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Author Topic: Week 1: Icaromenippus  (Read 936 times) Average Rating: 0
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Cyrillic
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« on: May 25, 2013, 06:42:42 AM »

Week 1: Icaromenippus

So for week 1 we read the Icaromenippus, a satire by Lucian of Samosata. We went to the moon and then onwards to Olympus to discuss philosophy with Zeus himself. So, what did everyone think of it? What was good, what was disappointing, did you learn anything, etc? This is the discussion thread,

For the next two weeks (until June 8th) we'll read the True Story, which is bigger than the other books (thus the additional week) and is arguably the best of Lucian's works. The book can be found here.

Participants thus far (feel free to join):

- TheMathematician
- Severian
- dcommini
- Orthodox11
- Romaios
- Cyrillic
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 07:03:09 AM by Cyrillic » Logged

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Severian
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 10:08:31 AM »

I will try to respond later today. Sorry for the delay.

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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2013, 11:03:01 AM »

Not going to lie, I didn't even have a chance to read... Sad
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2013, 11:06:02 AM »

Not going to lie, I didn't even have a chance to read... Sad

Can happen. It's so short that 30 minutes should be enough to read it Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2013, 02:42:29 PM »

I read it but hadn't signed up. I also looked up Lucian's bio as I had zero knowledge of him.  I liked the lively style and sci-fi plot was amusing. I noted the numerous references to classics, e.g. Iliad, etc. which I have only cursory knowledge. He was obviously an elite intellectual of that pagan society. I wondered why he wasn't more impressed with Christianity.

Thanks for the proposal and introducing me to his work.
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2013, 02:48:00 PM »

I wondered why he wasn't more impressed with Christianity.

We'll come to that with Lucian's "The Passing of Peregrinus". We'll read that one in a few weeks if everything goes according to schedule. You can tag along if you want to.

I liked the lively style and sci-fi plot was amusing.

I agree. Thanks for giving your opinion.

The book we're reading now, Lucian's "True Story" has a lot more of that. All written in a very ironic and satyrical style.

Thanks for the proposal and introducing me to his work.

No problem  Smiley
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 02:59:38 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2013, 09:22:39 PM »

School ends for me next week.  I might want in in this though its been years since I've read Lucian,  in translation or Greek.
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 09:16:01 PM »

Sorry for responding so late. Anyway, I enjoyed the story. The sense of humor and rhetoric he employed is timeless in that it can appeal to both ancient Greeks or native speakers of the English language (such as myself).
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 03:02:44 AM »

Anyway, I enjoyed the story.

Good.

The sense of humor and rhetoric he employed is timeless in that it can appeal to both ancient Greeks or native speakers of the English language (such as myself).

Yes. He was a sophist before becoming a comedian. It's basically a mix between a speechwriter, teacher and politician. It really gave him a brilliant style.
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 03:34:19 AM »

What I found funniest was poor Empedocles appearing all burnt up (legend has it that he threw himself in the lava of Mt. Etna) and pitch black on the moon.

I wonder if Lucian would be skeptical about modern astronomy. I suppose there's plenty to mock in our day too. Even in what passes for science. Not to mention superstition and false piety.
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 03:55:04 AM »

What I found funniest was poor Empedocles appearing all burnt up (legend has it that he threw himself in the lava of Mt. Etna) and pitch black on the moon.

Ah yes, Lucian loved to mock Empedocles. In his True History and Dialogues for the Dead he's targeted again. The one in the Icaromenippus was the best,  though. It was unexpected yet hilarious. The request of the moon was great too.

I wonder if Lucian would be skeptical about modern astronomy. I suppose there's plenty to mock in our day too. Even in what passes for science. Not to mention superstition and false piety.

No doubt about that. He mocked everything in his days.
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 04:17:16 AM »

Oh, and the cosmic voyeurism... Icaromenippus says he saw all those Ptolemies committing incest with their mothers and sisters, adulteries, palace intrigues and so on. Turns out all those racy rumors were true after all, if they could be seen from the moon.

The sun was invoked in oaths because he was the universal witness of everything that went on by day. But the moon apparently saw a lot more...       
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 04:30:46 AM by Romaios » Logged
Cyrillic
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 04:35:53 AM »

Yes, all great stuff.

Menippus btw is supposed to be this Cynic philosopher. Icaromenippus could see the Colossus of Rhodes standing which had been lying prostrate since 226 bc. The Ptolemies and the Seleucids were likewise gone in Lucian's days.

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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 04:38:36 AM »

In a few days we'll be reviewing the True History

Try not to forget it, everyone  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 05:48:48 AM »

In a few days we'll be reviewing the True History

Try not to forget it, everyone  Smiley

Looking forward to it  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 08:26:50 AM »

Something tells me you did your homework. Good   angel
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