History 104A, October 3: RETURN EXAM & ROME-Two Faced!
I did get to grade them. It's not bad when I only have one set
of exams. I am giving them back. I will comment a little later on
them as we go along and explain as best I can what may have occurred
and give you a good grade or a bad grade or a need work on a grade.
Please keep a couple of things in mind. You have three more to make
up, two more? Two more. And then you've got the group meetings. A
number of people have not turned in their makeup papers for the last
one. The first one they can't do any longer. And remember, that is
one-fourth of your grade, and that makes a big difference in the grade
that I should be getting. This will help pull it up. Translation,
whatever you grade you got on this exam, I would basically triple it,
add 100 points and divide by four to figure out what your grade would
be for this semester? Why? Because the grades do not change
dramatically from exam to exam. The amazing part is grading them by
social security number and then I see that people are getting the same
grade, and then I begin to realize at least I'm consistent in my
grading. If I were doing it by name, you never know the impact.
There are some changes and some people go way up and some people go
way down. The old coach statement -- don't let it go to your head --
when you have a good grade; or the other element -- give it the
college try -- just because you flunked with a zero. Nobody flunked
with a zero but there were two failures. I'll talk more. I'll let
you people do the exercise since you're young. You don't want me to
collapse on the stairs.
Happy Ramadan whenever it starts for those that celebrate by not
eating. Happy Rosh Hashanah for new year for those who celebrate.
Happy pre-Halloween. This is your trick or treat -- never mind. That
was bad. The grades were average which is sort of unusual for my
grades candidly. Either you get it or you don't so it a reverse curve
with a lot of high grades and a lot of low grades. Most of grades
here were in the middle which means there's a good chance for
improvement. So that you understood the material, but generally meant
that you didn't know how the write an exam night and my time spending
what 20-30 minutes talking about certain rules and regulations for
writing an exam. I'm fairly sure I mentioned that I told you that
it's kind of difficult to write a history exam without dates,
timeframe, references. And I would say very few of you actually
through in timeframes or reference. It is a history exam. It
certainly doesn't have to be exact, but you needed to put it in a
timeframe. If you're talking ancient Egypt, when are you talking. If
you're talking the Celts what part of Europe are they in? We ran into
a development of not getting a sense of when things were occurring.
I'm going to go specifically through the questions more directly.
The first rule I gave you -- read the question carefully. Well,
some of you did, but I was amazed how many of you left out sections of
the question. Some of it could have been time, but for many of you
who took time afterwards, you still did the same thing. For the
take-home part of the that you came in to answer, a number of people
left out India totally. Now granted, the question in the textbook
from that chapter and it doesn't include India, but I threw in India
because I felt it was a major area to cover and get it was not covered
in some of the essay. That meant that you didn't really search have
research it out as far as you should have in preparing it at home.
Most people didn't take the take home. And then when you looked at
the other ones you thought they were easier. I also came across
something that I thought was very interesting. I don't remember which
questions I have on-line, but from time to time and of course
certainly the question in the group meeting question was -- would you
prefer to live in die and Egypt or Mesopotamia? I changed the dang
thing for this exam. I made it -- would you prefer to live? And then
would you prefer to live in Mesopotamia. There were two sections. I
was amazed how many people simply took the first section and explained
why they didn't want to live or die in Mesopotamia which was not my
question, so you're not reading the question, you're making
assumptions about it based either on your study or based on previous
questions that you refer to. And that definitely caused certain
grades to drop.
