Friday, March 30, 2007

Bill Joyce: A Day with Wilbur Robinson became the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons; see exhibit at Artspace for more background

Bill Joyce
Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Try to visit Artspace, 710 Texas (673-6535) to see The Art of Disney's Meet the Robots. There are kids' activities downstairs and sketches and paintings by Bill Joyce and the Disney artists on the main floor.

There's also Cafe D'Agostino, a terrific Italian eatery, on the mezzanine. It's a delicious place for a snack & coffee or lunch.

Aqüeducte romà de les Ferreres, Tarragona, Spain

Did the Roman Empire include Espana in its territory? Most certainly.

Author-illustrator david Macaulay is a source and inspiration for me.
Among his books: Castle, Cathedral, Pyramid, Mosque, Roman City, How Things Work and Building Big.

A writer in Time magazine once commented: "What [Macaulay] draws he draws better than any other pen-and-ink illustrator in the world"; his books have sold more than two million copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages.

La cassata: an amazing Italian dessert

La cassata
Originally uploaded by Dott.ssa Fhainerin.
Sugary fruit, cream and cake mix: a cassata.

See a similar world-class dessert in the Italian dish called a tiramisu.


Originally uploaded by Barbara Rich.
An arched ceiling is said to be vaulted.

Atrium at MOMA

Atrium at MOMA
Originally uploaded by Dano.
NYC's Museum of Modern Art - MOMA - has an atrium, a design we inherited from the Romans.

Roman public baths, city of Bath, England

Taking the waters
Originally uploaded by Number Six.
Bathing played a major part in Ancient Roman culture and society.
Of all the leisure activities, it was one of the most important, since it was part of the daily regimen for men of all classes, and many women as well.

Today many cultures see bathing as a very private activity conducted in the home, but bathing in Rome was a communal activity, conducted for the most part in public facilities called thermae that in some ways resembled modern-day spas. Such was the importance of baths to Romans that a catalogue of buildings in Rome from 354 AD documented 952 baths of varying sizes in the city.[1]

Although wealthy Romans might set up a bath in their town houses or in their country villas, heating a series of rooms or even a separate building especially for this purpose, and soldiers might have a bathhouse provided at their fort (as at Chesters on Hadrian's Wall, or at Bearsden fort), they still often frequented the numerous public bathhouses in the cities and towns throughout the empire.

Insulae: Roman apartment buildings

Originally uploaded by ImperialRome.
In Roman architecture, insulae (singular insula) were large apartment buildings where the lower and middle classes of Romans (the plebs) dwelled. The floor at ground level was used for tavernas, shops and businesses with living space on the higher floors.
The urbanization of the larger Roman cities caused a great demand for housing which was within a comparable vicinity of the city center and real estate was therefore at a premium. As such, private houses were a luxury which only the wealthy could afford. This led to a majority of the inhabitants of the inner city living in apartment and tenement housing called insulae.

Light enters from the Oculus (eye) of the Pantheon, Rome

Oculus, Pantheon
Originally uploaded by bilbao58.

The Pantheon (Latin, Pantheon, meaning "Temple of all the Gods") is a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome, but which has been a Christian church since the 7th century.

It is the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history.

The current building dates from about 125, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian[2], as date-stamps on the bricks reveal.

Hadrian was a cosmopolitan emperor who traveled widely in the east and was a great admirer of Greek culture. He seems to have intended the Pantheon, a temple to all the gods, to be a kind of ecumenical or syncretist gesture to the subjects of the Roman Empire who did not worship the old gods of Rome, or who (as was increasingly the case) worshipped them under other names.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy Nutella Day

Happy Nutella Day
Originally uploaded by izreloaded.

Nutella is the brand name of a hazelnut-based sweet spread created by the Italian company Ferrero.

"Pasta Gianduja" was a solid block (not a spread) of goodness created by Pietro Ferrero, Nutella founder, in the 1940's. The main chocolate-like flavoring ingredient, hazelnut, is a typical product of the Langhe, the area of Piedmont where the Ferrero family originates (Pietro had its patisserie in Alba, Province of Cuneo). These products were all preparations of gianduja, a chocolate and hazelnut blend developed in Italy after excessive taxes on cocoa beans hindered the diffusion of conventional chocolate.

Independent work: comparing things Italian

Italian products, Italian cuisine, famous people of L'Italia; all these are open for comparison essay writing for indy work. Email it to or bring it to class, typed.

