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Idea of Self Timeline
Transcript of Idea of Self Timeline
c. 450 BCE
c. 430-354 BCE
Among the 10,000 "Cyreans"
Greek mercenaries hired to support Cyrus the Younger in his claim against Artaxerxes II (the two sons of Darius II)
Note: Nehemiyah is cup bearer to Artaxerxes I or II (depending on opinion)
After death of Cyrus, 10,000 are stranded, opt to fight their way home
The central focus of Anabasis ("The Expedition") is Xenophon's account of the journey to Trabzon through hostile territory, covering 2000 miles and 3+ years (402-399/8)
What is autobiography?
(or: what makes autobiography, autobiography?)
How do we define it?
What are the limitations of autobiography?
Culture (Western, Christian, post-Enlightenment)?
Textual or non-textual?
are there limitations of non-textual autobiography? where do you draw the line?
What are limitations of interpreting a creative work?
Historiographic (writing of history) questions:
Of what use is autobiography as a historical source?
What is the task of the historian using autobiography?
What are its limitations?
Can these limitations be compensated for?
What is the relationship between identity and the text?
One definition: does it work?
"The genuine autobiographic effort is guided by a desire to discern and to assign meaning to a life."
Point of view
Unfolding or development
Distinct from apologia, diary
Primacy of the individual -- it must be an individual's life story
Anabasis: Questions for Discussion
Text and structure:
What is the narrative structure of the Anabasis (i.e., how is it written? What is the style?)
What aspects of the story stick out to you
How does the narrative develop?
Does it have a "arc" (a beginning, middle, end)?
Does it lead to a conclusion or climax?
What is it?
What is surprising? Not surprising?
How does the voice of the author appear in the text?
What is his role?
What is his point of view (both technically and in terms of opinion)?
Is he "honest"?
What exactly is his agenda?
Text and Context:
What does this piece tell us about the place and time in which it was written?
Is this an autobiograhy at all?
MARCUS AURELIUS, 121-180 CE
Stoicism and the philosophy of self
well-educated in "philosophy" (i.e., liberal arts)
Raised at young age a centers of Roman power
Close to Emperor Hadrian
Adopted by successor to Hadrian, Antoninus Pius
Ascends to become emperor, 161 CE; insists that his adopted brother, Lucius Verus, also be made co-emperor (the wishes of Hadrian)
Verus: dies of Antonine Plague, 169
The height of the Roman empire territorially and economically
Marcus: after death of Verus, is continually on campaign in Germania, primarily against Marcomanni
Dies in Vindebona (present-day Vienna), probably of plague
Popular story: he was assassinated by his biological son, Commodus, who succeeded him (probably a myth; Marcus Aurelius made clear his intent for his son to take his place); "From a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron."
Composed "Meditations" - distillations of his philosophical worldview as a Stoic - while campaigning in Germania
Greek philosophy, originates with Xeno of Citium c. 3-4th century BCE
Evolved from Cynicism (Antisthenes, student of Socrates)
Ideal life is one of virtue in line with nature
Anti-materialistic, even ascetic (ideal: disavowal of material possessions)
Self-control and self-mastery through rationalism
Philosophy as active - lived, not contemplated
a-theistic (or non-theistic) in modern sense
All being (for Stoics) is corporeal (no purely spiritual realm)
But universe made of two forms: matter and "fate" (or reason)
Fate animates matter
Important Stoics: Xeno, Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius
Augustine of Hippo:
Sin, redemption and self
Long decline of Roman Empire
Conversion of Empire to Christianity, Edict of Milan, 313
Mother (Monica) Christian
Manichean, teacher of rhetoric
Heavily influenced by Neo-Platonism
Converts (re-converts?) to Christianity, c. 387 (by Saint Ambrose)
Most important of late classical Church Fathers
Major figure in consolidation of "orthodox" Christianity
Major works including "City of God" outline central Christian theological concepts such as original sin, salvation through grace
Constantine the Great, 272-337
Neoplatonism: Material, Spirit and Duality
