Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Plutarch's Fortune of Alexander (extra credit)

I will read to you in class a few passages from Plutarch's On the Fortune of Alexander. Glance through the online translation of this work (you don't need to read the whole thing), and pick out any information that would help you in writing an essay on whether or not Alexander deserves to be called "great." Note that there are two different "Orations" on this site, both from Plutarch's "Moralia."

Philip's Letter to the Athenians (extra credit)

In response to Demosthenes' diatribes against him, Philip of Macedon wrote a fascinating letter to the Athenians. Read through the letter. What evidence do you see here of Philip's skill as a diplomat? What evidence that he in some ways deserves the title "great"?

Agesilaos, Pelopidas, and Demosthenes (extra credit)

Greek history in the 4th century BC is filled with fascinating characters, some of whom one might regard as real heroes despite the setbacks in their lives. The Greek/Roman historian Plutarch left us biographies of many of these figures, e.g., Agesilaus, Pelopidas, and Demosthenes. Please read Plutarch's account of the life of one of these men, and give your evaluation of that figure. To what extent is this man heroic? Do you see in their lives any elements of tragedy?

Plato (extra credit)

I won't have as much time for class discussion as I would like: mostly lectures from here on out.  However, in preparing the Greek philosophy question for the final exam, it will really help if you read a few selections from some of the philosophers we will be discussing.

You might find particularly useful Meno, one of Plato's shorter dialogs. You can find online editions at one of the links below:
Can virtue be taught? The apparent answer in this dialogue is no. But does reading the dialogue help at all in understanding/achieving virtue? If so, how?

Diogenes Laertius' Lives of the Philosophers (extra credit)

Diogenes Laertius' Lives of the Philosophers is filled with fascinating stories and sayings from the lives of the great men whose lives and ideas he describes. Read his account of any of the philosophers you would like to know more about. Comment here on what you thought the most interesting thing Diogenes Laertius had to say about that man.

For additional extra credit, read another of the selections in Diogenes Laertius and add a comment on what you found interesting in this new section.

You might find especially interesting the lives of Thales, Anaxagoras, and Diogenes. You might find even more interesting the lives of some of those philosophers who weren't discussed in class--and who often don't make it into the history books at all. If you read, for instance, the life of Bion, you'll perhaps be covering material that even Dr. Blanchard hasn't read.

(N.B., Do not confuse Diogenes Laertius with the Diogenes I discuss in class. A different man!)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Thucydides--Discussion II

We will probably cover most of this material on Tuesday, November 19.  I'd recommend reading books III and IV in their entirety (great stuff!), but reading the following excerpts will prepare you sufficiently for the Thucydides essay on the study guide and the related ID's.

III: 36-50 The Mytilene debate
III: 69-85 The revolution in Corcyra
IV: 42-48 Athenian successes/End of the revolution in Corcyra
V: 13-24 Peace of Nicias
V: 84-116 Melian Dialogue
VI: 89-93 Alcibiades justifies himself
VII: 76-87 Defeat of Nicias

Any particularly tragic elements here? Any elements of real tragedy? Are the themes/conflicts here comparable to the themes/conflicts in Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides? Anything that particularly warrants Thucydides' claim that he is writing a work for all time?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Plutarch's Lives: Aristides and Themistocles (extra credit)

Image result for plutarch 

 Please read Plutarch's Life of Aristides and/or his Life of Themistocles.

You can use the abridged "children's version" of the life of Aristides or the children's version of the life of Themistocles if you like, but, if you want fuller stories, see this online version of the Life of Aristides and/or this version of the Life of Themistocles

Do you see tragic elements in the life of either of these men?  What about elements of real tragedy?   Would either man make a good tragic here?  Why, or why not?

If you want to do *both* readings for double extra-credit, that's fine.  Make separate comments for each figure, though, to make it easy on me.