Benelli & Harley Davidson
Moto Guzzi & Ducati
Prada & Coach
Armani & Dolce et Gabbana
Maria Montessori & Antonio Stradivarius
Bartolomeo Cristofori & Guglielmo Marconi
Roman Empire & British Empire
Shroud of Turin & Shroud of Ramses II

Sat, Mar 31, 7:30 pm at Riverview Theater: the symphony plus choirs and soloists; student tickets $5

Originally uploaded by trudeau.
The Shreveport Symphony Orchestra performs Sat, Mar 31, with the backing of choirs from Northwestern State and Centenary College plus the Red River Children's Chorus.

The principal piece is Carmina Burana, a series of catchy Medieval tunes that celebrate the hearty life.

Student tickets are always $5 so as to encourage growth in the orchestra audience.
Tickets at 227-8863.
More at

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The revered and controversial Shroud of Turin is housed in the cathedral at Turin, Italy

Originally uploaded by Faded Photograph.
The Shroud of Turin (or Turin Shroud) is an ancient linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have been physically traumatized in a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is presently kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. Some believe it is the cloth that covered Jesus of Nazareth when he was placed in his tomb and that his image was somehow recorded on its fibers at or near the time of his proclaimed resurrection. Skeptics contend the shroud is a medieval hoax or forgery — or even a devotional work of artistic verisimilitude. It is the subject of intense debate among some scientists, believers, historians and writers, regarding where, when and how the shroud and its images were created.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel
Originally uploaded by Schumata.
The Sistine Chapel (Italian: Cappella Sistina) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in the Vatican City. Its fame rests on its architecture, which evokes Solomon's Temple of the Old Testament, its decoration, frescoed throughout by the greatest Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo whose ceiling is legendary, and its purpose, as a site of papal religious and functionary activity, notably the conclave, at which a new Pope is selected.

St. Peter's, the Vatican

St. Peter's
Originally uploaded by bitpuddle.
The Vatican City is itself of great cultural significance. Buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are home to some of the most famous art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini and Michelangelo.

The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire country.

Vatican City

Vatican City
Originally uploaded by Travis S..

Mausoleum of Hadrian or Castel Sant'Angelo or Saint Angelo's Castle is the entrance point to the Vatican City and is connected to St. Peter's Basilica by a fortified corridor.

Monaco: microstate on the Med

Originally uploaded by FelixvdGein.
Monaco is the world's most densely populated country and second-smallest independent nation; with a population of just 32,410 and an area of 1.96 square kilometers (485 acres),

Monaco also boasts more millionaires per capita than any other country[citation needed], and is the world's smallest French-speaking sovereignty.

San Marino, a European microstate

The Most Serene Republic of San Marino (Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino) is the third smallest nation in Europe (after Monaco and Vatican City).

Located in southern Europe, it is an enclave surrounded by Italy, and is one of the European microstates.

According to tradition, San Marino is the oldest constitutional republic in the world still in existence today[1]: it was founded in AD 301 by Marinus of Rab, a Christian stonemason fleeing the religious persecution of Roman Emperor Diocletian.

"Veni, vidi, vici." Julius Caesar on his victory over the armies of Gaul

Julius Caesar in Bronze
Originally uploaded by mharrsch.
"I came, I saw, I conquered."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cinelli Xperience 06: Italians make hot bicycles and love to race them

Cinelli Xperience 2006
Originally uploaded by lexitos.
Bianchi, Campagnolo, Cinelli and many more Italian manufacturers create high-quality bicycles.

While Campagnolo does not sell full framed bicycles, they are an integral part of any Italian bicycle purchase as they are the leading manufacturer of bicycle components. Campagnolo components date back to 1933, where they were first created in a small workshop in Vicenza by Campagnolo's founder, ex-racer Tullio Campagnolo.

Among the many accomplishments of Campagnolo are the creation of a quick release mechanism for bicycle wheels and the early advent of the front and rear derailleur. Campagnolo parts are so highly regarded that Campagnolo's proprietary dimensions have, in several cases, become adopted as de facto international standards.

Pompeii - Anfiteatro Remains of Pompeii

An eruption in ad 79 destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Lamborghini Gallardo: snob appeal

Lamborghini Gallardo
Originally uploaded by Guilherme Nascimento.
The fallacy of snob appeal is where an appeal is made to the authority of the select few, the aristocrats.

