Heimskringla thread

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Evo

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marcus said:
I'm a bit discouraged---just dont have the gumption to go through procopius (even though I see the book as entertaining and shedding considerable light on the period)
What would you like to read instead?

marcus said:
also I think nobody but me enjoys that anecdote about the duke of Milan
I loved it. :biggrin:

marcus said:
and the business about the camels was a bit obscure
the slow ones are left trailing behind so that the ants will occupy themselves with those while the men on the fast camels get away
I'm a sucker for animals, I was hoping the slow camels got away. They got away...right? :frown: (hint: tell me they got away)

marcus said:
If I were a young historian perhaps i would specialize in the reign of justinian and theodora----they built the Haghia Sophia
as well as having all that monkeybusiness and circus act stuff
They are quite interesting, to say the least. The story about the geese, she was very young when she did this, correct?

marcus said:
My cousin's father was chief of security in Leningrad during the Stalin purges and eventually he was executed and his wife and the two boys were sent to a camp---she was friends with a lot of poets and composers
Wow marcus! That is so fascinating, I can't imagine living through something like that. I often wonder how people can hold up under that kind of stress.

marcus said:
i like Isaak Dinesen stories. I like Babette's Feast.
I am not familiar with this.
 

marcus

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Oh I forgot to say the slow camels got away too!
 

marcus

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I would not put it down to her youth. Indeed as she aged she became ever more devastatingly beautiful and her parties at the palace ever more cunningly depraved.

It is my opinion that the business with the pet geese was something she didnt think of until she was in her forties!

Of course they were Greeks, which could account for a lot: as I am sure you know Helen of Troy's father was a swan
 

marcus

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Can anyone help me find this in Herodotus

(My next door neighbor teaches in the linguistics dept and is very amusing and I was visiting for tea yesterday and she began talking about herodotus and she says this:)

it is known that in Africa the sun is very hot in the middle of the day
and so there is this race of men (the Egyptians tell me) with only one very large foot

they stand on one leg and walk around, I guess they hop, on one foot

and in the middle of the day they lie down on their backs
and put the leg straight up in the air
and shade themselves with their foot
and go to sleep for a while

--------------
Is this indeed in herodotus, and is it in the chapter with Egyptians giving the information. I dont remember seeing it. Can anyone give a page or paragraph reference?

---------------

and besides, did I offend everyone's sense of propriety or something?
there has been no thread business after i pointed out what I thought
was obvious about the Empress Theodora
 

selfAdjoint

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Herodotus is just full of supernatural things presented as simple fact. You don't have to go to Egypt; he has gods, oracles, and nymphs of full supernatural power interacting with Greek humans in Greece itself.

Gene Wolfe wrote an engaging set of fantasy novels about this; The first one is "Soldier in the Mist."
 

selfAdjoint

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selfAdjoint said:
Herodotus is just full of supernatural things presented as simple fact. You don't have to go to Egypt; he has gods, oracles, and nymphs of full supernatural power interacting with Greek humans in Greece itself.

Gene Wolfe wrote an engaging set of fantasy novels about this; The first one is "Soldier in the Mist."

AS for Theodora, she was the Liz Taylor of her day. I for one don't believe half the tabloidesque stories Procopius retails. They don't have to be original with him; just walking past a supermarket checkout counter will educate you in the human power to make up stories and impute them to celebrities.
 

Evo

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marcus said:
Can anyone help me find this in Herodotus

(My next door neighbor teaches in the linguistics dept and is very amusing and I was visiting for tea yesterday and she began talking about herodotus and she says this:)

it is known that in Africa the sun is very hot in the middle of the day
and so there is this race of men (the Egyptians tell me) with only one very large foot

they stand on one leg and walk around, I guess they hop, on one foot

and in the middle of the day they lie down on their backs
and put the leg straight up in the air
and shade themselves with their foot
and go to sleep for a while

--------------
Is this indeed in herodotus, and is it in the chapter with Egyptians giving the information. I dont remember seeing it. Can anyone give a page or paragraph reference?
I found it. It appears it was originally reported by Pliny The Elder.

"The construction of the "fantastic other" is reinforced in the work of Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD). In his Natural History, Pliny talks about how the outermost districts of Ethiopia produce such human monstrosities as tribes of people without noses, those who have no upper lip and others without tongues. In Book VII, ii, 21-24, Pliny cites Ctesias as the source of the story of a tribe of Indian men called the Monocoli who have only one leg, and who move in jumps with surprising speed; the same are called the Umbrella-foot tribe, because in hotter weather they lie on their backs on the ground and protect themselves with the shadow of their feet."

http://www.triangle.co.uk/pdf/viewpdf.asp?j=whr&vol=10&issue=2&year=2001&article=NiebrzydowskiWHRE10_2&id=144.160.98.31 [Broken]

That was great marcus! I'd never heard of that.

marcus said:
and besides, did I offend everyone's sense of propriety or something?
there has been no thread business after i pointed out what I thought
was obvious about the Empress Theodora
It didn't bother me. I was enjoying reading about her exploits. I was waiting for you and Arildno to decide what we would read together. You both stopped posting so I thought you were too busy. :frown:

I'd love to get started again.
 
