Histories and Education

February 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , )

Landmark-HerodotusIn my pursuit for knowledge, and for schooling my own child, I have been pretty diligent about reading as much history as I have the mental capacity to remember.  That means I read at least one non-fiction book a month (whether history or not) and I include one non-fiction book per quarter in the Half Price Books Humble Book Club line up.

This quarter we’re planning to discuss Herodotus’ Histories in March.  (We meet the first Monday of the Month at 7:30 pm.) This isn’t just a fascinating work to read for book club, it was also on my life long list of books to read before I die.  It’s a tome; but it’s important, I think.

Not only is it important, I have a pretty awesome copy (The Landmark Herodotus) that I find completely beautiful as well as an extra ratty paperback copy for scribbling in.

So as I make my way through this book, that could serve as a book press for other books if I ever needed it to, I will share with you the gathered notes of our club members:

THE HISTORY OF HERODOTUS

(Notes provided by Glenn Ray)

Book 1 CLIO

Below are the important kings and many of their exploits from book 1 ‘CLIO’. There are 9 books in all.

The ‘¶’ below is used to represent chapter #’s in this book.

A vertical line ‘|’ on a row by itself means next person down is child of this king.

NOTE: Where there is not a ¶ starting the line, then these are mostly from Wikipedia.

Below are 3 lines of kings, not all ancestral succession:

  1. Lydia (modern day western Turkey) kings: Gyges, Ardys, Sadyattes, Alyattes, Croesus

  2. Mede/Persian kings: Deioces, …Cyaxares, AstyagesCyrus the Great, … Tomyris of Massagetae (not Mede or Persian) …

  3. Darius I

Gyges

(¶8 Candaules was king of Sardis & Lydia before Gyges,

& his favorite spearmen was Gyges;

Candaules shows Gyges his wife (Nyssia) naked)

(¶11,12, 13 Gyges, at Nyssia’s command, kills Candaules, becomes king; but

that vengeance for the Heracleidai (descendants of Heracles (Hercules)) will come upon the descendants of Gyges in the fifth generation [that being Croesus below].)

(Gyges reigned from 716 BC to 678 BC (or from c. 680–644 BC).)

(¶14 led an army against Miletus)

|

Ardys

(Ardys II or Ardysus II) 678-629 BC (or 644-c.625)

(¶15 became king of Lydia; and continues daddy’s fight against Miletus)

|

Sadyattes

(629-617 BC (or c.625-c.600))

(¶16 became king of Lydia for 12 years; made war vs Cyaxares – king of Medes)

(¶18 and continues daddy’s fight against Miletus)

|

Alyattes

king of Lydia (619–560 BC)

(capital Sardis, & controlled all Asia Minor west of the River Halys, except Lycia.)

(fought against Cyaxares – king of Media, during the Battle of Halys, /wikipedia)

(¶18 and continues daddy’s fight against Miletus)

(¶25 reigned 75 years)

|

Croesus (pronounced ‘KREE-sus’)

(GLR: some info below is from: http://www.ancient.eu.com/croesus/)

King of Lydia 560-547 BC (palace of Croesus was at Sardis.)

(GLR: Croesus, you will see, is one mean grandpa)

(funded construction of the great Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. / http://www.ancient.eu.com/croesus/)

(¶30 asks Solon who is happiest).

(Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet)

(¶53 Croesus is also famous for asking the Oracle at Delphi whether he should go to war against Persia. And… destroy a great empire)

(¶55 Croesus consulted the Oracle & was told …a mule of the Medes shall be monarch…)

(¶69 alliance with the Lacedemonians)

(¶73 marching into Cappadokia to fight Cyrus, who to avenge his brother-in-law Astyages (who was defeated by Cyrus)

(¶79 Croesus’ horses feared the camels of Cyrus and ran.)

(¶84 Cyrus’ man Hyroiades scaled the wall of the citadel at Sardis and Croesus is defeated)

(¶86-7 Croesus in the Pyre)

(¶91 Croesus learns the mule = Cyrus)

Deïokes (or Deioces)

(In the late 8th century BC)

(¶96 – was the first king of the Medes per Herodotus.

