Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Eye of the Beholder...

The other day I finished reading an historical account drawn largely on the experiences of a Byzantine secretary attached to an ambassadorial mission to the Huns in the 5th Century AD. Today I am reading a book based on the accounts of a Greek philosopher doing his wanderjahr among the Gaulish tribes in the early 1st Century BC.

Because, you know, if we don't know where we've come from, then we don't know where we're going...

What a fascinating life Posidonius must've led.

16 comments:

Davidwhitewolf said...

Well, I'm certainly looking forward to a world in which people willingly accept payment to have their throats cut for others' amusement.

What was the first book you mentioned, btw? I only just last week really grokked the Byzantine empire, and now I'm fascinated with the whole thing.

DirtCrashr said...

As an anthro-ethnography guy, my money is on Megasthenes...

Tam said...

Davidwhitewolf,

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun & the Fall of Rome.

BGMiller said...

Is it available as an EPUB download?

I decided to try an ereader and I'm hooked on the damned thing. It's lightened my daypack sooooooooo much.

BGM

og said...

I had all this crap jammed into me in high school, and i did my ,level best in the 70's and 80's to drink it all out.

Eventually i got to the point where I could read some things, like Dante, and Virgil, without being annoyed by the memories. I have doubts as to whether that will ever happen in regards to history, I just can't get interested unless it's technological. Glad someone is buying those books, I guess.

Robin said...

I find Roman history quite fascinating myself. Goldsworthy's bio of Cicero was pretty good IMO. It did a better job of putting one inside Cicero's head than most bio's. Luckily, we have so much of his correspondence to flesh out the bio.

Tam said...

Robin,

Yeah. Trying to reconstruct Posidonius is like trying to put together Mark Twain's works using only books of quotations and the occasional passage excerpted in a textbook for sources.

Stranger said...

Procopius "Secret History" is a look behind the scenes in Justinian's court. Recommended over any fiction; if only for the reflection that "Damn, they are doing the same thing to us!"

The more time goes on, the more likely we are to see the time tested screws applied to us.

Stranger

Tam said...

og,

It's always a shame when "educators" destroy someone's love of learning.

og said...

Oh, they did what they could. I've always wanted to be outside, though, and not sitting in a classroom, and when I was a teenager, the call of the wild was stronger by several orders of magnitude than the call of the books. Oddly enough, I became such a voracious reader specifically because of not wanting to be where I was- the escapist aspect of fiction appealed to me first, and most, and still does, occasionally.

WV: Hencruc. How did they know? Besides, the statute of limitations is past on that.

Wayne said...

Sure I know where we are going.

Down the Tube

Chas S. Clifton said...

If you like that, you will like A.D. 500.

DirtCrashr said...

I always wonder how a guy like him went around? Was it as Posi-doni-us (like pois-traction), or as Posidon-us? And you just know he had a nick-name, especially if he was among the Kraut-furters. Damn now I have like five books to read and none about Megasthenes, and one awful book I have to write myself.
There's always Alexander the Great in the Punjaub, from Flavius Arrianus...

MJM said...

I bet you would enjoy W.H. Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico," published in 1843. It is about Cortez, and it reads like a more ruthless Captain Kirk boldly going with a mere 500 total crew, and burning the Enterprise.

Tam said...

MJM,

The tale of La Noche Triste has always reminded me of a 16th Century Black Hawk Down.

I bet it'd make a helluva movie.

Chas S. Clifton said...

You want La noche triste, read Bernal Diaz for the on-the-ground Spanish noncom's view.