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marcus

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selfAdjoint, a person of considerable probity, suggests that the National Inquirer should have been called, instead, the National Herodotus

It is my passionate conviction, on the other hand, that nothing can touch the Procopian Theodora for scandal. I ador 'a

If some spirit medium wanted to make a lot of money she could
get in touch with Theodora and do a "True Confessions" theodora tells all
novelette. Now darling, let me tell you about the time I made love with a bear.

Let us all root for the Greeks to win the European football championship, since they are a people with much merit, altogether deserving honor.
 
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marcus

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Evo said:
I found it. It appears it was originally reported by Pliny The Elder.... In Book VII, ii, 21-24, Pliny cites Ctesiasas the source of the story of a tribe of Indian men called the Monocoli who have only one leg, and who move in jumps with surprising speed...
My nextdoor neighbor, a witty woman whom I admire almost to the point of philandery, does not know her Pliny as well as Evo.

Evo, you are keen for classical and medieval history, as I hope the others have noticed as well. If we persist in it we are all apt to learn something (most probably something we did not expect, too).
 

Evo

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marcus said:
My nextdoor neighbor, a witty woman whom I admire almost to the point of philandery, does not know her Pliny as well as Evo.
No, I'm just good with search engines.
 

marcus

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Evo said:
No, I'm just good with search engines.
I will take that under consideration.

It is possible you are also good with search engines.

Can you find an original text, in translation, that recounts the Hindu
creation myth
Vishnu is asleep on a cobra floating on an infinite ocean
It is a big cobra so the cobra's head makes a wide comfortable bed for Vishnu to sleep on.
At some point in time a lotus grows out of his navel.
And Brahma sticks his head up out of the lotus and looks around
and decides to create the universe, just for fun.

Brahma creates the universe to delight Vishnu. I think that is a nice reason.
The two of them enjoy the universe for 50 billion years,
which in the Hindu system is called the "Day of Brahma" and also is a unit of time called a "kalpa"

After one kalpa (50 billion years) they uncreate the universe and Brahma climbs back into the lotus and the lotus flower closes and goes back into Vishnu's navel and Vishnu goes back to sleep.

He sleeps for one kalpa (50 billion years). this is called the "Night of Brahma".

Now, an intelligent person will naturally want to know if this is the first time this has happened. does this happen often? or is it just a one-time thing. And if it repeats are we in the first cycle, or what.

And the thoughtful Hindus have answers to these questions.

the Hindu cosmology, that I recounted here, is the only prescientific cosmology with the correct timescale, that I know of.

50 billion years is of the same order of magnitude as the 13.7 billion years that we have as the present age, and of things like the projected life of the sun, and the life of galaxies.

So the Hindu story is better than most in my humble opinion----I think time-perspective is sort of important. Also I like navels.
also I like that Brahma is so small, like a leprechaun, so small he can hide in a flower and it is this small sprite who creates the universe, not the big guy. And I approve highly of the motivation. He does it to give his friend pleasure.

I found this in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I would like an english version of the original
 
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Evo

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marcus said:
Can you find an original text, in translation, that recounts the Hindu creation myth
This is a hard one. Easy to find numerous references to the story, but nothing that looks close to an accurate original translation. I'm still searching.

I did find one reference to this being the ninth time the universe has been created, but there was no reference given that I could verify.
 

marcus

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Evo said:
This is a hard one. Easy to find numerous references to the story, but nothing that looks close to an accurate original translation. I'm still searching.

I did find one reference to this being the ninth time the universe has been created, but there was no reference given that I could verify.
maybe i should take a turn
it is important that its always fun and never fatiguing
so if your initial search didnt turn anything up, i can take a try

BTW hats off for finding those original bigfoot people
I have never read any Pliny, just heard the name
 

marcus

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BTW I just spoke to an Indian anthropologist woman
who says there are several Hindu creation myths
(this one she knows very well but she says there are others)
one involves an egg
but there is an even better one that says the universe
was churned into being by a turtle

just like when you churn cream it coagulates into butter
so that the butter comes into being by churning

well there was the infinite ocean again( that we saw before)
and there was no quarks and leptons in other words
no form or matter or anything, which the turtle felt was a deficiency
so churned and churned
and Existence coagulated like butter
and some say that a snake was involved too but I dont know how

this appeals to me because it seems very likely that leptons
are produced by churning, and possibly also quarks, and then
protons and neutrons are made by the quarks coallescing, just like
butter, and atoms and so on.