(¶97…his decisions proved to be according to the truth)

|

Phraortes

king of Media 665 – 633 BC)

(Phraortes started wars against Assyria, but was defeated

and killed by Ashurbanipal, the king of Neo-Assyria.)

|

Cyaxares [or Kyaxares in Gutenberg version]

king of Media 625–585 BC)

(¶73 Scythians serve Cyaxares human meat, and Scythians runaway to Alyattes at Sardis for protection)

|

Astyages

(king of Media 585 BC-550 BC)

(ruled in alliance with his two brothers-in-law, Croesus king of Lydia

and Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, whose wife, Amytis, Astyages’ sister,

was the queen for whom Nebuchadnezzar was said to have built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon)

(¶108 dream abo vine from Mandane; ordered Harpagos to kill grandson [Cyrus])

(¶118, 119 Astyages serves Harpagos his own son)

(Bible xref: Daniel 13:65(1)(1)This is per the “Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition” of the Bible, note the KJV stops at chapter 12.)

|

¶107 Daughter – Mandane married Cambyses from Persia

|

Cyrus the Great,

king of Persia, 600 BC or 576 BC–530 BC

(¶55, 56 & 91 Cyrus is the mule)

(Bible xref: 2 Chron 36:22-33; Ezra 1:1-8, 3:7; 4:3,5; 5:13-17, 6:3,14, Isaiah 44:28, 45:1,13; Daniel 1:21, 6:28, 10:1,

and 1 Esdras 2. [Note: Church councils rejected 1 and 2 Esdras as non-canonical])

(was the monarch under whom the Israelites Babylonian captivity ended / Wikipedia)

(was prompted by God to make a decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt / Wikipedia)

(¶79 Cyrus uses camels against Croesus’ horses (horses fear the camels and ran.)

(¶84 Cyrus’ man Hyroiades scaled the wall of the citadel at Sardis and Croesus is defeated)

(¶141 Cyrus spoke fable to the Ionians and Aiolians, piper played for the fishes in the sea)

(¶155-156 Cyrus takes on his mean grandpa Croesus [who multiple times tried killing Cyrus] as closest councilor)

(¶178-183 Cyrus plans  & does to conquer Assyria & Babylon; Describes city of Babylon)

(¶205 Cyrus attempts to conquer Massagetae & their queen Tomyris)

(¶209 Cyrus dreamed Dareios/Darius would attempt to over throw him)

(¶211, captures 1/3 of her army & son Spargapises sleeping)

(¶213 -214, After Tomyris’ son, commits suicide, she defeats & kills Cyrus & give thee thy fill of blood.)

(¶216, Massagetae custom: when a man becomes very old, he is slaughtered, flesh boiled and the family banquet upon it.)

Darius I 550–486 BC

the third king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire

(Reigned 522 BC to 486 BC (36 years))

(Darius is mentioned in the Biblical books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Haggai, and Zechariah.)

(¶187 Darius attempts to rob Babylon Queen Nitocris’ grave)

(¶199. Now the most shameful of the customs of the Babylonians…)

More notes to come as we progress through our readingXenophon. And when I’m done with Herodotus, I plan to conquer Xenophon…

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I challenge everyone to pick up any ancient history book and learn something about the world they didn’t know before this year.  The most fascinating thing to me about it all is that, even though civilizations change and grow and change and grow… people essentially, are always – at their core – pretty much the same.  I love learning about the world today through the eyes of our past.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Papyrus – truly a thriller

January 21, 2014 at 3:08 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

papyrusTitle: Papyrus

Author: John Oehler

Genre: Suspense, Historical Fiction

Length: 326 pages

I’ve wanted to read this book since the second I saw its cover.  Mainly because John Oehler wrote it and I really enjoy his writing.   I read and reviewed Aphrodesia awhile back and I swear I blushed for a month, so I knew Oehler’s writing was phenomenal.  Add my obsession for all things Egyptian, and I was completely sold.

Many times this level of anticipation won’t work out well for a reader.  There’s too much pressure on the book.  How could it possibly live up?

Papyrus took my expectations in stride and out did itself.

Historical fiction all the way, there are still two different timelines – the ancient past (the 18th Dynasty of Egypt) and the not so ancient past (1977, during the war between Eritrea and Ethiopa).  I enjoyed the banter and flirtation between these timelines and the story.  It was woven together well and never missed a beat or left the reader feeling out of sorts with the rhythm of the tale.