Let me explain one thing. My handwriting is poor, like most
doctors, so my prescription to you may not be readable. However, one
I will of course read it to you if need be. I can't read my own
handwriting all the time either. Two, after I go over some of the
questions with you and go over some of the things I expected, then you
still would like me to comment further on your exams, I would suggest
that you come by my office after class or during my office hours on
Tuesday and Thursday and I'll be happy to go through it more
thoroughly with you specifically and prepare you for the next exam. I
grant that it's difficult sometimes to spell everything out, but the
general errors that I have expressed and did impact the grades on a
number of papers dramatically. If one-fourth of the questions or
one-fifth is asking about India, you've already dropped 25 percent if
you don't cover it. It's hard not to take that into account pause
you're supposed to cover all elements. Now, in a couple of place
where is time was a factor and I realized it by looking at what
happened, at that point, I really tried to judge and be fair by what
you wrote at the beginning. A few of you though -- and it became
pretty obvious -- got tired by the end of the exams, even though you
took time afterwards, I could tell by the marking of the red on the
sheets when you went up to my office. All of a sudden you started out
great and then trickled down to a poor essay. All that hurt. That
means that you need better conditioning. You should start a
conditioning routine, a few push ups and run a few miles and then
maybe you would last longer. It was a factor in a good five to 10
exams where people simply petered out is the term. Let's look at them
Explain why you would prefer to live and die in ancient Egypt.
Now, contradict yourself and explain why you would prefer to live and
die in Mesopotamia. It's interesting even on the other question most
people choose Egypt. Actually, I would have preferred to live and die
in Mesopotamia. Now, that's unusual, maybe one person would have said
that that was their first choice.
Q Because you fear the Gods?
THE PROFESSOR: Because I fear the Gods? I fear no one but my
own God, that's myself.
A I think you're a glutton for punishment.
THE PROFESSOR: Masochistic.
THE PROFESSOR: I don't know, maybe your right. The fearing the
Gods, I would have to deal with. Give me a good reason. Why do you
think I would prefer to live and die in Mesopotamia, a serious one? I
don't think you were serious.
A Because when power was exchanged among civilization, when you
were a serve or a serf class there was no upward or downward movement
and when your leaders changed you don't have to go and die with them.
THE PROFESSOR: No.
A I was going to say you might want to prefer Mesopotamia because
they don't -- I think they don't believe in the afterlife as far as
like Egypt is concerned.
THE PROFESSOR: So why would I want to be in a place where I'm
not concerned about an afterlife.
A Because they don't have to stress out about the their day to day
THE PROFESSOR: I think you're on the right track. I'm not sure
I would express it in that fashion, but that's okay.
One, I like diversity. And Egypt did not have diversity. It was
basically a same people with a few Nubian slaves brought in. I didn't
realize how much I liked diversity until I taught at a university in
the south for two and a half years. When my oldest son was born in a
hospital down there and everybody else had blond hair and blue eyes in
the hospital because they didn't really allow African-Americans in, I
think, and yet there's an African-American underdog community in the
south in those years and of course that's many years fact. The fact
is that he had dark eyes and fairly dark skin. He took after his
mother and he stood out. And then when I watched TV and saw nothing
but whites on TV on the news and elsewhere, when I got to the Bay Area
and saw the diversity, I realized how much I appreciated diversity
having grown up in New York. I don't like bland communities.
Why else? We said that as you expressed it, the sense of
materialism, the sense of everyday life, and I'm doing this because
again it was really lacking as to why people might have chosen it. A
few of you mentioned the materialism, but didn't explain it in its
full sense. The searching, the working, the drive or making your life
better today, not looking for the pie in the sky, but leave that you
can achieve mobility and work for this life is a major factor. I
believe that creativity comes from striving. I believe in
competition. And I think all of that was open to more human
development in Mesopotamia. Granted, none of us would like the wars,
the expansion, the different changes, but I could move from city to
city and change cultures. I would obtain a greater sense of wealth.
Now negatives, sure but we didn't need to deal with the
negatives. As far as dying is concerned? In Mesopotamia there wasn't
a sense of an afterlife, and therefore dieing in Mesopotamia was
irrelevant if I had a good life. Now, in Egypt, obviously most people
chose Egypt for a large number of factors. Although, I must say that
one person I liked, identified that in ancient Egypt women had a
greater sense of equality with the men and therefore women would
achieve, could earn wealth, could own businesses at times and did.
