QED= quod erat demonstrandum: that which must be demonstrated" This is used in math when one has proven what the problem required one to prove (or any time you feel that you have made a point clearly and verily)

rara avis: " a rare bird"; an unusual person

demonstrable: able to be shown
aviary: a place for birds

And now we will do the Trojan War...

The Trojan War, fought between the Greeks and the Trojans was fought because of the Judgment of Paris:
Paris was a Trojan prince who, it was prophesied, would bring ruin and destruction to his home. So his parents made him be a shepherd...what can go wrong if one is watching sheep?
THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS was a contest between the three most beautiful goddesses of Olympos--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena--for the prize of a golden apple addressed to "the fairest"
The story begins at the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis to which all of the gods were invited, all except Eris, the goddess of discord. When she appeared at the festivities, she was turned away, and in her anger cast a golden apple amongst the assembled goddesses addressed "To the Fairest." Three goddesses laid claim to the apple--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. Zeus was asked to mediate and he commanded Hermes to lead the three goddesses to Paris of Troy to decide the issue. The three goddesses appearing before the shepherd prince, each offering him gifts for favour. He chose Aphrodite, swayed by her promise to bestow upon him Helene, the most beautiful woman, for wife. The subsequent abduction of Helen led directly to the Trojan War and the fall of the city.
Eris_and_the_Golden_Apple.jpgjudgement_of_paris_2.png JudgmentOfParisRubens.jpg


res ipsa loquitur: the thing speaks for itself
sanctum sanctorum: holy of holies; a very private place

loquacious: talkative
sanctify: to make holy

homeric hymn to Aphrodite

Helen of Troy: "the face that launched a thousand ships"-Christopher Marlowe

helen of troy.jpg

Helen (often called "Helen of Troy") was the daughter of Leda and Zeus, and was the sister of the Dioscuri ( Castor and Pollux, the Gemini) and Clytemnestra. She was the queen of Sparta.

Since Zeus visited Leda in the form of a swan, Helen was often presented as being born from an egg. She was reputed to be the most beautiful woman in the world. When Helen was still a child, she was abducted by Theseus. Since she was not yet old enough to be married, he sent her to Aphidnae and left her in the care of his mother, Aethra. The Dioscuri (her twin brothers...Castor and Pollux...aka the Gemini)rescued her and returned her to her home in Lacedaemon, taking Aethra prisoner at the same time.leda-swan-da-vinci-student.jpg
DaVinci/ Leda and the Swan

babies-at-the-feet-of-leda-and-the-swan.jpgBabies at the feet of Leda...note the eggs.

When Helen reached marriageable age, all the greatest men in Greece courted her. Her mother's husband, King Tyndareos of Lacedaemon, was concerned about the trouble that might be caused by the disappointed suitors. Acting on the advice of Odysseus, he got all the suitors to swear that they would support the marriage rights of the successful candidate. He then settled on Menelaus to be the husband of Helen. She lived happily with Menelaus for a number of years, and bore him a daughter, Hermione.

After a decade or so of married life, Helen was abducted by -- or ran off with -- Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy. Menelaus called on the other suitors to fulfill their oaths and help him get her back. As a result, the Greek leaders mustered the greatest army of the time, placed it under the command of Agamemnon, and set off to wage what became known as the Trojan War.
HelenofTroyTrans.jpgThe Abduction of Helen
After the fall of Troy, Menelaus took Helen back to Lacedaemon, where they lived an apparently happy married life once more. After the end of their mortal existence, they continued to be together in Elysium.

There were a number of different accounts of Helen's relationship with Paris. In some, she was truly in love with him, although her sympathies were mostly with the Greeks who beseiged Troy. In others, she was a beautiful and wanton woman who brought disaster upon those around her. In still other accounts, she never went to Troy at all: Hermes, acting on Zeus's orders, spirited her away to Egypt and fashioned a phantom out of clouds to accompany Paris; the real Helen was reunited with Menelaus after the Trojan War.

