Mary Renault discussion

The Praise Singer question

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Last night I couldn't get to sleep and so picked up The Praise Singer since I couldn't find The Last of the Wine. It appears to be about Simonides, a great poet who lived in sixth centruy Greece.

On page 14 it says "Down the mountain I went, possessed by a daimon that made me run, so that I might have broken my neck had not a bright moon lit me." Now is the spelling of daimon here the same meaning as the word demon? I don't recall ever seeing this spelling before.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Werner sent me an explanation which I am allowed to repost:

Alice, I saw your comment in the Mary Renault group, but couldn't reply there. In the context of ancient Greek pagan beliefs, a daimon was simply a spirit, less powerful than a god or demi-god, and not good or bad per se; their beliefs didn't incorporate a structure of God vs. Satan (though the origins of the idea may have come partly from human encounters with demons, for all we know!). Greek-speaking Jews in Hellenistic times borrowed the word as a term for the fallen angels; so it comes into English, by way of translations of the Septuagint and the New Testament, as the cognate word "demon." Hope that explanation helps some! --Werner

message 3: by Barbara (last edited Jan 24, 2009 06:42PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments Thanks Werner, (by way of Alice) for the nice exposition of the word "daimon". I think it and the term "moira" the explanation for which MR does herself give detail ( she says something like " not just ones fate, but also the line drawn around it" ) are quintessentially of the period(s).And very MR to use them.
I love the way she never dumbs down.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

The Praise Singer seems to be too intellectual for me. I may continue but not sure. I tried to read more of it but fell asleep. Most of it is way over my head. If I can read it will learn lots. I am learning so much here on goodreads especially in neverending quiz too which is "traingin my brain". I get the same questions more than once and the second time I usually remember however there are even the third and fourth times on many.

Do you believe in fate? I believe in astrology to some extant even tho Billy Graham speaks against it. I see the universe as a giant clock with magnetic influences to which I may be more sensitive since I load iron (hemochromatosis). My Bible says astrologers instead of wise men went to Jesus birth. That is one thing I like about The Road to Bethlehem as the main one is an astrologer/astronomer.

message 5: by Barbara (last edited Jan 24, 2009 11:42PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments I don't think I do believe in astrology, I just can't see that huge astral bodies millions of light years away can somehow have and influence on our personal lives.
Not that I don't believe only things with scientific evidence exist, I am perectly willing to believe in ,say ghosts and lingering energy, I just can't see astrology somehow.
What version of the Bible do you use? Translations vary so much don't they.

message 6: by Barbara (last edited Jan 26, 2009 07:01PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments That's all very facinating about electromagnetic fields and ions and things. Also about the natural fibres etc, I must read more about it .
Re the Bible translation, I have several King James,and it is the most beautiful language of course ( I hate the Good News and those ones who attempt to put it into comtemporary language, and hardly seem to care about losing original meaning)
When I was doing religion studies at Uni , the version we used was The Revised Srandard Version , with the apocrypha/deuterocanonical books. It is, I understand, the best translation you can get, unless you know New Testament Greek, which I don't. I studied under this man
His bibliography is here
He was wonderful. Still is actually !

message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments Sorry Alice, the Robert Crotty biblog I sent before was woefully out of date, Here is a more up to date one if you are interested

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I am very impressed! The first one looked good too and there was a nice picture of him there. My sister also loves the King James version for the language but I like for it to be as plain as possible as there is much I do not understand. My father left me his concordance and I also have a Thomas Chain Reference which every Church of Christ person is supposed to have. I am woefully ignorant.
I could never hope to learn Greek as I had a hard enough time learning a little German in order to meet my language requirement.
I may have a Revised Standard Version around here too as Dad was one for having the Bibles. One thing that really annoys me big time at the beginning of Matthew is that they have the genealogy of Joseph instead of Mary. I have heard all manner of excuses for this but it gets on my last nerve.
You would not like The New Living Bible as its all modern language but easier for me. Here is chapter 2 - Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.
At about that time some astrologers from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the newborn King of the Jews?" for we have seen his star in far-off estern lands, and have come to worship him."

