Welcome to my 2007 / 2008 Weblog
March 14 Part of a lecture I might have given yesterday....perhaps with Lilith attached at the end...this is the PowerPoint for the Garden of Eden. I would suggest you save it to your computer and then open it in PowerPoint. It is quite large because of all the images. Enjoy....
March 13 Class is cancelled tonight....
I don't know if you're all aware of what has happened up at the university. Here's a link to a local newspaper story about it. They say that classes will go ahead on Monday as scheduled. See you on Thursday then...
I've sent your (extremely unofficial) midway marks to the dean's office (as per their request for all full year classes). I've also posted them here.
King Solomon's Tablet and Other Forgeries From a BBC program called Horizon (further to our discussion about the lack of archeological evidence for some of the stories in the Bible).
Helike -- The Real Atlantis same BBC program (in case you thought everything worth discovering had already been discovered).
Just a little addition to yesterday's PowerPoint slides. I meant to get to this, but didn't. I will address it just before I begin with Egypt, but it really belongs to the Later History of Mesopotamia lecture.
No Name Woman, a story by Maxine Hong Kingston, dramatically portrays the power of mythology and tradition in daily life. I searched it out for my students in Contemporary Moral Issues, but am offering it to you as well.
I've received an email from the bookstore alerting me that some of you are going in looking for textbooks. Most of our texts will be online. I have listed the Old Testament and Gilgamesh as texts, but explained in class that I had not ordered these for you. The Old Testament is available in the local used book stores if you don't have your own copy. There are versions in the library as well if you do not own one. As well, the entire Old Testament is available online and you can print the relevant readings as listed in the syllabus.
The other text I have listed is Gilgamesh (tranlated by Danny Jackson). This, also, is available online. I mentioned in the first class that I would be ordering these books over Christmas and offering them to you with no mark-up. I once did this through the book store and they marked it up scandalously. Just hoping to save you money... You're welcome, of course, to go to Amazon or Indigo and buy this yourself at any time. I'm just offering a service; you're not obliged to buy it through me.
The Power of Myth...
Mother Teresa: Saint of Doubt CBC
More about an ancient Mesopotamian city mound being excavated...
Burial clue to early urban life BBC
And a story to marvel at and wonder about She looks so vulnerable. Is it right to put her on display?
Beehives in the Ancient Near East
The ancient world is often in the news...
New Scientist is a great place to poke around....
Anthropology in the News another of my favourite sites...
feel free to poke around last year's notes...
3305 WEBLOG 2006 / 2007
March 24, 2007
My thanks to those who came out on Friday. A good time was had by me....and others....I hope...
I realized later in the evening that I never showed (or talked about) the last slide in my final lecture....Here is what it said...
"The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change." It's a quotation from Joseph Campbell... and it suggests that mythology is not done with us yet....
March 14, 2007
I remember saying in class something about the alert fingers of our enemies. But then couldn't remember the whole thing. Here is the poem from which the lines come. It's by Edna St. Vincent Millay...Enjoy...
I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having wavered
In these affections; never through shyness in the houses of the rich or in the presence of clergymen having denied these loves;
Never when worked upon by cynics like chiropractors having grunted or clicked a vertebra to the discredit of these loves;
Never when anxious to land a job having diminished them by a conniving smile; or when befuddled by drink
Jeered at them through heartache or lazily fondled the fingers of their alert enemies; declare
That I shall love you always.
No matter what party is in power;
No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied interests wins the war;
Shall love you always.
January 18, 2007
A link to an image of Michelangelo's fresco depicting the Last Judgment (for the upcoming lecture on death).
December 4 , 2006
Here is the list of definitions of mythology that I spoke of in class. I will also send it by email. My intention was to begin a discussion about what myth is. Which of these definitions would you have chosen six months ago? Would you choose differently now? Which one seems to you most significant? Most wrong-headed? Choose one and go off on a tangent. Flights of fancy are fine, too. Even poetry. I will look for a contribution from everyone.
And a little wisdom is never amiss...
To finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
November 2 , 2006
Thoughts on religion:
How can you have order in a state without religion? For, when one man is dying of hunger near another who is ill of surfeit, he cannot resign himself to this difference unless there is an authority which declares, "God wills it thus." Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.
-- Napoleon Bonapart, quoted from Anne Nicole Gaylor, "What's Wrong With the Ten Commandments?"
Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
-- Napoleon Bonapart, quoted from Robert Byrne, 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said (1988)
October 30, 2006
Some more Egyptian wisdom literature for you to enjoy...
