Manliness in Euripides’ “Medea”

After finishing Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, I decided to begin reading a series of smaller plays, books, and poems from various points in history. I began this “quest” with reading Medea. I have read a handful of Greek plays and various peices of Greek literature in the past, but it was not until researching the history of Madai that I stumbled upon this Greek play and the one written before it. But while reading the story, I focused less on the hate, the passion, the despair, the women, and the murder, but instead on the state of the men in the story.

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The story of Medea focuses much on the circumstances surrounding the marriage of Medea and Jason. He, the conqueror and adventurer; she, the sorceress, betrayer, and passionate lover. Her love, devotion, and passion for her husband and self is evident throughout the play as well as the fact that women are considered the weaker sex. ye the women are the greatest players and focus of the play. Medea is constantly called clever, her femininity often noted, and women are the singers of the chorus. Even a woman, the nurse, opens the play. Seemingly, the men are the cause of the pain, yet the men are given little focus throughout the play. The reason why? Simply put, the men are cowards, or rather, they lack manliness.

It is this lack of manliness, the cowardice, the failure to put on the mantle of a man and fulfill his duty as husband – protector, provider, and procreator – that results with the tragedy of the play. Indeed, it is Medea who is described as a true women, both in passion and performance. She is described as thus, “For the wife not to stand apart from the husband” (l. 455). And despite all she had done, though in truth much of it lacked femininity, she was faithful to her husband. Yet for wealth, status, and lust he married again, and only after learning of her despair allowed for her to be provided for, though she was still a foreigner and friendless woman now exiled (l. 448-52). But in order to understand the severity of his actions and the lack of masculinity of Jason, the reader must understand the basis for manhood. There are three things that a man, or specifically a husband, needs to be in order to fulfill his duties as a man: provide, protect, and procreate.

The first duty Jason failed in was his job as husband and procreator. This involves both sex and fatherly duties to both wife and children. Clearly, he and Medea have produced children, two boys, but she has to come back begging him, pretending acceptance of her cruel fate, pleading that he not treat his children as bastards rather than his own flesh and blood (ll. 845-881, 1279). Though he was party to the making of the children, he cared nothing for their welfare once he saw the profitable opportunity for status and wealth through the marriage of the princess (l. 478). He further shames his duty by wishing their was a way to children and prosperity without women (ll. 561-63). When Medea plans to murder their children, she notes that this will ruin “the whole of Jason’s house,” for children are those who continue a father’s legacy, his “house” (ll. 778, 1361). Indeed, he was “a coward” because he married behind her back instead of being up front with his actions; he was not even man enough to be honest about his intentions (ll. 574-75). He broke the “eternal promise” “they made to each other” and destroyed their “married love” (ll. 21-22, 477, 971, 1365-66). In this way he violated his duties as husband and failed to achieve true manliness.

While Jason is known for his adventurous heart, and may have gained much cleos by his many travels and even victories, he failed to accomplish the second and third duties as a man, which are to provide for and protect his family, especially for his wife. As mentioned before, he tried to explain that by abandoning his wife for another was actually to her benefit; yet this was merely a sham to excuse his wrongdoings (ll. 602-3). Another man who was a coward was her friend Aigeus, who was willing to provide sanctuary for her where her husband would not, but only once she found the means to escape; he was unwilling to lift a finger to help her in that regard (ll. 690-92, 713-14). When Kreon exiled her, Jason should have been the first to provide shelter and money. But it is not until after he hears of her distress that he offers some support but no shelter from her exile. Thus, he failed in his duties as provider and protector.

Though it has a little less to do with what a man should be, Medea makes it clear of what she thinks of his new wife. She frequently refers to her as a girl. To the chorus as women, but to her husbands new wife as a girl (ll. 260, 371, 772). And this can only be an additional reflection on his character and lack of manliness (l. 455). He does not see her as a woman, clever, of passion and duty as she sees fit, but a child for her unmanly husband to marry and feel as though he has achieved power. In some small way, because of his actions – his failure to be husband, father, protector, and provider – she sees her love Jason as nothing more than a boy-child who has yet to grow up.

