World History Homework Two Answers - Student 12

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Answers by FrederickT3 16:57, 17 September 2011 (EDT)

1. When did the Greek empire exist, and what events mark its beginning and its end?

A true Greek empire only existed very briefly, between 334 B.C., when Alexander began his conquests, and 323 B.C., the year of his death. Before, Greece was split into numerous city states (poleis), each of which ruled over a fairly small territory. After Alexander's death, his empire almost immediately split into smaller states, many of which were governed by former generals in Alexander's army.

2. What is your favorite Aesop's Fable, and why? Explain.

I'm afraid (and almost ashamed) that I've never actually read any of Aesop's fables. I'll have to put them on my reading list. If you permit me to pick a different work of Greek literature, I would pick "Iphigenia in Aulis" by Euripides. This tragedy tells the story of how Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War, is led by an oracle to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to overcome a lack of wind which has grounded the Greek fleet at Aulis. The play is deeply psychological, and describes the conflict between love for the daughter, political loyalty and submission to the gods. The story has obvious similarities to the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, which makes me wonder whether Euripides may actually have heard of that?
OK, but couldn't you have read an Aesop Fable to answer the question asked? (Minus 1)

3. Pick one of the Greek philosophers and compare and contrast him with another Greek philosopher.

I would like to contrast Socrates and Plato. I think the lecture states incorrectly that Socrates was a teacher at the Academy. Plato founded the Academy in 387 BC, twelve years after Socrates' death in 399 BC. Socrates was actually a man of the street, he tought informally on the market square in Athens, he talked to ordinary people, challenged their conceptions and developed his theories in active debates. He was a well-known figure in Athens: for instance he is caricatured in Aristophanes' comedy "The Clouds". He attracted a lot of followers, the greatest among them surely Plato. Socrates was in a way "the best of the public", but, as it happens too often, he also had powerful enemies who managed to get him sentenced to death. As mentioned, Plato founded the Academy and thus institutionalized philosophy and higher learning. Unlike Socrates, Plato also wrote extensively, and it is in his books that we can still hear Socrates' voice. The Academy attracted many students, not just from Athens but also from other Greek cities. So, whereas Socrates thought and debated for himself and for a comparatively small local circle, Plato strove to spread his teachings and to preserve it for posterity.
I'll check that about whether Socrates had any role at the Academy. Good answer.

4. Explain how the expansion and influence of the Greek culture became useful to the growth of Christianity. Mention the role played by Alexander the Great.

Alexander's empire collapsed rapidly after his death, when it was politically divided among the generals of his army. What remained, however, was a huge area with a certain cultural unity. Greek was the common language in this area, at least in intellectual circles and for administrative purposes. The cultural achievements impressed the Romans, too, and the Greek language was held in high esteem. Greek became the dominant language of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, and this continued into Byzantine Empire after the end of the Roman Empire itself. All this helped the spread of Christianity, because the New Testament was written in Greek and could therefore be understood everywhere. While there was a lot of political pressure on Christianity until Constantine the Great, the cultural unity of the whole area around the Mediterranean and further east helped the spread of Christianity among the people.

5. Pick two of the important ancient empires other than the Greek empire, and briefly describe them.

The Persian empire had its centre in what is now Iran, but ruled over a vast area from modern Iraq to almost India. Persia was governed by kings who were thought of as divine. The best known are Dareios and Xerxes, both of whom started attacks on Greece and both of whom were spectacularly defeated (at Marathon and Salamis). The most important ancient empire was the Roman Empire, which at its largest extent covered the entire area around the Mediterranean, but also Gaul (modern France), Britain and parts of Germany. Interestingly, most of this expansion occurred while Rome was a republic. It was, however, not a democracy in the modern sense because only a fairly small upper class had the right to participate.

6. Write 150 words on any aspect of the lecture, or describe 3 important terms from the lecture (such as adding them to the study guide above).

I would like to take up the mystery whether Jesus spoke Greek. My view differs a little from the view presented in the lecture. I think Jesus may well have tought and preached in Aramaic, rather than Greek. Matthew 4:23 says: "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,..." Jesus wanted to get his message to the people and therefore probably used their language, Aramaic, to speak to them. The lecture mentions "the powerful Greek language". But isn't any language powerful? Or rather, doesn't any language become powerful through the use we make of it? Greek became powerful because Homer, Plato, Aristotle, etc. wrote in it and developed it. But while Greek was probably widely understood in Israel around Jesus' time, it was still a foreign language, and most people's mastery may not have been sufficient to appreciate all the nuances of the language. Jesus message is so powerful in itself that it can be expressed in any language (see the translations of the Bible into almost any language on Earth!), so in order to be understood by the people, he would probably have used the people's language, Aramaic.
If we turn now to the Gospels, those were certainly written in Greek, and for good reason. As explained in my answer to question 4, Greek was the "lingua franca" of the time, so in order to make Jesus' message heard as widely as possible, the New Testament was written in Greek.
Good analysis, but I don't see any support that for the statement that "any language" is "powerful". Some languages lack large numbers, for example. Only the Greek language had a term for concept of "hypocrite", which was used by Jesus. (Minus 1).

Honors Questions (answer any 2 in addition to the above questions)

7. Write an essay of 200 words on any aspect of one or more ancient languages, such as their development or origins (or add 5 terms with descriptions to the study guide).

Latin was initially the language of a small region (called "Latium"; the modern Italian province is still called "Lazio") around the town of Rome. It was only one of a number of related languages in the South of the Italian peninsula, others being Oscan and Umbrian. Due to the expansion of Rome, Latin soon overpowered the other languages, and finally became the dominant language across the Roman empire, although in the eastern parts Greek was actually more important. Latin reached its peak as a language of culture towards the end of the Republic, in particular in the speeches of Cicero, and the epics of Virgil and Ovid. With the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Latin ceased to exist as a living language, although it continued to be used as a language in science and philosophy until the 18th century or so, and is still in Christian (especially Catholic) liturgy. The form of Latin spoken by the people (so-called "Vulgar Latin") gave rise to a number of daughter languages which are still widely spoken today. Examples are French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. The English language was also strongly influenced by Latin, and many English words have Latin roots. An example is "conservative", which derives from the Latin verb "conservare".
Excellent, with an appropriate example at the end!

8. What weaknesses, if any, do you see in the ancient Greek democracy?

Greek democracy, or more precisely Athenian democracy, was a form of direct democracy. Decisions were made in the assembly, where every citizen had a vote. This caused a number of problems: Direct democracy is fairly inefficient and only works on a small scale. Even in the small region of Attica, people from the villages may have had problems leaving their work and travelling into town to attend the assembly. The system did not work for a large empire. The system was also fairly easily influenced by demagogues. Not all the inhabitants of Athens were citizens. There was a fairly large number of immigrants who could not vote (as today, of course), and there was also slavery, which luckily all modern democracies have abolished.
Superb. Note spelling: "traveling" is now the preferred spelling for "travelling".

9. Discuss the ancient Persian empire, and suggest reasons why it could not withstand the expansion of Alexander the Great.

10. Discuss any aspect of the lecture.

Grade: 78/80. Well done!--Andy Schlafly 11:54, 21 September 2011 (EDT)