As the first play of The Orestia opens, the Trojan war is ending. The watchman, straggling the Atreidae’s roof dogwise, sees the beacon signaling victory in Ilium. Agamemnon returns home with Cassandra, a prophetess and daughter of Priam, as a concubine. He has been gone for ten years, with the human sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia as his farewell. Once home he is greeted by the duplicitous Clytaemestra. She conspires with her lover Aegisthus to kill Agamemnon and seize the reins of power.
The scene opens; Prometheus, the fore thinking one, has defied Zeus in giving various knowledge to mankind, thus incurring his wrath. Hephaestus is nailing Prometheus to a craggy mountain face reluctantly, spurred on by Might and Violence. The immediate parallels with the fall of Man present themselves in the modern context. The imagery is inverted, with the rebel suffering at the hands of a tyrannical ruler of the universe for helping mankind.
The Odyssey is the story of family, love, justice, virtue, and vice. The tale of how they are woven into civilization. On a basic level, it is about a man’s journey home. More deeply, it is about the travails of an abandoned family; it’s about the unlawfulness of swaggering masculinity; it’s about the forbearance of a faithful wife. An epic of many tales about a man of many twists and turns.
The Iliad is a brutal war epic, perhaps the war epic. I started reading it back in August 2019. During the reading, I attended two seminars to discuss the book, and completed it in November. It was a hard read for me. That may have been because of the constant, grinding, unreal level of violence portrayed. Though this was my first reading of The Iliad, I will hazard a summary to crystalize my understanding.
Alfred North Whitehead’s An Introduction to Mathematics takes us on a journey of broad strokes, one that traverses the history, notation, and application of mathematical fields. An Introduction to Mathematics is a practical book on theory, great for enticing the study of math at the university level. While covering introductory material, it introduces elegant mathematical insights that will intrigue the reader. It illustrates the principles of generality, form, variable, and abstraction as the elements of mathematics.