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Literature From Antiquity


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#1 SgtGumbo

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:15 PM

Does anyone else read ancient literature from the Mediterranean? I find this stuff endlessly fascinating.

 

Currently I'm reading Thucydides' The Peleponnesian Wars. The book is about the war between Athens and Sparta before the days of Alexander the great. Written by the exiled general Thucydides (thoo-ki-dye-dez)

 

It's a dark and startling read, because it almost seems like he's reviewing how politics and war play out these days.

 

I also the first half of Julius Caesar's War Diaries. I don't like the guy but he was really good at what he did. I feel really bad for the Gauls and the Pompeian supporters. Sometimes it seems perhaps Julius did all those wars because he believed in peace... after all he raised Augustus who created one of the greatest periods of peace Mediterraneans have ever known. 

 

These reads almost make me sick sometimes for their violence, but it helps me come to grips and understand the world of today.

 

Also I feel tutored in the art of war lol.



#2 Ides

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 12:30 AM

I haven't really gotten into reading ancient literature mainly because I find myself spending more time trying to understand what they are saying then understanding what they are saying. I'm also into reading a lot of technology textbooks and other general textbooks that I might find interesting. I'm about one-third of the way through a logic textbook and I was going to do a lot of the excersises and such as if it was a class but I just don't seam to have time to finish it nor the time to do the excersises.



#3 SgtGumbo

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 12:21 AM

Yeah most books from antiquity were written for people who already knew a great deal of what was going on around them.

 

So reading up on the history of the era is once thing, but reading a book from the era brings it to life. Without the prior knowledge reading old books feels strange.

 

Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars is pretty easy to understand, athough a the guy is a complete prick. 

 

I'm not much for philosophy books though.



#4 MC

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 08:43 AM

I'm late on this topic, but I enjoy the translation I've read of Julius Caesar's Conquest of Gaul.  I like reading Caesar's works and reading about Caesar because I find him to be an interesting and misunderstood person in history.  What I'm currently working through Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire though, which isn't writing from an ancient Greek or Roman but it's in the same ballpark and very interesting.



#5 SgtGumbo

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 02:44 PM

I'm late on this topic, but I enjoy the translation I've read of Julius Caesar's Conquest of Gaul.  I like reading Caesar's works and reading about Caesar because I find him to be an interesting and misunderstood person in history.  What I'm currently working through Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire though, which isn't writing from an ancient Greek or Roman but it's in the same ballpark and very interesting.

 

Yeah he's quite a character isn't he? I have a theory (that I haven't researched) that Julius Caesar may have had a great peace in mind for the future, the same one that his son started. 

 

Maybe he thought that everything he did was necessary for peace... it's just that he killed hundreds of thousands of people without really giving two shits about them that I find quite disturbing.

 

 

Most of Rome's history is misunderstood in general, because of Hollywood and revisionist history. Some false themes are easier to spot than others.

 

It's presented as some kind of absolute god-like dictatorship, whereas I see it as more of a flexible multicultural hegemony, with most areas being quite poor and unaffected by the empire around it.. resembling much like 3rd world countries today in the way that some parts are very nice and most are mediocre or terrible really. Almost always it just seems the emperors are "trimming the hedge" rather than being the masterminds behind it (with some exceptions like Augustus, Constantine, etc. but they are the exception, not the norm)


Essentially, we know way more about Rome's celebrities, and when it comes to random places in the empire, information is much harder to find and many times lost forever.

Check out this cool image just cause

68104302_couple.jpg.

 

But yeah I've heard of Gibbon's book, I might pick it up soon. A good series is also Antiquity and An Explanation to Medievalism by Norman F. Cantor. Bit of a sad read I find though, especially reading about Europe and it's slow drift into shitfuckery.





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