In 1977, Oehler’s Rika Teferi is both a scholar and a warrior of Eritrea.  This was an attribute so enticing for my black belt and book nerdy self that I spent two hours in a local Starbucks devouring this book instead of watching the Broncos beat the Patriots on Sunday.  I loved her for her strength, her beauty, and ultimately for her intelligence.

Dive into ancient Egypt and Queen Tiye is completely riveting, especially since most my academic studies have focused on Hatshepsut and Nefertiti.  It was refreshing to have Akhenaten’s mother be the focus, as I don’t think she is as common a fictional pursuit as other Eqyptian Queens.  (The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Pauline Gedge’s The Twelfth Transforming – also stellar writing, but I was apparently so disappointed with the story it seems I have given that title away.)  I do not own any nonfiction work devoted primarily to Tiye either, but Oehler’s version of her offered a pretty tempting reason to go find some.

As always Oehler handles the story arch with such grace and ease – I am jealous.  He writes stories where things happen. Not just anything, but powerful and exciting things.  Foreign countries, different times, bombs, planes, diplomats, ancient manuscripts, tombs, revolutionaries, romance…!  His books are award winners with good reason and he is one of Houston’s best kept secrets.  It is amazing to me that this was Oehler’s first novel.

tyre44

Permalink 3 Comments

Eratosthenes

October 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Measured-EarthTitle: The Librarian Who Measured The Earth

Author: Kathryn Lasky

Illustrations: Kevin Hawkes

I stumbled on this book by complete accident.  Most my homeschooling tools I seek out or find while searching the non-fiction section with a thought in mind.  This book I merely acquired and had no idea it was going to be added to our core curriculum.

Although I love the Sir Cumference books, I often wondered how I would properly include those books into a classical education for my child when studying the circumference belongs in the times of Ancient Greece.  Now I have my solution.  Sir Cumference will be fun re-iteration of facts learned.  Where The Librarian Who Measured will definitely be a part of our first years of school.

EratosthenesI’m sure I learned about this guy at some point in school, but it didn’t sink in.  His name didn’t even sound vaguely familiar when I started reading this story to kiddo before bed last night.  But as I read, my mind raced to the day we will sit and discuss Eratothenes in context.  We will talk about Ancient Greece and the ancient libraries.  We will discuss oranges and circumferences.  We will talk about the planet and maps of the world.  We will study things in a manner in which she will remember it – as opposed to a passing one liner in a text book.  This book made me happy for days of school in our future.

 

Permalink 3 Comments

The Olympians

September 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

thelightningthief__spanWe finally finished The Lightning Thief (book one of the Percy Jackson series) a week or so ago.  Man, reading that thing out loud was a bit of  a doosey and took us a whole month of before bedtime reading.  While reading Percy Jackson by night, bless his little adventurous demi-god heart, we’ve been going over our next Magic Tree House Adventure by day…

Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics

Magic Tree House Research Guide: Ancient Greece and the Olympics (which we just finished this morning over breakfast and coffee).

Also during this little stint we’ve read and re-read the Golden Books: Disney’s Hercules… over and over and over again.  And the little Grecian wanna-be has enjoyed the movie probably too many times than can be good for her little developing brain.

Hercules_DisneyThe Odyssey retold by Robin Lister is a gem, but at this point – with kiddo not even three yet – we’ve only browsed through the pictures while actually reading Gods & Goddesses in the Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks.  Kiddo is really into all this stuff and is still insisting we have her “Percules Birthday Party with three candles.”  Which is poor people code for: all the children shall wear sheets and we’ll do a laurel wreath craft and play with cardboard swords because I’m not buying decorations.  Also, it will be a good excuse to serve a lot of grapes…

All in all, tromping through this stuff now with her so little has helped me wrap my brain around the plans we have for ages 5 & 10, roughly.  Keep lots of wiggle room in mind.

Ancient Greece & Rome Lesson Plan/ List Age 5

Start Latin Lessons

Haywood pages 46-57

Black Ships Before Troy – Sutcliffe (Iliad) along with Haywood pg. 206

The Odyssey Retold by Lister

Memorize some facts about the people listed on Haywood pgs. 50-51

Haywood pgs. 108-115 (2 crafts)

Gods & Goddesses from Greek Myths

Haywood pgs. 168-175 (2 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 228-233 (2 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 342-349 (3 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 404-411 (3 crafts)

In Search of a Homeland – Lively (Aeneid)

Haywood pg. 466 + Mosaic project

Haywood pgs. 472-477 (2 crafts)

Of course I’d like to include a trip to the museum.

