Monthly Archives: May 2016

Western Civilization lesson 65

Based on what you learned in Lesson 62, what was Christian life like between the famous letter of Pliny until the reign of Constantine?

From 122 AD when Pliny wrote his famous letter to the reign of Constantine, times were not favorable for followers of Christ. Innuendo and secrecy were the words of the day for a Christian wanting to keep his head. Some sections in Rome were more tolerant than others purely due to happenstance, but all boded ill. Trajan, one of the “Good Emperors”, was tolerant of Christians; he refused to execute the accused without sufficient proof.  However if they blatantly exclaimed their faith they would be promptly carted off to the chopping block. Over the years of his reign there were some periodic splurges of persecution but no big planned ones. Then Emperor Decius saucily sauntered into the spotlight in 250 AD. Continue reading

Western Literature lesson 45

What was Aeschylus’s view of the Trojan war?

War is glory. Or so thought the ancient Greeks. Most of the Greek playwrights, especially Homer, portrayed their characters as godlike heroes. However war didn’t always end as perfectly as described in the old tales and Aeschylus realized this. He expressed antipathy concerning the Trojan War because the war brought shame, misery, and envy to everyone involved not just during the war but for a long time after.

In the Orestes Trilogy, Agamemnon, a significant big cheese from the T.W. was admired by the masses but portrayed as a cold husband and an arrogant king to the audience. His heroic career began with the egomaniacal sacrifice of his daughter to a goddess in order to fulfill his wish of fighting in glory with his men at Troy. He selfishly ignored his daughter’s pleas to live and his wife’s (Clytemnestra’s) motherly emotions. This left Clytemnestra to stew in her agonizing sorrow, anger, and hatred of the man for the decade following his departure. When at long last Agamemnon returned, a concubine arrived with him almost in mockery of his wife. But little did he know that in his absence Clytemnestra had been fooling around with his brother while plotting the ultimate revenge against her king. Aeschylus portrayed Clytemnestra as an innocent until her role as a shameful swinger and a miserable murderer could no longer be ignored. Agamemnon and Clytemnestra inadvertently worked together to bring dolor to their son Orestes throughout the entirety of the trilogy because he inherited the duty to right their wrongs. Continue reading

Western Literature lesson 55

How does the view of ethical cause and effect in history in Works and Days compare with the furies’ view in The Eumenides?

In Works and Days, Hesiod took an opposite standpoint from the Furies in Aeschylus’ The Eumenides. In Hesiod’s book there was a lot of forgiveness going on. Even when he felt cheated, he offered advice, whereas the Furies had no mercy. They were Vengeance, embodied.  For instance, the Furies pursues Orestes for his crimes, despite the fact that he had been ordered to commit it by a higher being than himself. Hesiod enjoyed heaps of justice and sanctions every morning with his breakfast, served by his grand immortal waiters far, far upstairs, the Olympians. But the Furies doled out their particular brand of justice themselves. Though Hesiod and the Furies differed on who served the justice, on this topic of justice we find a rare case of the two sides agreeing. Neither were fond of the mortal law courts because both believed there existed another group who could divvy up a pile of justice better. Hesiod: the gods; the Furies: themselves. Continue reading

Western Literature lesson 85

How important were the miracles in the book’s account of Jesus’ early ministry? Read on and find out.

Uber isn’t just a taxi service anymore! (It’s actually the German word for super.) The Miracles in Jesus’s early ministry were uber important! When Jesus stepped forward claiming he was the son of God, many people might have written him off as “another one of those crazies” until he proved that he was indeed divine. When he turned the water into wine at the request of his mother, Mary, during the wedding in Canaan, people were astounded. By his actions, he showed both that he was powerful and loving.  Because he was the son of God made flesh and imbibed with the Holy Spirit, He used his incredible powers to work miracles for no other reasons than to teach us about God and his awesome forgiveness, to show us how to behave toward each other,  and  to show that he loved all of us humans down here.  Even though we sinned like toasters burn toast, he healed incurable conditions, cast out demons, and even died for the forgiveness of the sins of mankind.  Just as a magician has pizazz and sparkle to draw in a crowd, Jesus had to perform grandiose spectacles to capture his own audience’s attention. That made people stop and really listen to what he had to say. Continue reading

Link

Basically I drew this because my friend gave me this pic to do. (its her brother when he was tiny) The image is also floating around on my Deviantart channel somewhere. Continue reading

Western Civilization lesson 75

Discuss the relationship between Rome and the Visigoths.

In 376, the people known as the Visigoths were finally allowed into the Roman Empire by Emperor Valens. Upon entry they were forced to give up their weapons and children as hostages. The Roman officials then plundered their camps and proceeded to treat them so horribly that they nearly had to sell their children to survive. By 378 they had rioted after an attempt was made on their leader’s life and managed to conquer the Eastern Roman Empire, burning and killing all the way. Valens’s successor was able to satisfy the Visigoths by giving them places in the army, land to settle within the Western Roman Empire and decent treatment for once. Finally, tired of Roman subjugation and seeking better land, in 410 the Visigoths mange to enter Rome itself. The Visigoths’ leader was unable to control his men and the slaughter that ensued littered the streets with corpses. At the death of their leader, the Visigoths were forced to retreat and settle in Spain and small portions of Gaul.

Western Civilization lesson 60

The question: How would you compare the teachings of Christianity, as described in the New Testament passages we read for this week, to the values cherished by earlier civilizations we have discussed (particularly the Greeks, and the values expressed in Homer’s works)? Conversely, can you see anything in common between Christianity and some of the great ancient thinkers we have discussed?

Christianity came about because of the teachings of Jesus Christ. He led a spiritual revolt from within the Jewish religion against their own oppression against themselves. Among his most significant messages, if we look at the Beatitudes which we can find in the new testament of the bible in Matthew chapter 5, we learn about the salvation of the inner soul; how to achieve Heaven by living a life dedicated to the wants and needs of others less fortunate. In Matthew 25, Jesus also talks about the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, which are obligations of all the faithful towards aiding their brothers and sisters. Spiritual works mean the works of mercy that nourish, comfort, and guide the soul, while corporal works mean those works of mercy which clothe, nourish, and house the body. All of the fourteen works of mercy are considered as leading to salvation, while omitting them leads you to damnation. But let’s not forget the two most important teachings the Jesus gave us: Love God above all others with your whole heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. These collective teachings of Jesus became known as Christianity. Continue reading