October 19, 2006
A tourist's look at Hezekiah's tunnel pictures and text...
October 4, 2006
This week, I might mention the Sumerian Goddess of Beer...
She was good to us last Friday...
Below is part of the weblog from last year. Some entries will eventually be deleted, but in the meantime, feel free to poke around.
3305 WEBLOG 2005 / 2006
And because a few have asked....here is a pointer to the Purdue University OWL site with their advice about research and academic writing. It will answer your questions about formatting, citing and the bibliography. The other links are also worth some time and attention.
Jan. 13, 2006:
Because of a recent event in another class, I want to remind you of Nipissing's policy on academic dishonesty.
Jan. 12, 2006:
A few people have asked for a copy of the essay topics list. This link will open in WORD and you can then print it out.
I've posted some other little pieces about the Italian court case on the existence of Jesus here under current events...
Nov. 27 , 2005:
Some maps you might want to have a look at. They show the size of some of the empires we've looked at.
And a page with map links.
Nov. 26 , 2005:
Leonard Cohen lyrics: Verse two of his song Suzanne is about Jesus.
It's a great album (in case you've never heard it).
Nov. 22 , 2005:
I've added another small text to the required readings for the lecture on Egypt. I had mentioned the Papyrus of Ipuwer in class, I think, and went looking for it. It is generally considered to be a first-person account of the time of troubles between the Middle and New Kingdoms, but others have seen it as part of a work of fiction describing the end of the Old Kingdom. Still others, not in the mainstream, have used its descriptions of upheaval to connect it to the time of the plagues in Egypt as told in the Bible.
Nov. 19 , 2005:
Here is an interesting article on medical practice and beliefs in ancient Mesopotamia.
Nov. 3 , 2005:
I've found a wonderful exposition (pictures and text) of the Papyrus of Ani. I wish I had known of it earlier. I learned a few things and you will too. (Note that I've added it to the required readings for lecture 7...)
Egyptomania: you may remember my comments in an earlier lecture about the Egyptomania which occurred several times in recent history. Here is a series of advertising cards from the very early 1900s.
Still looking for a good explanation of the Eye of Horus and of the Narmer Palette.
Oct. 31 , 2005:
All the journals have been returned now. So just a few words here. I was impressed with many of them. Your efforts to say something thoughtful and say it well is appreciated. Some few of you, however, seem to be satisfied with lesser efforts. The amount of unedited and unproofread material was discouraging. A few journals seemed written on the spot -- in the email -- with little thought or afterthought. My marks reflected that impression, of course. I'm always a bit generous in the first journals. By the second, I have a sharper eye...
Oct. 21 , 2005:
"The ancient Romans were responsible for many remarkable achievements – straight roads, decent plumbing – but one of their lesser-known contributions was the invention of the first tourist industry.
The first society in history to enjoy safe and easy travel, Romans embarked in droves on the original Grand Tour, traveling from the lost city of Troy to the top of the Acropolis in Athens, from the fallen Colossus at Rhodes to the Pyramids of Egypt, ending with the obligatory Nile cruise at the very edge of the Empire. And as travel writer Tony Perrottet discovers, the popularity of this route has only increased with time."
Tony Perrottet: Pagan Holiday -- On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists
Oct. 20 , 2005:
Pre-Human skull found in Georgian Republic
A page about Troy, the movie and the place...put on line by Warner Bros.
A story about the treasures being unearthed in ancient Thrace (Modern Bulgaria) by a team of archaeologists this week. Another find from last August -- 4,000 years old (slightly older thanTroy).
Just a reminder of the interesting articles and news snippets available at Anthropology in the News
The Chinese noodles are here as well as links to the court transcripts in the Dover Intelligent Design trial.
Sadly, the misery of war that we see in the ancient history of this land between the rivers continues to plague the Mesopotamians still today. And some of the reasons are the same. Location and resources...
THEY shall not return to us, the resolute, the young
The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?
They shall not return to us, the strong men coldly slain
In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
Are they too strong and wise to put away?
Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide?
Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,
Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?
Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour?
When the storm is ended shall we find
How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power
By the favour and contrivance of their kind?
Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends,
Even while they make a show of fear,
Do they call upon their debtors, and take council with their friends,
To confirm and re-establish each career?
Their lives cannot repay us?their death could not undo?
The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,
Shall we leave it unabated in its place?
Rudyard Kipling, 1917