Monday, April 23, 2012

Caesar's Movements in the Civil War

One of you asked me for a map that shows Caesar's movements during the Civil War. On the map, the dark blue dotted lines represent Caesar's advances. Caesar started the war by invading Italy from Greece (Lucan, book 1). Then he pursued the Pompeians until Pompey evacuated his troops to Greece (Book 2). After securing Sicily's grain for his side, Caesar turned around and marched on the Pompeian troops in Spain. On the way, he was detained by Massilia (Marseille), which held out a long siege, but lost a naval battle against Caesar's admiral Decimus Brutus (Lucan, book 3). Caesar himself had gone on to Spain, where he succeeded in expelling the troops of Pompey's legates (lieutenants) Afranius and Petreius from Ilerda and finally surrounded them in an area without water (Book 4). In the meantime, Caesar's lieutenant Curio tries to secure the Roman province of North Africa for Caesar, but gets tricked by King Juba of Numidia and kills himself (end of Book 4). Book 5, finally, moves the focus to Greece (Epirus and Thessaly), where Pompey is awaiting Caesar's troops for final showdown, which will occur in Pharsalos (Thessaly).
Map courtesy of: Note that the legend is wrong: orange are the Roman provinces, green are Rome's client kingdoms.

Lucan's Civil War (a.k.a. Pharsalia) 1-5

In which way is Lucan's epic a reaction to older epics? (response and 2 comments on classmates' posts)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vergil, Aeneid, Books 9-12

What is your favorite episode in the Aeneid, and why? (response & 2 comments on classmates' posts due Tues., 4/17/12, by 9:30 AM)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Vergil, Aeneid, Books 1-4

What are your first impressions of the Aeneid? (response & 2 comments on classmates' posts due Tues., 4/10/12, by 9:30 AM)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Odyssey, Books 13-16

What is your favorite episode in books 13-16 of the Odyssey, and why? (response and 2 comments on classmates' posts due on Tues., March 13, 2012, before class)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Example 17: Odyssey Cruises

Perhap the most ironic, least researched use of the name Odyssey, would be it’s use in Odyssey cruises. The mistake doesn’t need to much explanation, as we all know the story of the Odyssey follows the “unluckiest man” Odysseus, through the Mediterranean and fairy land for ten years in a desperate attempt to return home. Odyssey cruises promises breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a sophisticated setting, but it may as well be a promise from Circe with a treacherous name like Odyssey. They specialize in marriage as well, or true love as they call it. Arguably this is the only similarity with the story of the Odyssey, as Odysseus is in a constant search for his wife and love. Once again however, no one should feel confident in a company which implies the wedding might take 10 years, in which time it's very possible your wife could be relentlessly sought after by your old employees (as no one has subjects any more.) Odyssey cruises attempts to sound sophisticated by name dropping, but in the process appear fools, particularly since The Odyssey is the most read classic, it might explain why Odyssey cruises are only available in Boston, Chicago, or Washington DC. The only open ocean available is in one of their locations, Boston.

Example 16: The Ultimate Defense

                         After racking my brain endlessly, I failed to think of anything that referenced the Odyssey that hadn't already been posted. Then I happened by a condom and immediately saw a connection between our culture and that of the ancient Greek world; the Trojan. I know the Trojans were largely the focus of the Iliad, but they do arise in the Odyssey when there is talk about the Trojan war or heroes in the Achaean ranks. The way I see the Trojan working for the condom companies is like this ''Our condoms last like that of the great city of Troy, and it would take a ten year onslaught to breach our defenses.'' Which is reassuring to the contraceptive intent.