Origin: Plotinus (204-270)
New evolution in Platonic philosophy
the One (the good), self-caused, lacking attribute, and root cause of being;
it is "absolutely simple," meaning not reducible to any other causality or essence
The other two principles, intellect and soul, emanate from the One
Not knowable through intellect; it is indistinguishable from all being
The intellect (demi-urge or nous):
First emanation of the One, a perfect image of the One, but it is entirely distinct from it
Locus of the "forms," the basis of all attributes in things as they are reflected in the physical world
Accounts for the distinctiveness of individual things that are unified in the One
Locus of desire for objects/ideas external to the agent of desire
At once a totality of all souls ("world soul") and the individual souls of beings
Engine of all activity and motion, as things with a soul seek to satisfy the desire of the soul
Soul, as locus of dynamism, creates the phenomenal world, which are based on reflections of the intellect
Matter is neutral: if governed by the soul, it is good; if not, it is evil
The soul has a form of choice: can unite in contemplation of the One, or can turn to phenomenal world and disintegrate
Ultimate goal of the soul's desire: contemplation of the One
This is the only means of achieving this is process of return of the soul to the intellect through systematic ascent of the soul through practice of virtue (civic, purification, contemplation of the One)
Julian the Apostate
The Scholastic Self
O Fortuna (O Fortune)
velut luna (like the moon)
statu variabilis (you are changeable)
semper crescis (ever waxing)
aut decrescis; (and waning;)
vita detestabilis (hateful life)
nunc obdurat (first oppresses)
et tunc curat (and then soothes)
ludo mentis aciem, (as fancy takes it)
potestatem (and power)
dissolvit ut glaciem. (it melts them like ice.)
Sors immanis (Fate - monstrous)
et inanis, (and empty)
rota tu volubilis, (you whirling wheel)
status malus, (you are malevolent)
vana salus (well-being is vain)
semper dissolubilis, (and always fades to nothing)
et velata (and veiled)
mihi quoque niteris; (you plague me too;)
nunc per ludum (now through the game)
dorsum nudum (I bring my bare back)
fero tui sceleris. (to your villainy.)
Sors salutis (Fate is against me)
et virtutis (in health)
michi nunc contraria, (and virtue)
est affectus (driven on)
et defectus (and weighted down)
semper in angaria. (always enslaved.)
Hac in hora (So at this hour)
sine mora (without delay)
corde pulsum tangite; (pluck the vibrating strings;)
quod per sortem (since Fate)
sternit fortem, (strikes down the string)
mecum omnes plangite! (everyone weep with me!)
Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/carl-orff-lyrics-o-fortuna-qv7jvh2#ixzz261QQHHbR
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Abelard and Heloise
The Medieval University, Paris (right)
"The teacher of his generation, he was also famous as a poet and a musician. Prior to the recovery of Aristotle, he brought the native Latin tradition in philosophy to its highest pitch. His genius was evident in all he did. He is, arguably, the greatest logician of the Middle Ages and is equally famous as the first great nominalist philosopher." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Augustine: Culimnation of Patristic era
Abelard, revolution to Scholastic era
Born 1079 to aristocratic family, Brittany
Opts for academic life: moves to Paris, studies under major figures of philosophy ("dialectic") in Paris, one of major centers of medieval academic life (others: Oxford, Bologna)
"Peripatetic" Life = academia
Pre-Aristotelian -- impact on arrival of Aristotle in medieval thought
Hero of medieval "romance;" hero of enlightenment for audacious challenge of medieval authority (died while en route to Paris to fight charge of heresy issued by Bernard of Clairvaux)
Involvement with Heloise in youth
After events with Heloise, retreats to monastery;
Writes Historia Calamitatum in later life, begins correspondence with Heloise (famous letters of couple reflecting on life)
Carmina Burana, c. 11-13th c.
When we are in the tavern, we do not care about what earth is (i.e. what we are made of), we set about gambling and over that we always sweat. We must investigate what happens in the tavern where money is the butler; pay attention to what I say.
