What's on your reading/listening list?

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November 3rd, 2017 at 2:08:32 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12534
I'm now on a podcast about the Trojan War. The author really lays on the background. The infamous "Judgment of Paris" comes in chapter 4 (I'm on chapter 3).

Personally, I find it less believable that a confederation of Greek cities would remain united in purpose for ten years of war to save the honor of the king of Sparta, than the various appearances by the gods through the story. I mean, the latter is infinitesimally unlikely, like 1/10^10^10^10000000000000000000 or so. The former is flat-out impossible.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
November 11th, 2017 at 11:44:07 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12534
I've still a few chapters to go on the Trojan War.

I knew the gist of it and, in spite of never having read the Iliad, some of the details as well. Having come to know the larger details by now, some things re rather clear:

1) Handwavium is really old. the old Greeks used it well, but it remains handwavium. So there is an explanation as to why powerful Greek kings would rally to avenge Menelaus's honor, and why the war could last ten years, and why it went from prolonged siege to active war, etc., and you only need a regular construction crane to suspend your disbelief.

2) The Greeks were either assholes or douchebags; except for Odysseus who was an enabler of assholes and douchebags.

3) the Trojans were probably assholes or douchebags as well, but the story doesn't dwell too much on them. Paris certainly was, and a coward to boot. Hector comes off rather well, with only some douchebag tendencies.

4) Achilles was an inhuman monster. Thetis should have drowned him at birth (of course, Thetis has issues of her own).

5) The worst human character,a s depicted, is Agamemnon.

6) The Olympian deities approach the Bible god in cruelty and capriciousness.

7) the ancient world was a sucky, sucky, sucky place to live.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
November 16th, 2017 at 8:04:49 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12534
Closing thoughts on the Trojan War:

Off screen voice: Agamemnon! After sacrificing your daughter to Artemis, engaging in childish feuds that cost the lives of thousands of soldiers, seeing Achilles and Ajax perish ignominiously, and having spent the last ten years on the Plains of Troy, you've finally won and found out the magnificent Trojan Treasury you've dangled as a carrot in front of your 100,000 men is nowhere to be found! What are you going to do now?

Agamemnon: We found and liberated Helen!

Odysseus: No one really gave a damn about that, you know.

Agamemnon: Menelaus did!

Off screen voice: No one who matters. Agamemnon! What are you going to do now?

Agamemnon: What do you think? head home, and hope as many men as possible die on the voyage so there will be that many fewer troublemakers to sack and pillage Mycene!

Off screen voice: Would you say getting Helen back to Sparta was worth it?

Agamemnon: Oh, fuck off!

Odysseus: Have a good trip, pal. I'll hang around here a few days.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
November 21st, 2017 at 8:50:11 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12534
I'm reading Jared Diamond's "Collapse," the sequel, of sorts, to "Guns, Germs and Steel."

I'd no idea Montana has so many environmental and social problems.
Donald Trump is a fucking liar
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