Day 2078, Rhyton.

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National archeological museum Athens – Greece, Rhyton 1600 BC, 2014

According to Wikipedia, a Rhyton is: a roughly conical container from which fluids were intended to be drunk or to be poured in some ceremony such as libation*, or merely at table. They are typically formed in the shape of an animal’s head, and were produced over large areas of ancient Eurasia, especially from Persia to the Balkans. Many have an opening at the bottom through which the liquid fell; others did not, and were merely used as drinking cups, with the characteristic that they could not usually be set down on a surface without spilling their contents.

*a ritual pouring of a liquid, or grains such as rice, as an offering to a deity or spirit, or in memory of the dead.

I also found some good information on this site

Day 2077, amazing.

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National archeological museum Athens – Greece, Hair jewel 3rd century BC, 2014

When I look at art or a jewel like this, especially made more than 2000 years ago, I always envision the artist or craftsman making this in patience, sitting in some contemporary workshop. I hear the noises outside their workshop and imagine what they think about while going for the groceries after work.

I also see all the little details and wonder how they made it and what kind of tools they used. Can you imagine making the little chains one by one, and what about the figure that protrudes out of the “chield”, if I correctly remember, it is not made out of solid gold but formed out of a thin plate. I think it is amazing, and the unknown artist will never have imagined that their work eventually ends up in a museum more than 2000 years later…and can be seen all over the world on a computer screen or telephone.

Day 2076, Artemis.

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Archaeological Museum of Delphi – Greece, Artemis, ivory and gold, 550 BC, 2014

Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, the Moon, and chastity. The goddess Diana is her Roman equivalent.

Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the patron and protector of young children and women, and was believed to both bring disease upon women and children and relieve them of it. Artemis was worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery along with Eileithyia. Much like Athena and Hestia, Artemis preferred to remain a maiden and was sworn never to marry.

Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities, and her temple at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemis’ symbols included a bow and arrow, a quiver, and hunting knives, and the deer and the cypress were sacred to her. Diana, her Roman equivalent, was especially worshipped on the Aventine Hill in Rome, near Lake Nemi in the Alban Hills, and in Campania.

From Wikipedia.

Day 2075, Amphitrite.

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Arkitsa – Greece, 1014

In ancient Greek mythology, Amphitrite was a sea goddess and wife of Poseidon and the queen of the sea.  Under the influence of the Olympian pantheon, she became the consort of Poseidon and was later used as a symbolic representation of the sea.

Amphitrite was a daughter of Nereus and Doris; they called her the personification of the sea itself (saltwater). Amphitrite’s offspring included seals and dolphins. She also bred sea monsters, and her great waves crashed against the rocks, putting sailors at risk. Poseidon and Amphitrite had a son, Triton, who was a merman, and a daughter, Rhodos.

From Wikipedia

Day 2074, Knowledge and Wisdom.

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Greece, 2014

Knowledge and Wisdom

Bertrand Russell

Most people would agree that, although our age far surpasses all previous ages in knowledge, there has been no correlative increase in wisdom. But agreement ceases as soon as we attempt to define `wisdom’ and consider means of promoting it. I want to ask first what wisdom is, and then what can be done to teach it. There are, I think, several factors that contribute to wisdom. Of these I should put first a sense of proportion: the capacity to take account of all the important factors in a problem and to attach to each its due weight. This has become more difficult than it used to be owing to the extent and complexity fo the specialized knowledge required of various kinds of technicians. Suppose, for example, that you are engaged in research in scientific medicine. The work is difficult and is likely to absorb the whole of your intellectual energy. You have not time to consider the effect which your discoveries or inventions may have outside the field of medicine. You succeed (let us say), as modern medicine has succeeded, in enormously lowering the infant death-rate, not only in Europe and America, but also in Asia and Africa. This has the entirely unintended result of making the food supply inadequate and lowering the standard of life in the most populous parts of the world. To take an even more spectacular example, which is in everybody’s mind at the present time: You study the composistion of the atom from a disinterested desire for knowledge, and incidentally place in the hands of powerful lunatics the means of destroying the human race. In such ways the pursuit of knowledge may becorem harmful unless it is combined with wisdom; and wisdom in the sense of comprehensive vision is not necessarily present in specialists in the pursuit of knowledge.

Read the rest here.

Day 2072, The Discourses.

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Nafplion – Greece, 2014

Epictetus was a philosopher born in 50 AD, so more than 400 years later than Plato. There are no writings left written by himself, only work written down by pupils. His main work is called the Discourses. He is a stoic, and his work revolves around self-knowledge, discipline, logic, and reason.

This is a quote that summons up his work, in my opinion: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

Underneath, you can read the first chapter of the Discourses. It is not the nicest read; it is structured and dry, but it forces you to think carefully about what he writes and where he goes.

The Discourses

By Epictetus

Book One, Chapter 1

Of the things which are in our Power, and not in our Power

Of all the faculties, you will find not one which is capable of contemplating itself; and, consequently, not capable either of approving or disapproving. How far does the grammatic art possess the contemplating power? As far as forming a judgement about what is written and spoken. And how far music? As far as judging about melody. Does either of them then contemplate itself? By no means. But when you must write something to your friend, grammar will tell you what words you must write; but whether you should write or not, grammar will not tell you. And so it is with music as to musical sounds; but whether you

Day 2071, where we must travel

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Friedrich Nietzsche

Human all too human

223 Where we must travel. -Immediate self-observation is far from sufficient for getting to know ourselves: we need history, for the past flows on, through us, in a hundred waves; indeed, we are ourselves nothing except what we experience at every moment of this onward flow. And even here, if we want to descend into the river of what seems to be our most individual and personal nature, the saying of Heraclitus holds true: we do not step into the same river twice. This is a truth that has gradually become stale, to be sure, but that has nonetheless remained as powerful and nourishing as it ever was: just like the other one that says, in order to understand history, we must seek out the living remains of historical epochs-that we must travel, as the patriarch Herodotus traveled, to other nations-these are, in fact, only the solidified earlier stages of cultures, on which we can place ourselves-to so-called savage and half-savage peoples, especially, where human beings have removed or not yet put on the garments of Europe.