Unfortunately for them all, Medea, to save face in her own twisted way, shows Jason his folly by killing his new girl love, the sons he should have loved, his new father, who should have been an example of manhood, and effectively destroys his house. She takes from him everything he thought made him a man and what truly did, including herself, from his life, leaving him alone to wallow in his misery. Of course, this is not to excuse Medea for her sins. She has as many if not more to atone for than Jason. Yet the heart of his faults are not truly looked at. The faults themselves are easily observed as well as the results of them, but not what the actual core of the matter is. But from what I have read, I truly think that Jason’s problem, in spite of all the daring deeds he had done, was that he was not truly a man.

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Translation of Euripides’ Medea” by Rex Warner found in The Norton Anthology of World Literature Vol. 1.

The themes on manliness comes from a book called Man Up! The Quest for Masculinity by Jeffrey Hemmer. I have not read it, but my husband has informed me most thoroughly that I feel confident in recommending it, especially if someone wants to know my foundation for the above themes.

~Rose

On the Seven Churches of Asia

As unsurprising as it should be, in my search for the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth I have discovered a greater connection to the early church beyond Acts 2.

It has been a little while since I have given an update on my book, and much has happened in between then and now. I have traveled across state back and forth twice, visited new coasts, picked blueberries, and begun packing to move. And while that has slowed progress on my book, I have not stopped writing completely. For the last three weeks I have been working on Arphaxad, third son of Shem. But I had to pause my work. He left more than one line, much like Gomer, and fathered a people beyond the line of Abraham. Because of that, I am still not done with his descendants chapter and will have to update you all of their story later.

But in order to save my sanity – for three weeks of searching for a name can wear on a gal – I worked on and finished Lud, the fourth son of Shem. He is what brings this post to the churches of Asia.

Lud and his people were not easy to find. In fact, I went searching for one word in any text for three days before I found it. In some ways, he and his people disappeared from much of history (and this is after the Hittites, who are simple by comparison). This is mainly because they separated from the rest of the world that, frankly, kept tabs on the people around them. People like the Assyrians, Babylonians, Medians, and of course the Israelites. Israel, their cousins so to speak basically only recorded their existence in prophecy, seeming to have little if any contact with them. Later, the Greeks and Romans kept records of them, even arriving at a mythology loosely based on truth, but such records are posthumous, if you will. Yet in the midst of those records, Lud and his people were found. At the end of it all, I found that they were the Lydians in south-west of Anatolia.

Originally, they were called the Lud or Luddu. While they were descended from Shem, in later times the people appeared more like the sons of Japheth rather than of Shem. For instance, their language was similar to those which came from Javan and their location on the coast probably led to Phoenician influence. Because of these factors and others, Lud was very hard to trace. There are only a handful of references to them in the Scriptures. Also, many confuse them with Mizraim’s son’s people the Luddim, who became the Lybians. But one reference is that the Gospel would be shared with them, and shared with them it was.

While Paul and Silas were on their journey through Anatolia, they stopped at a river and met a group of women there, one of them named Lydia. She dealt in purple cloth, making one wonder about the Phoenician influence. More importantly, she and her family became Christians, and though Paul met her outside of her hometown, she was from a city called Thyatira. This city happens to be one once held by the Lydians. And not only was the city once of Lydia, it was also one of the seven churches written to in the book of Revelation.

In fact, Ephesus, Thyatira, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Sardis were all cities housing churches which were written to in the book of Revelation. All were also found in Lydia. Ephesus even had an epistle written to it, and there was possibly even a letter written to Laodicea. Thus, the prophecy, found in the book of Isaiah, that those in Lud would hear the Word of the Lord was fulfilled.

