The Subdivision of Classical Greece

In 2012 I divided Chapter 2 of my European History into two parts.  That is the page where I shared what I know about classical Greece, and because that is one of the ancient civilizations we know the most about, the page was long and cumbersome.  The division was to make it easier on both the eyes and search engine spiders, but it was still larger than I liked.  So today, being shut in by another "polar vortex," I subdivided each of the two pages, meaning there are now four pages making up Chapter 2.

I was also able to organize the subject matter in the four parts better than I had before.  Although I did not give each page a separate name, the narrative now runs smoothly as follows:

Part 1 = The whole pre-classical era, when Greek civilization was developing.
Part 2 = The golden age of Athens.
Part 3 = The decline of Greece, from the Peloponnesian War to the arrival of the Romans in the neighborhood.
Part 4 = Greek religion and philosophy.

Here is the new layout.  Read and enjoy, if you haven’t done so previously.


Chapter 2: Classical Greece

1000 to 197 B.C.
Part I

What Made Classical Greece So Special?

The Archaic Period


Aristocracy, Oligarchy, and Tyranny

Militant Sparta

The Athenian Road to Democracy

The Persian Wars

Why the Greeks Won

Part II

Athenian Democracy

Greek Medicine

Hellenic Poetry and Drama

Hellenic Architecture, Sculpture and Pottery

Athenian Society

Athenian Imperialism

Athenian-Spartan Rivalry

Part III

The Peloponnesian War

Spartan and Theban Ascendancy

Philip of Macedon

Alexander’s Empire Up For Grabs

Hellenistic Devolution

Part IV

Pre-Classical Greek Religion

The Early Philosophers

The Sophists and Socrates

Plato and Aristotle

Other Developments in Greek Philosophy

Finding a Long-Lost Relative

My brother Chris just got back from another trip to south Florida.  On the way back he visited Fort Meade, in the southernmost part of Polk County, to check on a relative who once lived there.  That was Valentine Bock (1841-1913), a great-great-grandfather on our mother’s side of the family.  As far as we know, he is the first member of our family to move to Florida.

Sure enough, he is buried in Fort Meade’s cemetery, along with his second wife (he divorced his first wife when she refused to go to Florida).  I’ll let my brother tell more in the video:

Call Me Old Queer, and Get It Over With

NBC:  This Gold-Medalist Is Living An "Alternative Lifestyle" Because He Has a Wife and Child

My goodness, has “gay” become the new “straight?”  David Wise is one of our gold medal winners at the winter Olympics, and NBC is concerned because he has a wife and a two-year-old girl, though he is just 23 years old.  The NBC reporter calls it an “alternative lifestyle” and the “lifestyle of an adult.”  Click on the link above for the story.

Granted, they probably think that way because Obamacare has moved the age of adulthood up from 18 to 26.  But it wasn’t that long ago when being married with children at the age of 23 was perfectly normal.  It could have been my lifestyle if I had married earlier in life; heck, my daughter did it.  And Mr. Wise is even talking about becoming a pastor someday, so I’m guessing they live by Christian standards at home – another thing my family does, too.

Thirty years ago, some folks at my university tried to launch what they called the “Alternative Lifestyles Organization.”  It wasn’t about getting married and raising a family.  It was about promoting deviant sex that had been banned by the law and/or by the churches.  The conservative columnist for the local newspaper renamed the group the “Oral Sex Club,” and the group’s promoters were laughed off the campus.

I am also reminded of a science fiction novel I read in the 1980s, "The Forever War," by Joe Haldeman.  The hero of the story is a straight army officer born in 1970 named William Mandella, and in the early 21st century he is drafted to fight a war in space.  Every time he travels to a new star to fight another battle, time dilation and the effects of the theory of relativity mean he won’t age much, but hundreds of years go by on earth.  While he is away, homosexuality is encouraged to stop population growth.  Eventually Mandella finds himself the oldest veteran of the war, and in command of a unit where everyone else is homosexual; they don’t like his 21st century accent and heterosexuality, and call him "Old Queer."  Now I’m wondering if our society is starting to think that way already.

I Can See the Bluegrass

I hear that Barack Obama is in a foul mood, because yesterday was President’s Day and he did not get all the gifts he wanted (LOL).

But seriously, it felt like spring started today, more than a month before the calendar says it should.  When I lived in central Florida, February 18 was the unofficial first day of spring.  That’s the last day when a frost is likely in the Orlando area, and the azaleas, orange blossoms and other flowers bloom very soon after that.  Here in Kentucky the temperature warmed up as high as 58 today.  For the first time in a month, maybe two, Leive and I were able to go through most of the day without the furnace running.

It also meant most of the snow melted outside, so we can now see the grass again.  No, it’s not blue yet or even green; it will probably remain brown until March.  Still it’s yet another sign that the winter storm is behind us, and life is returning to normal.

Please Punish Me With a Job!

I learned back in the 1990s that when a politician lies to the public, it’s called “spin.”  You can probably think of some examples.  For example, in “1984,” George Orwell famously had the ultimate dictatorship proclaim these slogans:

“War is peace.  Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is strength.”

