history knows that the Macedonians (makednos=high-landers/tall people) were just as greek as the spartans and athenians, not only culturally, but also in the way they thought and what they strove to do. Alexander the Great's actions in trying to bring the greeks and asians closer was an idea far ahead of its time, and totally greek.

YES the romans conquered greece... but then the greeks tamed the lion. The Romans always looked to the greeks as a more cultured and educated people. plus it is obsered to think that a people is more 'cultured' than another by the fact that they 'conquered' them, it is infact implying the opposite.

Greek culture is minimal?... cough... the thought of this idea makes my hair rise its so wiered. I think this is a case of that greek culture has become SO fundamental in western culture in general that one cannot easily pick it out and so 'look thats greek!'. If anyone lives in a democratic country, they are experiencing GREEK CULTURE. If someone is at all christian, they are experiencing GREEK CULTURE (considering the way greek minds developed the christian religion). If someone decides to go and learn maths, physics or even chemistry (atomos), they are experiencing GREEK CULTURE. If someone wishes to learn philosophy, they are in every way experiencing GREEK CULTURE.

The whole roman culture is based heavily upon the greek. Many "Roman ideas" are actually greek, and people go their whole lives never knowing this.

i agree that it is not at all practical to say a culture 'needs' greek, or that it would even be an advantage. One thing i can agree on and say though is that western culture was created in Athens. <<< this sentence itself sums up exactly how fundemental GREEK CULTURE is to Westerners.

if what was implied was saying that 'modern greek' culture today is minimal, then again without trying to be mean or overly nationalistic : what does one expect from a country that has been through that much? Modern Greece in my mind is completely synonymous with ancient greece, culture and language. although it might be.... cough minimal that has no bearing on how rich the culture itslef is.

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Post by perispomenon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:39 pm

megas_yiannakis wrote:If anyone lives in a democratic country, they are experiencing GREEK CULTURE.


Interesting... I learnt that the western democratic institutions were prompted by local developments and were autonomous from and not based on ancient Greek (Athenian) democracy.

So I would be inclined to disagree with you on this point. Let me get back to you on that.

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Post by Turendil » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:47 pm

interesting... I learnt that the western democratic institutions were prompted by local developments and were autonomous from and not based on ancient Greek (Athenian) democracy.


From my understanding their are two major developments in western thought. The one which created the enlightenment in france was based on new interpetations of classical culture. This movement was inherrited in part from the revival of greek culture inherrited by venice and other italian city states after the fall of Byzantium in 1453. Those fleeing the turks brought their manuscripts with them and passed the knowledge on to the west. This with the re-discovery of ancient texts created in large part the enlightenment culture in france before the revolution. However the French enlightenment was inherrently an enlightened discussion and debate which took place among the educated classes in salons. Part of the reason why the French Revolution went so badley (in a large part the F.R. was like the english civil war only much worse because of this) was because those who initiated the revolution had no practical experience in government and had imported the theories of representative government without the practice from ancient authors.

The english by conrast developed a system that doubtlessly, while it was influenced by Greek Culture, was more of a description of what you describe. The english system starting with Henry II was a long evolution of precedent over time that developed as each English King wished to curb the power of his barons. Unlike in 17th-18th century france where this tooke the form of an absolute monarchy in Enland the King robbed the barons of power by strengthening the middle class and smaller yeomanry/gentry which gradually curbed the power of the larger barons. I don't think that Edward Longshanks knew (how could he) that when he called the first Parlement that it's successor would eventually behead a future king. He did see it as an effective tool to govern his barons. WHat is interesting is that the fight for power between the barons and the king which resulted in the Magna Carta (Rex supra homines sed sub deum et legem) eventually led to the rise of a governing upper middle class which grew more powerfull over time than the traditional aristocracy of birth. Unlike in France under RIcheliu/Colbert/Louis XIV the english upper middle class were by and large elected to parlement and came together in a conference where the voted for the budget. This stoped the rise of an appointed class which answered to the king and not to any other body. We kid ourselves when we speak of despotism as rule by one man for rule by one person is in reality the rule of a beuracracy.