Here is what she says about herself in the Iliad, Book III:
( she is speaking to King Priam, the king of Troy and father of Paris)
Iliad III: ""Sir," answered Helen, shining among women, "father of my husband, dear and reverend in my eyes, would that I had chosen death rather than to have come here with your son, far from my bridal chamber, my friends, [175] my darling daughter, and all the companions of my girlhood. But it was not to be, and my lot is one of tears and sorrow. As for your question, the hero of whom you ask is Agamemnon, widely powerful son of Atreus, a good king and a brave warrior, [180] brother-in-law as surely as that he lives, to my abhorred and miserable self.


helen of troy
SPQR= Senatus Populusque Romanus: The Senate and Roman Peoplespqr1.jpg spqr-shoulder-tattoo-21486426.gif

de fumo in flammam :Out of the smoke into the flame

inflammatory:causing redness and swelling ( inflammation); (especially of speech or writing) arousing or intended to arouse angry or violent feelings.

populous: full of people

So, now the Greeks have to go get Helen. It will not be easy. First they will have to contend with Clytemnestra, Helen's sister.
Orestes.jpgThat's her with the knife in her chest.

Clytemnestra was the daughter of Tyndareus and Leda and therefore was Helen's half-sister.
Clytemnestra married Tantalus, son of the king of Mycenae named Thysetes (or Broteas). Agamemnon later murdered Tantalus. Agamemnon then proceeded to marry Clytemnestra, thus gaining the throne of Mycenae for himself. He was the leader of the Greek forces in Troy.
Clytemnestra gave birth to Electra, Orestes, Iphigenia, and Chrysothemis.

She will murder her husband and his concubine, Cassandra ( the sad kook) when they return from the war. Yes, it's vicious and violent, but she did have her reasons....Clytemnestra1.jpgNote the axe....this is after the murders.

Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London

sic semper tyrannis: thus always to tyrannts; motto of Virginia...take that King George!
sic : thus ; thus it was found and quoted ( even though it is not grammatically correct) ; The student wrote,"Cleapatra wuz ( sic) Julius Ceasar's ( sic) lover."

tyranny: oppressive power exerted by government
vengeance: punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offense
So, speaking of vengeance, why was Clytemnestra so very angry?
Here's what our friends at Stanford University have to say:

Iphigenia was the eldest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.
When in Aulis, Agememnon killed a stag in a grove sacred to Diana.
Angered, Diana stopped the winds so that the Greek fleet could not sail to Troy. The seer Calchas was called upon, and he announced that the only way the Greek fleet would sail was if Iphigenia was sacrificed.
Agamemnon at first adamantly refused, but, under pressure, Agamemnon slowly gave in and he agreed to the sacrifice.
Iphigenia was taken away under the pretext that she was to marry the great warrior Achilles. Clytemnestra was overjoyed and readily sent Iphigenia to Aulis.
When Iphigenia arrived, she and Clytemnestra learned, to their horror, that there would be no marriage. Achilles was outraged at having his name used to deceive Clytemnestra and Iphigenia, and is shown below drawing his sword in anger against Agamemnon.
Achilles declared that he would protect Iphigenia, but his attempts to persuade
the army to back him were largely unsuccessful (Gantz, 587). Despite his and
Clytemnestra's protestations, Iphigenia was sacrificed.
I think we can all agree that many, many mothers would be so inclined if their husbands killed their children.
After the murder of Agammemmnon, their other children, Orestes and Electra, will conspire to avenge their father by killing their mother.

terra incognita: "unknown land"; undiscovered, unexplored land
terra firma: "firm ground" It can be used both literally: As I am prone to sea sickness, I prefer to be on terra firma. OR metaphorically: Sometimes I am lost in biology class, but in Latin class, I am on terra firma.

incognito:unknown; not recognized
Achilles' heel: a weak spot

So, the Greeks sail off to Troy. They each have thier great warriors. The greatest of the Greeks is Achilles. When Achilles was born, his mother, Thetis, was given a choice: he could have a short, but glorious life, or a long uneventful one. Neither of these appealed to her, so she tried to cheat fate by dipping him in the River Styx, rendering him invulnerable to weapons.
Achilles2.jpgOf course, one cannot cheat fate, and while Achilles was in fact invulnerable to weopns where the water of the River Styx had touched, he was vulnerable on his heel where his mother had held him...his Achilles' heel ( it's all coming together now). So, he does have a weakness, but it is a small one, and otherwise, he is invincible.Achilles1%20(1)-500x500.jpgOne fierce dude.

