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Greek is for Geeks
"A celebration of all that is intelligent, geeky, wise, nerdy, clever, or smart-alecky in ancient Greek literature."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
Socrates: was he the wisest of the Athenians, or just the quintessential annoying know-it-all? Well, we all know what happened to him. Socrates' court defense, put into prose by the two Greek writers Plato and Xenophon, is known to us as the "Apology." But was it really an apology (in the English sense of the word)?
Socrates (and his popularizer, Plato) were less concerned with What You Know than How You Know What You Know. According to Plato, how do you come to "know" something?
One can only learn a concept from a teacher, never from direct observation.
Children learn concepts as they learn the words for those concepts.
If you know a concept, you are remembering it from a previous existence.
It is impossible to know anything, because the world we experience is an illusion.
According to Herodotus, the Athenian Solon was world-renowned for his wisdom. So, when Solon visited the court of Croesus, the fabulously wealthy king of Lydia, Croesus asked him for a bit of advice. Who was the most fortunate person Solon knew of? Croesus thought his wealth and power would easily qualify him. But, who was NOT in the list of people Solon gave as the most fortunate people he knew of?
Tellus the Athenian
Apollo, the Greek god of light and wisdom, had his most famous oracle at Delphi. The priestess there was known as the "Pytho." What other important religious figure has a name directly cognate (i.e. shares a common origin with) the name of this priestess?
Who was the famous Trojan princess who knew the future, but couldn't get anyone to believe her?
( One word of 9 letters ... starts with a C (or K))
Knowledge and wisdom are great, but there's still a lot to be said for street smarts. After all, Hermes, the god of cleverness and trickery, even managed to trick the God of Light and Truth himself, as recounted in the "Homeric Hymn to Hermes." What exactly did Hermes do?
Hermes stole Apollo's best lyre, using it to win first place on "Athenian Idol."
Hermes tricked Apollo into letting him drive his chariot of the sun, then wouldn't return it, making for one 72-hour day as Apollo tried to get it back.
He beat Apollo at a game of nim, and won Apollo's oracle at Delphi.
The one-day-old cattle rustler made off with Apollo's prize herd.
Of course, Odysseus is the clever man par excellence of Greek literature and myth. His resume, were he to write one, would contain a long list of major and minor triumphs of cleverness over brute strength. Which of these is NOT one of Odysseus' exploits?
Bringing all of his men safely home.
Escaping from the Cyclops' cave by blinding him with an olive stake.
Murdering King Rhesus and stealing his horses in a night raid.
Sacking Troy by concocting the idea of the Trojan Horse.
The famous library of which famous city established by the Greeks was the home to such great scholars as Eratosthenes, the man who measured the size of the earth; Euclid, the father of geometry; Dionysus of Thrace, who did for grammar what Euclid did for geometry; as well as to Callimachus, the famous Greek poet?
Greek for geeks did not end with the end of Greek civilization. Far from it! Ancient Greece continues to fascinate the hearts and minds of intelligent people the world over. For example, which English genius deciphered the pre-alphabetic Greek writing system known as Linear B?
The writings of the ancient Greeks can also have great relevance to today's current events. For instance, Yale historian Donald Kagan has drawn extensively from which ancient Greek historian for his neoconservative views on current US foreign policy?
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Compiled Jun 28 12