Star the sixteenth

I’m creating a virtual star chart, to record my progress in Dry July. The star for making it through Friday 16 July without touching the demon drink is the Vergina Sun, the star of Philip II of Macedonia, his son Alexander the Great, and the ancient Macedonian empire.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

(Description: Star with round centre, four long rays at north, south, east and west, another ray in the middle of each quarter formed by the long rays, then another ray in each eighth, making sixteen rays in total.)

Or not the symbol of Philip II and Alexander. It seems the matter is in dispute, and contemporary use of the symbol is politically fraught.

The symbol was found on top of a golden larnax (small coffin / ash chest) in the tombs of the kings of the ancient kingdom of Macedon, reputed to contain the ashes of Philip II. Hence its connection with him.

Although ancient Macedonia is most commonly associated with Philip II and Alexander the Great, I usually connect it with Aristotle, who was a Macedonian. When Plato died, it was thought that Aristotle, Plato’s greatest pupil, would become leader of his school, the Academy, but suspicion of Macedonians was growing in Athens, given Philip’s expansionist tendencies, so he was passed over. Later on he founded his own school, the Lyceum. For a few years, Aristotle was teacher of Alexander the Great, which I suppose could be regarded as an attempt to create a philosopher-king, except that it was an abysmal failure.

Many thanks to Mr Strange Land for suggesting the Vergina Sun. He is a keen (amateur) classicist, to the extent that he offers helpful commentary on sword and sandals epics, pointing out which details of the armour and fortifications the designers have not quite gotten right. I once had an essay to write on Herodotus, but instead of reading Herodotus myself, Mr Strange Land read it, and told me the best bits, which I turned into quite a good essay (I did read huge amounts of secondary literature, and dipped into the original work). He also read large chunks of Livy on my behalf: most helpful when I started reading Machiavelli’s Discourses on the First Decade (10 books) of Livy.

16 days! Over half way. I’m starting to think that we might make it through Dry July.

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7 responses to “Star the sixteenth

  1. la la la la la la don’t tell me that about Herodotus. I seem to recall I had to critique your essay and got my ass totally kicked.

  2. He is a keen (amateur) classicist, to the extent that he offers helpful commentary on sword and sandals epics, pointing out which details of the armour and fortifications the designers have not quite gotten right.

    Heh – perhaps he and I were separated at birth? I too sit there going *pah!* whenever I see a pair of anachronistic Roman stirrups.

    Congratulations on making it this far! We’re also powering on – I’m actually starting to crave it a little more now than I did in the first two weeks!

  3. totally lost my last paragraph there – never mind.

    We are, however, determined to see it through. We do feel better physically for it, absolutely.

  4. Adam would fit right in on the anachronism spotting front, in fact the whole family is leaning that way lately what with the reenactment stuff we’ve been doing. Tom objected mightily to the horned helmets in How to Train Your Dragon.

    *cheers loudly as you pass the half-way mark*

  5. Yes. Because if you’re going to make a movie about dragons you should make sure that it’s historically correct!

  6. We’re doing a bit better now, especially on weeknights. The weekends are a bit harder to get through.

    Mr SL made the bizarre suggestion tonight that perhaps we should put off drinking wine until we’ve sold the house… or perhaps until we put it on the market… or maybe

    I scotched the suggestion straightaway, pointing out that we have friends coming to stay on 4 August, so we may as well stick with our original plan, which involves a bottle of sparkly wine in bed on Sunday 1 August. The strangelings are shocked.

  7. *nods* Absolutely!

    …hang on, you’re not implying that dragons aren’t real are you?

    I’m shattered 😦