While very little was known or written about the Lydians, especially their origins in secular history, they were not forgotten regarding the Gospel. Not only was the Gospel sent to them, they were centers of the early christian Church, receiving praise and warning in the book of Revelation. Though their genetic and historical legacy is vague at best, despite that what I can find shows they are in fact descended from Lud, they were not forgotten in the spiritual inheritance as sons. And this lineage is more important than even my task at hand – to find the genealogical lineage of the nations. For in truth, though the nations were separated at Babel and we are of one blood, in Christ, we are all of one body, joined in the inheritance of Christ and united in one family: His Church.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Rose

Shem: the Final Son

The title makes it sound like some epic climax, and in some ways it is. But for the most part, the next step in the direction of this final son, Shem, is really an entire journey all to himself. For starters, I finally finished the Canaanites. I never thought that dissecting the past of the Canaanites would have been so difficult. But with their number, and holding to the fact that “the Canaanite tribes scattered,” I should have recognized the warning.

But now I am starting on the final son of Noah. I say final because he is the last listed within the table of nations, but it is highly unlikely that he was the last born son. What is more likely is that he was the second born after Japheth and Ham was his younger brother. But his description of descendants is left for last in the table of nations. This makes the most sense as his genealogy is of great importance within the Scriptures. After all, it is from his line that the Christ was from. Following the account of the Tower of Babel, the line from Shem is continued through his son Arphaxad to Abram, the man who was the father of Israel and in the genealogy of Christ.

Unlike the other descendants of Japheth and Ham, those of Shem generally stayed in one general location, and that is within the middle East. He had five sons: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram. Like many other nations, the people and nations that came from them were also named after them. Elam became the Elamites. They dwelled south of Madai, who became the Medes, and the Elamaites became the Persians. Together they would end up conquering Babylon. Asshur, possibly the most apparent of the group, fathered the Assyrian Empire, which was named after him. Lud has yet to be fully discovered, but likely his people lived in southern Anatolia. Aram is also something of a mystery, and yet, there is a group within the Middle East called Arameans who may be his descendants. While Arphaxad is clearly the father of Israel, Abram’s family came from Ur of the Chaldeans. While this is sometimes the name used for Babylon, this people might have come from Arphaxad. But then again, I have yet to find the links to each of these groups. And thus, the search begins!

So as has been the case for the last few months (and years), the research continues. But, now I am something like a third done with the book. Of course, a lot of editing and intro-conclusion work is yet to be started. Still, the idea of being nearly a third done with the draft and it only being about half-way through the year, I am rather excited.

Blessings to you and yours,

~Rose

A Little Corner of the World

While taking a break from my research, my husband and I decided to do some more research. Old habits die hard I suppose. Anyway, my husband temporarily caught the research fever from me and decided he wanted to trace his ancestry back to its roots so that our children can know where they came from (If I could love him more!). He knew he had Scottish and German roots and I knew I had, for sure, Polish ancestry. But beyond my great-grandparents emigrating from Poland to America, I knew little about my other ancestors. I didn’t know my maternal grandmothers parents (she claimed a lot of things and we took them with a grain of salt) and my father only knew an arms reach back on his father’s side and a vague hint that his mother was French. Thus, with those tidbits, I began my hunt.

Now I must say, I got a lot more than I bargained for. Where my husband was able to trace back pretty far on his grandmother’s side, it has stopped so far in the U.S., which is not all that helpful, though we know it is still and Irish/Scottish/German line. On his father’s side, we are stuck on a man called Reuben (or Reubin…). But we are still searching. On my side, however, I found a lot. I learned that the majority of my family came from a little section between the corners of Germany, France, and Switzerland. Also, some more recent members are from Ireland, Scotland, and England. For the latter, I found that I have ancestors that fought in the Seven Years War, American Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. How cool is that? Those are found a little ways back on my Dad’s Paternal side. But on that side I also found what appears to be some minor Swiss houses that go back to the 1100’s. On the Scottish side of my dad’s line, I found a group of people that came from the Isles and settled in the same general area, Maryland, that can be, loosely, traced back to the man whom the Macduff, Thane of Fife of Shakespeare’s play was based off of. As an English major, that last tidbit may have been my favorite. Today, there is a city called Macduff in Aberdeenshire, the location where my ancestors came from.