To answer your question in short I would say that in england the rise of representative government was a response to local condtions which gradually built precedent over time. In France it seems to me to be a group of people bombinating about classics in a vaccum, who when they were given the chance to govern with no practical experience royally (no pun intended) screwed things up.
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Post by perispomenon » Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:00 pm

Turendil wrote:To answer your question in short I would say that in england the rise of representative government was a response to local condtions which gradually built precedent over time. In France it seems to me to be a group of people bombinating about classics in a vaccum, who when they were given the chance to govern with no practical experience royally (no pun intended) screwed things up.


As I said, I will have to get back to you on that :-) It's what I remember from a university education way back (say 21 years).

The books were mainly discussing English developments, but French may have been included. I put the book away in a box somewhere, but I will dig it up to see if I remembered correctly...

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Post by Aristoklhs » Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:34 pm

It is an advantage to be able to read ancient greek texts, because than one is able to understand, what the people actually wanted to say and not what many translators have wanted them to say.
It is an advantage for everyone's daily life to read the greek philosophers and think about problems they thought about and find solutions, instead of trying to soothe them with something else or to ignore them. The poets and historians have also interesting things, applicable to our daily lives to say.
I imagine that a country whose inhabitants have a sound classical education are better off, than countries who build upon consuming, faith or whatever.

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Post by Chris Weimer » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:17 pm

megas_yiannakis wrote: i cannot believe that an educated person learning classical languages can even show a slight ignorant beliefe in the idea that Alexander the Great was Macedonian and not greek. this bothers me greatly. anybody who knows anything about history knows that the Macedonians (makednos=high-landers/tall people) were just as greek as the spartans and athenians, not only culturally, but also in the way they thought and what they strove to do.

It was a matter of classification. When people talk about Greek civilization, they usually refer to Attic civilization - since it was the Attic Golden Age that is preserved most today, and it was the Attic influence that Rome primarily took up (though other Hellenic groups certainly gave their influence).

YES the romans conquered greece... but then the greeks tamed the lion. The Romans always looked to the greeks as a more cultured and educated people.

Hardly. The Romans hated the Greeks - held them as slaves. In the later Republic, the odium Catonis for Greek civilization fell aside to the amor Scipionis. Remember that Cato even forbade the learning of Greek, and his grandson, who bothered to learn it, was no fan either.

And thinking of Rome again, Rome divided up "Greece" into two parts - Macedonia, which they made a province, and Greece, with whom they made treaties and promised protection instead of making a province, though they were under the jurisdiction of the Macedonian governor.

plus it is obsered to think that a people is more 'cultured' than another by the fact that they 'conquered' them, it is infact implying the opposite.

obsered? So you think that the Gauls were more cultured than the Romans? How quaint.

Greek culture is minimal?... cough... the thought of this idea makes my hair rise its so wiered. I think this is a case of that greek culture has become SO fundamental in western culture in general that one cannot easily pick it out and so 'look thats greek!'. If anyone lives in a democratic country, they are experiencing GREEK CULTURE. If someone is at all christian, they are experiencing GREEK CULTURE (considering the way greek minds developed the christian religion). If someone decides to go and learn maths, physics or even chemistry (atomos), they are experiencing GREEK CULTURE. If someone wishes to learn philosophy, they are in every way experiencing GREEK CULTURE.

Are you kidding me? Greek took so much learning from the Babylonians, by your very analogy all the Greeks were actually experiencing BABYLONIAN CULTURE. Christianity formed first in Judaea, therefore if anyone at all is Christian, then they're experiencing JUDAEAN CULTURE. And for someone who is the watchdog of Greek culture, I'm surprised that he calls chemistry atomos.

The whole roman culture is based heavily upon the greek. Many "Roman ideas" are actually greek, and people go their whole lives never knowing this.

Which Roman ideas are actually Greek? I can name you plenty, but let's see what you come up with. Consuls, for instance, are Roman - the Roman election system (which was Democratic) was not Greek. Amphitheatres were Roman, and thus the circuses inside were Roman as well (actually, Etruscan, but not Greek). The toga was Roman, the idea of pietas was Roman, satire was Roman... The above are some of the defining characteristics of Romanitas - sine Graecis.

i agree that it is not at all practical to say a culture 'needs' greek, or that it would even be an advantage. One thing i can agree on and say though is that western culture was created in Athens. <<< this sentence itself sums up exactly how fundemental GREEK CULTURE is to Westerners.