Relevant Magic Tree House Books: #13 Vacation Under a Volcano, RG Ancient Rome & Pompeii, and of course #16 Hour of the Olympics, RG Ancient Greece & The Olympics

Relevant Magic School Bus during any Pompeii study: #15 Voyage to the Volcano (although this title occurs in modern Hawaii, it explains in true Magic School Bus form all the inner workings of a Volcano)

Then come age 10-ish, we will start repeating the Ancient school lessons, as per our classical education plan.  We’ll re-use Haywood, do projects we may have skipped over, repeat ones she liked a lot… but add these things…

Ancient Greece & Rome Lesson Plan/ List Age 9-10

Start covering the Greek Alphabet (we hope to be pretty Latin literate by then)

Archimedes and the Door of Science

Gods & Goddesses in the Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks

The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Roman World

The Odyssey as Retold Mary Pope Osborne (to be read on her own or together as a family), the author of the Magic Tree House books.

The Percy Jackson series by Riordan

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Greek Mythology… with children

August 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

(Weekly Low Down on Kids Books)

mythologyUnfortunately this awesome image is not from a book. I think it’s from a video game.

The kiddo and I have been reading Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  Is she a little young to catch everything, of course, she’s not yet three.  Is she following the story? Better than you might imagine.  I highly recommend that parents read kids stories that are far outside the child’s reading level.  By doing this they are exposed to mature language styles sooner, learn new vocabulary words, and in the case of Rick Riordan, appreciate Disney movies like Hercules that much more.

We’re not finished reading Percy Jackson, so this review isn’t about that.  This review is about picture books we’ve been reading during the day in preparation for our before bed time romps with Riordan’s Olympians.

godsTitle: Gods and Goddesses from Greek Myths

Publisher: McGraw Hill Childrens/ Peter Bendrick Books/ Octopus Publishing Group

Retold by: Pat Rosner

Illustrated by:  Olwyn Whelan

ISBN: 1-57768-508-3

Typically I provide links and images to the book, where you can find and purchase it, etc.  But it seems that Gods and Goddesses lives an off the grid book life.  It seems to be extremely difficult to find online and I was in the middle of typing here that I could not find it when I got the idea to check hpbmarketplace.com.  I purchased it from a Half Price Books a few years ago, but sure enough the marketplace wins again!  As you browse through the prices, you’ll see some are quite expensive.  I only paid about $5 for this at the store, I wonder if it is currently out of print.  Mine is in mint condition.

The illustrations are delightful, the retold myths thorough but easy to grasp.  It’s not kiddo’s favorite book, but I can tell it has helped her grasp what is happening in the Percy Jackson books.  Sometimes she just flips through the Greek style pictures while listening to me read Riordan’s work.

If I were in McKinney, TX right now I’d purchase the Fantastic Creatures from Greek Mythology as well, because I like these so much and I think Olwyn Whelan is a genius illustrator.  Everything she touches, I think, would be great homeschooling resources.

Other resources we enjoy:

Myths & Legends

In Search

Black Ships

Permalink Leave a Comment

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Kings

July 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Weekly Low Down on Kids Books/ Adventures in The Magic Tree House

crouching_tigerTitle: Crouching Tiger

Author: Ying Chang Compestine

Illustrator: Yan Nascimbene

This book was an unexpected treasure from the public library.  Kiddo picked this book out herself and I was really excited about it once I was in the middle of reading it.

As a third degree black belt who grew up around a lot of Chinese culture, I love finding unique children’s stories like these.  It teaches etiquette, respect for your elders, culture appreciation, diligence, perfection through practice, and each page also has a diagram of a Tai Chi stance.

This was an excellent book to jolt us into our week on Ancient China.

Day of the Dragon KingTitle: Day of the Dragon King (Magic Tree House #14)

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

Publisher: Scholastic

Although we don’t have a research guide for this topic, we’ve been perusing all things Ancient China while reading this book this week.  There are pages from Life in the Ancient World specifically on the Chinese that we read through for a second time, I can’t wait to do some of the art projects when she is older.

toddler chopsticksAlthough we didn’t do anything crafty with this week’s topic, we did enjoy some stir fry for dinner and kiddo got to practice eating with her toddler chopsticks.

