Fever Dreams and Egyptian Myths

July 16, 2016 at 9:05 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

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This sweet boy, so sympathetic and comforting.

I’m playing hooky from work. To be fair, I have what I’d like to call the plague. It’s not the plague, but the green crap I’ve been coughing up out of my chest, the high grade fever, and the over all attack on my body has made me contemplate the potential peace of kicking the bucket.  Instead, unable to physically kick anything at all, I’m home wrapped in blankets when it’s easily 100 degrees outside.

Briefly, between fever dreams yesterday, I thought it would be amusing to read Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and chronicle my own impending doom – but alas, I passed out about two seconds after the thought, slept for a few hours, and arose only to hack more crap out of my lungs, cry a little, and crawl back onto the futon… the bed was too high to climb.

As amusing as a post on Garcia’s work would be while I drink my calories in the form of honeyed tea and chicken broth, I have no desire to spend the energy it takes to walk across the room in search of it. Instead, I reached to my right where I had been cataloguing my ancient literature collection, prior to plague, and plucked up a thin little piece called Egyptian Myths by George Hart.  It took me two days to read all 80 pages, because – you see – I’m dying.  But I made it.  And my laptop, conveniently in arm’s reach to my left, said “Hey, You have been USELESS for days. DO SOMETHING other than sleep and troll Facebook.”  Did I actually hear the computer speak to me? It’s possible. After all, fever dreams.

All in all, I am surviving, and this little George Hart piece has helped me feel as though I didn’t entirely fry all my brain cells with my 2 day fever.  I learned some things I didn’t know, refreshed some previous mythology tales I hadn’t heard in a while, and found a cool list of suggested further reading.  It was a great addition to the Ancient History stuff I’ve been studying with my kiddo over the last many months, and it went hand in hand with the arrival of my Archaeology magazine subscription.  If you can get your hands on one, it’s a great addition to any library.

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Herodotus Notes Continued

February 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm (Education) (, , , , , , )

Session Two – in which I sat outside in the beautiful Sunday outdoors of a Valentine weekend, drank my coffee, and devoured some history while the kiddo painted.  Like so,

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Yes, she paints with TWO hands, and doesn’t even have to look at the canvas, she is that awesome.  Also, I have x-ray vision and can read through the book boards.  Not really, I just really like the front cover of the Histories edition I’m reading from.

Today, while I was reading, I got caught up in a bit about the sacred animals of Egypt.  Herodotus takes time to discuss this topic in a bullet point type fashion and very little detail.  I suppose he had so much information to relay that this was not high on his list of things to be extraordinarily well researched.  He simply mentions which ones are sacred and plods happily along with his narrative.

Except he mentions otters.

Otters were sacred to the Ancient Egyptians.

Otters are in my top ten list of favorite animals of all time.

lizzy&andi ottersHowever, most of my adoration comes from watching them for prolonged period of times at the zoo, or in sharing adorable pictures of them with my friends on facebook… like these ones on the right caught kissing.  (How adorable is that?!)  I actually know very little about otters, much less that they are native to Egypt.  I am a little bit obsessed with Ancient Egypt and consider myself a very amateur budding Egyptologist of sorts [very, very amateur who buds quite slowly].  Somehow, until now, the otters have escaped me.

The World Book Encyclopedia describes an ottter as a “fur-bearing animal that spends much of its time in the water.”  They are flesh-eaters and hopelessly cute.  Of course, I’m drawn to them – but the encyclopedia offers no explanation or even reference to the fact that the Ancient Egyptians would care.

So, of course I google it and find this.  If you’re not in a link hopping, article reading mood, I shall spare you and share only this highlighted introduction paragraph:

Four otter species occur in Africa. The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) occurs only in the rivers rising in the Atlas mountains. Three species are endemic to Africa: The Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), the Congo clawless otter (Aonyx congica), and the spotted-necked otter (Lutra maculicollis). Throughout the high rainfall regions (i.e. within the 500 mm isohyet) of sub-Saharan Africa at least one of these species, often more, can be expected to be present. Otters are absent from only six countries on the African continent: Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, and Western Sahara. With the exception of Egypt, these counties probably do not have sufficient permanent water for otters.

Absent from Egypt.  Still sacred to Ancient Egyptians.

Of course, this led me to more questions.  More googling.  (And even more plans to visit a bookstore and the library in search of answers as soon as humanly possible .)  Which led to this little gem… Otter or Mongoose?.

Despite my extensive personal library I am constantly shocked by what is not in it – and I have nothing on otters… or mongooses for that matter.

I also have nothing on Queen Tomyris of the Massagetai and she, too, though not as thoroughly as the otters, piqued my interest today.  How have I not heard of this woman?  This semi-psychotic warrior queen who is responsible for the death of Cyrus the Great.  Obviously, I need a biography on her stat.  Well, not too stat, as I’m currently in the middle of The Life of Charlotte Bronte and I’ve yet to finish a whole host of other fabulous biographies that are piled around the house.  Rest assured, however, I have taken note in my handy dandy notebook of all things Ancient History and Queen Tomyris will not be forgotten.  The wonderful thing about scholarship is that there is always more to study.  The terrible thing about scholarship is that I have to be patient with myself knowing that I can only read as much as I can read in a day and that there will always be more to read.

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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

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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.

 

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Homeschooling a 2 Year Old

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

Looks like this…

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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.

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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:

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

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Ramses: The Son of Light by Christian Jacq

May 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm (JARS, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

This is a great kick start to the life of Ramses the Great. We are introduced to his throne hungry brother Shaanar, his father Seti, mother Tuya, obnoxious sister Dolora, and his two wives Iset the Fair and Nefartari. Moses is also introduced, which is slightly irksome because the book is written off the old school of thought that Moses was during the time of Ramses the Great due to the mention of the city of Ramses in the scriptures. I believe its highly likely that the name of the city mentioned in the bible was updated by an eager scribe and that the proper date of Moses’ lifespan would place him during the 15th century/18th dynasty about 200 years before Ramses. Generally, I enjoyed the book although I feel much is lost in the translation from the French (Jacq’s writing seems too simplistic and listy), but I am still excited about reading the four remaining books in the series to see how it all plays out from Jacq’s perspective.

Series Available on Amazon

A fabulous article on Moses and his placement in history: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/02/27/Moses-and-Hatshepsut.aspx

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