Now why was this special star here???? (was it heaven drawing near?) I had to buy a telescope when I lived in NM as I became obsessed with a star I saw there. The stars really look different at higher altitude with no light pollution.

message 9: by Barbara (last edited Jan 26, 2009 10:21PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments I do take your point about plain language, I think that is perhaps the differnce between reading as a believer and reading,as I do, for historical /cultural reasons. But King James is for anybody who loves langauage isn't it? And by all accounts he (James) was a right horror as they say in the north of England. Still he had an eye - or an ear - for beautiful prose.

It is so hot here!! We are due to have a heatwave which is supposed to last a week or more and this is just the first day day. I must make sure there is water for the birds, they drop out of the sky dead, poor things, in this weather.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Have you ever seen or heard of anyone doing this kind of thing now?

page 130 -
"My mother and sister were beating their breasts as women do. Their wailing throbbed with the blows. I envied them. Had I been a barbarian, I too could have had my part. Women can float away upon lamentation, like birds upon the air, or fish in rivers. Later they must return and know their grief; but for a while they are freed, as the poet is by the song.
If I had gone back before I left for the ferry, I would have seen his death.

message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 20, 2009 07:38PM) (new)

I am on page 41 now as I started reading again this morning, couldn't get out of bed. I was reading something about a hetairas. Is that an ancient word for a prostitute?

I am also read the reason he lived so long was he saw how the doctor killed that young man.....Endios...what names they have!!! After seeing that he decided whenever he was sick to go to bed and send for the local wise woman!! How very smart of him.
The doctor bled and purges poor young Endios to death.

message 12: by Barbara (last edited Feb 20, 2009 06:47PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments my understanding of heitara is that whilst they certainly did sleep with some clients, they were rather more prized for their cultural attributes, singing, dancing , poetry, story telling , playing musical instruments etc. A bit like geisha I guess
They attended and entertained at at feasts, which Greek wives and daughters did not. I forget who said something like "a good women is one who is never spoken of, for good or ill".
Heitarae did occasionally become wives, but proabably woulld have not been 'received ' well by regular wives. There was one very famous one called Thais ( I think that should have 2 dots over the i ) who was attached to one of Alexander the Great's close companions who was present at the burning of Persepolis. Though that might have been legend rather than fact, I don't really know. MR tells of it in Fire From Heaven , or maybe the Persian Boy

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

That does sound like geisha. Thanks for explaining that to me. I loved Memoirs of a Geisha the movie altho I still have not read the book which I should do as I LOVE the movie. The movie bought back so many memories of Japan to me. I was there during the Korean conflict north of Tokyo and the planes went over day and night which used to scare me until Mom told me that they were up there to protect us, then I felt better. The Japanese housemaids were mostly wonderful to us and I love the kimonos and the great beauty of Japan but was very sick there.
On girls day they dressed the little girls up like what appeared to me to be geisha with bright red lipstick and rouge. I just loved it. They got to go on the train to celebrate.
I will look for Fire From Heaven or maybe the Persian Boy after I have returned all library books as I have too many out right now.

message 14: by Barbara (last edited Feb 20, 2009 07:50PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments Make sure to read the Alexander trilogy in the right order, Persian Boy first, then Fire From Heaven, then Funeral Games

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks! I read the NL House trilogy backwards as I saw a copy of The House at Sunset so picked it up first not even realizing there were two other books! Hope I can get this one right!

message 16: by Barbara (last edited Feb 20, 2009 09:27PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments In many ways I think NL is so good it hardly matters, but for afficionados such as ourselves every little counts, eh?

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, that is true! I think I read those in order but it seemed to me that she gives you more background so you can read each one separately. Per last years diary I didn't read any of those so perhaps I will get to them again this year. I started out last year with Blonde Ambition which a friend recommended to me (what a shocker). Then I read War Trash by Ha Jin (really good). Ooops, I did read them last Feb! I read about 74 books in 2008. But I do start many and do not finish them if I get bored. So I mark thru and normally do not count them depending on how far I got.

Do you keep a diary?

message 18: by Barbara (last edited Feb 21, 2009 04:57PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 35 comments No I don't keep a diary , not of books nor an ordinary one either. I think it is a habit you need to start young perhaps? Anyway, it's a good one .
I just joined the Language and Grammar Goodreads group ( like I need more posts ! ) Its very interesting - they seem a very witty clever lot, on the whole , ful of puns and jokes etc

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