More recently, during the current winter, we have been told by environmentalists that the extreme cold we are getting is caused by global warming, hence, “Cold is hot.”

Now over the past week, we heard a new one, “Idleness is better than work.”  It’s not hard to understand why some folks are saying that.  The economy is still recovering at such a slow rate, that for all practical purposes, the 2008 recession never ended.  Each month when the job figures are announced, there are fewer new jobs created than Washington, DC would like.  Then a week ago came the CBO report, which predicted that Obamacare is going to eliminate 2.5 million more jobs than expected, over the next three years.


Immediately folks in high places like Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and The New York Times, declared the loss of jobs is all right, because people no longer have to worry about losing their insurance when they are out of work.  And then there is a “Professor of Leisure Studies” (I did not make up that title), one Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, who declared that people out of work are in a better position to realize their true potential, and that the jobs eliminated are jobs that people don’t really want to work at, anyway.  Here’s a link to his article:

Why Do Republicans Want Us to Work All the Time?

What a crock.  For as long as recorded history, we have been taught that work is a virtue, and that it is better to be “working hard” than “hardly working.”  As far back as the Book of Genesis, God told Adam that he is going to have to work for a living (Genesis 3:14).  Then in the New Testament, we are told that a person who will not work, should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  So as long as I am available to work and nobody will hire me, I feel like I am cheating the system.  We have not yet reached the stage where machines can do all of our work for us, so every person not working is a burden on someone else.  As one without a job, I can say that I feel like only half the man I used to be, and when others ask me what I do for a living, I am tired of saying “Nothing at all.”

I thought we were headed in the right direction a day or so before the above announcements, when President Obama said corporations ought to give more consideration to hiring the long-term unemployed, like myself.  Indeed, it is the first time in the past few years I have agreed with the president on anything.  But now it appears some liberals have developed reverse peristalsis, or feedback of the bowels, because they think work is some kind of punishment.  What good is a college course in “leisure studies,” anyway?  If I took it, would it allow me to get any kind of job, aside from teaching the same course later?  For the record, I have been uninsured for at least half of my adult life, because I worked at jobs that did not have health insurance, and if I have to choose in the future between a job and health insurance, I am going to take the job every time.

Cold In the Wrong Places

Well, here in Kentucky we are now getting a bit of relief from this brutal winter.  I never thought I’d call 32 degrees F. a “warming trend,” but for the first time in nearly a week the temperature warmed up to freezing yesterday; then today it got up to around 43.  Some more snow is forecast for Friday, so let’s see if we can melt what we already got first; my driveway needs to be cleared of ice.

You’ve probably heard that temperatures here are more moderate because the winter storms moved to the South on Wednesday, leaving ice from Alabama to North Carolina, and the storms clobbered the east coast on Thursday.  My daughter Lindy left a message on Facebook saying they lost power in their part of Georgia on Wednesday, and waited it out at a restaurant.  So far I haven’t been able to talk with her and find out how long the outage lasted, or which restaurant they went to.  No doubt little Lexi found this to be an adventure.  Would you believe that today it was colder in Georgia than it was here in Kentucky?

My brother found an old map of the South, dated around 1825, and color-coded to show what we’re experiencing now.  It figures he would, LOL.  Last summer we had more than the usual number of cicadas; do they count as frozen locusts now?


On the other hand, they’re having the opposite problem at the Winter Olympics; the temperature at Sochi has climbed to 60 degrees for the past two days!  That’s making for slushy conditions at the outdoor events, and causing all kinds of problems for the athletes.  If anyone is supposed to be cold right now, they are!

Remember how the 2010 Winter Olympics suffered from a shortage of snow because it was held in Vancouver, the mildest spot in all of Canada?  Obviously the folks in charge of the games learned nothing from that, because this time they are having the games in one of the balmiest spots in Russia.  You’d think that holding winter games in Russia would not present this problem, after Russian winters defeated more than one enemy invading the country.  But Sochi is a subtropical Black Sea resort; they have palm trees along the beach, for crying out loud!  Maybe they would have done better hosting the summer games?

Of course we know why Sochi was picked for the 2014 games; for the Olympic Committee, money talks, and Sochi’s money talked loudest.  Still, they should have thought this one through more, and not just because of the climate.  We heard how the hotels and various other facilities were not ready when the games began, and the location is near enough to Chechnya to generate valid fears about terrorist attacks.  After the games are done, I doubt if anyone will say that Sochi was a good choice for the meeting place.  My guess is that Moscow and St. Petersburg were not picked because they don’t have mountains nearby, for the skiing and sledding events.  Perhaps a city in the Urals, like Ufa, Perm or Yekaterinburg, could have handled the games?

And while the Olympic Committee is paying more attention to what the host cities can pay them, as opposed to checking out conditions at the actual sites, I propose that the 2018 Winter Olympic games be held in Hilo, Hawaii.  After all, the nearby volcano, Mauna Loa, had snow and a blizzard on it, less than two weeks ago.  And the environmentalists can fuss about how global warming is ruining the games, the way they are doing with the Sochi games right now, while the rest of us freeze parts of our bodies off.