Hello, all! Up to now we have had some troubles getting posts out on time but from here on out book club posts will be released on Wednesdays. So let's jump into it.
War. Books VI-VII have been all about the battle between the Trojans (and their various allied cities) and the 'strong grieved Achaians.' These pages have been filled with detailed slaughters, strategies, and superhuman tactics. Throughout book VII They even try a second time to agree to a 1-v-1 battle to settle the war. But at the end, Helen is still in Troy and there seems to be no sign of change. The armies break to burn the corpses of their dead, and the Achaians build a defensive wall, complete with a ditch of spikes and a gate to protect their ships. They all are clearly expecting more fighting.
Meanwhile the gods look on in a worried manner, and are offended that the Achaians do not ask for their aid, especially in building the wall.
Something struck me this last week. I sent out a poll asking if the Greek gods and goddesses were anything more than superheroes, and got a comment on X about it (I'd embed the post if I knew how lol). Basically, all gentile/pagan gods are simply demons, or at least the religious structures rose out of demonic paganism.
Therefore, Homer, while being entertaining fiction, is completely foreign to the modern mind in one crucial way. These characters aren't dreamt up by some corporate storyteller, or by some writing visionary. These Greek gods and goddesses developed over a vast amount of time in mythology. These books aren't just epic poetry, they're the 'bibles' (if you like) for a society, but their scriptures are also their pop culture. That's wild; that's weird to think about. History used to be interwoven with religion, not just within the religious structure, but within all of society. The demonic forces that cause pagans to worship nature caused the Greek culture to develop a god of the sun, Zeus, and so on. The culture's war heroes indeed must have been directly enhanced by these gods and goddesses, who the Greeks saw as completely real. The thought makes me less comfortable reading this stuff than I'd been, since I don't see Iliad or Odyssey as Star Wars anymore (as an example). These were "real" histories and subjects of worship and sacrifice.
It is also an important reminder to us, who have become quite comfortable with the fact that we have lived within structures of the Truth for the last 2k years. We were a Christian society (and will be again), and so, with that level of separation from our own pagan past it is easy to forget where we come from.
Glory to God for rescuing us from the demonic hands of Zeus and the chorus of selfish, political and hierarchical gods and goddesses who help humanity at their leisure, as well as condemn them.
Don't forget, though, (speaking to myself) that this stuff is important. To set the stage for the complete conversion of the Greek (and Roman) cultures from this sort of pagan society to Christian ones will be a glorious thing to study, and one of the main reasons we are studying ancient Greece.
Here's a question to ponder this week: When did storytelling go from the mythical history of a culture to an art form that we can accept won't give us literal histories, but do tell us something important about ourselves, and can change us? I am not well read, hence the book club, but just from the short time researching books for the list, etc, I think that even the ancient Greeks had this, at least in their plays. Or, perhaps, they recognized the fictional elements within their mythical histories. Not the gods and goddesses, necessarily, but the embellished events that may not have literally happened, but that did tell something significant about the characters. Anyway, something I'll be pondering.
Alright, gang. For this week we are having a light reading. This is so that folks can catch up, if they are behind. I know of 1 or 2 folks who would appreciate that opportunity to gain ground. Therefore, we will only be reading book VIII this week.
Our reading club, brought to you by Rebuilding Christendom, is in the Greek Studies era. While I won't be posting some outrageous book club listing, since the change in direction, I will post our Greek reading list. Our current, short term listed goals are as follows:
Get a general understanding of Greek culture
Get a general understanding of Roman culture
Study the foundation and rise of Christianity
To do this, we are reading the following:
Iliad & Odyssey [We Are Here]
Aeneid by Virgil
Socrates' Children Volume I: Ancient Philosophers (section on Greek philosophers such as Plato)
Excerpts from the book "Greek Tragedies" from Penguin Classics
Thanks for reading!