On the Trojan side, the greatest warrior is Hector. He is Paris' brother, and that is not an easy thing to be. hectorandparis_1024.jpg
Paris causes all kinds of trouble, and Hector has to clean up his messes. And, he does have his own life, which Paris ruins. Nice going.
horrible histories achilles heel

ex cathedra: from the chair; with the authority of one's office. The president issued orders to the general ex cathedra.
credo: I believe; a belief I have the following credo: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

cathedral : a church with a chair for a bishop
creed: a formal set of beliefs; the Nicene Creed
Off to Troy...
So, the Greeks arrive at Troy, and they send Odysseus, of the Odyssey fame and the most clever of the Greeks along with Menelaus, Helen's husband, to Priam, the king of Troy to demand her return. Priam refuses. So, they return to the Greek camp and announce that war is inevitable.

cheesy movie with odysseus and priam

ex animo: from the heart; from the spirit
dum spiro, spero: while I breathe, I hope; it ain't over until it's over.

desperate( de+spero) lacking hope
animate: to give life or spirit to; Gaia animated the dust.

For today's Scripta, I feel compelled to thank Dr. Gregory Nagy, without whose generosity and erudition, this lesson would not be possible, and my understanding of this would be ever so limited.

As we said already, Achilles is the greatest of the Greeks, and as such, he animates and drives the much of the action in the Iliad. Achilles is "the man of constant sorrow" because his life is marked by a stark choice: to live a long, but forgettable life, or a short and glorious one. His choice is whether to sacrifice his own life to obtain KLEOS. We can define KLEOS as "imperishable glory".

|410 My mother Thetis, goddess with silver steps, tells me that |411 I carry the burden of two different fated ways [kēres] leading to the final moment [telos] of death. |412 If I stay here and fight at the walls of the city of the Trojans, then my safe homecoming [nostos] will be destroyed for me, but I will have a glory [kleos] [1] that is imperishable [aphthiton]. [2] |414 Whereas if I go back home, returning to the dear land of my forefathers, |415 then it is my glory [kleos], [3] genuine [esthlon] as it is, that will be destroyed for me, but my life force [aiōn] will then |416 last me a long time, and the final moment [telos] of death will not be swift in catching up with me.
Iliad IX 410-416 [4]

Achilles has started to understand the consequences of his decision to reject the option of a safe nostos or ‘homecoming’. He is in the process of deciding to choose the other option: he will stay at Troy and continue to fight in the Trojan War. Choosing this option will result in his death, and he is starting to understand that. In the fullness of time, he will be ready to give up his life in exchange for getting a kleos, which is a poetic ‘glory’ described as lasting forever. This kleos is the tale of Troy, the Iliad (the name of the poem, Iliad, means ‘tale of Ilion’; Ilion is the other name for ‘Troy’). Achilles the hero gets included in the Iliad by dying a warrior’s death. The consolation prize for his death is the kleos of the Iliad.

iustitia omnibus: justice for all
rebus: by things; a puzzle which uses pictures of things instead of words e.g.I love you using a drawing of an eye for "I"

justice: the exercise of authority in vindication of right by assigning reward or punishment; also quality of being fair and just
omniscient: all knowing

The first nine years of the war consisted of both war in Troy and war against the neighboring regions. The Greeks realized that Troy was being supplied by its neighboring kingdoms, so Greeks were sent to defeat these areas.
As well as destroying Trojan economy, these battles let the Greeks gather a large amount of resources and other spoils of war, including women (e.g., Briseis, Tecmessa and Chryseis).
Briseis was given to Achilles as a prize, but Agammenon came and claimed her for himself. Achilles was really angry, so he went into his tent, and refused to come out and fight. This was a problem for the Greeks because the Trojans still have Hector fighting and he not even challenged by them.

