"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson US essayist & poet (1803 - 1882)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Sing in me, oh muse, and through me tell the story"

-Homer, Greek poet, not Simpson

This is a rough translation from Greek of the opening line of The Odyssey.

i know this cause i had to take Greek and Roman Literature twice. It is burned into my conscious after spending two semesters taking the same class. This was a class taught by one professor at CMU, Mr. Koper.

Now, legend around the English Dept, was that Koper did not like his class being offered as a general education option. Since he wanted to rid the class of all but English majors and minors, per rumor, he made it as difficult as possible. I received a total failure the first time around, D+ the second. Just enough to count towards my major. Anyway, i received my degree but one lecture heard twice also stands out.

Marathon.... as heard in Greek and Roman Literature...

After Alexander the Great had conquered Persia he turned his eyes towards Greece. His army was much larger than the Greeks. However they had a plan. About a days march east was a place called Marathon. Marathon set in the bottom of a canyon. It would be impossible for Alexander's army to not pass through this very narrow opening. That is where the Greeks set out for. They had to hurry to get there. It they met Alexander's army there, victory was possible.

The Greeks stood side by side across the entire canyon floor, with short swords and large shields. And like teeth in shark mouths the Greeks stood in layers front to back so that as one was killed another could step up and take his place.

Alexander's army approached the narrow and thinned to fit. They carried long spears and pole arms as weapons. As they met the Greeks, they were totally unprepared and ill-fitted for this type of battle. Their weaponry was no use in tight quarters and the Greeks soundly defeated

Legend tells of a messanger sent to notify the King of their victory dying upon delivering the message. That's not important to me.

What is important is the battle against the odds.

Marathon historical importance has so little to do with the fact that the distance in 26 and some change. Greece was the birthplace of modern theater, art, logical thinking, scientific thought, and democracy, to name a few things.

Had Greece fallen, what would today's world look like?

An ancient Greek Playwrite, sorry the name escapes me, did not want his epitath to read of his great plays. His epitath reads that he stood in the line at Marathon.

That enough for now. i'll continue this thought in my next post.

thanks for reading


Bob said...

WHAT! The guy died, I knew the whole story but never knew the guy died. I thought the hung a medal around his neck and gave him a glass of gatorade.

Anonymous said...


Alexander the Great was not defeated at the Battle of Marathon; it was King Darius in 490 BC. Darius was, however, king of the Persians.

Alexander the Great lived from 356BC - 323BC and was King of Macedon.


Mike said...

thanks for the correction.

it's always nice to hear when jerky professors are wrong.

thanks again