But I like the business with the lotus sprouting from his navel.

My friend has seen that represented in indian art at the Asian Art museum
in San Francisco, so we in some sense have a contemporary "document"
only it is sculptured bas relief and not a piece of writing

You say you found online paraphrases----could you give some links
 

Evo

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marcus said:
and some say that a snake was involved too but I dont know how
Here is one I found with the snake, actually a whole bunch of snakes.

The laksmi creation story starts with Brahma telling the Asuras and Devas to churn the ocean of milk. The Asuras and Devas were looking for soma, or immortallity. Anxious the two groups go and ask Ananta a serpent to turn Mt. Mandara into a ocean of milk. They then use another serpent to churn the ocean, Vasukii. After churning for some time they grew tired and bored, but then Vishnu comes and erges them not to quit. After some time a beautiful God appears, Laksmi. However this is not what they wanted so they kept churning the ocean until a black sludge appears. Then a thousand poisinous snakes come out of the sludge. The poison turns blue and Shiva comes and swollows this poison. Shiva holds this poison in his throught and the poison turns his throught blue. After Shiva purifies the ocean Dhanvantari appears. He is the physician of the gods and he holds the soma in a container called fillasha. This story goes on and on, but in the end the devas drink and become immortal.

http://www.msu.edu/user/murphy16/

marcus said:
this appeals to me because it seems very likely that leptons
are produced by churning, and possibly also quarks, and then
protons and neutrons are made by the quarks coallescing, just like
butter, and atoms and so on.
You can be so funny. :biggrin:

marcus said:
You say you found online paraphrases----could you give some links
I found a bunch, but I only saved a few links.

Here are some that seemed to be good resources.

http://www.archaeolink.com/creation_myths_religious_anthrop.htm

http://www.crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/creationmyths.htm

Here's one with the turtle.

http://www.ignca.nic.in/ps_05014.htm
 

marcus

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Dear evo, I went looking for the Hindu myths of creation and
found that Hinduism is a dreadful mess
they need a good editor

it is a dismal task to find anything
at least in the old testament bible of the Israelites there is linear order
and one can find where the Genesis is because it comes at the beginning!

at least in the great book of the Westerners which is called
the encyclopedia Britannica there is alphabetical order
and one may look for navel under N and lotus under L

but in Hinduism there is no order, none of any kind!
It is quite slovenly and disreputable.
 

marcus

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I did learn that the serpent on which Vishnu is sleeping is
called Sheshnaag

the lotus that grows from his navel has a special name too
but I forget what it is----perhaps it is Kamala or perhaps Padma
 

marcus

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I think we just have to give up on Hindu creation myths, now i am sorry
I got you into such a difficult and unrewarding search in such a
bramble-patch

the thing is, they always want to sell you stuff.

they tell you summaries and they say yes yes it is all in the
Vishnu Purana translated by Horace H Wilson in 1865, or some
business like that, but it is not on line!

And one cannot be sure that is really is where they say because
of a certain vagueness that comes of too much sophisticated spirituality for too many centuries where they have been looking at all these things
as "symbolic" of contemplative states of mind and not taking them literally as stories in a hard-edge way and i say bleeegh and blaaaghhh to that.

the book of genesis is crisply told by comparison.

Maybe Salman Rushdie has retold these creation myths in good prose style. that would then be quite agreeable!

one has to really believe that the turtle really did churn the infinite ocean of milk

I am sure you agree, I am just saying it to make it revoltingly explicit, as is the custom :smile:
 
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Evo

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I was very surprised at how Hindu Myths were so inconsistent and no one seems to think it important to find an original authoritative source. This has been an interesting excersize, to say the least.

I have found that the only consistency is the inconsistency. :devil: Everything appears to have different names. The snake that Vishnu (who himself has 1,000 names)reposes on is called by many names, for example - Shesanaga, Shesha Nag, Sheshnaga, Ananta, Anantasesh, Sesha, etc...

In Hindu myth, nagas are a primeval race of divine serpent-people that play an important part in religion.

I have always been partial to the turtle story though. :smile:

I've also found the same sources for the translation of the Puranas. Nothing complete is available online.

I did find this tale which I thought you might enjoy.