I was also able to trace back my paternal grandfather’s line well into their time in Frace, about the mid-1600’s. This was the first line I was able to successfully trace. I knew they came from France, but I didn’t know when or where. Also, some came from England, though they were married here in the States. Suposedly there are some lines to some earlier people here in America,  but I have yet to find if those are accurate records or just stories told and exagerated over time.

On my mother’s side, I can only go back about 10 generations. Which, all things considered, is actually quite good. But I only know that the came from Germany and not much else. Unsurprisingly, I found many Lutheran’s on both sides of my family, that made me smile just a bit. But the people on both my mom’s side and my father’s side always seemed to end u in either Ohio or Pennsylvania, the latter of which was more likely. And this happens to be where my Great-grandfather came and settled when he came from Poland. Though my family ended up moving, it was interesting to know that they came getting closer and closer together, eventually ending up in a coal mine within Pennsylvania.

While I recognize this is off the beaten trail of my normal topics, I thought it interesting to share. In doing this, I saw that my ancestors basically come from the same place. In regards to my research, this places me directly in the path which Gomer and his descendants would have taken. Now I likely cannot follow every single ancestor to him, i can get the general idea. From here, cities, kingdoms, tribes, and estates were built, long before the division of the countries were made, those we know today. It is quite fascinating. But I hope that once I am finished with my book, others can go back and do the same. They can find they are descended from Ashkenaz, or Javan, or Shem, or Cush, even Mizraim! Perhaps this will show what a “small world” this is after all and that we were all lovingly made by a great God.

Thanks for reading if you got this far. I will try to get either an update or a book review up soon. I am still working on the Amorites (*sigh*). But as always, blessings to you and yours,

~Rose

The Canaanites

Since my last post I have been working on the sons of Canaan. There are eleven total and I still have three left. I was hoping to have them done by now, but my husband and I had a Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremony to attend and we are traveling this weekend. The excitement never ends!

But between all of that, I have still managed to get through most of these sons. The way I have been starting most of the chapters on these sons is by first going through all of the references in the Scriptures. For some of them, they are only mentioned in the two genealogical records, sometimes they also have cities named after them, other times I find them on every other page of the Old Testament! It has been quite fascinating to study the Scriptures like this.

For one, I do not think most people realize how much the Canaanites are mentioned in the Scriptures. I would not say they are “important”, per se, but they are found throughout the timeline of Scripture. And many of them do play very important roles. Take the sons of Sidon, for example. They became the Phoenicians, probably the best known of the Canaanites. While they were not necessarily praised in the Scriptures, they engaged in commerce with Israel for many generations. Some of the people even lasted to the time of Jesus, and He ministered to a woman from that area. The same ministry happened after Pentecost when some early Christians went to the area of Tyre and Sidon. How amazing is that?

Other Canaanites built cities that were enveloped by the Phoenicians or were swallowed in the greater scope of the Canaanites. But others were remembered for some time. For one, the city of Jerusalem was once inhabited by the Jebusites, the city itself called Jebus after its founder. Long after David conquered the city, there were some Jebusites that lived there. In fact, David bought a threshing floor from a Jebusite and built an altar to God after He struck Jerusalem for David’s sin. Later, the Temple would be built on this site. One of David’s friends and warriors was a Hittite named Uriah. While David sinned greatly against him and his wife, God still worked for good through it and Solomon was born. Other specific Canaanites are mentioned throughout the Old Testament, but to discuss them all would take too long here. After all, that is why I need to write a book!