The kiddo’s chopsticks are an orange elephant, but the concept is pretty much the same.  These things are so handy and I think they are a great way to give your tiny person an ounce of how other countries live.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Falling in love with History…

April 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

ancient bauerTitle: The History of the Ancient World

Author: Susan Wise Bauer

Publisher: Norton

Genre: History

Length: 868 pages

I enjoyed history in school, but only when it was taught by certain teachers.  I distinctly remember thoroughly loving Coach Masters, my World History teacher in high school.  In hindsight, I’m not sure if it was because he was so awesome, or because it was the first time someone actually presented me with history I could be passionate about – not just enjoy in passing.  Masters made you dive in with all you had and really learn it; it wasn’t just dates and factoids, it was people, their dreams, their loves, and their wars.

As an adult, reading history has become a little more specific.  I tend to read a lot of Ancient and Medieval history most, they are kind of my go to topics.  There is so much that was skipped over in school and it is so riveting! So naturally, when I decided to homeschool my daughter I started collecting the Susan Wise Bauer history books – they are fascinating overviews of history as well as wonderful teaching tools.

Reading Susan Wise Bauer reminds me of that history class with Coach Masters.  She gets personal.

It took me a full year to read The History of the Ancient World, mostly because I made a promise to do at a snail’s pace.  I plan to use it as a loose textbook for kiddo’s high school years and I wanted to make sure that you could pause, go read other things, and come back to it.  Is it reasonable to assign this for a year in addition to x number of other books? Yes, oh, well then lovely.

The book is wonderful and impressive.  Bauer makes history accessible and easy to understand in a world filled with dull and extensive flow charts  that will make even the most knowledgeable scholars heads spin.

My absolute favorite is a lengthy footnote on the Borg (from Star Trek) and how similar the mentality of the Borg was to a tribe of people sweeping the land in the very earliest parts of history.  ‘See?’ she practically says, ‘It’s good to be a sci-fi nerd.’

My only lament – and this may simply be a first edition issue – is that toward the end I began to find typos (I think).  There’s an amputed that should be amputated.  I honestly thought maybe it was a variance of the word I had never seen used and had to look it up.  There’s a died that should have been die.  These two things tripped me up for a second, but I found it a little refreshing.  Having just written a book myself it was good to know that someone I esteem so highly also makes errors when writing her books.

But then there was the bit that tripped me up a LOT.  During the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death there are two spellings for what I’m 99% positive is supposed to be one person.  Welcome to the great Cassander vs. Cassender dilemma…

The first time I saw this, I thought: Is there one person or two? Am I really ignorant with poor reading comprehension and these are two distinct people? There’s no way I can be the only person to find the longest running series of typos ever… But for pages on end Bauer switched from Cassander to Cassender.

If it is a typo, I get it.  In my novella I couldn’t keep my fingers from typing Lilly Hollow to save my life, when the name of my imaginary town is Lily Hollow.  It drove me absolutely crazy going through and fixing them all.  If there is a typo found in my novella post publication, I would bet money that it will be in the form of an extra L.

With Cassander and Cassender there are soooooo many times that it is written as both.  Part of me is still convinced that there is a strong possibility that I am just that dumb.  I will be seeking out a second edition just to figure it out.  The ancient world is full of mystery and excitement and long winded Chinese dynasties and Egyptians going crazy with who they marry and who they kill, but the acting king(s) of Macedonia post Alexander the Great is the guy(s?) that throws me for a loop.

All in all, though, I STILL think this is a must have in any historian’s or homeschooler’s library.  It was worth every penny and I think that this one – for once – is one I actually paid full price for at Barnes & Noble.  Bauer will remind you that there is so much to discover and be passionate about in history, because there’s just so much of it in general… you may even fall in love.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Homeschooling a 2 Year Old

January 31, 2013 at 8:48 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Looks like this…

DSC02507

I read Magic Tree House #3 Mummies in the Morning and its companion research guide Mummies and Pyramids while she looked at lots of pictures. The books with pictures were The Kingfisher Atlas of the Ancient World, a Reader’s Digest What Life Was Like, a coffee table book called The Pyramids and Sphinx, and a hardback I plan to use as a textbook when we do this again called Life in the Ancient World. I can’t wait to dive into that last one with her. It has activities and projects and all sorts of fun things.