Day 2070, stoicism.

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Meteora – Greece, 2014

One of the advantages of living in a foreign country is that I am no longer tempted to buy all kinds of old books. I lived close to a place called Deventer, and Deventer is known for the biggest outdoor book market in Europe. Because of this market that is open for a long weekend at the end of the summer, Deventer has a lot of stores where you can buy used books. I love going to these stores and buying old books like the one you see underneath. Modern books like this often have better translations and interpretations, but I just like that feeling that lasts for a second of me being there in 1911 and buying that book and opening the pages sitting in one of those old-fashioned café’s. Touching an old book is the closest I can get to that fleeting feeling.

This particular book goes about Roman stoicism, but because I want to keep it to Greek Philosophers, I chose a chapter about Heraclitus. Heraclitus is not as well known as the big three (Socrates, Plato, and Aristoteles), but there are enough more modern philosophers that have him in high regard, and through these philosophers, I came in contact with his work. There is not much over from his writings, and he is best known because others talked and wrote about him. I will leave you now with one chapter of this book from 1911 written by Edward Vernon Arnold.

Day 2069, On sleep and sleeplessness.

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Towards Olympia – Greece, 2014

The pictures you see were from a trip we made in 2014 to Greece. Most people go to the islands, but we decided to rent a car and drive through the main country and visit the ancient sites. It is a beautiful country with relatively few tourists, so all the sites are not overcrowded, and you can really enjoy it. We hadn’t planned to go to Greece that year; we wanted to visit my girlfriend’s family in America, so we prepared everything, and then I wanted to check-in at the airport, and the lady behind the counter told me that my passport was not valid anymore, it was just out of date. So that was some stress; we saved just enough money for the trip to America, but it was luckily enough to buy some new tickets to Greece and rent a car for three weeks and stay in the many reasonably priced hotels. It was a little bit stressful to travel without a passport, but it was still in Europe, so it should go alright, and it did. Greece popped in my head when I had to make a quick decision; we had already traveled through Norway for half a day, and my mind was set to go on holiday that day. Greece still had nice weather; it was at the end of September, so that was a plus, and I was always interested in seeing where all these philosophers lived that I know and sometimes read. It was an excellent choice; it was a shame that we couldn’t see her family, but we also learned that we could be flexible together when confronted with bad luck.

Day 2068, The Athenian constitutuion.

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Athens – Greece, 2014

Underneath, you can read part of a text by Aristotle. It is not sure if Aristotle wrote it or one of his students; you can read more on Wikipedia. You can read the whole text on Classic Archive. I find these old texts interesting; we still live in a society with a short attention span. We might know that there were wars and pandemics before but let us not learn from those events. I am a little cynical in this regard; is it possible to learn from history? I think you can if you put in the effort, but in the real world, it is almost impossible. It is much easier for people to react to a “new” situation head-on without studying the problem and seeing if there is something to learn from the past. I can’t speak for Aristotle, but I assume that he wrote this as some kind of education for future rulers, he probably still had hope, or maybe he was just like me and liked to write about it without any expectations, just writing for an imaginary world where people read history books to see how (not) to react at current situations.   


The Athenian constitutuion


Such was the origin and such the vicissitudes of the tyranny of Pisistratus. His administration was temperate, as has been said before, and more like constitutional government than a tyranny. Not only was he in every respect humane and mild and ready to forgive those who offended, but, in addition, he advanced money to the poorer people to help them in their labours, so that they might make their living by agriculture. In this he had two objects, first that they might not spend their time in the city but might be scattered over all the face of the country, and secondly that, being moderately well off and occupied with their own business, they might have neither the wish nor the time to attend to public affairs.

Day 2066, Meno.

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Athens – Greece, 2014

I always find it fascinating that these conversations were going on in Greece more than 2300 years ago. This is one of Socrates’s conversations written by Plato. The name of the person Socratis is talking to is Meno, and it is a discussion about virtue and if you can learn it or if it comes by nature. This is a link to the Wikipedia article: Meno, and this is a link to the book on where you can read the rest of the dialog.

[Meno] Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way?

[Socrates] O Meno, there was a time when the Thessalians were famous among the other Hellenes only for their riches and their riding; but now, if I am not mistaken, they are equally famous for their wisdom, especially at Larisa, which is the native city of your friend Aristippus. And this is Gorgias’ doing; for when he came there, the flower of the Aleuadae, among them your admirer Aristippus, and the other chiefs of the Thessalians, fell in love with his wisdom. And he has taught you the habit of answering questions in a grand and bold style, which becomes those who know, and is the style in which he himself answers all comers; and

Day 2064, Eternal return

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One of Nietzsche’s core concepts is the thought that you should live in such a way that the life you live can be repeated over and over again without change. You could do this by accepting life as it is and also start making decisions with this idea in mind. In his work, Nietzsche tries to show you  life as it is, including all the “tricks” we use to sugarcoat reality, like hope in an afterlife or a purpose here on earth. Most of these hopes and purposes are sold by religions and political systems; they try to give their visions, and they often compete with each other in violent ways; it is bad for the world and all of us individually. The eternal return is a thought experiment that can help you when you want to find out how much you can live without reason and purpose but just for the beauty and miracle of it.

This quote is one of the first times Nietzsche speaks about this concept; you can read more on Wikipedia and in many other places in Nietzsche’s writings.