Monday, May 26, 2008

Thought for the week

Marcus Aurelius shows how we can be right even when we're wrong:

'To change your mind and defer to correction is not to sacrifice your independence; for such an act is your own, in pursuance of your own impulse, your own judgement, and your own thinking.'

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thought for the week

Marcus Aurelius advocates forgiveness:

'If a man makes a slip, admonish him gently and show him his mistake. If you fail to convince him, blame yourself, or else blame nobody.'

Easy to do...?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Form V and Prometheus Bound

Form V have recently finished their study of Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. Here are some of their observations:

James Crampton writes: The play is based on the myth of Prometheus, a Titan who was punished by Zeus for giving fire to mankind. One of the play's main themes is that of tyranny and dictatorship. Zeus is represented as the ultimate tyrant because he will not honour the rules of friendship or understand such things as love or sympathy. He punishes Prometheus even though Prometheus was the deciding factor in his victory over his father Kronos. The punishment is presented as particularly reprehensible not because it is harsh, but because it is imposed on someone who was a friend. Aeschylus intentionally highlights this fact by inserting references to friendship throughout the play.

Prometheus and Zeus square off as the representatives of intelligence and the invisible symbol of force. Zeus' henchmen mock Prometheus for not being clever enough to avoid punishment, and both the Chorus and Oceanus blame him for this, in a more sympathetic manner, by telling him to give in to the power of dictatorship. In the end Prometheus never gives in to Zeus and keeps his pride because he was treated wrongly by Zeus.

I really enjoyed studying this ancient play. It was very interesting and deals with many themes that are relevant to modern life. It was well written and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Classics.

Mikeila Cameron writes: This ancient Greek play has very modern ideas. It is about the individual against the state.Prometheus stole fire and gave it to humans. Zeus, who has just come to power, punishes Prometheus by chaining him to a rock at the world's end. The only way for him to be released is to tell Zeus his destiny and how to prevent his fall from power.

Prometheus is visitied by a number of people. Firstly Oceanus tries to persuade him to tell Zeus about his destiny and thus end his own suffering. Then Io arrives. She is cursed because Zeus lusts after her. Hera is jealous so she changes Io into a cow who is constantly stung by a gadfly and forced to wander the earth. Prometheus tells Io her fate and her future suffering.

Hermes, the messenger of Zeus, comes along to tell him that he will suffer even more if he doesn't tell Zeus the future. But Prometheus remains stubborn. Then the earth crumbles around him and he falls beneath it.

Zeus, although not a character in the play, appears in the conversations of the characters, representing a typical modern day dictator.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thought for the week

Marcus Aurelius gives his own version of 'virtue is its own reward':

'Have I done an unselfish thing? Well then, I have my reward. Keep this thought ever present, and persevere.'

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thought for the week

Here, Marcus Aurelius is uncharacteristic in tone. He may have just read a biography of Nero, or perhaps he was being prescient about his own son and successor, the cruel and wanton Commodus:

'A black heart! A womanish, wilful heart; the heart of a brute, a beast of the field; childish, stupid, and false; a huckster's heart, a tyrant's heart.'

Monday, May 5, 2008

In One Piece

The Bay of Naples MMVIII tour returned this afternoon safe, sound and all in one piece; and to weather not disimilar to that enjoyed by our 18 pupils and 4 staff in Campania for the past 5 days and nights. It was a wonderful time - really, really worthwhile, though we say it ourselves. Youngsters matured, bonded, engaged with the ancient world...and modern Naples in all its frenetic energy, colour and cultural unfamiliarity.

Many thanks to understanding staff whose pupils missed lessons for this valuable opportunity; and to parents who have been supportive in making it possible for their children to experience this unique region.

As always we promise photos to follow...where have you heard that before?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Today Was a Good Day, Today was a Damn Fine Day

Another scorcher draws to a close. The hottest so far, lovely though.

We set out at a leisurely pace for the town of Pozzuoli north of Naples to visit both the famous Solfatara, a volcanic crater that still appears very active to this day and the Flavian amphitheatre, Itay's third largest. Both went down well with the punters. It's really facinating when you come from placid old Dublin to just wander off a quiet street into an ancient steaming moonscape...the gates of hades.

After the amphitheatre (where Richard Brett gave us an introductory talk about the different functions it served) we lunched & browsed & eventually headed back to Naples proper for a conducted tour of a fraction of the artefacts housed by the National Archaeological Museum. The pupils were struck by seeing in the flesh artefacts they had only looked at laminated in a poster on the walls of Blackburn. The cabinet of secrets raised a few giggles.

This post has been brought to you by Tired but Happy Productions. A demani!

Friday, May 2, 2008

We've Lived the Slogan

Hobbie Rollis even wrote a melody, we say wrote, we mean : made up. Venimus vidimus vesuvium ascendimus. Today we reached the crater had a talk from a man who claimed to know about plates etc. & Dr. Stone spoke too. A haze (of heat) hung over the bay but the royal blue T shirt brigade stood proud for a photograph at the heart of where it all began.

All well here, in other words. We had a great tour of Herculaneum in the morning with a living breathing Italian archaeologist, a rapid lunch & then the climb to Vesuvio's summit.

Tomorrow's our Pozzuoli day with a late afternoon date at the Archaeological Museum in the heart of Naples...join us!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This is Just to Say...

All is well here in Naples at the end of 2nd day, or first full day. Yesterday after an unholy, early morning start we arrived, checked in & headed off to Pompeii for an early evening stroll through Scavi Pompeii. Beautiful. A real eye opener for the pupils to see things in the flesh...and we're back there on Sunday.

Today was a national holiday, May Day so we took a day trip to Sorrento. I think i'll get one of the troops to clog up the journey on the Circumvesuviana, it was something else. The swim was good too.

Now we're off for pizza, so have to dash.

Clog you later.