Nobody wants to think they are merely one of the vast crowds; they want to be in the superior or wealthy class.

Capri: la grotta azurra (the blue grotto)

la grotta azurra
Originally uploaded by human merely being.
Capri is an Italian island on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, it has been a celebrated beauty spot and resort since the time of the Roman Republic.

Overlooking Capri harbor from the rotunda in Villa San Michele.
The main features of the island are regularly portrayed on postcards: the Marina Piccola (Small Harbor), the Belvedere of Tragara, which is a high panoramic promenade lined with villas, the limestone masses that stand out of the sea (the 'Faraglioni'), Anacapri, the Blue Grotto ('Grotta Azzurra'). Above all are the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas.

One of the best-known Italian specialty breads: Focaccia

Originally uploaded by rvettese.
Focaccia (IPA pronunciation: [fo'kaʧːa]) is a flat bread topped with spices and other products, which is related to modern pizza. The basic recipe is thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or ancient Greeks, but nowadays it is particularly known as a delicacy of the Ligurian cuisine.

The local specialty "focaccia col formaggio" (focaccia with cheese) is made in Recco, near Genoa.

Focaccia is quite popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs, topped with cheese and meat or flavored with a number of vegetables.

Consuming gelato by the Trevi Fountain in the heart of Roma

Originally uploaded by girlhula.
Gelato, or the plural Gelati, is Italian ice cream made from milk and sugar, combined with other flavourings. The gelato ingredients (after an optional pasteurization) are super-cooled while stirring to break up ice crystals as they form. Like high end ice cream, gelato generally has less than 35% air - resulting in a dense and extremely flavoursome product.

Gelato is the generic Italian for ice cream. The same word is commonly used in English speaking countries to refer to "ice cream" that is prepared in the Italian way. "Gelato" is an Italian word for "frozen" and comes from the Italian word gelare, meaning "to freeze."

Ferrari Dino 法拉利

Ferrari Dino 法拉利
Originally uploaded by q.tongle.
Ferrari is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Italy. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929 as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street legal vehicles in 1946 as Ferrari S.p.A..

Ferrari's cars are among the most desirable of vehicles to own and drive, and are one of the ultimate status symbols of wealth in the world. Throughout its history, the company has been noted for its continued participation in racing, especially in Formula One, where it has largely enjoyed great success, especially during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, late 1990s, and 2000s.

Bread dipped in Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar: quite a Mediterranean treat

Balsamic vinegar (Italian: aceto balsamico) is a traditional flavoured vinegar commonly used in Italian cuisine. It is also often used as a salad dressing when combined with oil. It is a traditional product originating in Modena, where it has been made since the Middle Ages.

Try the Balsamic vinegar / olive oil mixture on toast, crackers or pasta. Prego!

Bread dipped in Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar: quite a Mediterranean treat

Balsamic vinegar (Italian: aceto balsamico) is a traditional flavoured vinegar commonly used in Italian cuisine. It is also often used as a salad dressing when combined with oil. It is a traditional product originating in Modena, where it has been made since the Middle Ages.

Try the Balsamic vinegar / olive oil mixture on toast, crackers or pasta. Prego!

Monday, March 26, 2007

N.1 Pianoforte Cristofori 1726: symbol of Italy's leadership in musical matters

Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (May 4, 1655 - January 27, 1731) was an Italian maker of musical instruments, generally regarded as the inventor of the piano. He worked for the Medici family of Florence.

Cristofori's 1726 piano design boasted almost all of the features of the modern instrument. However, his piano was (from the modern point of view) of very light construction, lacking in particular a metal frame; this meant that it could not produce an especially loud tone. This continued to be the rule for pianos until around 1820, when iron bracing was first introduced.

yup, everyone loves italian girls (you'd think she was from jersey with that shirt!)

Buon giorno: Hello / Good morning/afternoon

Buona sera: Good evening
Buona notte: Good night
Ciao: Hi / Hello / Bye (informal)
Arrivederci: Goodbye

See you later A presto
See you soon A domani
Please Grazie
Thank you (very much) Prego

Sorry Scusi / Scusa

Pretty good. Così così.

Sì: Yes

Di dov'è? Where are you from? (formal) Di dove sei?
Capisce? / Capisci? Do you understand? (formal / informal) [Non] capisco.