Hardly. By the time Christianity was advent, Alexandria replaced Athens as the center of Greek culture. There was no democracy in early Medieval periods - much of Western culture was more heavily influenced by Germanic (who moved into Gaul), Norse, and the dying Latin influence than the Byzantine, and only later was Aristotle rediscovered. True Plato played his part, but what a horrible part he played! The threw off the critical inquiry of Socrates and opted for the theory of God from Plato! If anything, that part of Greek civilization has hurt the Western world more than it has helped. We waited for Galileo to refute Aristotle's ignorance.

if what was implied was saying that 'modern greek' culture today is minimal, then again without trying to be mean or overly nationalistic : what does one expect from a country that has been through that much? Modern Greece in my mind is completely synonymous with ancient greece, culture and language. although it might be.... cough minimal that has no bearing on how rich the culture itslef is.

What does this have to do with the tea in China?

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Post by Arvid » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:15 pm

Chris Weimer wrote:True Plato played his part, but what a horrible part he played! The threw off the critical inquiry of Socrates and opted for the theory of God from Plato!


I agree with everything you said, except for this one little piece. I think you, like many people, are confusing Plato with Neoplatonism. The Christians spent a couple of centuries waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming; by the 3rd Century it began to become obvious to them that they were in for the long haul, and they needed an official philosophy to appeal to the more intellectual of their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, what was on offer was what we call "Neoplatonism," the last diseased exhalation of a sick and dying civilization. The main feature of Neoplatonism was a visceral disgust for everything having to do with the real world; a hatred of the flesh, a hatred of sex, because it brought new people into the world to be entrapped in the filth of matter, and an embracing of ascetism to reduce the influence of the material and ascend to some imagined crystalline sphere where God and the angels lived their immaterial, sexless, boring lives. This sounds like the same kind of Hell as Nirvana to me, but that was what they wanted.

The fact that modern historians of philosophy see a path of descent from Plato's theory of Ideals to this farrago of nonsense is no reason to blame him for what people were doing with his ideas 600 years after his death. Unfortunately, we still suffer under the historical accident that made this the official philosophy of our most prominent religion. When modern-day Christians use terms like "life-affirming" to describe their propaganda, we're not supposed to laugh in their faces, even though what they call life-affirming in fact embodies virulent hatred for everything that characterizes life as it exists here on Earth: flesh, sex, reproduction, mortality, change, evolution, etc., etc.
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Post by Kopio » Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:48 pm

Arvid wrote:When modern-day Christians use terms like "life-affirming" to describe their propaganda, we're not supposed to laugh in their faces, even though what they call life-affirming in fact embodies virulent hatred for everything that characterizes life as it exists here on Earth: flesh, sex, reproduction, mortality, change, evolution, etc., etc.

Wow...that's a pretty strong statement. I'd like to know what modern day Christians you rub elbows with! As I understand it, "Life affirming" has more to do with the sanctity of human life. Human life has value because we are "created" in God's image. Our value is rooted in His goodness and His character. Usually "life affirming" has little to do with sex, reproduction, morality, etc. Usually it is used in connection with the abortion debate.

As for sex....I'm quite a big fan. I would vote for sex in any general election! If you don't believe me, just ask my wife :wink:

Also....why is what they believe and "affirm" propaganda? That seems like a pretty strong word. I don't consider an Atheists naturalistic claims as "propaganda", rather it is merely how they understand and observe the world.

As for the whole Greek thing....I find that I would disagree with Rameses assertion. However, I think a good case could be made for the more "Cosmopolitan" a nation or society is, the more they have going for them and the more prosperous they will be. But I don't know how far I would be willing to defend that view. Surely it is not a requisite for societal prosperity. Take the USA for example...we are moving more and more towards a xenophobic mentality, but yet...we are one of the most prosperous nations on the planet (even though we are in hawk up to our ears and it's only a matter of time till it crumbles).

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Post by Arvid » Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:43 pm

Sorry--I didn't mean to tar everyone with the same brush, but you have to admit that fanatics such as I describe are running the country (into the ground) right now. Tom Delay on the Columbine School massacre: "What do you expect when they teach evolution in school?"
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Kopio
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Post by Kopio » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:18 am

Arvid wrote:Sorry--I didn't mean to tar everyone with the same brush, but you have to admit that fanatics such as I describe are running the country (into the ground) right now. Tom Delay on the Columbine School massacre: "What do you expect when they teach evolution in school?"