"Staggering drunk, with your dog’s eyes, your fawn’s heart / Never once did you arm with the troops and go to battle / or risk an ambush packed with Achaea’s picked men / why you lack the courage, you can see death coming …" Achilles to Agemmenon Iliad bk 1

This stubborn refusal is refered to as the wrath of Achilles. This idea is the theme of the entire Iliad."This wrath motivates the story.The plot unfolds based upon the direction that Achilles points his wrath. He points it first to his own side, Agamemnon, the son of Atreus.He is the king of Mycenae (Mykenai), and the king of kings, the leader of all the Achaeans in this war.When he took the captive Briseis from Achilles, Achilles turned his wrath toward Agamemnon,

refusing to fight.And, without this force of nature, wrath incarnate, fighting, the Trojans, led by their Tamer of Forces, Hector, began to push the Achaeans back to their ships. "


2/13 in honor of the upcoming holiday!!!!

Una in perpetuum "Together forever"
Militat omnis amans - Every lover is a soldier (Ovid).
and cupid has his camp

militant: combative or aggressive usually in pursuit of a cause
perpetual: forever

And now for some Roman weirdness on Valentine's Day:

The Origin of St. Valentine

The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. One opinion is that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle(GREAT BIG ILLUSTRATED BOOK , a great illustrated book printed in 1493.Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269]. catacombs

Lupercalia: I'm not making this up!
Spring was thought to begin on February 5, which was the time for the seed to be sown. It was a time, too, for purification and the expiation of any unintentional offense that might have been given to the gods. The month of February takes its name, in fact, from the instruments of purification (februa) used in such rites, the best known of which is the Lupercalia.

On February 15, the Luperci, young men who were naked except for the skins of goats that had been sacrificed this day, ran from the Lupercal around the bounds of the Palatine, both to purify that ancient site in a ceremony of lustration (lustratio) and, striking the women they met with strips of goat skin, to promote fertility. "Neither potent herbs, nor prayers, nor magic spells shall make of thee a mother," writes Ovid, "submit with patience to the blows dealt by a fruitful hand."lupercalia.jpgIt's getting weird.

The Sabine women seized by Romulus were barren, as well, says the poet, until struck by the februa. At the foot of the Palatine hill, the Lupercal traditionally was thought to be the cave where Romulus and Remus had been suckled by the she-wolf. The twins, born of Mars and the Vestal daughter of the king, eventually restored their grandfather to the throne and, at the site where they had been left to die, founded Rome.


Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi: That which is allowed for Jove, is not allowed to an ox

Just because someone can do something, doesn't mean everyone can

quod me nutrit me destruit: That which sustains me destroys me ( Christopher Marlowe)

This is usually interpreted to mean that that which motivates or drives a person can consume him or her from within. The lovely Angelina Jolie has this tatooed on her body.

angelina latin tatoo.jpg
angelina latin tatoo.jpg

bovine: concerning cattle

nurture: to provide support ( food,love, shelter, etc)

Ajax the Greater:

Ajax was the son of Telamon, king of Salamis. After Achilles, he was the mightiest of the Greek heroes in the Trojan War.

I think that studying Ajax gives us some insight into the wrath of Achilles:

Hector vs Ajax

NB....Ajax does not NOTTTTTTT die in the Iliad. That is a Hoolywood convention.

Ajax was a huge man, head and shoulders larger than the other Greeks, enormously strong but somewhat slow of speech. In the Iliad, he is often called the "wall" or "bulwark" (herkos) of the Greeks. When Achilles had withdrawn from the fighting at Troy, it was Ajax who went forth to meet Hectorin single combat; by the time darkness fell the fight was still a stalemate, but Ajax had wounded Hector without sustaining injury himself

After Achilles' death, Ajax competed with Odysseusfor the ownership of Achilles' armor. Both men delivered speeches explaining their own merits, but Odysseus was by far the more eloquent and won the prize. Ajax was driven mad by his disappointment. According to one account, he vowed vengeance on the Greeks and began slaughtering cattle, mistaking them for his former comrades-in-arms. He finally committed suicide.

Ajax is often called "Telemonian Ajax" or "the greater Ajax," to distinguish him fromAjax the Lesser the son of Oileus, who also fought for the Greeks at Troy.www.pantheon.org

Ajax the Lesser ( Loser) dragged poor, pitiful Cassandra away as she clung to an icon of Athena inside Athena's temple, begging for protection and raped her during the sack of Troy. Athena avenged this act of violence and sacrelige in spades...she waited until Ajax the Lesser was sailing back to Greece,and then she had her vengeance. She sent a whirlwind to sink his ship, impaled him on a rock and struck him with lightening. Take that, loser!