Salute! Bless you!
Ti amo. I love you. (informal)
È pazzo! / Sei pazzo! You're crazy! (formal / informal)

Sicily: Isola Bella, near Taormina

Isola Bella (Sicily)
Originally uploaded by
Sicily has been noted for two millennia as a grain-producing territory. Oranges, olives, and wine are among its other agricultural products.

On to the Mafia:

Originating during the mid 19th century, the Mafia served as protection for the large orange and lemon estates surrounding the city of Palermo.[1] From this, the Mafia began to spread its roots among the landowners and politicians of Sicily. Forming strong links with the government (it is more than likely that many politicians were members or collaborators) the Mafia gained significant power.
During the Fascist period in Italy, Cesare Mori, prefect of Palermo, used special powers granted to him to prosecute the Mafia, forcing many Mafiosi to flee abroad or risk being jailed. Many of the Mafiosi who escaped fled to the United States, among them Joseph Bonanno, nicknamed Joe Bananas, who came to dominate the U.S. branch of the Mafia. However, when Mori started to persecute the Mafiosi involved in the Fascist hierarchy, he was removed, and the Fascist authorities proclaimed that the Mafia had been defeated. Despite his assault on their brethren, Mussolini had his fans in the New York Mafia, notably Vito Genovese.
The United States used the Italian connection of the American Mafiosi during the invasion of Italy and Sicily in 1943. Lucky Luciano and other members of Mafia, who had been imprisoned during this time in the U.S., provided information for US military intelligence, who used Luciano's influence to ease the way for advancing American troops.[5]

Pizza in Napoli (Naples)

Pizza in Napoli (Naples)
Originally uploaded by aeward.
My favorite pizza in Italy, Pizza Marinara! You'll never taste anything like this in the U.S., says aeward on

Pissa is late Vulgar Latin (9th century) for flat bread, and apparently came to mean a flat bread with a cheese topping by the 14th century in some Italian dialects.[1] Pizzo, which means "point" in Italian, may have been an influence.[2] Many languages around the Mediterranean have similar words meaning flat bread or unleavened bread, see pita.

The Italian word for a person with talent for making pizza is pizzaiolo. A restaurant that serves pizza is called a pizzeria (from Italian).

Pizza marinara: with tomato, garlic, oregano and oil;
Pizza Margherita: tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and oil;
Pizza Romana (in Naples): tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, oil;
Pizza Viennese: tomato, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, oil;
Calzone is a pizza in the form of a half moon, filled with ricotta, salami and mozzarella; it can be either fried or oven baked.
Calzone and stromboli are very similar dishes (calzone is traditionally half-moon-shaped, while a stromboli is tube-shaped) that are often made of pizza dough rolled or folded around a filling.

Vespa, Vespa, Vespa

Vespa, Vespa, Vespa
Originally uploaded by windy_miller30.
The Vespa is a line of motor scooters that was first manufactured in Pontedera, Italy in 1946 by Piaggio & Co, S.p.A
Piaggio continues to manufacture the Vespa today, although the Vespa was much more widely used in the 1950s and 60s, when it also became the adopted vehicle of choice for the UK youth-culture known as Mods.

Vespa is both Latin and Italian for wasp—derived from both the high pitch noise of the two-stroke engine, and adopted as a name for the vehicle in reference to its body shape: the thicker rear part connected to the front part by a narrow waist, and the steering rod resembled antennae.

Ponte Vecchio, 1345

The Ponte Vecchio (Italian for Old Bridge) is a Medieval bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for having shops (mainly jewellers) built along it.

Believed to have been first built in Roman times, it was originally made of wood. After being destroyed by a flood in 1333 it was rebuilt in 1345, this time in stone.

It has always hosted shops and merchants (legend says this was originally due to a tax exemption), which displayed their goods on tables after authorisation of the Bargello (a sort of a lord mayor, a magistrate and a police authority).

Ducati: MotoGP Catalunya Crash

MotoGP Catalunya Crash
Originally uploaded by PhillC.
Ducati riders Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau collide, also taking out Marco Melandri, at the 2006 Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix at Catalunya, Spain.

Viva l'italia: notes on a grand nation

Viva l'italia
Originally uploaded by enebish.
"Rome wasn't built in a day."