Also, it shows that the not all of the Canaanites were these doomed, cursed people whom God hates. This is the picture that most people paint or imagine for the Old Testament – that God loves slavery and these people were cursed to serve.  But this is simply not true. While many of them did serve, some played key roles in history, as discussed. One group, the Gibeonites, were subjected to serve because they tricked the Israelites. Even so, Israel defended the Gibeonites when other Canaanite tribes fought against them. And many served because they were part of a conquered nation, as was common at that time. Still, many held their land and lived as many other Israelites. There were still many kingdoms to the north that were never conquered, such as the Hamathites who were likely not part of the inheritance of Israel. That king had a good relationship with King David, especially after David defeated a mutual enemy. Moreover, there are some passages implying that some of these people worshiped the Lord, though many led the Israelites astray in later times with their false gods. And in fact, it was because of this latter part that God wished them to be wiped out, for they had served gods that would lead the Israelites astray and the Canaanites had turned from God.

Even with all of this research found, I am still not done. I have postponed three of the sons due to their scope in research. The Hittites are next and they will prove interesting, but they will take time to write about. Until recently, the Hittites were only known through the Scriptures, and many discounted their existence because of that. But since then, researchers have found that there were actually a great kingdom. After this I will move on to the Amorites, which I will be honest, I know little about save that they are frequently mentioned int he Scriptures. I am looking forward to learning more. Similarly, the Sintes are barely mentioned int he Bible, and yet I think they will play a crucial role in Asia, and that is something I am quite interested in learning.

Thus, I am off to adventures this weekend, which will put my writing schedule on hold, but it will be all the better to get back to it next week. I look forward to all of the history the Scriptures and the world has in store for me to find and share, all of which demonstrates our ancestry to Adam.

Blessings to you,

~Rose

Researcher’s “Block”

Most people have probably heard of writer’s block. This comes in a variety of forms: interruption, lack of focus, multiple projects, too many ideas, or procrastination. I personally find the final one the common definition for most college students. As a writer, I stumble into the mind of writer’s block from time to time, which should be expected, and I usually find my way out. Sometimes it takes putting my work away for a time, or perhaps I have to take a broad look at what it is I am writing before I can continue. Thankfully, I was blessed with a worrier’s mind and a proactive spirit to avoid procrastination. In the case of my book, I set myself a goal: finish the “draft” by the end of December 2017. And thus far, I have been keeping in time and even reaching ahead of this goal. But I seem to have hit something I am calling researcher’s “block”.

As of today, I have “finished” my section of Put, or Phut, the third son of Ham. I say that tentatively because I know I will go back at some point and polish my work up. A week ago, I would have written this with excitement, or at least with a sense of accomplishment. Instead, I am here today and I am discouraged. I have been for some time, but I thought if I drew a little, played some guitar, go to a conference (which was awesome, by the way) with my husband, and read a book for fun, I would be able to return to my work with my previous fervor. And yet, I feel lost. Half of the time, especially with this “second” section of my book, I feel like I am walking in circles in my mind. I told my husband last night that it feels like my head is running in circles and it cannot stop. Where do these trails lead? Am I even making sense?

The issue came down to that no matter how much I researched, I could not find the answer I was looking for. It was as though I had hit a dead-end, and far too early for my liking. They always come, but not usually so abruptly. The same was true for this morning as I continued and concluded my writing. The fact is, there is no research. No matter how much I look, no one has done a study on Phut (or Put, the spelling adding to my issues). I am doing it! I told a former professor once that it is frustrating looking for answers when no one has or has been willing to find them. Instead, I am on a one-person team going up against the modern interpretation of history and trying to bring it back to Genesis, as there is no better word, the beginning.

Honestly, it is discouraging. No one has done biblical research on Africa. Phut, after all, was one of the forefathers of Libya in northern Africa. Actually, so little is known about Africa outside of Egypt and Ethiopia. It is as if those two countries, the false “curse of Ham”, and evolution are the only interesting things about Africa to most researchers of various fields.  Of course, part of my goal is to disprove that last “intrigue”. Anyway, beyond these nations, nearly all of the records are absent. Now I recognize that the vast language difference and the prevalence of oral history results in a lack of information. But it is discouraging nonetheless.