No offense taken. I'd say Delay (as well as other right wing pundits) look for these kind of situations so they can grind their political axe. I don't think he seriously believes that, he's just using it as a springboard to beat his drum.

As far as our current administration, I personally look forward to a change. I am a republican (gasp) and even I am getting tired of W, as for others, believe it or not, there's quite a few Democrats I am fond of. I don't know if I call him an outright fanatic, I think he's more of a good ole boy that quite often doesn't have a clue. One of our local Dems just got crucified by the locals for suggesting that we don't pull out of Iraq too quickly. He just made a trip over there and saw things first hand for himself and saw that there actually is progress being made there, and that an early withdraw would not be in the best interest of both us and them. He was largely heckled and attacked ad hominem for his views.

It will be interesting to see if our next president is a Democrat, even more interesting if our next president is a woman. I think Hillary is shaping up to be a formidable force. My wife and I were talking about it just last night....wouldn't it be a gas if Bill was our first "First Gentleman"...talk about ruffling some feathers! I can hear my father moaning now at the prospect of it! :roll:

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Post by Arvid » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:39 am

Well, I'm a Democrat, but I miss the Good Old Days when it was a genteel competition between economic theories. My biggest fear?

1) With everyone turning against the war, the Republicans realize that they can't win on mindless belligerence like they did last time, and turn to their sheet anchor: the most extreme fringe of the Religious Right; nominating Brownback or someone similar.

2) The Democrats nominate someone unelectable. I'm afraid there are a lot of troglodytes in this country that wouldn't vote for a woman or a black man. They might not be willing to say as much out loud, but when it comes to filling out their (secret) ballot, or just not voting at all, I'm afraid this will be an important factor.

I agree it would be entertaining to see the man who's been subject to the most consistent campaign of vilification I can remember as "First Gentleman" in the third administration of a Clinton dynasty! Remember that all the polls showed he could have handily won a third term if he could have run for it, despite what Fox News watchers might think.

If things turn out the way I'm afraid they will, I may have to apply for political asylum in Canada, like I threatened to do after the 2000 "election." (AKA coup d'etat!)

P.S.: Sorry Lucus Eques wouldn't get into the Mac debate with you on the other thread. I would, but you'd be preaching to the choir.
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megas_yiannakis

Post by megas_yiannakis » Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:34 am

ΧαῖÏ￾ετε ὧ φίλοι!

It was a matter of classification. When people talk about Greek civilization, they usually refer to Attic civilization - since it was the Attic Golden Age that is preserved most today, and it was the Attic influence that Rome primarily took up (though other Hellenic groups certainly gave their influence).


I totally agree, what got my goat was your use of words "Alexander was actually Macedonian"... by your use of 'actually' i thought you were emplying that crazy idea that Alexander spoke 'Macedonian' (a language which im pretty sure didnt even exist when Alexander was around), and that Macedonia was a completely seperate people who had nothing to do with the greeks... im sorry for the mis-understandin my friend.

The Romans hated the Greeks. Remember that Cato even forbade the learning of Greek, and his grandson, who bothered to learn it, was no fan either.


This is interresting; "The Romans hated the Greeks"??? I have read alot of material, and i thought it was common knowledge, that twas the opposite... im not saying im dismissing what your saying out of ignorance, if you have any reading material you could suggest on this i would be greatful. My view on it was that it was totally not uncommon for Romans to send their sons to Greece for the purpose of study only. Romans held a great passion for Hellenic culture which grew greatly over time. did they not?... The Romans borrowed the art, religion, philosophy, and way of life from the greeks, and they spread the Greek culture through their empire... My "The Romans often looked to the Greeks as a more culture people" was quoted from a book aswell... is this totally wrong? was infact the opposite going on?

So you think that the Gauls were more cultured than the Romans? How quaint


Ofcourse not, i was simply stating the idea that the fact the Romans conquered Greece played absolutely no role in who was 'more civilized'... again, sorry for the mis-understanding.


Are you kidding me? Greek took so much learning from the Babylonians, by your very analogy all the Greeks were actually experiencing BABYLONIAN CULTURE. Christianity formed first in Judaea, therefore if anyone at all is Christian, then they're experiencing JUDAEAN CULTURE. And for someone who is the watchdog of Greek culture, I'm surprised that he calls chemistry (atomos).