DSC02514

Then we learned that P is for Pyramid. After several pictures, lots of blue lines, a few attempts to write some letters, she can at least say the word and identify the drawing – mostly – sometimes she says triangle or boat instead. I think she sees triangles and thinks of the sails on a crude drawing of a sailboat.

Anyway, that quickly turned into this:

DSC02512

And that’s what homeschooling a two year old looks like.

Permalink 2 Comments

A Rainy Day With the Olympics

July 13, 2012 at 4:05 am (Education, Events, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Gabby Douglas, Winner of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials 2012

Bright and early this morning, I went to my best friend’s house to watch the Olympic Trials (old news, we were watching what we missed of the Women’s Gymnastics Team Trials on the DVR).  It had been pouring down rain most the night and well into the morning, keeping my sweet baby asleep much longer than usual.  So by the time I was heading over for some Olympic goodness, kiddo still cozy in her pajamas, the streets were quite flooded.  It was a delightful morning, sipping coffee, hanging out, watching the best athletes in the country do their thing.  It set me up for my whole day.

First, while watching Gabby Douglas rock day two and Sarah Finnegan do that fancy beam skill she shares with Terin Humphrey (Click to see the awesome beam skill I’m talking about: Sarah,  Terin), I heard a commentator say something that got me pretty curious about Olympic rules and regulations I wasn’t familiar with already.  They were talking about how young Sarah was.  Young? I thought. Dominque Moceanu was young.  This girl is normal… right? Nope, not anymore.

Dominique Moceanu was the youngest to win nationals at 13.  She was allowed to compete because she would turn 15 during the Olympic year, which means she was actually 14 during the summer Olympics when the Magnificent Seven awed the world.  That was 1996.  In 1997 the rules were changed.  Instead of gymnasts being required to turn 15 in the Olympic year, the eminent “they” that makes important Olympic rules added an extra year to that requirement, and now girls must be 16 (or turning 16).  So Dominique Moceanu will remain the youngest for quite sometime, because it will be impossible for any equally talented 13-year-old to even have the same chances to prove themselves.  In addition to that, there are rumors that the age may be increased to 18! I, personally, am not a fan of these rules.  Yes, our children should be protected, but I think there is a higher risk of injury for training that intensely after an athlete has peaked.  No, I was never an Olympian, but I am very familiar with peaking as an athlete and then things going downhill from there, no matter how hard you train.

Of course, I discovered all this and formed all these opinions today during kiddo’s nap time, while also polishing off my assigned reading for the day:

Title: The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games

Author: Tony Perrottet

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Sports, Ancient History

Length: 214 pages

Perrottet takes an already fascinating subject and presents it in the form of riveting history.  I was surprised how much detail had been discovered regarding the ancient games, and was impressed at how well Perrottet presents it step by step, without leaving anything out.   There were so many things included in the games back then, beauty contests, poetry readings; it wasn’t just for athletes, it was an all out ancient world pagan party honoring Zeus and Eros.  A lot of this information (though it makes perfect sense and fits right in with what I already knew about the times) was new to me.

I was fascinated by how often names I knew popped up in the commentary… Plato, Socrates, Herodotus… I didn’t expect them at the Olympic games!  I also was ignorant of the role the Nazi’s played in our modern view of today’s Olympics, and the lighting of the torch.  An interesting tidbit about the Nazis being so fascinated with Sparta kept popping up, along with tales that put shivers up my spine.

Regardless of the Olympic Games origins and history, and how much of it goes against my personal world view and moral standing, I still find the Olympics wonderful.  Should you purposely breed Olympians? No.  But if someone has the drive and talent and has a passion for it, competing in the Olympics is a beautiful dream and an awesome thing to behold.

Perrottet has done a great job portraying the Olympics for what they are, presenting a well-rounded quick study of the origins of an event which everyone is already familiar.  As I plan to educate kiddo classically, I think this would make a fun optional read during the summer games when she hits her teens.  I see us doing what we did today, eating tomato, avocado, honey mustard, parmesan cheese sandwiches on toasted wheat, sipping coffee, watching the trials, and doing some research.  It could be a fun study/ study break from regular school assignments.

Permalink 4 Comments

« Previous page