Some gamble, some drink, some live without discretion. From those who spend their time in gambling, some are stripped bare, some win clothes, some are dressed in sacks; there no-one fears death, but for the wine they throw dice.
First, for the payment of the wine (i.e. who pays for the wine). Then the boozers start to drink; they drink once to those in prison, after that, three times for the living, four times for all Christendom, five times for the faithful departed, six times for sisters of loose virtue, seven times for soldiers of the forest, eight times for brothers in error, nine times for scattered monks, ten times for those who sail, eleven times for men quarrelling, twelve times for those doing penance, thirteen times for those on journeys.
For pope and king alike all drink without restraint.
The mistress drinks, so does the master, the soldier drinks, so does the cleric, that man drinks, that woman drinks, the servant drinks with the maid, the fast man drinks, so does the slow, the white man drinks, so does the black, the stay-at-home drinks, so does the wanderer, the fool drinks, so does the scholar.
The poor drink, and the sick, the exile and the unknown, the boy, the greybeard, the bishop, the deacon, sister, brother, old woman, mother, that woman, this man, they drink by the hundred, by the thousand.
Large sums of money last too short a time when everybody drinks without moderation and limit, even though they drink with a happy heart; in this everyone sponges on us and it will make us poor.
Damnation to those who sponge on us! Put not their names in the book of Just.
Abbey of St. Denis, Paris
Usmah Ibn Munqidh
Major poet, diplomat, soldier, courtier for several leaders in Crusade period (incl. Saladin)
Judah Ibn Tibon
Granada/Lunel (Southern France)
Translator (into Hebrew) of:
Ibn Paquda (Hovot ha-levavot)
Ibn Gabirol (Tikun midot ha-nefesh)
Yehuda ha-Levi (Kuzari)
Sa'adia Gaon (Sefer ha-emunot ve-ha-deot)
Eleazar of Mayance (Worms)
Member of Kalonymous family (major Ashkenazi rabbinic dynasty)
Major halakhic and pietistic author
Ramban (R. Moshe b. Nahman Girondi )(1194-1270)
Girona, Catalonia, Israel
First Crusade: 1095-99
Hildegard of Bingen
Active in Rhine (Hesse) region
Major mystic, composer, writer, organized several abbeys in central Europe
Humanism: Rediscovering the Classical
The place of Classical learning and knowledge in late Medieval Europe
Rise of lay bureaucracy
Aspects of Humanism:
Turn to classical sources and ideas of culture, society and governance
Reform/refinemen of modern language (esp. Italian, German)
Predecessor of numerous anti-clerical or non-clerical movements (incl. Reformation
Petrarch: Tipping point of Humanism
Trained as lawyer
Took ecclesiastical vows, but renounced them later
Monestary Library (Strahov, Prague)
Margery Kempe (c. 1373 - c. 1438)
A mystical autobiography in vernacular
Medieval housewife, middle class
Visions in the midst of childbirth leads to religious career
The life of the devout versus the dawn of humanism
The dangers of mysticism
Gender, religion and devotion in medieval England
Mental illness and religious ecstasy
Ne hyrself cowd nevyr telle the grace that sche felt, it was so hevenly, so hy aboven hyr reson and hyr bodily wyttys, and hyr body so febyl in tym of the presens of grace that sche myth nevyr expressyn it wyth her word lych as sche felt it in hyr sowle.
Than went sche be the byddyng of the Holy Gost to many worshepful clerkys, bothe archebysshopys and bysshoppys, doctowrs of dyvynyté and bachelers also. Sche spak also wyth many ankrys and schewed hem hyr maner of levyng and swech grace as the Holy Gost of hys goodnesse wrowt in hyr mende and in hyr sowle as her wytt wold serven hyr to expressyn it. And thei alle that sche schewed hyr secretys unto seyd sche was mech bownde to loven ower Lord for the grace that he schewyd unto hyr and cownseld hyr to folwyn hyr mevynggys and hyr steringgys and trustly belevyn it weren of the Holy Gost and of noon evyl spyryt.
