Why Read Ancient Literature?

By Mike Haran
Apr. 10, 2012

Ever wonder the uses of the ancient classics. I sometimes get on an ancient literature and poetry reading thing. Let me explain how I got into this in the first place. I was in a local library where in front of my face were The Odessy, The Illiad and Virgils Aenid.I had run across all of these in some of the books I happened to have been reading. I thought at the time it would be great if I had read them as it would make the book in which I found them mentioned a bit more understandable.

I read the forward in both the second one mentioned and the latter and now having an idea where they fitted into history checked the ODDESSY by Homer.The early account of Oddesyus' sons quest to find his long lost father taken away by the Trojan wars was interesting but some how not what I had expected. As I read further a strange feeling of having read this before come over me. All of a sudden I knew why the account of the ships crew being turned into pigs was familiar. I had had it read to me while in nursery school. Other parts too were vauguely familiar so what I was actually doing was completing education begun long ago.

Eventually I went on to read the other two not grasping them wholly. Later I read other ancient classics and things became more clear; all ancient literature refers to these core pieces so if you didnt get it the first time eventally, through repitition, they sink in.

As you read more and more of this type of literature it becomes easier and easier to understand as each piece is in most cases based upon a previous work.

Why read something so far in the past some may say? My answer would be that in my case it was a type of mystical curiosity regarding those alive back then and their thought process'. The ancient mind in my view viewed the world through a lense that emphasized granduor combined with savagery.Violent death in those days was much closer than it is today. And so too was contemplation of the spirit world. Not just contemplation but also explanation as to how there must be one and how the dead react with the living. The chorus asks god what name he goes under, as of course he exists as how else could one feel such a terrible burden of pain after the deaths of both Agamemnon and his killer Clymenestra, his wife, if not placed there by some thing or some one.

That is the wonderfull thing about the ancient classics, they all refer in some way to one another and to are own day. I find that the more things change the more they stay the same. Religion battles with law causing both to adapt to one another or both to perish. A man achieves fame and renown only to be cut down by jealeous inferiors. The dead are never completely dead as they are constantly interacting with the living.

I could bring up dozens of examples proving the above but why bother; those inerested enough will do so without my prompting.


About the author Mike Haran: Here is the link to my new web site devoid of any connection with the above which I use as a device to publish my war games,link.

Email: manzikertca@yahoo.com

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