"Greek took so much learning from the Babylonians"... yes i know; isnt it great! the wealth of knowledge being traded... Greeks also took a wealth of medical knowledge from Egypt... and exactly the same thing happened with the Romans and the Greeks, particularly with the Greeks living in southern Italy. That being said though, one cannot say that the Greeks didnt add their own bits, which continued into the Roman world prodominantly being added by Greeks, western science was born in greece and it flourished in rome through greeks. Ptolemy, a greek astronomer, developed a theory of the universe that was accepted for nearly 1 500 years; Galen, a greek doctor, proposed important medical theories; Stabro the Geographer... the list goes on.

Again with Christianity, i was emplying the way the Greek language and culture has made christianity what it is today. The fathers of Christianity were all either Greek in origin, or Hellenized and spoke and wrote in Greek. Christian creeds and canons were written and codified in the Greek language... The New Testament books themselves and much of the important literature of the Christian religion of the first ten centuries were written in Greek. Greek philosophical thought and learning were utilized in defining Christian doctrines. Even Western Church Fathers such as Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine, who wrote in the Latin language, reveal the influence of Greek thought in their writings.

Following three centuries of underground existence and persecution in the Roman Empire, it was again the Greek Church, the Greek language, and Greek missionaries that carried the Christian message in both the East and the West. The Latin element emerged as a major factor in the history of Christianity only in the West and as late as the fifth century. The early Church in Rome was Greek-speaking, and the Church in the West was an extension of the Church in the East.

Christianity is Greek not only in form but to great degree in content as well.

and btw, i might be 16 but im not an ιδιώτη... i know 'atomos' doesnt mean chemisty in Greek, modern greek is my first language.... i was simply stating the link between the greeks and chemisty (XHMEIA) and the atom.

Which Roman ideas are actually Greek? I can name you plenty, but let's see what you come up with. Consuls, for instance, are Roman - the Roman election system (which was Democratic) was not Greek. Amphitheatres were Roman, and thus the circuses inside were Roman as well (actually, Etruscan, but not Greek). The toga was Roman, the idea of pietas was Roman, satire was Roman... The above are some of the defining characteristics of Romanitas - sine Graecis.


the toga? lol... yea... because you know... what they wore really set them apart... i asure you i was not making reference to ideas like clothing... lol I was insinuating the wealth of knowledge and ideas 'borrowed' from greece by Rome. Things like 'Roman' architecture, engineering, sculpture, painting, litrature, science... were all based on strong greek influences. The amphitheatre might have been Roman, it's architecture is based upon greek though, and while we're on the topic of amphitheatres --> drama was born in greece and flourished during the golden age.

I have a great love of Roman and Greek culture, as porbably alot of people here do and have always thought of them together... note the term 'Greco-roman culture'...

By the time Christianity was advent, Alexandria replaced Athens as the center of Greek culture. There was no democracy in early Medieval periods - much of Western culture was more heavily influenced by Germanic (who moved into Gaul), Norse, and the dying Latin influence than the Byzantine, and only later was Aristotle rediscovered. True Plato played his part, but what a horrible part he played! The threw off the critical inquiry of Socrates and opted for the theory of God from Plato! If anything, that part of Greek civilization has hurt the Western world more than it has helped. We waited for Galileo to refute Aristotle's ignorance.


ouch... lol... "if anything the Greek part of civilization has hurt the Western world more than it has helped"?... is this a common carried view by Latinists here? i learn latin, i love it... i cerainly dont think like that...

The ancient Greeks laid the "foundations" of Western civilization. (is a better way i could have summed up what i believe instead of: "the western civilization was 'created in athens)"...

Modern democracies definately owe some debt to Greek beliefs in govornment by the people, trial by jury, and equality under the law. The greeks pioneered reaserch in many fields including biology, geometry, history, physics, and philosophy. The greeks introduced and perfected such important literary forms as epic and lyric poetry, history, tragedy and comedy. In their pursuit of order and proportion, they created an ideal of beauty that strongly influenced Western art.

I really think the idea that the greeks did nothing more than 'injure' the world is far, far from right... If so why then honestly do people who arent greek bother to learn greek here? serious question...

Ιωάννης. :D

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