[lit-ideas] Xerxesian/Leonidesian: The Clash

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 22:11:01 EST

Thanks to L. J. Helm for further quotes from Curtius, and update on  his 
readings -- the two-volume life of Hitler. I have in my bedside table a life  
of 
Thatcher, so aren't we *being* civilised?

 
Anyway, tried an OED search for Xerxesian, but no hit, so there it  goes. 
This quote, though, under entry 'free' -- may interest:
 
1849 GROTE Greece II. lxix. (1862) VI. 216 To 
 
Xerxes, the conception  of *free-citizenship..was..incomprehensible.
 
---- And perhaps just as well, since he could *brainwash* (plusei cephalou)  
his army.
 
---- On the other hand, Leonidas's 299 (I'm assuming he was one of the  gang) 
_were_ free-citizens.
 
The point has military relevance. 
 
I'm currrently reading Plato's POLITEIA (Loeb v. 1), and see that there's  
this footnote by the translator on the distinction between:
 
     * amateur soldier (as it were, strategike, I  think, is the Greek)
 
and
 
    *  professional 'mercenary'.
 
Plato goes on to point out that only 'courage' in the citizen is which  
counts (where I would translate 'citizen' as *civilian*). 
 
But this will surely is offensive to the military types (no derogation in  
'type' -- think 'archetype'). For:
 
   --- while I can conceive the idea of a mercenary
 
   -- I can also conceive the idea of a 'civilian' who thinks his  or her 
highest duty is of the military type (I'm talking confusedly).
 
Plato says that the 'professional' military is like a 'hound' -- always  
prepared to fight --, must live in a continuous 'camp', and in general, cannot  
'enjoy' the other pleasures that life is worth living for.
 
Cheers,
 
JL
 
 



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