Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

Euripides (480-406) Dramatist, Greece

He was an intellectual rebel, who like Bernard Shaw in recent times made men uncomfortable and made them angry. In return they accused him of blasphemy and misogyny;  they lampooned him and cursed him; but they had to listen to his ideas and hear them couched in some deathless verses. For posterity his place along with Aeschylus and Sophocles among the pantheon of Greek drama is secure.
He was born about the momentous date in the Greek history, the great naval battle at Salamis. Born to well to do parents, instead of a career in art he chose at the age of twenty-five to be a poet. His first play Daughters of Pellas in 455 BC was a success. His was a fresh talent breathing lines that were close to reality and those who considered themselves guardians of Attic tradition had to sit up and note him. Remarkable was his realism, in his treatment of women characters whether heroines or cruel as varied as Alcestis, Iphigenia, Medea or Phaedra still sound plausible and their motivation defined. In his sympathy for the underdog, women in Greek society elicited his special attention. Out of his vast output,-some 80 to 90 tragedies only nineteen are extant. Alcestis, Medea, Andromeda, Iphigenia in Tauris, Electra are a few.

Euripedes was a democrat who hated demogogues and other power-mongers who were the bane of the society in his time. The gloom and doom of an internecine war with Sparta is reflected in “The Suppliants” and “The Trojan Women”. Like Socrates after him he as a citizen served in the war and also held position of a Consul in Magnesia.
As a result of relentless attack on him by the mob and a clique of comedians after the production of “Orestes” he left Athens. He was 72. Remainder of his life he spent time in the court of Archelaus of Macedonia.
His death, which took place B.C. 406, if the popular account be true, was, like that of Aeschylus*, in its nature extraordinary. Either from chance or malice, the aged dramatist was exposed to the attack of ferocious hounds, and by them so dreadfully mangled as to expire soon afterward, in his seventy-fifth year. His life was ever since the benchmark to many dramatists who sought to emulate him.
In his lifetime he was held in less esteem than the other two great dramatists. He had warm admirers in Alexander the Great and the Stoic Chrysippus, who quoted him regularly in several of his works. Among the Romans, too, he was held in high esteem, serving as a model for tragedy, as did Menander and Phrynichus for comedy.

In his survey of the shades of departed poets, Dante makes no mention of Aeschylus or Sophocles, but classes Euripides as one of the greatest of the Greeks. Dante’s assessment we may accept as definitive.
Quote:Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.
* Aeschylus was accustomed to contemplate while seated on the rocky outcrops facing the sea. Bald in head he had the misfortune for an eagle mistaking him for a rock. The eagles in that area were known to break the shell by force of impact and dropped its catch with deadly consequence.

For Additional Reading:
(An example of misogyny, after two failed marriages)
“O Zeus, why hast thou brought into the world
To plague us such a tricksy thing as woman?
If thou didst wish to propagate mankind,
Couldst thou not find some better way than this?
We to the temples might have brought our price
In gold or weight of iron or of brass,
And purchased offspring, each to the amount
Of that which he has paid; and so have dwelt
In quiet homes unvexed of womankind.
Now, to import a plague into our homes,
First of our substance we make sacrifice,
And here at once we see what woman is.
The father that begot her gladly pays
A dowry that he might be rid of her,
While he may bring this slip of evil home.
Fond man adorns with costly ornament
A worthless idol, and his living wastes
To trick her out in costly finery.
Ha has no choice. Are his connections good,
To keep them he must keep a hated wife;
Are his connections bad, he can but weigh
Against that evil a good bedfellow.
His is the easiest lot who has to wife
A cipher, a good-natured simpleton;
Quick wits are hateful. Ne’er may wife of mine
Be wiser than consorts with womanhood.
In your quick-witted dames the power of love
More wickedness engenders; while the dull
Are by their dullness saved from going wrong.”
This is sufficiently bitter, but nor more so than the words which Euripides is accustomed to use when speaking of women.



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Greece is a developed country, with a high standard of living and “very high” Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world in 2010, and 22nd on The Economist’s 2005 worldwide quality-of-life index. According to Eurostat data, GDP per inhabitant in purchasing power standards (PPS) stood at 94 per cent of the EU average in 2008. Greece now has become the prodigal son of the Modern Europe. How come?
I am no Alan Greenspan and my financial wizardry consists only from hand to mouth so let me try to figure out in my own way where the fault lies.
Something is terribly wrong with Greece so much for sure. Consider these basic facts:
1. The Greek labor force, which totals approximately 5 million, works the second highest number of hours per year on average next to South Korea.
The Groningen Growth & Development Centre has published a poll revealing that between 1995 and 2005, Greece was the country whose workers worked the most hours/year among European nations; Greeks worked an average of 1,900 hours per year, followed by Spaniards (average of 1,800 hours/year)
2. Greece’s main industries are tourism, shipping, industrial products, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining and petroleum. Greece’s GDP growth has also, as an average, since the early 1990s been higher than the EU average.
3. Global economic malaise affected Greece as well. As a result of the on-going economic crisis, industrial production in the country went down by 8% between March 2010 and March 2011
4. Corruption is endemic. .( Greece has the EU’s lowest Corruption Perceptions Index, Index of Economic Freedom and Global Competitiveness Index, ranking 78th, 88th and 90th in the world respectively.)
5. Tax evasion or laxity in collecting tax is also a way of life. Between 2008 and 2011 unemployment skyrocketed, from a generational low of 7.2% in the second and third quarters of 2008 to a high of 16.6% in May 2011, leaving more than 820,000 unemployed. In the final quarter of 2010, youth unemployment reached 36.1%
Greece was accepted into the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union by the European Council on 19 June 2000, based on a number of criteria (inflation rate, budget deficit, public debt, long-term interest rates, exchange rate) using 1999 as the reference year. After an audit commissioned by the incoming New Democracy government in 2004, Eurostat revealed that the statistics for the budget deficit had been under-reported.
Members of the European Union signed an agreement known as the Maastricht Treaty, under which they pledged to limit their deficit spending and debt levels. However, a number of European Union member states, including Greece and Italy, were able to circumvent these rules and mask their deficit and debt levels through the use of complex currency and credit derivatives structures. The structures were designed by prominent U.S. investment banks, who received substantial fees in return for their services and who took on little credit risk themselves thanks to special legal protections for derivatives counterparties. Ack: wikipedia ( To Be Continued)

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