And even in Egypt you did have a few pharaohs that were female.
Obviously they had to put on the false beard and act like they were
men, but that's secondary to the fact that there was at least a near
sense of equality.
The other element in Egypt that didn't exist in Mesopotamia was
the sense of feeling and interaction with men and women. You could
see it in the sculptures where they're holding hands and they're equal
side by side. So that sense of spirit might have been something more
specific that you could have introduced. I did get a kick out of the
person who said he would prefer to live in Mesopotamia because women
had their own air. I thought that was a good choice. I did identify
to him or her on the paper that at least maybe forgetting a fact that
in Egypt women's clothes could be seen through. That was yours Peter?
Yeah. I figured the wise ass would do that. Yet again, there is that
you could have made an argument for whatever reason they didn't have
to buy a lot of different clothes because the men only wore loin
cloths and although they changed in height from time to time, it
didn't mean that you had to have a big wardrobe and that saved money.
It's not so much you're right or wrong answer, it's you're showing me
that you learned something from the class itself. And sometimes it
can be minuscule like that and other times it can it can wealth of the
society. You could identify the jewelry, the sculpture and gold, the
silver, the work programs, the food, and many of those kinds of
elements. And of course I would have expected in Egypt for you to
have developed the mummification, the afterlife, the search for an
afterlife, the continuation and the differences perhaps in different
periods of time.
I also would have liked for a good essay paper to a perfect one,
not just the date, but some mention of the Gods, who the Gods were,
what they were like, et cetera. Just introduced the fact that you
picked up on some of that. Somebody mentioned the two souls in Egypt.
You could have thrown in a little more detail like the ba and the ka
just to show me that you've got that extra little stuff to get an.
Any more questions on that?
C -- did ...?
Again, reemphasized four things of the Greeks that I would have
loved to have seen in the essay: The belief in the fates of the God;
the concept of the polis, the city state; the belief in hubris,
excessive pride and the punishment, and the concept of perfection.
That was fifth one that underlined all of that should have been
introduced as well, and that was belief in individuality and
tremendous respect for humankind. The Greek Gods were human in a
sense with all the problems foibles, conflicts, et cetera, that humans
have. Again, perhaps that's why you were not to live up to those Gods
as ideals, as images to follow. And taking those especially the sense
of individuality or polis, you needed to build on some of the elements
of respect for individuality or the individual city states. And you
could have done that by the rocky elements of Egypt grows, the
mountains that divided the communities and broke down the ability to
unify because it became difficult moving from place to place or
conquering other areas. You could have dealt with the trade and the
other contacts with other people to express the wealth of Athens and
the development of the expansion of the olive oil but with that and
the middle class and the high numbers of people who had wealth, the
respect for individual actuality and the respect for achievement and
perhaps the respect for perfection. You could have dealt with the
Mediterranean climate, the climates that fairly warm most of the year,
similar to California, right here. We've got fairly nice weather all
year-round. It creates a better sense of warmth and happiness and
movement and individuality. People express themselves more as
individuals. New Yorkers cover themselves up. They hide what they
really are. Californians are in many ways more balanced shall we say.
They don't have four personalities because of the four seasons --
cold, hot, rainy, dripping, snow.
And with the individuality you could have explained the
development of the institution, certainly of democracy, certainly of
the different forms of government. You should have developed that
with Sparta and the farming community and the conservatism that comes
out of the farming community. And they're lack of contact with
outside communities, races, peoples, where the Athenians, as seafaring
peoples, understood and dealt with diversity even if they saw
foreigners as barbarians.
B. I think I expressed some of the problems there are, but I
think this major one that I found was there was a lot there to write.
