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Homework for Tuesday. November 17

November 16, 2015

Gentlemen,

Tomorrow I will be attending the IAC Headmasters meeting. Dr. Schaffer will be teaching class. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

For homework tonight you begin reading Gates of Fire . GOF is a piece of historical fiction. Wiki defines historical fiction as a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real, drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons. The main characters, however, tend to be fictional. GOF focuses on a Greek soldier (Xeones) who has been badly injured at the Battle of Thermopylae and captured by the Persians. The story is his recounting of growing up in Greece and eventually becoming a servant to a Spartan soldier. He recounts his story to the Persian king (Xerxes). The text of this book is rather graphic. It has gruesome depictions of war and the collateral damage that accompanies it. There is also quite a bit of foul language.

Read the Introduction and first three chapters of Gates of Fire. As you read, you should be alert to the themes we discussed in class on Friday: arete, eunomia, idiocy, and polis. Additionally the concepts of discipline and fear will be important ones. You should underline passages that illuminate all the above ideas, be able to answer these three questions below and define the terms.

1. How would you describe the interaction between Xoenes and the Persian emperor, Xerxes?
2. What is the significance of Apollo’s appearance in the first chapter?
3. The Spartans have a reputation as one of the most highly disciplined, well-trained fighting forces in history. How would you compare that description to the training of the army of Astakos in Chapter 3?

Terms to know

Skiritai
Helots
Spartiatai
Heliokekaumenos
Periokoi
Agoge

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