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Korina

Ancient World

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Why do you think it's important for everyone to learn about the Ancient World. Why is it relevant in modern society, and what did you get out of analyzing these periods in history?

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Why do you think it's important for everyone to learn about the Ancient World. Why is it relevant in modern society, and what did you get out of analyzing these periods in history?

Hmmm...does someone have an essay to write? :)

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Why do you think it's important for everyone to learn about the Ancient World. Why is it relevant in modern society, and what did you get out of analyzing these periods in history?

Why are you asking?

In other words, try giving your readers some context and motivation for responding.

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Hmmm...does someone have an essay to write?  :)

Well, my psychology professor once made a statement that learning history isn't that important, because it's a buch of bull**. He stated that history was written from one person's (the writer) perspective and that alone shouldn't be taken into account, because someone else might have a tottaly different view of what really happend. In addition, my history professor also said that history doesn't repeat itself. So, I simply want to get your opinion on things.

P.S. Forgive my writing, English is a second language for me.

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Honestly, I see no real use in studying anything before classical Athens. Our society has no more in common with the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, etc then the chinese do.

To understand the events in a commercial democratic society you look at other such societies.

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Well, my psychology professor once made a statement that learning history isn't that important, because it's a buch of bull**. He stated that history was written from one person's (the writer) perspective and  that alone shouldn't be taken into account, because someone else might have a tottaly different view of what really happend. In addition, my history professor also said that history doesn't repeat itself. So, I simply want to get your opinion on things.

P.S. Forgive my writing, English is a second language for me.

I like the way that professor thinks. Although, if ones not careful with that line of thinking, it could smack of subjectivism. History did take place, and a lot of it was recorded. But especially lately, one has to seriously consider the sources he's getting his history from. I try and read historical sources that are as close to the actual participants of a given event as I possibly can and disregard other peoples interpretations unless I consider them to have a good reputation(which is rare).

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Korina, let's turn the table around on you and ask you to volunteer an opinion first. I.e. why is the question important to you, what interest do you personally have in ancient history, etc.

RationalOne, what's there to like about the way that professor thinks?

Edited by Free Capitalist

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History is the study of ideas in action, and philosophy is the prime mover of historical events. The main purpose of studying history is to understand the consequences of ideas, and the ways that have shaped our civilization.

In recorded history, three historical developments are key in the progress of civilization: the discovery of philosophy in ancient Athens, the European Renaissance, and the American Revolution. There are also several developments key in the decline of civilization, namely the ideas of Plato, St Augustine, Kant, and Marx.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist

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RationalOne, what's there to like about the way that professor thinks?

I listed my reasons in my post, mostly that I personally don't trust most modern sources of history. But you are probalaly right that what he meant was worse than that, meaning something along the lines of knowledge isn't possible or something similar.

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"Korina, let's turn the table around on you and ask you to volunteer an opinion first. I.e. why is the question important to you, what interest do you personally have in ancient history, etc."

Well, I think that each and every part of history (not only ancient) is significant in our daily lives. From agriculture, innovations such as writing, architecture, religion and even warfare (although war is the least of my favorite topics). These discoveries and achievements helped evolve the humanity for centuries and continue to do so in the modern times. Even the smallest inventions such as the bow and arrow had tromendous effect on humanity, or mathematical equations we are able to build on those conceptions and create new ideas and things for the future. Agriculture for example, helped stabilize the humanity and provided people with a greater chance of survival. Without these innovations people would continue to wander in search of food, and perhaps could have been a subject to a total extinction.

The Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations for example, taught us a great deal as well. From the rise of city-state in Mesopotamia, formation of government and different styles of writing as well as mathematical and astrological knowledge to development of money economy, trade and laws. All of this knowledge and inventions such as measurement of time, early forms of diplomacy and improvement of military, weapons and techniques catapulted future civilizations into more advanced nations. In my opinion, all of history lets us understand traditions that are exemplary for the modern human and may even explain the truth of our world and human relationship to each other.

So, this is how I interpret the history I've learned so far, and as far as history repeating itself, I think it does. For example, the constant struggle for power, cast system, religious persecution resulting in genocide, types of governments that survive and others that fall (political ideologies: democracy, communizm etc..) - some of which have at one point vanished, and then resurfaced again.

Unfortunately, I had the misfortune of learning history under communist regime and therefore much of the history I learned was censored and altered to make the dictator look like 'god'. When I took History, I began to discover fallacies in my previous learning experience and that's what drives me to find the truth. Therefore, I ask for you to share your knowlege with me, so I can draw my own conclusions, because that's why we are here.

