The Spartan Agoge (Άγωγή) was related to many things in the Ancient Greek, however, its closest linguistic cognitive was ‘Αγων’ (struggle – the etymological origin of our word ‘agony’), indicative of the struggle children had to endure to overcome it. Begun at seven by the παίδες (child), the boy reflected in our snapshot from “300” is representative of a seventeen-year-old about to become a παιδίσκοι (student). The elite from amongst these boys would become κρυπτειοι (Secret Police) and be required to kill a slave without being caught to prove their skill. An extremely complex system of training.
How Athenian Democracy is viewed today has much to do with scholars in the early 20th century. Unfortunately or, in my case, fortunately, many misconceptions have arisen that make us question the true validity of a system that begun in 509 and had imploded by 327. What is appreciated about Athenian Democracy is its intent to become representative of all, not its process which, already discussed by Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and Isocrates, amongst many others, cannot work for cities beyond 10,000 people.
Slaves, women, metics, thetes…they were all excluded even from the Radical Democracy of Pericles’ time. Most countries have a Roman Republic method of Democracy, especially the United States. It was a much better system, but with the spirit of Democracy at its heart.
Check out this article by Ancient History Encyclopedia
Poena istīus ūnius hunc morbum cīvitātis relevabit sed periculum semper remanebit.
A penalty for that one man will relieve the sickness of this state, but danger shall always remain.
El castigo de ese hombre aliviará la enfermedas del Estado, pero el peligro siempre permanecerá.
Consider M. T. Cicero here and his use of “that one man” versus “this state.” He seeks to separate the good from the bad, the worthy from the unworthy. Good Romans were the state, bad Romans were killed or exiled. A very common way of Roman thinking: if you are here, you are us; if you are there, you are them. This is how they voted as well; people who supported one proposition or another would walk to the man proposing it. It really gives new meaning to ‘drawing a line in the sand.’ A very interesting political point.
Yet Cicero makes another subtle suggestion: remove the symptom and the disease remains. How do we solve this, then? As Augustus said: remove the pain and you are still hurt, seek to remove the thought ‘I am hurt’ from your mind, and the pain is gone with it. Men are just actors to life; change their lives, and they will act out something else.
I run to the house.
Corro a casa.
Αd casam currō.
Τρέχω εις τᾖ ὀικίῃ.
Notice how the Latin (or the Spanish and Ancient Greek for that matter) do not need to emphasize that it is ‘I’ who is doing the running. This is by virtue of the fact that languages which come from the Latin or Greek are inflected (can show person, number, and case in the noun). English, as a language coming from German, doesn’t really decline much. ‘House’ comes from the German ‘haus’ and ‘run’ from the Old Norse ‘rinna.’
The Spanish is much closer to the Latin, yet still different; this is due to Vandal and Visigoth influence form the 4th to the 7th century. After that, Arabic moved into the peninsula by virtue of the Moors and changed the Latin even more, up until the 15th century. To this day, Southern Spaniards (Andalusians – the moors called it Al-Andalus possibly because it used to be The Land of the Uandals) speak an Arabic-like Castilian while, the further North you go, the more Latin-like (proper) one sounds.
A little Latin for our Monday; from Cicero of course:
Cīvitās bellum sine causā bonā aut propter īram gerere nōn dēbet.
The state ought not to carry out war without good cause or due to anger.
El Estado no debe hacer la guerra sin buena causa o debido a la ira.
How sensible of Cicero to list the two things one must do prior to waging war:
1. Have proper cause; not only proper, but also good.
2. Do not wage war while angry
I believe Sun Tzu could not have put it better. Although he did write it in very similar terms.
1. Created farting legislation so he could take care of business at the table.
2. Was a historian…whaaat?
3. Was lame from birth, everyone ignored him, and he chose to advocate for people with the same issues.
4. Survived Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and the Praetorian Guard.
5. Quoted A. Greek to people to make fun of them.
What’s not to love? A fun article by History.com, see it here.