This should have taken a good bit of time considering you spent time
on it. The major problem was in dealing with the environmental
factors. The does talk about the challenges of the environment that
help today develop political, social, cultural patterns and
technologies. And if you recall, I said it was benefit you
dramatically if you define civilization and title those issues to the
concept of civilization as well. It was sort of my hint to the
classes. And many of you did not define civilization or develop it
for that matter as part of that essay question.
Any questions on the exams? On the next exam? Don't I get my
usual question? Is it comprehensive? And my answer -- yes; all my
exams are comprehensive. The question is -- is it cumulative? And
the answer is -- it is not cumulative. Translation, the exams are
self-contained, although material from previous can be provided in the
next exam, not required. And therefore what we're going to start with
today which basically is moving on to Rome and the Roman empire is
going to be that through the early middle ages will be the main trust
of exam two.
Q Is exam two going to be harder?
THE PROFESSOR: I don't make them harder or easier. It's going
to be identical I hope in its approach with different questions. Now,
you know at least what to expect and I think that's useful and helpful
in producing and writing papers.
Q Can you produce another take home question?
THE PROFESSOR: Yeah. I decided to go back to it and so I will.
A lot of this workbook is the world civilization. And time limits how
much we can do in class, so I give you the opportunity of learning it
if you're interested. If you take the take home.
THE PROFESSOR: Okay. Where to begin.
Let's between with my title for the subject.
Two Faced God:
I am not one of those grand admirers of Rome. Historically there
have probably been more books written on Rome and Roman history than
any other period in history, I think. And I can understand that. And
we can talk about it. And Rome continues with us. There were many
elements of it that I personally have problems with. And that to a
large extent is I think underlined by my title, the two faced God.
Anybody here know what the two faced God was besides Kirshner?
THE PROFESSOR: And why is January taken from Janus?
A It's the beginning of the year.
THE PROFESSOR: And the year. You're looking back to the
previous year and looking ahead to the future year. And so the two
faced God does reflect it. In Egypt he -- yeah, right. In Rome the
two faced God reflected peace and war. Janus had two faces. One
smiling and one grimacing. One for war and one for peace. I just
realized I wore a peace symbol today.
Q How did you spell Janus?
THE PROFESSOR: J-A-N-U-S.
The temple of Janus had its doors open during time of war and
it's doors closed during time of peace, which never made any sense to
me either. You would think the doors should be closed during time of
war. But we also use the term two faced to refer to people who are
two faced, say something and mean something else, speak with forked
tongue, the serpent. My feeling is that the Roman history generally
reflects people who talked peace and were war like. And even during
the period of the so called P-A-X Pax Romana. Perhaps I saw it more
in my studies as study of P-O-X like smallpox. So the culture of
Rome. The concept on Rome, the macho approach to life and death of
the Romans limits my wimpy liking of them. But I understand where
it's coming from. It's coming from a thousand years of existence.
Roam lasted 1,000 years. I always get a kick out of those who talked
about the evil and decline of Rome and all of a sudden civilization
went downhill and the United States is like Rome because we've got the
same problems today which shows our immorality and we need a Messiah
to rescue us from the evils of our nation. We've been around 200, 300
years, depending on how look at it and we can find the same problems
in Rome for 500, 600 years. Sure it took them a hell of a long time
to recline. I have to admit that. When is a civilization rising and
declining. We'll look at some of that in your study of Rome.
Let me go back to sort of the foundation of Roman history. As
most of you remember, I spoke of Aeneas who was a Trojan who left Troy
supposedly around 1200 with the fall of Troy. And wound up at a city
called Carthage. Apparently there has been some discovery and
development along the lines of finding Odysseus' original city which
is Ithaca and there's been debate as to where Ithaca was. They now
feel that there was an islands that now a peninsula because it's
filled in and it makes more sense finding the description from Homer's
work the Odyssey. As I indicated, Schliemann had -- and she mention
Schliemann in the article -- had basically used the Iliad to find both
Troy and Mycenae to identify that the description of Homer of those
areas were fairly accurate and that has raised questions about why
Ithaca wasn't where it was because the island that they had identified
as where they thought Ithaca was didn't fit much of the description of
the flatness and of course its location which is off the coast of
where that peninsula is in southern Peloponnesia and Greece.
