CLAS175 Notes as of 1/18/96

Back to Classics 175 Home page

I. Notes per Session for Classics 175

II. Notes for 1/18/96

A. Hackett's Introduction:

1. I mustn't take (unlike Sir John) your knowledge of basic military terminology for granted.

a) Sir John and the next two generations after him were the products of compulsory military service--"line and column" (p. 7) are terms you learn the first day in bootcamp--a place even I, for one, have never actually been.

b) Who is Sir John, anyway? The Third World War: August, 1985. Who's laughing now?

2. What the Brits call "a howler" on p. 8, where Hackett seems to imply that the introduction of iron technology was a major assett to the efficiency of the Assyrian empire. That's not the right word-- explain the Muhly hypothesis.

3. Note on the language problem--difficulty faced by empires, what? Language as the basic identifier of group membership?

4. Again, does everybody know what a "hoplite" is? A pilum?

5. Chew up he 2nd paragraph on p. 11. How did the Parthians and the other cavalry nations (Thessaly, Macedon, the Scyths) do so damn well then? Rope!

a) That "no need to experiment" is a horribly dangerous attitude--Aristotle's wife's teeth.

b) I know what Sir John went through with that Webley .455 because I've shot one. Sabre guards, the safety trigger.

c) Contrast the Springfield, Enfield, M-1's, the Moisin-Nagant.

d) We'll be walking over to the Museum for a little hands-on 2/8.

6. Can't really argue about the point that Latin studies have declined while interest has risen. Explains the amount of garbage, Black Athena, and the like.

B. Watkins on the Beginnings:

1. B.C.(p. 15)--That's when the Hittite Empire goes down under iron-equipped invaders, Egypt takes it in the teeth, and, incidentally, down goes Homer's Mycene.

2. You want a good starting date for WAR, as opposed to human conflict (everybody know the difference?), you'll do pretty well with 2,300 B.C., when Sargon the Great of Akkad conquered neighboring Sumer. Discuss "great" vs. <1megaloc>1 vs. <1deinoc>1.

3. Regarding the weapons and artifacts, remember what I said about the mace--the only thing a rock on a stick can kill efficiently is modern homo sapiens ferox, as T.H. White put it (discuss discussing the Book of Merlin.

4. You can, accordingly, always argue arrow- and spearheads, and clubs, after all.

5. With civilization begins the means of protecting it: Our friend, the fortress. Jericho, 8,000 B.C., Maiden castle (with everything from flints to skulls with square holes in them).

6. Catal Hyuk, Mesa Verde and the Anasazi defenses--if you stop moving, trade off between fixed defenses and a stationary target, accordingly:

a) Angst: Ares, the stormer of strong walls and the whole plot of the Iliad and the end of the Odyssey

b) The Maginot line, Correigidor

c) High Frontier

7. Sling bullets (p. 16) Everybody know?

8. Note the emphasis on British sites: the English always feel rather left out.

9. On the other hand, that skeleton with the baby at Hambledon Hill makes the basic point, doesn't it?

III. End as of 1/18/96

To Notes as of 1/25/96