Amerigo Vespucci: trader, explorer, cartographer. "In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the new continent "America" after Vespucci's first name, Amerigo." Wikipedia

Mappa mundi:
1. Milano (symbol: Milano cookie)
2. Venezia (the gondola called a vaporetto)
3. Firenze (Florence): the Ponte Vecchio or a guitar w a Florentine cutaway.
4. Roma: the Roman Forum, the place where men argued the issues.
5. Vatican City: il Pape.
6. Napoli (Naples): the home of pizza.
7. Sicily: home of the Cosa Nostra.
8. Sardinia: the sardine.
9. Tunisia: Carthaginian general Hannibal atop an elephant.
10. Med: the amphora.

Italian sports:
* futbol
* bicycle racing (manufacturers)
* motorcycle racing (Ducati, Benelli, Moto Guzzi)
* boat racing - cigarette-type boats, sailing yachts
* auto racing (Maserati, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, etc)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Portofino, a haven on the Italian Riviera

Painted Ladies (Italian style)
Originally uploaded by tucumcary.
Portofino is a small Italian fishing village and tourist resort located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town crowded round its small harbour is considered to be among the most beautiful Mediterranean ports, says Wikipedia.

Portofino has even been recreated in stupendous detail around the 'harbor' at Tokyo DisneySea in Chiba, Japan, and to a much lesser extent, the Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Notes on classwork Fri, Mar 23:

World geo is taking an intro to Italy and continuing a study of the Mediterranean culture.

1. Sketch a map that features both Greece and Italy and their immediate neighbors.
* Use color.
* Identify nations, major cities, bodies of water.
* Create a title that recognizes the historic relationship of the 2 nations.
* 5 pts. To be scored in class Mon.

(Greek philosophers skits to be presented Mon. and Tues)

Please read from the World Geography / Prentice Hall textbook, pp 326 - 337.
* Take brief notes on all terms printed in red.
* Write brief answers to questions on 336, 1 - 7.
* 5 pts. To be scored Mon.

- Gibraltar (UK)
- Pyrenees Mts.
- navigable: Is the red River navigable?
- Sirocco winds: Why did VW name a car the Scirocco?
- hub: In what ways is Shreveport a hub?
- seismically active: "Mom, why can't I be seismically active?"
- de-forestation, overgrazing, overpopulation
- migration for economic advantage: Do the young migrate away from Shreveport because of a lack of jobs?
- creativity and the business boom: design & manufacturing innovation.
- Roman empire followed by the Roman Catholic empire.
- European Italy: the north, from the Alps to the Po River valley.
- subsidence: does sinking soil affect Louisiana? Does it affect Viking Dr?
- Central Italy: Roma, the Vatican, Bologna, Florence (Firenze). Heart of the Rensaissance.
- Southern Italy: Naples (Napoli), Sicily, Sardinia. Home of the Cosa Nostra.
- Snob appeal goods and image: Armani, Prada, Beretta, Ferrari, Nutella, Balsamic vinegar.
- The nature of the dishes at Ristorante Chianti or the Olive St Bistro as opposed to Monjuni's or Notini's.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Prada, Maserati, latte: a unit on L'Italia

Dolce & Gabbana

You can tell from this product list we shall have a good time studying Italy.

There's history, too: our focus will be upon the Roman Empire and Rennaissance.

Also, cuchina (cooking):
cream sauce vs. tomato-based sauce

Leonardo DiCaprio: his family must have originated on the Bay of Naples, upon the island of ??


Ancient Olympia, Greece

Ancient Olympia, Greece
Originally uploaded by cdnbusiness.
Olympic review:
1. Goddess honored by festival of athletic events - foot races - for Greek females: __ .
2. Location of the games dedicated to Zeus: __.
3. Definition of "quadrennial."
4. Example of Olympic event in 1000 AD (or the Common Era, or CE).
5. Most extreme event of early Olympics.
6. Brief definition of "amateur."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's a holiday all across the world: the Vernal Equinox

Please see equinox - equi, "equal," and nox, "night," - in wikipedia for a sense of its importance.

Evidently only some regions have "equal night and day." The real meaning is that the sun is directly above the equator.

Vernal: what color? Verdantly, he replied, g r e e n.

Site of the archaic Olympics, 700 BCE - 400 CE

site of ancient Olympics
Originally uploaded by eunicemacdan.
* Running
* Wrestling
* Boxing
* Horse races
* Chariot races
* Pentathlon (incl discus, javelin and jumping along w running & wrestling)
These were the ancient events, says The Greeks, by Usborne Books.

