The sciences were financially supported, honoured everywhere, universally pursued; they were like tall edifices supported by strong foundations. Then the Christian religion appeared in Byzantium and the centres of learning were eliminated, their vestiges effaced and the edifice of Greek learning was obliterated. Everything the ancient Greeks had brought to light vanished, and the discoveries of the ancients were altered out of recognition.
The science, the art, the jurisprudence, the chief political and social theories, of the modern world have grown out of Greece and Rome—not by favour of, but in the teeth of, the fundamental teachings of early Christianity, to which science, art, and any serious occupation with the things of this world were alike despicable.
It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written.
Sexual frenzy is our compensation for the tedious moments we must suffer in the passage of life. 'Nothing in excess,' professed the ancient Greeks. Why if I spend half the month in healthy scholarship and pleasant sleep, shouldn't I be allowed the other half to howl at the moon and pillage the groins of Europe's great beauties?
The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern 'knowledge' is that it is wrong.The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. 'If I am the wisest man,' said Socrates, 'it is because I alone know that I know nothing.' The implication was that I was very foolish because I was under the impression I knew a great deal.Alas, none of this was new to me. (There is very little that is new to me; I wish my correspondents would realize this.) This particular theme was addressed to me a quarter of a century ago by John Campbell, who specialized in irritating me. He also told me that all theories are proven wrong in time.My answer to him was, 'John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.
...like that star of the waning summer who beyond all stars rises bathed in the ocean stream to glitter in brilliance.
Tragedy's language stresses that whatever is within us is obscure, many faceted, impossible to see. Performance gave this question of what is within a physical force. The spectators were far away from the performers, on that hill above the theatre. At the centre of their vision was a small hut, into which they could not see. The physical action presented to their attention was violent but mostly unseen. They inferred it, as they inferred inner movement, from words spoken by figures whose entrances and exits into and out of the visible space patterned the play. They saw its results when that facade opened to reveal a dead body. This genre, with its dialectics of seen and unseen, inside and outside, exit and entrance, was a simultaneously internal and external, intellectual and somatic expression of contemporary questions about the inward sources of harm, knowledge, power, and darkness.
The separation of sexuality from procreation in Greek culture helps explain the terrible demographic decay that Greece would suffer during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E.
...Feel no fear before the multitude of men, do not run in panic,but let each man bear his shield straight toward the fore-fighters,regarding his own life as hateful and holding the dark spirits of death as dear as the radiance of the sun.
TEIRESIAS: Alas, how terrible is wisdom whenit brings no profit to the man that's wise!This I knew well, but had forgotten it,else I would not have come here.
TEIRESIAS:You have your eyes but see not where you arein sin, nor where you live, nor whom you live with.Do you know who your parents are? Unknowingyou are enemy to kith and kinin death, beneath the earth, and in this life.
JOCASTA:So clear in this case were the oracles,so clear and false. Give them no heed, I say;what God discovers need of, easilyhe shows to us himself.
OEDIPUS:O, O, O, they will all come,all come out clearly! Light of the sun, let melook upon you no more after today!I who first saw the light bred of a matchaccursed, and accursed in my livingwith them I lived with, cursed in my killing.
CHORUS:You that live in my ancestral Thebes, behold this Oedipus,- him who knew the famous riddles and was a man most masterful; not a citizen who did not look with envy on his lot- see him now and see the breakers of misfortune swallow him!Look upon that last day always. Count no mortal happy till he has passed the final limit of his life secure from pain.
TEIRESIAS:I tell you, king, this man, this murderer(whom you have long declared you are in search of,indicting him in threatening proclamationas murderer of Laius)- he is here.In name he is a stranger among citizensbut soon he will be shown to be a citizentrue native Theban, and he'll have no joyof the discovery: blindness for sightand beggary for riches his exchange,he shall go journeying to a foreign countrytapping his way before him with a stick.He shall be proved father and brother bothto his own children in his house; to herthat gave him birth, a son and husband both;a fellow sower in his father's bedwith that same father that he murdered.Go within, reckon that out, and if you find memistaken, say I have no skill in prophecy.
OEDIPUS: Upon the murderer I invoke this curse-whether he is one man and all unknown, or one of many- may he wear out his life in misery to miserable doom! If with my knowledge he lives at my hearthI pray that I myself may feel my curse. On you I lay my charge to fulfill all this for me, for the God, and for this land of ours destroyed and blighted, by the God forsaken.
I do not admire the excess of a virtue like courage unless I see at the same time an excess of the opposite virtue, as in Epaminondas, who possessed extreme courage and extreme kindness. We show greatness not by being at one extreme, but by touching both at once and occupying all the space in between.
In ancient Greece, adolescence was a time when young men left their biological families to become the lovers of adult men. Sexuality was but one element of an affectional and educational relationship in which youths learned the ways of manhood
In other words if a man is armed, then one pretty much has to take his opinions into account. One can see how this worked at its starkest in Xenophon’s Anabasis, which tells the story of an army of Greek mercenaries who suddenly find themselves leaderless and lost in the middle of Persia. They elect new officers, and then hold a collective vote to decide what to do next. In a case like this, even if the vote was 60/40, everyone could see the balance of forces and what would happen if things actually came to blows. Every vote was, in a real sense, a conquest.
I recognized the handwriting, and my heart gave a skip; when I opened it I got a turn, for it began, 'To my beloved Hector,' and I thought, by God she's cheating on me, and has sent me the wrong letter by mistake. But in the second line was a reference to Achilles, and another to Ajax, so I understood she was just addressing me in terms which she accounted fitting for a martial paladin; she knew no better. It was a common custom at that time, in the more romantic females, to see their soldier husbands and sweethearts as Greek heroes, instead of the whore-mongering, drunken clowns most of them were. However, the Greek heroes were probably no better, so it was not far off the mark.