Category: About Chronolit

Not finishing everything on my plato

Not finishing everything on my plato

Ok I have looked ahead and made the decision to NOT read the rest of Plato except for The Laws (which is a biggie) and Timeaus and Critias (which at least sound interesting).

So I will be pushing the following Brussels sprouts to the side : Parmenides, Theaetetus, The Sophist, The Statesman, and Philebus. After all, life is short, and I’ll never get to Dickens if I don’t make some concessions.

After all, as Socrates himself said : “Party on, dudes!”

2016, 2017 and all that

2016, 2017 and all that

Hi everyone, wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year !

I can’t begin to guess where I might be or what I might be doing this time next year – 2016 has brought a lot of both expected and unexpected changes, not the least of which was leaving my job after 24 years.

As far as reading goes, I will close 2016 with 100 classics under my belt (74 of these read in 2016), and 2 successful spin challenges from the Classics Club, but still plowing through the Ancient Greeks, which I had hoped to be finished now, and The Old Testament. Both of these should be truly finished by the end of 2017. I would like to think I will also be finished the Ancient Roman literature, but only time will tell.

In addition to the above, I also hope to complete the Popsugar Reading Challenge for 2017 https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/152458-ultimate-popsugar-reading-challenge

and also read the Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and L. Frank Baum’s Oz series for some light relief as joint reads.  That’s a big call with over 120 books in total across four goals, so looking forward to making a start first thing Sunday morning!

Again, best wishes to you and your families, and keep on reading!

Delay in posting

Apologies for the delay in a new post – my library is going through a workplace change process and there is not as yet a clear outcome for me. Either I will have a whole lot more free time to read and post in the near future, or I will find myself in a new role which might require some time to adjust. Please bear with me. bear

Reading the tragedies of the House of Atreidae in story order

This post is not about the Frank Herbert Dune family (sorry Geoff), but the various surviving Greek tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides which tell the story of the descendants of King Atreus of Mycenae. All these three Tragedians told various episodes of the story, which also interlace with Homer’s Iliad.

They can be read in the order they were written (chronologically) as I did, or within each playwright’s oeuvre. But if someone wanted to use them to read the history of the family in order (for those budding directors looking for a replacement for the Game of Thrones saga perhaps), it would look something like this, with inconsistencies within according to the author and the emphasis of the play. The way some characters such as Odysseus and Menelaus, Clytemnestra and Electra are portrayed is interesting to compare.

Iphigenia in Aulis (Euripides)

Philoctetes (Sophocles)

Rhesos (Euripides)

The Iliad (Homer)

The Women of Troy (Euripides)

Hecabe (Euripides)

Agamemnon (Aeschylus)

The Libation Bearers (Choephori)  (Aeschylus)  or  Electra  (Sophocles)

The Furies (Eumenides) (Aeschylus)

Iphigenia in Tauris (Euripides)

Helen (Euripides)

Electra (Euripides)

Andromache (Euripides)

Because Agamemnon and Menelaus came to their thrones via their father Atreus, who had previously ascended to the throne of Mycenae when King Eurystheus died fighting the Heracelidae, so the various Heracles plays could precede this series. Other sequels shooting off from The Iliad include the tales of Odysseus, told in Cyclops (Euripides) and The Odyssey (Homer), and the fate of Ajax in Sophocles’ Ajax.

The 1st annual Chronie awards

chronieTo mark the successful anniversary of the Chronolit blog, I have spared no expense to bring you a post of unparalleled spectacle and glamour, as stars from the pages of classical literature and the all-important technical geniuses behind the scenes walk the red carpet, all hoping to take home a coveted Chronie award.

Tonight’s event will be hosted by those two larrikins of laughter, Aesop and Aristophanes. But first we have the stars arriving in chariots pulling up to the front of glorious Mount Olympus, the site of this glittering event. Walking the red carpet and receiving the amorous glances of many of the crowd are those delightful goddesses of stage and temple, Hera, Athena and of course Aphrodite, as well as the beautiful Helen, and the demure Sita wearing a stunning sari of gold and diamonds.

Votes for tonight’s awards have been carefully collated by the oracular firm of Cassandra and co., who of course knew the winners long before they are actually announced.

We can’t take you inside Mount Olympus of course but we have the results coming through now:

Best epic :       The Ramayana beats Homer’s heavily favoured The Iliad and sequel The Odyssey

Best tragedy  :     Medea by Euripides wins over a large field of contenders

Best comedy   :   The Thesmophoriazusae by Aristophanes

Best Costume Design : The Wasps, by Aristophanes, which also takes out the Chronie for Best Choreography

Best musical :      The Clouds by Aristophanes, featuring the hit song, Make me a winner (and you can have me for your dinner) by Strepsiades

Best special effects  :       The Ramayana outshines a strong contingent including the Mahabharata and the Book of Moses

Best battle scenes   :        The Mahabharata.

Worst read  :                       Theognis’ Elegies in a close run with The Book of Deuteronomy

Worst woman to scorn  : Medea inches past the Furies

Worst family curse : The Oedipus curse easily surpasses even the much-fancied Oresteians

Best drinking buddy  :      Enkidu, who unfortunately could not be with us here tonight, and his award is accepted by his good friend, King Gilgamesh

That’s all for this year. Please join us again for next year’s Chronies, to be held at the Colloseum, where it is rumoured a strong home-grown Latin contingent may sweep the field. Thank you all and good night!

Impatience

While I am enjoying and valuing the connections I am making by reading classic literature in approximately chronological order, I do feel the occasional weakening of determination and the call of a favourite author from much later. Shakespeare winks and beckons from the shelves, foaming beer glass in hand. Austen blushes behind her fan, and shows a shapely ankle, while Dickens blusters, and Washington Irving, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde nod and wave with a twinkling eye. Other, less familiar poets and playwrights : Coleridge and Wordsworth, Whitman, Chekhov and Shaw, smile and hint at as-yet unknown pleasures. Hugo and Dumas toast me from a Parisian sidewalk cafe. Travellers such as Chaucer, Marco Polo, John Muir and Jack Kerouac offer to share a campfire. Lovecraft and Lewis and King stand in front of heavy blood-red curtains, offering a peek inside, while Wells and Verne stand beside a huge telescope peering into the heavens.

So I am more encouraged than ever to make sure I finish with the Classical Greeks by year end, and earn my laurels. My Roman toga is back from the dry cleaners ready for 2017 when I will be invading Britain with Caesar and climbing the Alps on elephant back with Hannibal.