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Little Latin, Less Greek

This image has not been photoshopped, it’s a faithful reproduction of a jumbled road sign I encountered this morning on my walk to the creek. “Little Latin and less Greek” came to mind, mainly because I’m currently immersed in ancient history.

I’ve learned that Greek merchants of the 8th and 7th centuries BCE marketed wine to the masses with the suggestion that even dirty and ignorant commoners could themselves experience the pleasures enjoyed by aristocrats who held symposia in their mansions. Also that symposion in Greek means "drinking-together gathering." And that American diamond magnates in the 30s and 40s paid Hollywood to show handsome young men in white tie presenting their fiancés diamond engagement rings, which of course then led to a “tradition” that made the magnates even richer.

It’s always about money, eh?

The photo below captures the feel of the American Heartland. You gotta fly the flag in yer front yard, otherwise someone might think you’re a God-denying Librul who voted for “that one” in the last election.

Go Sarah!

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Actually, how do you know that that isn't someone flying a flag for the first time -- since Obama won?
Conservatives don't 'own' the flag.
And -- there's just as many bigots on both coasts of the U.S. as there is in 'the heartland' -- while Indiana turned blue this year, California voted on prop 8.

Things aren't always what they used to be --- and that's a good thing.

Just idle speculation on my part. Times ARE changing, thank God! Although yesterday I kept seeing Sarah, and even John McCain on TV....like they just won't go away.

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Thanks! Here's what I'm reading:

The semi-ritualistic drinking of wine can be traced back to the Homeric times of mid-eighth century BC, when warriors would feast and drink together. In the late Archaic age, following dining, the aristocratic elite would hold symposia, from the Greek words “drinking together,” where drinking, sexual behavior, and political discussion would ensue. Here, a sense of bonding and exclusivity was fostered.

The Classical symposium became a forum for intellectual dialogues by the mid-fourth century BC. Plato and Xenophon, representing Athens and Sparta respectively, each wrote a work entitled “Symposium,” focusing on intellectual pursuit during the drinking party. While elite symposia were cultivating knowledge, the basic custom was becoming more accessible and in vogue. By the mid-fourth century BC, most middle-class houses were equipped with symposium rooms (andrones). The elite symposium continued to thrive in the courts of Hellenistic kings, and such Hellenistic drinking was introduced to the Romans along with wine and other intellectual pursuits.

I've amended my text with the info you kindly provided. And I note with a smile that as a practicing hesychast your journal contains no entries!

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Thanks. Are you familiar with the Cup of Nestor, found in a 750 BCE necropolis on the island of Ischia in the bay of Naples?

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I'm writing a novel in which the cup plays a significant role--as the vehicle of a sex/love spell as well as one of the earliest examples of Ionic Greek alphabetical writing--and since you appear to be knowledgable about the ancient history of that part of the world I thought I might solicit your comments.

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Back in 1988 I encountered a piece by Anne Carson in the NY Times Book Review.


Seven years later in America, I met an Italian woman from Ischia. She was surprised that I knew about her island, and about the cup found in Lacco.

I'm as interested in the cup's spell as I am about the language inscribed on it. The language leads to Homer, to the Odyssey, etc., etc. Fertile ground for a novelist!

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