When I began my schooling at the feet of Aristotle there were four of us 'military brats' in the class and we sat on one side of the room while the rest of the students sat on the other side of the room.
My father being a general and leader we endured a rough and high pressured interaction with Aristotle that the rest of the boys did not have to endure. It was a toughening process we eventually decided. As military officer sons we responded to commands and it seemed we did learn better with a more direct and aggressive learning process than the other boys did who sat in the other half of the room. It was ruthless and never ending however and finally all the military boys left except one other who often sat on the other side of the room with the sons of merchants and politicians. I think he finally left too.
It was horrible being pressured to the point it felt like he was angry at me too. My attention then started to fail as did my enthusiasm and I too considered leaving.
In a conversation with the 'rapport'* I mentioned that it was to tough for me being treated the way he treated me as the only son of a military officer there.
He suggested that I put myself in his place at the front of the room teaching these children who all sat in a place where he could see the little bastards except for the one boy, Alexander, who insisted on sitting on his right side where he couldn't see.
There is a digression here that needs to occur to show you another lie created by the censors of 'political correctness' of first century AD.
Roman noses aside you should be aware that Aristotle was blind in his right eye and it really pissed him off when students sat where he couldn't see them. You can clearly see that he was blind in the statues of him and you can even see the muscles that bunch under his skin near his eye on that side of his face. The right eye was white, of course that is difficult to show in marble but on that statue that eye may be carved less deeply. Did you think the sculptor was drunk the day he carved that side of Aristotle's face or that every intelligent Greek had one eye that sunk into his skull a quarter of an inch? I had put up with his irate behavior for almost a year and a half before I sat on the other side of the room. For all his teachings about logic he was most illogical about this one thing. But I guess he could afford one whim of emotion.
The first year and half gave me humility and made me learn a lot. Later on I was grateful for it. It taught me to not only continue when there was great adversity but to thrive in it and find solutions and success when others were running away.
This would serve me a dozen times during the campaigns to come but just then I was just angry. I wanted my father to take me from the school but he said in effect 'It appears you are ready to go to war over this (issue)' and I guess I felt that upset over the issue. He told me to consider doing what he did when he decided to declare war and wait a half a moon**. So I sat on the other side of the room with the other boys. The two weeks became at least four and a half years and Aristotle said I gained a very high level of understanding of the teachings.
* I acted as the rapport to Aristotle for a year so I have a fair understanding of this unique teaching assistant. The rapport answered only to the students and were paid by them directly. Never were they to betray the trust of the students to the teacher and they would never talk about students to the teacher while away from the classroom. Zero, nothing. It was a trust that was never to be broken.
The duty of the rapport was to keep things going by reflecting the teachings in a positive way. He always asked the right questions and asked them as if he were a student. This caused the students to understand how to put their minds in a place that would see and know how to ask the questions that they should be asking vs. the stupid questions all students seem to come up with on their own. Also, having previously learned the material as a student he knew when the teacher had passed over something of importance. I don't think there is a modern day equivalent.
It puts the finishing touches on schooling since you really learn how other people think and you learn the normal give and take of adult life. You learn how to question and answer as well as treat people in an equal relationship.
Students need to know how to question and that has to be taught. He acted as teaching assistant and if you had a question that might embarrass you or if you wanted more details about a subject you could confide in him. He might answer you but if he thought it might be incomplete he would ask the same question in class the next day.
Sometimes the teacher left part of a teaching out by accident. The student would know something was missing since it lacked logic so we would ask the rapport. Our rapport would not take a chance and fill in the missing information but would ask the teacher a question the next day with an innocent face that would inspire the teacher to fill in his 'rapports' lack of memory. The great teachers were never 'wrong' but the 'rapport' was and was paid quite handsomely by the students to play the part of the fool. It was understood that a great mind like Aristotle's does not stay in safe territory. It goes far afield and like a great hunter often gets lost in the hunt for truth. The 'rapport' helps him return home. Once the 'rapport' brought 'Aristotle's attention to what he had left off his teaching the previous day and Aristotle was shocked at how much he had missed. I thought he was going to dismiss the class for the day, he was so devastated. It was almost half the lesson and I can remember him standing there appalled with his face ashen because of how personally it affected him to have not taught it. I wanted to run support him and help him to his chair.
Aristotle was known for becoming so involved in details that he would not even reach a conclusion. So the 'rapport' would ask him the next day to conclude the teaching as if he were irritated about it. Then Aristotle would not forget to reach a conclusion for another month.
A lot of the teachings needed clarifying and the 'rapport' would ask the questions the students couldn't since they did not know what was missing. If you have never studied the material how can you know what is missing? It might be that you are just not smart enough to understand the material. When you confuse these two it both makes the learning process difficult and thwarts your interests.
If you attempt to arrive at the question that needs to be asked for clarification because you don't understand something or something seems to be missing it is a real stab in the dark to get it right. If the reason for your question is misunderstood or mistaken for stupidity there will be a dozen stabs back at you that are not from the dark but from other students. So most missing teachings get passed on and they accumulate over 2300 years time.
The great teachers had 'attitudes' and the greater the teacher the greater that 'attitude'. They were obligated to have it because it protected them. To cast their pearls among those who could not figure out this information on their own was belittling to them. Their attitude was that they should be reading to the senate if to anyone and not teaching the senators squirming little idiot children and they were right. They let the children of the senators know it. They had to since the children of the senators thought they were as great as their fathers but were just much more selfish. Their fathers weren't even great but by the grace of the people's vote.
Senators sons became 'Darth Vaders' if given half a chance. They went their entire lives seeking submission from others and since it had no basis in merit or achievements as it was with their fathers it was based on a continuous denial of all other people. Since they had not risen above mankind they simply cut everyone down.