And, whan sche had long ben labowrd in thes and many other temptacyons that men wend sche schuld nevyr a skapyd ne levyd, than on a tym, as sche lay aloone and hir kepars wer fro hir, owyr mercyful Lord Crist Jhesu, evyr to be trostyd, worshypd be hys name, nevyr forsakyng hys servawnt in tyme of nede, aperyd to hys creatur, whych had forsakyn hym, in lyknesse of a man, most semly, most bewtyuows, and most amyable that evyr mygth be seen wyth mannys eye, clad in a mantyl of purpyl sylke, syttyng upon hir beddys syde, lokyng upon hir wyth so blyssyd a chere that sche was strengthyd in alle hir spyritys, seyd to hir thes wordys: "Dowtyr, why hast thow forsakyn me, and I forsoke nevyr the?" And anoon, as he had seyd thes wordys, sche saw veryly how the eyr openyd as brygth as ony levyn, and he stey up into the eyr, not rygth hastyli and qwykly, but fayr and esly that sche mygth wel beholdyn hym in the eyr tyl it was closyd ageyn.
The Medieval Pligramage
Sir John Mandeville
c. 14th Century: Europe Begins to look outward
Original version of Mandeville's Travels appears c. 1357
Travels take place c. 1320s-40s
Little known about author
One of most widely read pilgramage narratives of late medieval period
Major impact on geographers and explorers (Columbus)
The idea of "seeing" and encountering the unknown -- and the implications
Idea of travel and pilgrimage
The medieval imagination and idea of the world
The question of the author and its importance
Honesty in text?
Other medieval travellers: Marco Polo (1254-1324) and Odoric of Pordenone (1286-1331)
The Renaissance, Medicis, Religious and political tumult
Historical context: The artist/craftsman in Renaissance Italy
Cellini: major figure in renaissance art – esp. sculpture and decorative art
The political and social/criminal society of Florence and other Italian city states
The Medicis and Florentine politics
The rumblings of the reformation and larger political/religious disorder lurking in the background
“Color” aspects of Renaissance culture:
•social conflict, violence
The arrival of a self-conscious autobiography (perhaps the first?) with a recognizable “modern” motivation: self-justification and advertisement
Elements of structure
Biographical details interspersed with other elements
Recounting of historical personalities and events
Focus on the “parochial” interests of the author oLight on the broader historical context:
Real details about several aspects of Renaissance culture
The first-person voice as controlling narrative yet aiming for a semblance of “objectivity,” (?)
R. Hayyim Vital
1542-1620 (Father, Yosef Vital Calabrese, Italian)
Broad background: The Sefardi Diaspora
The impact of increasing kulturkampf on a subaltern group
Spain, religious conflict, Reconquista and expulsion of Jews
The broad turn in religious communities to inner world – mysticism, religious revival - emergence of modern pietistic practice
Traces of modern practices: tikkun, fasting (Behab), musar groups, ets.
Inter-cultural relations – Jews, Muslims and Christians
The world of Tsfat and mysticism
Conventicles of male ascetics in eastern Mediterranean rim
centered in “Four Holy Cities,” but extending from Anatolia to Tsfat, and also port cities of Mediterranean
All male, all engaged in deep esoteric contemplation and exploration
Almost all of these groups were centered around Sephardim – impact of the trauma of expulsion
The inner world of Vital:
Mysticism and reality
Dreams: What is truth?
Style and narrative
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
The limits of philosophy and a new concept of self
"Truly man is a marvelously vain, diverse and undulating object. It is hard to found any constant and uniform judgement on him."