Every 4 years.
5 says' duration.
Dedicated to Zeus.
Olive wreath & woolen ribbons given the victors.
Some of the participants were professionals.
Olympia's facilities included the stadium and gymnasium.

The Heraia were quadrennial games for females.

The modern Olympics were founded about 1896 by a Frenchman.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Amphora, or storage vessel, is a symbol of the Mediterranean

Bodrum - Amphorae
Originally uploaded by Traces in the Sand.
An amphora (plural: amphorae or amphoras) is a type of ceramic vase with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body.

Amphorae first appeared on the Lebanese-Syrian coast around the 15th century BC and spread around the ancient world, being used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as the principal means for transporting and storing,
olive oil,
fish, and other commodities.

They were produced on an industrial scale from Greek times and used around the Mediterranean until about the 7th century. Wooden and skin containers seem to have supplanted amphorae thereafter.

Petit déjeuner français / the continental breakfast

Petit déjeuner français
Originally uploaded by John Cohen.
The continental breakfast - the continent referred to is Europe - is not a big whoop. Mostly it means coffee and a roll & butter. If you're lucky, the roll is a croissant.

Not everyone in Europe eats this way. The Dutch love a big breakfast, for one example.

Do you like a big or a little breakfast?

The Mediterranean: crucible of Western Civilization

The Mediterranean is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Europe, on the south by Africa, and also on the east by Asia. Its connection to the Atlantic (the Strait of Gibraltar) is only 9 mi wide.

It was a superhighway of transport in ancient times, allowing for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region — the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Semitic, Persian, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek and Roman cultures. The history of the Mediterranean is important in understanding the origin and development of Western Civilization.

The term Mediterranean derives from the Latin mediterraneus, 'inland' (medius, 'middle' + terra, 'land, earth'). To the ancient Romans, the Mediterranean was the center of the Earth as they knew it.

The Greeks name it Mesogeios, meaning ('middle' + 'land, earth', hence inland, interior. In the Old Testament it was the "Great Sea" or simply "The Sea" . In Hebrew, it is called "ha-Yam ha-Tikhon", "the middle sea". In Turkish, it is Akdeniz, "the white sea". In Arabic, it is Al-Baħr Al-Abyad Al-Muttawasit, "the middle white sea".

Platonic love, or a Platonic relationship

Holding hands
Originally uploaded by manganite.
Platonic love, says wikipedia, in its modern popular sense is an affectionate relationship into which the sexual element does not enter, especially in cases where one might easily assume otherwise. A simple example of platonic relationships is a deep, non-sexual friendship between two heterosexual people of the opposite sexes.

At the same time, this interpretation is a misunderstanding of the nature of the Platonic ideal of love, which from its origin was that of a chaste but passionate love, based not on lack of interest but virtuous restraint of sexual desire.

In its original Platonic form, this love was meant to bring the lovers closer to wisdom and the Platonic Form of Beauty. It is described in depth in Plato's Phaedrus and Symposium.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Aristotle: "happiness depends on ourselves."

Originally uploaded by maha-online.
Aristotle (384 B.C. - 322 B.C.)

Aristotle was born in 384 B.C.E. in Stagirus, Macedonia, Greece, the son of Nicomachus, a medical doctor, and Phaestis. Little is known about Aristotle's early years, though he was almost certainly meant to become a doctor like his father, who died when Aristotle was ten years old. As his mother had died some years earlier, Aristotle was brought up by Proxenus of Atarneus, possibly a family friend or uncle.

Proxenus taught Aristotle poetry, Greek, and public speaking; Aristotle had already learned science as a part of his early medical training by his father. At seventeen, Proxenus sent Aristotle to Athens to continue his education under Plato.

Aristotle differed from Plato in some of his views and beliefs. While Aristotle agreed with Plato that the cosmos is designed in a rational way, Aristotle thought that the universal could be found in particular things, while Plato believed the universal exists apart from particular things. Plato focused on mathematics and metaphysics, while Aristotle focused on physics, mechanics, and biology (nature). Despite these differences, after Plato's death in 347 B.C.E., Aristotle continued in his association with other Platonists.

Aristotle married Pythias, the adopted daughter of Hermias, ruler of Atarneus, after Hermias' murder by the Persians.