So I am hitting a researcher’s “block” today, but I am not finished. There was still information to be found; I still found records that correspond to history as found in the Scriptures. I am put down, but I will finish my work. For I am doing this because no one else has done it and I know it needs to be done. I am doing this to show the unity of mankind. I feel called to write this. In the end, I want to show the harmony between God’s word and ancient history, that we are all truly of “one blood” and that God wants all to come to a knowledge of Him.

Today and this past week I have been discouraged, and yet, I have finished this section so I can now move onto the next. Canaan and his intriguing people are next, and I believe there will be no shortage of information and intrigue with his people.

Hoping for better spirits and blessings to you all,

~Rose

The Legacy of Ham

In the past month, I have managed to finish my section of Japheth and have since moved onto the one for Ham. Despite what many seem to think, the Scriptures are far from negative or ignorant towards the descendants of Ham. In fact, so far I have come across over 700 references to him and his people int he Scriptures, and I am only half-way done with the sons of Mizraim. Indeed, while Canaan was cursed for a misdeed of his father, those punishments have come and gone. Many of his, Ham’s, descendants have held something of an important place in Israel’s and the world’s history, which includes Canaan.

Beginning with Cush, his descendants became, mainly, the Ethiopians and the Sudan, among others. One of their kings ended up ruling Egypt and is recorded in the Scriptures. And in the New Testament, a eunuch of the Ethiopia’s queen, while reading the book of Isaiah, is among the first of the Gentiles to hear the Gospel. One Ethiopian in the Old Testament even received special protection for a message he delivered.

Of course, one descendant of Cush is somewhat infamous: Nimrod. Most likely instigator of the Tower of Babel, Nimrod was a nuisance to the early world for a time to come even after Babel and likely also brought rise to the idolatry that quickly spread among his people and to so many others. But as I found, his great buildings were an architectural feat even to the present, as ziggurat and pyramid like structures are found all over the world, a testimony to what happened at Babel so many centuries ago.

But now I am on Mizraim and his sons, and that has been a trial. It would be an understatement to say that Egyptian chronology is confusing, a lie to say that it is complete or even close to it. There are a number of Pharaohs and even a queen recorded in the Scriptures, but their names do not always match up to the histories of Egypt. Likely, this is because of a language barrier and the lack of understanding of Egyptian. However, after more time than I would have preferred, and with more extra help than I care to admit to, I was able to tentatively line up some of these said pharaohs, starting with Mizraim, and the likely possibility of his son Naphtuhim, and going to Hophra. There are even possible cases for Joseph and the many Pharaohs of the Exodus. While much more work needs to be done regarding Egyptian chronology on both Christians and secularists parts, I think the work of mine and others may help solve the riddle of Egypt’s complex but fascinating history.

Fun fact: when one looks at the construction of the Great Pyramid, the reign of Kufu, and Abram’s journey to Egypt,  one may find an interesting correlation. Some texts believe that Abram, coming from Ur of the Chaldean’s, may have bought the knowledge that led to the building and better construction of these marvelous feats of architecture.

So now I am partway done with the descendants of Ham, who so far have been found to dwell in modern day Egypt, Ethiopia, the Sudan, and Libya. After I finish Mizraim and his descendants, I will continue onto his brother Put, who I already know is in Libya and was joined with a couple of Mizraim’s sons, and the last brother Canaan. His story and people, I hope, will be quite interesting as I have reason to believe that some of his people may have traveled to the far reaches of Asia. I can hardly wait to see what I will find!

Lastly, I have reached somewhere around 140 pages to my book. While it may not seem like much, it is quite a feat for me, as I have only been writing hard for a couple of months. And yet, I know my work is far from complete, or even drafted. But Lord willing, I will finish strong and before the year is out.

Blessings to you who find this,

~Rose