Takshak : This king of Nagas was responsible for ending the life of king Pariksh it, the descendant of Pandavas. Pariksh it once insulted a great sage while he was engrossed in meditation. The sage's son cursed Pariksh it by saying that he will die of a snake bite. Pariksh it was so scared that he built his palace on a single pillar surrounded by water. He believed that he was safe as no snake could crawl through the water. Takshak had to take up the challenge to honour the sage's words. He shrunk his body and hid in an apple. When Pariksh it was about to eat the apple, he sprang out to his original shape and bit the king. The king's son, Janamejay, was so angry that he performed a huge snake sacrifice. His priests chanted powerful mantras which made all snakes fall into the sacrificial fire. Takshak sought Lord Indra's help. But the mantras were so powerful that both Takshak and Indra began to fall into the fire. Then Astik, a wise sage, intervened and stopped the sacrifice before all snakes were annihilated.

Also, a bit of background on the Naga Shesha.

Shesha: This enormous thousand-headed snake bears the earth on his head. Traditionally, it was believed that earthquakes were caused whenever the snake moved. Shesha floats on the cosmic ocean and Lord Vishnu reclines on the coil of his tail. This Naga survives even when the entire universe is destroyed. Hence, it is also called Ananta (eternal). Shesha accompanies Lord Vishnu in every incarnation.

Thus, when Vishnu appeared in his seventh incarnation as Rama, Shesha was born as his brother Lakshman. However, before their next incarnation, Shesha complained to Vishnu that he was tired of being his younger brother and always having to obey him. So Lord Vishnu suggested that he be his elder brother in their next incarnation so that Lord Vishnu will have to obey him. Thus Shesha was born as Balaram while Vishnu appeared as Krishna during their eighth incarnation.


http://festival.indiatimes.com/articleshow/-1669016349.cms [Broken]

edit - too funny, the automatic online PF censor deleted the last part of the name p a r a k s h i t, so I had to divide the name. :rolleyes:
 
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marcus

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I've been enjoying your recent posts on Hindu legend a lot.
I could listen to some more of these stories
or, if you want to change
I would be interested if you would propose something we could
read (and give me the link so i can find it)

you some times say "you or Arildno pick something"
but you could take a turn
 

Evo

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marcus said:
I've been enjoying your recent posts on Hindu legend a lot.
I could listen to some more of these stories
or, if you want to change
I would be interested if you would propose something we could
read (and give me the link so i can find it)

you some times say "you or Arildno pick something"
but you could take a turn
I'd love to find something. You may be sorry though, I do have a very warped sense of what is interesting. :biggrin:
 

marcus

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Evo said:
I'd love to find something. You may be sorry though, I do have a very warped sense of what is interesting. :biggrin:
I'll take a chance
warp away
 

marcus

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I'm enjoying the sporadic booktalk so if you dont target some
passage or other soon (and give a link) I will eventually suggest something.

BTW you must have found a link for procopius and I would actually like to look at the same version----especially if it is not a long PDF download---as a refresher.
Ive forgotten many an outrageous chapter of the Secret History.

so give me the link you found, if you wish


were you ever in florence, if so you know San Miniato del Monte up on a hill across the Arno from the main part of the city
there is a nice story about when some medieval Germans stole the bones.
 

Evo

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marcus said:
BTW you must have found a link for procopius and I would actually like to look at the same version----especially if it is not a long PDF download---as a refresher.
Ive forgotten many an outrageous chapter of the Secret History.

so give me the link you found, if you wish
I will post that tomorrow. I'd love to discuss it with you.

I have been crying my eyes out watching the BBC/AE movies of "Lorna Doone" & "Pride & Prejudice" for the 100th time tonight. :cry: :approve: I love historic pieces.

My daughter will not watch the BBC/AE version of "Lorna Doone" since we watched the 1922 silent movie version of it together a couple of years ago. She prefers the 1922 version. :(

I've found watching movies of the classics with a teenager much easier than reading together. We can devote 2 hours of time with no problem. Sometimes she prefers to read the books.

Sorry, off topic, but that's what has been keeping me tied up.

marcus said:
were you ever in florence, if so you know San Miniato del Monte up on a hill across the Arno from the main part of the city
there is a nice story about when some medieval Germans stole the bones.
I've been to Italy a few times, but never there. What is the story of the bones?
 

marcus

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Jennifer Ehle, Colin firth, Crispin Bonham-Carter
and who ever did Mrs. Bennet was wonderful (and mr. bennet too)

but also the Emma thompson version of Sense and Sensibility
has some wonderful scenes and holds up very well
(Hugh Grant does a good job with one of the roles)

You indicated, I think, that you had never read Babette's'
feast, there is a Danish film made from Isaak Dinesen's story
of that name

I identify with several characters in the film of
Babette's feast----had better let you guess if you ever rent the
video of it, rather than say. It is available with the original soundtrack
and English subtitles which is probably better than dubbed into english
in this case as the actors have finely fitting voices to their roles.
 

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