Week 3 – Classical Greece & Pre-Socratics

1. Cyclopes – Would you describe them as having a civilization? Why or why not?

I would say yes, even though they are not the same as humans, they still live together and try to cooperate with each other if needed.

2. What happens between the Cyclops and Odysseus and his men? How does the story end?

Odysseus and his men get driven out of their course, causing them to land on an island. Odysseus did not know who lives there, so he took some of his best men and went to explore the island. They stumbled across a cyclope, who took them to his cave and closed it by a huge rock, which they were not able to move, so they were imprisoned by him. They did not know what to expect and Odysseus wanted to get some food and shelter from him, asking in the name of gods, but the cyclopes believed that they are stronger than the gods themselves and therefore did not listen. Later he even ate some of Odysseus’ men. Odysseus gave him some wine in order to get him drunk, and he did. The cyclope than wanted to know his name, so he could give him a present, which turned out to be just the fact that Odysseus would get eaten last, and Odysseus gave him the name Noman. Odysseus decided to blind the cyclope with the help of what was left of his men and so they did. The cyclope started yelling for help and as other cyclopes gathered around the cave and asked what was happening, he said:,,Noman is killing me by fraud! Noman is killing me by force!” The cyclopes thought he is saying that no man is killing him, therefore he must be ill and left. Odysseus than came up with a solution – he and his men would hide under the sheep, holding onto them from bellow. The cyclope only checked their backs and did not feel Odysseus and his men. He then sent them outside, where Odysseus and his men escaped. They took all the sheep on board and pull out. When they sailed a far enough distance, Odysseus yelled at the cyclope, making him mad and throwing a rock at them, which did not hit them but caused them to return to the island. They rowed for their lives and got twice as far as before, but Odysseus started jeering again and cyclope prayed to Neptune, asking him to grant that Odysseus never reaches his home alive. He then threw another rock, making them return to the shore again. They divided the sheep equitably amongst all the crew so none of them had a reason to complain and then sacrificed some to gods.

3. What is the significance of ancient Greece in Western civilization?

We can trace most things to the ancient Greece, e.g. medicine, architecture, philosophy, academia etc. They started paying attention to things that are unique to humans, like reason.

4. Why is pre-Socratic philosophy significant?

Firstly, it is the beginning of philosophy. Secondly, even though the philosophers were not exactly right, it was still amazing what they could think of in their time, when they had little to no information about the nature, world and universe.

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