After traveling for some years in Asia Minor, Aristotle returned to Macedonia in 338 B.C.E. in order to tutor Alexander the Great. Aristotle then went to Athens after it was conquered by Alexander and created a school, the Lyceum or Peripatetic School, in 335 B.C.E., running it for twelve years.

In 323 B.C.E., Alexander died, and the capital was overrun by Macedonians. Aristotle fled prosecution and charges, escaping to Chalcis in Euboea, Greece. He died there in 322 B.C.E.

Aristotle's works in print are mainly written versions of his lectures. The texts were edited by Andronicus of Rhodes in or around 100 B.C.E. These works include: De Poetica (Poetics), Organum, Rhetoric, Categories, Nicomachean Ethics, Eudemian Ethics, and On the Soul (De Anima), all said to be written in 350 B.C.E.

Famous quotations by Aristotle:

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.

Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.

Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government.

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time.

No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world.

Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.

Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.

Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.

The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.

Socrates: "the unexamined life is not worth living"

Originally uploaded by Morton Fox.
Socrates, via
The Greek philosopher Socrates was born c. 470 B.C., in Athens and died in 399 B.C.

Socrates' Family:
We know little about the life of Socrates but we have the names of some of his family members from the works of Plato. Socrates' father was Sophroniscus (thought to have been a stonemason), his mother was Phaenarete, and his wife, Xanthippe. Socrates had three sons.

Death of Socrates:
Socrates was condemned to death for impiety by the Council of 500, for not believing in the gods of the city and for introducing new gods. He was offered an alternative to death, paying a fine, but refused it. Socrates took the cup of posion hemlock. His death was witnessed by friends.

Socrates as Citizen of Athens:
Socrates is remembered chiefly as a philosopher and the teacher of Plato, but he was also a citizen of Athens, and served the military as a hoplite at Potidaea (432-429), Delium (424) and Amphipolis (422) in the Peloponnesian Wars. He also participated in the Council of the 500.

Socrates is not known to have written anything and is best known from the dialogues of Plato, but before Plato he, was an object of ridicule as a sophist in Aristophanes' comedy The Clouds. Both Plato and Xenophon wrote about Socrates' defense at his trial in separate works called Apology.

Socrates and the Socratic Method:
Socrates is known for the Socratic method, Socratic irony and the pursuit of knowledge. Socrates is famous for saying that he knows nothing and that the unexamined life is not worth living.

From we learn:
Socrates was a Greek (Athenian) philosopher. He never wrote down his thoughts, as such, the entirety of modern knowledge concerning Socrates must be drawn from secondary sources, such as the works of Plato, Aristophanes and Xenophon.

Socrates lived during the time of the transition from the height of the Athenian Empire to its decline after its defeat by Sparta and its allies in the Peloponnesian War. At a time when Athens was seeking to recover from humiliating defeat, the Athenian public court was induced by three leading public figures to try Socrates for impiety and for corrupting the youth of Athens. He was found guilty as charged, and sentenced to death. Instead of fleeing Athens (as his friends suggested), he chose to abide by the laws of his society and drank hemlock to end his life.

According to the version of his defense speech presented in Plato's Apology, Socrates' life as the ‘gadfly’ of Athens began when his friend Chaerephon asked the oracle at Delphi if anyone was wiser than Socrates; the Oracle responded negatively. Socrates, interpreting this as a riddle, set out to find men who were wiser than him. He questioned the men of Athens about their knowledge of good, beauty, and virtue. Finding that they knew nothing and yet believing themselves to know much, Socrates came to the conclusion that he was wise only in so far as he knew he knew nothing. The others only falsely thought they had knowledge. ... (see book for more)

Agora: the shops and meeting place of the Greeks

Originally uploaded by Jan Lamour.
Socrates / Plato / Aristotle / Trudeau
from A Young Person's Guide to Philosophy / DK Books

1. Socrates was a princely and successful teacher. T / F
2. When told that many regarded him as the wisest man in Athens, he responded that he worked hard at his tasks and humbly appreciated the praise. T / F
3. Socrates believed that happiness came to those who gave up material goods. T / F
4. His principal means of teaching was via lecture as he and his students walked around the city. T / F
5. Socrates was both supportive and antagonistic toward men in government. T / F
6. Socrates was atheistic. T / F
7. His dialogues with students were recorded by his pupil, Aristotle. T / F
8. He was a sophist, a commercial and independent teacher. T / F
9. His famous death potion was the poison called cyanide.
10. His style was similar to that of an aggressive journalist.
T / F