I take a lot of pride in my studies, writing objectively and subjectively, and if I couldn't write my own essays, then I wouldn't belong in college.

It is only the beginning for me, I can't wait to sink my teeth into additional history courses and hopefully satisfy my goal of knowing the truth.

Thank you all, love this forum and all the (heated) discussions. (even though they keep me up at night) :)

Ohh, and I almost forgot to say that your knowlege and vocabulary is outstanding!!! I can only wish to convey my thoughts in writing as well as you do, and I'm sure that I'll learn more from all of you than from most of my professors, not only about history but English composition as well.

Edited by Korina

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I'd say we have more to learn from the intellectual/artistic output of cultures than the history of the cultures themselves. Studying history just helps understand that output more fully.

You'll learn more reading Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, etc. then studying Greek history, but knowing Greek history might improve your appreciation of these works.

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I don't particularily value any knowledge of the real ancient times. I have learned about it, yes. But this knowledge doesn't stay with me because there really isn't any application of it that can be useful to my life today.

In more recent history there is certainly more to apply. Ancient history on the other hand is only slightly intriguing to me. It can be useful for putting life in perspective through a more primitive aspect in looking at trade and civil rights.

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I don't particularily value any knowledge of the real ancient times. I have learned about it, yes. But this knowledge doesn't stay with me because there really isn't any application of it that can be useful to my life today.

In more recent history there is certainly more to apply. Ancient history on the other hand is only slightly intriguing to me. It can be useful for putting life in perspective through a more primitive aspect in looking at trade and civil rights.

What about Aristotle's Law of Identity and logic? What about the Greeks and Romans attempts at a republic? Or the Pythagorean theorem? Or, eureka! Archemides Principal? Or...I could go on. None of this is a value to you? I know it is to me.

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I should have stressed more that I was referring to ancient history.

What you are listing are principals that have been discovered in the past that still hold true today. Sure I'm interested in these prinicpals because most of them have solid application in their respective fields for any task I might encounter.

It can be a little interesting to about these developments; but is this knowledge going to put a steak on my dinner plate tonight? Unless I'm a teacher- not a chance.

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What about Aristotle's Law of Identity and logic? What about the Greeks and Romans attempts at a republic?

My knowledge of ancient history doesn't come close to Free Capitalist or Alon, however I must say that the Romans not only made a republic, but the word itself comes from the latin res publica, which is a system that mixes Aristocracy (Senate), Democracy (Popular Assembly), and Monarchy (Consuls). Also from my studies thus far, it seems that the Greeks never created a Republic, they made limited Democracies such as the Boeotian Federation but never a Republic. The closest thing I can think of to another Republic is ancient Carthage, and that's Phoenician in ancestry.

Just a little addition:)

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Yes, that's why I used the word "attempts", I was sure Rome had a republic, but not so sure with Greece, I knew they had Democracy, but I didn't want to extol the "virtue" of democracy.

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Yes, that's why I used the word "attempts", I was sure Rome had a republic, but not so sure with Greece, I knew they had Democracy, but I didn't want to extol the "virtue" of democracy.

From what I understand, Thebes for a short period was freer then the Roman Republic. There were only two classes, the free, and the slaves. As apposed to Rome where there were the aristocracy, plebs, and slaves.

Edited by Praxus

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Among the Greeks, Spartans and Cretans did have governments similar to Romans in terms of their divisions of powers and checks and balances. However I don't even have to mention that the social fabric of these two countries was strongly totalitarian. Romans combined the social stability of the Spartans with the political freedom of the Athenians, neither of whom managed to figure it out on their own.

As for Rational_One, he is right and the ancient (classical) world holds more wisdom and practical value than almost any era since then. During the Enlightenment era, studying the classics was the paramount and exclusive way to understanding anything about the modern world, including the concepts of rights, morality, honor, virtue, science, art, you name it. In fact our Founding Fathers, in their history classes, studied the minute details of the histories of the Greeks and the Roman Republic up until the first emperor (Augustus), in original languages. They studied nothing after that period, considering the entire history up until 16th century as irrelevant.

It was said that the Founding Fathers (and much the rest of the Enlightenment culture) knew better the intimate details of classical history and civilization better than they knew the details and history of their own day. So, ArmyPatriot, if you're an American patriot as well, it might do you good to learn where America came from, and what America's Founding Fathers cared so deeply about.

Edited by Free Capitalist

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