Let's get back. In any case, from the City of Troy, traveled
through to Carthage where as I pointed out the story of Rome is
spelled out in a major propaganda work by the poet Vergil in the
Aeneid. Do you know what other great work of literature Vergil
THE PROFESSOR: Going through purgatory, Vergil becomes the guide
through the inferno in Dante. It is a propaganda work to proceed the
founding of Rome and to explain the wars with Carthage. As you
recall, Aeneas decided to reject Dido and not be encumbered by any
female so that he could found the glory and greatness of an empire.
And he sees when he goes down to hades in the Italian peninsula the
founding of his great city and the Roman legions and the great future.
The period of course somehow doesn't seem to jive because Carthage is
founded in the 9th century in the 800 BCE which again makes me wonder
about Velikovsky's dating of history. Make this dark ages of Greece
made more sense if it wasn't there. And maybe the reason Homer was as
accurate in his writing about geographical locations what is the -- he
had lived within a short period of time from the Trojan war, that
there hadn't been a 600 year difference at that time, but we can't
validate any of that at this point.
In any case, the City of Rome is founded around 753 BCE by two
brothers played in the movies by Steve Reeves and Gordon School. I
only mention that because I mentioned Steve Reeves the other day.
That is Romulus and Remus, two young boys who were placed in a raft
when they were babies, the two brothers, twins. Like Cain and Able.
It's interesting the conflict stories in twin that is appear in other
areas of history. It's also interesting how often great heroes not
only reject women but somehow or other as babies are orphaned and are
placed in reed baskets and adopted by others and they float down
rivers, and this occurs in cultures throughout the world including of
course with Moses floating down the Nile River and being raised by
perhaps the royal family or people within the royal family.
Romulus and Remus are raised by a she wolf, although the name
Lydia or similar to that Lee da is the name for a she wolf and it may
have been a woman with that name. But the legend goes that the she
wolf has seven tits not 8. You see that's another question about
history. How come everything is balanced? We don't have animals with
seven tits. They have to have 8 or 6 or 2, whatever the animal is.
And based on that, the difference is that it's reflective supposedly
of the seven hills that is going to create the City of Rome or
hills around the City of Rome.
They grow up as great warriors and have a series of a number of
young men who join them as quote/unquote retainers. They follow them.
Usually again another one of those patterns in history. Great leaders
have 12 followers. That's why I said there were going to be 12
planets because how could the sun not have 12 planets around it and
therefore develop its greatness? I'll probably be gone when they're
found, but some of you may be alive and just remember that somebody
told you there were going to be 12 planets.
As they begin their power, they decide that they want to conquer
this wealthy area around the Tigris River and this city here, one of
the hills. They move in and they take over the city or at least the
particular hill and at that point, a conflict breaking out between
Romulus and Remus over the naming of the city. They couldn't put it
together. The jealousies over how this great city was going to be
named. And Romulus kills Remus and names the city after himself --
Rome. Now, we have a problem. We have a city but you can't have the
city or a community founded without women. I mean you can have a city
called Amazons, but men need to have women to reproduce as we said.
There are no women. Where are you going the get the women? Well, one
of the other patterns in pornography besides snake the issue of rape.
Real men don't need women. Real men rape women. And the founding of
Rome is built on pornography, again, identifying my negativity toward
Rome. On a nearby hill is a community of loving people with loving
wives and loving daughters called the Sabines. And Romulus and his
retainers go forth and steal the women from the Sabines. And
following mythology, the men from the Sabines come to demand their
women back. And since these are real men, the Romans, the women
decide they want to stay with their rapists, ha, ha, ha. But that's
the way pornography tends to create mythology. And so now the Sabine
women are now tied to the Roman men. And that's the way the City of
Rome was founded.