I just finished reading The Spartans by Paul Carthage. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. For one thing, Carthage makes them approachable. He reminds me of my high school teacher, Mr. Sullivan, who wisely thought the best way to get his group of sometimes very rowdy teenagers to engage with medieval history was to have them watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s still one of my favorite movies and made the history behind it intriguing. At any rate, Carthage takes the reader through the Spartans’ rise and fall and introduces his audience to all the major players. Who knew how political they were!
What I find intriguing is that many hold the Spartans to be ideal patriots and warriors. People to emulate and hold as upright citizens. That they were, but they also ritually abused their children, engaged in state-sanctioned pederasty, and routinely hunted their Helot slaves as a rite of passage. They also weren’t above assassinating political dissidents.
While the glory of the 300 at Thermopylae with King Leonidas fighting to the death is admirable, it doesn’t offset the dysfunctional nature of the very closed society of elitism. Know the history before you glorify it.
It’s cold. Really cold. Like, frostbite cold. I confess, winter is NOT my favorite season and January is definitely NOT my favorite month (at least weather wise). Don’t get me wrong, I like to see snow once or twice in the winter but let it snow over a weekend where I sit inside next to a fire or wood stove with a cup of cocoa, coffee, or tea and a good book. Then, make the snow melt or at least make the streets dry with no ice.
My husband kids me no end about my “fear” of driving in the snow. I tell him I’m not afraid of driving in the snow. I don’t like driving with the other drivers driving in the snow. Having been bumped twice in my car due to unsafe driving by others, I think that sentiment is warranted. So here’s hoping the temperature rises like it’s purported to over the weekend. We’ve had our bit of snow and although the skiers out there would like more, I’ve had enough. Instead, bring on spring and summer sunshine. Here’s to dreaming of warmer weather, summer sun, and beaches.
Reading is my first choice of leisurely activity when I have a few free moments tucked in around everyone’s busy schedules. I remember as a kid hiding under the covers at night with a flashlight reading until all hours of the night while my parents thought I was sleeping. Sadly, 14% of the adult population in America is illiterate. A whopping 19% of high school graduates can’t read. Statistic Brain has a more complete list. If you like to read consider tutoring to share that love with someone who can’t. You will open their world in so many ways. What good books have you read lately?