TACITUS: The Histories [Book I]

The short reign of Galba – After the forced suicide of Nero, the provincial armies elect Galba as emperor. Galba is weak and 77 years old. The soldiers begin to hate him because he does not give them the donative that he promised. Furthermore, he is severe in his treatment of them, a stark contrast to the indulgence of Nero. Continue reading TACITUS: The Histories [Book I]

HOMER: The Odyssey [Book X]

In Book X of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew land on the island of Aeolus. Odysseus gains the favor of the ruler of the winds, who gives Odysseus a favorable wind to return home to Ithaca and also entraps adverse winds in a bag that he gives to Odysseus. While in sight of Ithacus, the crew becomes envious of Odysseus. They decide to untie the bag of winds, thinking that the bag conceals gold. When the bag opens, the winds rush out and blow the ships back to the island of Aeolus, where Aeolus refuses to help them again. Continue reading HOMER: The Odyssey [Book X]

ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book XII]

In Book XII of his Metaphysics, Aristotle presents his case for the unmoved mover. This argument has been hijacked by later religions to argue for the existence of their gods, but Aristotle’s argument does not deny or affirm the existence of gods who care about human affairs. Aristotle’s unmoved mover is entirely indifferent to everything but its own existence and activity, which is the contemplation of its own contemplation. Continue reading ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book XII]

HOMER: The Odyssey [Book IX]

In Book IX of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus reveals his true name to Alcinous and the Phaeacian citizens and relates the tale of his adventures after the Trojan War. Shortly after the destruction of Troy, Odysseus and his men attack Ismarus, the city of the Ciconians. They achieve momentary success, but eventually they are repelled by the Ciconians and forced to sail away. Odysseus and his men next land on the island of the Lotus-eaters. On the island, Odysseus’ men encounter the inhabitants, who offer them lotus to eat. After tasting the plant, the men no longer wish to return home, but rather desire to remain on the island and eat lotus for the rest of their days. Odysseus forces them onto the ship, binds them beneath the deck, and sails away. Continue reading HOMER: The Odyssey [Book IX]

PLATO: Laws [Book X]

In Book X of Plato’s Laws, Plato tries to demonstrate the existence of the gods. His argument is complex and ambiguous. My interpretation of his argument is the following: 1) there are things in motion, 2) matter can move other matter, but it cannot move itself, 3) the soul can move itself and matter, 4) because matter is in motion, a soul must have moved it, 5) a soul capable of moving and arranging the heavens is a god. Continue reading PLATO: Laws [Book X]