Broad context: religious conflict and civil war in 16th century France
Elite (merchantile family ennobled)
Member of governing council (Parlement) of Bordeaux
Present at several moments of Protestant (Hugenot) - Catholic violence
Aspects of biography and "Essays"
The turn inward to life of contemplation:
Based on deep classical education (raised for first years entirely in Latin)
Friendship with de Boetie which ends with the latter's death
Withdrawal from public service to live life of quiet observation
Write about the subject one knows best: one's own inner life
Outline a skeptical and epicurean model of the ideal life
Etienne de la Boetie
Religious unrest in early modern France
Catherine d'Medici, Regent of France after death of Francis II
St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, 1572
Glikl bas Judah Leib of Hameln
Reflections of Everyday Life among early modern subalterns
Utility and limitations of term
Wealth, identity and poverty in early modern Europe
Born Hamburg, lives Hameln, dies Metz
Frequent traveler (unusual for woman of period)
Married twice, but controlled family fortune for much of life and especially between husbands
At center of network of western Ashkenazi families -- both self and children
Daily life for subaltern group in early modern Europe
Contraction and tension in early modern Jewish life
Shabbetai Tsvi affair
Larger regional conflicts
Memoir and significance:
Context of authorship -- death of husband, "coping" with grief and lonliness
Use of genre
Early Modern Jewish Life in Central Europe
John Bunyan, 1628-1688
Religion and the Common Man
Background: England and Religious Reform
The persistence of Protestantism:
Lutheranism, Calvinism, Arminianism
Primacy of Scripture and wider dissemination (popularization)
Henry VIII and break with Rome
Marriage, politics and religion
Religious dissent and decentralization
Loss of central authority and need to reassert it
The English Civil War,
Puritans, Pilgrims, and Bunyan
The place of Bunyan and Puritanism in English (and American!) history
The decline of the "religious" narrative
John Wycliffe, 1328-84
William Tyndale, 1492-1536
Oliver Cromwell, 1599-1658
Politics and Religion in Early Modern England
Samuel Pepys, 1633-1703
The Early Modern Diarist
The Restoration, 1660
Ascent of Charles II, end of Commonwealth/Protectorate
Settling of scores, re-investment of Stuart monarchy (lasts until 1689)
Restoration of Church of England
Widely regarded as libertine period after the cultural and religious repression of Puritans
The continuation of modern development of a bureaucratic state in Britain
A "middling" family -- tradespeople for parents but Pepys socially mobile (attends Cambridge)
A self-made man, professional bureaucrat
Signified important shift in patronage, state function and class
Lucrative and important career in restoration monarchy of Charles and James II -- eventually ascends to Secretary of Admiralty (responsible for Royal Navy) and become MP
Illness and the origins of the diary (March 26, 1660 entry)
What are doing here:
As part of the New Curriculum:
Encounter the evolution of cultural ideas and trends over a broad period
To do so with texts, artifacts and other forms of cultural production (primary sources)
Engage with multiple disciplines and methodologies to understand these cultures
As part of my goals for the course:
Experience different ways of thinking about cultural production in our culture of choice, and applied to contemporary issues and ideas (my personal goal)
Even if this is outside of your "comfort zone" in terms of subject material or field
Work on presentation of ideas and argument through public discussion
Practice through frequent writing exercises and longer, pointed written assignments presentation of ideas organized in coherent essay form
Gain "content" -based information that would meet (and hopefully exceed) a comparable, more traditional Western Civ or general European history course
Shapiro: Themes of Autobiography
Education and development
The conflict of opposing tendencies
The explanation of motivations
The boundaries of the human
Scholasticism: the emergence of "western" learning: (or: theology and philosophy part ways)
St. Anselm of Canterbury
'Faith seeking understanding"
Extension of neo-Platonism; possibly last major development until arrival of Aristotalian
Reducing proof of God to most atomic proposition:
"God is that than which nothing greater can be thought”
(What is the most obvious counter? Gaulino, "Reply on behalf of the fool"/lost island)
1. That than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought.
2. If that than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought, it exists in reality.
3. That than which nothing greater can be thought exists in reality.
Abelard's Contribution: Nominalism
Contra "realism": Universals exist in reality or words?
