Archive for July 18th, 2006

Treatise IV continues, as Cyprian interprets the “Our Father” up to “On earth as it is heaven”.

Treatise IV (cont.)


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Against Heresies continues, with in-depth criticism of the Gnostics’ cosmology of Aeons.

Fun for pure argument’s sake. If that doesn’t interest you, I swear we get to more widely applicable stuff soon.

Book II, Ch. 12: The Triacontad and the Conjunction System Doesn’t Work.



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Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour continues, as Mr. Watchorn the huntsman attempts to serve up a foxhunt at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, you need a lot of people and horses and dogs to go hunting this way, so expressing the process isn’t the best way to go….

Ch. 64: The Kennel and the Stud


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Lucan’s Pharsalia continues, as Pompey and his fleet flee Italy in a daring predawn escape. Dang, now  I wish every daring predawn escape movie included a scene where Venus, as the morning star, becomes “lost in light”. Some lovely stuff here.

Part 2, Book II


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Lucan’s Pharsalia continues with all the stuff happening after Pompey left Rome with his untried legion. Mostly, we hear about what Caesar was up to, who was resisting Caesar, and spend time with young Brutus and his famous friend, Cato. Cato was a really honest lawyer and a really determined Republican, but he was also really really unsuccessful in his politics.

Anyway, this section also features the typically Roman, touching yet creepy, love story of Cato and his second and third wife, Marcia. Marcia did indeed bear him three kids. Then Hortensius comes looking to marry one of Cato’s daughters (from his first marriage). A daughter who’s already happily married, thank you, and would rather not divorce hubby to marry one of Daddy’s political friends. So what’s a good daddy to do? Well, if you’re Cato, you get your wife Marcia to agree to divorce you and marry Hortensius.

Why, yes, it is possible to be a tad too political and idealistic. (And yes, Marcia should have sworn vengeance on both men and fed them poison. But maybe that’s just me.) Yet  apparently Marcia shared her husband’s interests enough to do this. And then, when her husband Hortensius was dead, she did indeed remarry Cato. You can’t make up stuff like this!

Still, I am beginning to see why the popularity of Lucan waned. You have to be a bit up on Roman history and geography to get some of the references. But the secret of reading poetry in general is this — you don’t really have to understand completely what the poet is going on about. Every poet makes references to girls you don’t know, incidents nobody remembers, songs in the Forgotten Top Forty, beer and wine you never got to drink, friends and enemies you never got to hang out with, and sunsets you have never and will never see. I don’t say you should ignore them, quite — it’s more like you should insert a placeholder (“Interesting and Significant Placename”) and go on.

Part 1, Book II: The Flight of Pompeius


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