1. Plato was a disciple of Socrates who nevertheless was independent in his thought. T / F
2. Plato believed in democracy. T / F
3. He founded the first university, a school called the Academy. T / F
4. Plato’s school was famous but lacked balance by our standards. T / F
5. Plato considered the case for women’s rights and decided that that it was “not time for it.” T / F
6. The Muses were the leaders of the political scene that so dismayed Plato. T / F
7. Plato’s style of philosophical writing was that of the novelist.
T / F
8. Plato’s recommendation for the ideal government was one led by a philosopher-king. T / F
9. Plato was preceded by Socrates and followed by Aristotle. T / F
10. Plato was an idealist. T / F

1. Aristotle was a disciple of Socrates who nevertheless was independent in his thought. T / F
2. Aristotle might be called the Father of Science. T / F
3. Aristotle recognized the capabilities of women. T / F
4. He was not from Athens, but from a region near Macedonia. T / F
5. Aristotle had an enormous impact on history in general and Christianity in particular. T / F
6. Aristotle also created an institution called the Academy. T / F
7. He had a pupil of historic importance: Cleopatra VII.
8. Aristotle excelled at marine biology. T / F
9. Of the 3 great philosophers of ancient Greece, Aristotle has won the most respect and attention from the Western world. T / F
10. Would you say that his credibility was based solely on his observations in nature or was enhanced by the fact that he tutored one of the world’s conquering generals? Y / N

World Book: Soon after Alexander died in 323 B.C., Aristotle was charged with impiety (lack of reverence for the gods) by the Athenians. They probably resented his friendship with Alexander, the man who had conquered them. Aristotle had not forgotten the fate of the philosopher Socrates, condemned to death on a similar charge by the Athenians in 399 B.C. He fled to the city of Chalcis so the Athenians would not, as he said, "sin twice against philosophy." He died in Chalcis a year later.

Athenian Democracy

1. The ancient form of democracy was called Athenian because there were other types of government in places such as __ .
2. Athens itself had other types of government. T / F
3. What were the limitations of participation in Athenian democracy?
4. Was the Athenian military affected by democratic practice? Y / N
5. What is a *check* in regards political action?
6. Which of these words means to “send into exile,” or to “cast out?”
7. How might a playwright affect the government?
8. Greek democracy was practiced for some 1,200 years. T / F
9. What’s relatively odd about the number of participants in the political life of Athens?
10. Would Pericles have been the leader associated with the building of the Parthenon?

1. F
2. F
3. F
4. F
5. T
6. probably F
7. F
8. F
9. F
10. T

Monday, March 12, 2007

Greek shipping, a historic industry and occupation

Fast Beast
Originally uploaded by dennis and aimee jonez.
Hellas: Greece
Hellenes: the Greeks
Helios: sun

philo: love of
sophy: wisdom

Phi beta kappa is the national honorary academic association

phi beta kappa hq
Originally uploaded by jeffschwartz.
You'll be invited to become a Phi Beta Kappa national academic society if you score among the top 5% of college students in your region, says Wikipedia.

Social fraternities - brotherhoods - and sororities - sisterhoods - will invite you to become a member if you fit in with the tone of their group.

Why do these societies use Greek letters? Because they want to represent the highest goals in ethics and achievement - as did the classical-era Greeks. While the social organizations' image may be one of drinking and partying, their written goals are laudable.

The Hellenic Republic: Greece

Athens in the morning
Originally uploaded by tygerlyl.
Hellenic Republic / Elliniki Dimokratia

A small nation, is has a pop. of some 11M.
Life expectancy: 79.2.

Athens, 3,247,000 (metro. area)

Monetary unit: Euro (formerly drachma)

Languages: Greek 99% (official), English, French

Ethnicity/race: Greek 98%, other 2%; note: the Greek government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Islam 1%, other 1%

Literacy rate: 98% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: per capita $22,800.
Agriculture: wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products.

agriculture 12%, industry 20%, services 68% (2004 est.).
Industries: tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum.
Natural resources: lignite, petroleum, iron ore.
Exports: food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products.
Imports: machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals.
Major trading partners: Germany, Italy, UK, Bulgaria, U.S.