The source of Abelard's great rivalry: William of Champeaux
True cause of rivalry: professional jealousy (by Abelard); politics of monasticism
12th Century Renaissance
Evolution of complex merchantile, technological, political and intellectual cultures
Building (Gothic architecture)
Greek/Latin Texts more widely available
King Fulk of Jeruaslem, 1089-1143)
Islamic Memoir and Ethical Wills: Life and Death in the Middle Ages
Alterity and alternate perspectives of Middle Ages
Three forms: Gender, political power, religious minority
Dominant versus subaltern narrative
Orientalism and its inversion
Foot of St. James
Head of St. Catherine
"Now shall I say you also the way, that goeth from Babylon to the Mount of Sinai, where Saint Catherine lieth."
The "true cross"
"And some men trow that half the cross, that Christ was done on, be in Cyprus, in an abbey of monks, that men call the Hill of the Holy Cross; but it is not so. For that cross that is in Cyprus, is the cross, in the which Dismas the good thief was hanged on. But all men know not that; and that is evil y-done. For for profit of the offering, they say that it is the cross of our Lord Jesu Christ."
Leo X: Giovanni di Lorenzo d'Medici
Girolamo Savonarola, 1452-98
Martin Luther, 1483-1536
What does it matter, you will tell me, how it happens, provided we do not worry about it? I am of that opinion; and in whatever way we can put ourselves in shelter from blows, even under a calf's skin, I am not the man to shrink from it." (That to Philosophophize...)
I want death to find me planting my cabbages, but careless of death, and still more of my unfinished garden
Voluntary Servitude, c.. 1552-3
My Lord told me, that there was great endeavours to bring in the Protector again; but he told me, too, that he did believe it would not last long if he were brought in; no, nor the King neither (though he seems to think that he will come in), unless he carry himself very soberly and well. Every body now drinks the King's health without any fear, whereas before it was very private that a man dare do it.
586: Destruction of First Temple
538: Edict of Cyrus, Temple rebuilt c. 515 under Darius
Campaign of Xenophon, c. 402
Crisis in the Church: The Babylonian Captivity, 1309-1378
Pursuit of Heretics:
Pace non trovo, e non ho da far guerra,
E temo, e spero, ed ardo, e son un ghiaccio:
E volo sopra 'l cielo, e giaccio in terra;
E nulla stringo, e tutto 'l mondo abbraccio.
Tal m'ha in priggion, che non m'apre, né serra,
Né per suo mi ritien, né scioglie il laccio,
E non m'uccide Amor, e non mi sferra;
Né mi vuol vivo, né mi trahe d'impaccio.
Veggio senz'occhi; e non ho lingua e grido;
E bramo di perir, e cheggio aita;
Ed ho in odio me stesso, ed amo altrui:
Pascomi di dolor; piangendo rido;
Egualmente mi spiace morte e vita.
In questo stato son, Donna, per Voi.
I find no peace, but for war am not inclined;
I fear, yet hope; I burn, yet am turned to ice;
I soar in the heavens, but lie upon the ground;
I hold nothing, though I embrace the whole world.
Love has me in a prison which he neither opens nor shuts fast;
he neither claims me for his own nor loosens my halter;
he neither slays nor unshackles me;
he would not have me live, yet leaves me with my torment.
Eyeless I gaze, and tongueless I cry out;
I long to perish, yet plead for succour;
I hate myself, but love another.
I feed on grief, yet weeping, laugh;
death and life alike repel me;
and to this state I am come, my lady, because of you.
"He was a Sienese and a man of great ability, who could hold his own against any other workman in that art; but, above all, he was the most amusing comrade and the heartiest good fellow in the universe. Of all the members of the club, he was the eldest, and yet the youngest from the strength and vigour of his body."
Clement VII (Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici)
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
"both sides of human consciousness - the side turned to the world and that turned inward - lay, as it were, beneath a common veil, dreaming or half awake. The veil was woven of faith, childlike prejudices, and illusion; seen through it, world and history appeared in strange hues; man recognized himself only as a member of a race, a nation, a party, a corporation, a family, or in some other general category. It was in Italy that this veil first melted into thin air, and awakened an objective perception and treatment of the state and all things of this world in general; but by its side, and with full power, there also arose the subjective; man becomes a self-aware individual and recognizes himself as such."