If Socrates did not see them for what they were and resent having to teach them they never would have respected him enough to learn anything from him. They never learned much of anything anyway it seems only two of these men later on rose above the average. One was me.
**My father told me of once when he decided to go to war. Everyone had concluded it was not only justified but had to occur to keep order. The violations were great and they were such that they seemed like direct challenges since they violated agreements going over a hundred years but he waited two weeks. The problem was taken care of.
It seems the queen of the culprit nation was of a jealous nature but the King managed it well and kept her ambitions in check. Then her sister came to visit her and she was even more jealous Together they schemed and planed things that they enacted in the Kings name but kept hidden from him. One was their order to confiscate the fishing boats of the neighboring state who were fishing in their waters and then rapidly sell them back to their owners for cash to buy silk before the king found out. The two nations had an agreement going back over 150 years among fishermen that kept them working the full year. There was fishing for part of the year off of each coast so they went back and forth as a group wherever the fish were. It was eight months off their coast and four month off the neighboring coast.
The queen and her sister thought this was unequal and simply 'unnecessary' so they confiscated the boats in the kings name and sold them for the same value as the four months of fish had sold for on the market. The fishermen had little money but they borrowed from the temple until it ran out so the queen sold some boats elsewhere but gave some of them back before the king could find out. The queen was the more innocent of the two or should I say just less adept.
The Macedonians were aligned with the state that owned the boats. They started to sharpen their swords and order supplies, mostly prepared foods like dates and nuts. This alignment was a not to-well-kept secret so everyone in the kingdom just freaked except the queen and many of the women who didn't know. Everyone was in awe of Macedonia's power. When it was as clear cut a violation as this was it had to be interpreted as a challenge to go to war. That kind of a clear violation was what many Macedonians lived for and they could be ruthless.
There was no one of great enough stature to tell the king that his orders were mistaken and would lead to war. The sisters had actually waited until all the high ministers and maybe the king too had left the kingdom to pull off the crime. It seems the king gave the queen sealed orders to hand out until his return and that might have been when she and her sister added theirs.
One of the high ministers came running in from his return to another state in a piss-in-his-robes panic to tell the king to rescind his order. The King then realized what was happening.
Previously I stated: 'he (the King) tossed both the queen and her sister out of the palace. The two sisters stayed in a villa where they reasoned and recanted but nobody listened and not the king for sure.'
This last paragraph was 'off' because of the limited number of visions I had seen. They have about doubled and it is much more complete. It should read. The king had to send his wife to the neighboring province as a hostage where they reasoned and recanted but it did not matter since they were being held hostage and not being punished like their father might have. Also, they were not royalty there so nobody would listen to them and that made them upset even more.
Those boats sold for as little as 4% of their value. Many got resold several times. Sometimes a soldier had to take them back at sword point only to find out it was the wrong boat. Some were sold back but they were sold to the wrong owners who kept the boat until they got their own boat. Since these spats between states often worked themselves out the buyers of the boats knew they would probably have to return the boats and maybe loose their money. Since the boats could go where Greeks couldn't some were sold away as far as Lebanon in the east and France in the west.
They were not easily replaced but they had to be. Two thousand years ago you did not call up Chriscraft and order a 35 foot twin engine fishing boat delivered to your doorstep the next day and put it on your Platinum Visa Card. There were no 'used boat lots' either. You had to go a hundred miles to cut the wood, haul it, cure it, cut it, plane the wood into strips and then build the boat. You also had to get a Boatwright to help and there were only two on the entire coast and there were lots of boats still missing. The whole building process even with the right help could take a year and a half and that was a death sentence for a poor fisherman's family and they were all poor.
So the King had to find all the boats. It was a real mess and the Kings affections had turned to a young milk maiden though they were called something like 'curd' or 'buttermilk girls' who were a step up socially from milk maidens since they also processed the cream to butter and a cultured buttermilk or a yogurt. But they still had the same strong hands with a firm yet sensitive grip that was coupled with a fine hand eye coordination which has made milk maidens a pleasure and a favorite of kings from time immemorial.
So the king was dragging his feet on finding those boats which started out at 200 and had gotten down at this time to 42 that were still missing.
After the sister realized they were not going to go back to the palace right away she argued with her own sister, the queen, and left in a huff. She was not a hostage and was free to go where she pleased and she went to the hills inland. There was a worry that she would make up and go back to stay with the Queen before long as they would always calm down after their emotional outbursts. Also, there was the issue of a person arguing with the queen and that looked incredibly bad to people. The information was sent to the King because it was a very disrespectful thing. Even disregarding an order was often punished by death and here was an all out screaming and ranting 'disagreement'. Even a sister could not do such a thing.
The rulers who simply wanted the boats back thought this a very bad precident and so the information was sent in the hopes that the king would do something like put the sister in stocks or irons for a few months to show it was not behavior that would be tolerated. They worried that it might encourage disrespect for the royalty of the country they were being held hostage in. Also, the King had to be kept informed of anything that happened since the sister might come back with an army since she was a princess without a throne. It was very complicated so they left it up to the King, the queens husband to decide what to do about it.
The king dragged his feet on that issue as well and the buttermilk girl made that easy to do. Someone finally asked the king what to do about the sister and he said he didn't care anymore. He used a phrase similar to today's: 'It's in God's hands now.'
It has to do with the sister now being the responsibility and burden of the stars since he would no longer be burdened with her.' (It's not quite a 100% but I'll get it.)
The statement carried a double meaning that was totally different when used in the past tense. Then it meant something like: 'whatever has happened (usually it was used for something like lightening killing sheep) was ordained by the stars and not the cause of man so no man should be punished (or bear the burden) for whatever happened to the sister.' Except that was the meaning when used in the past tense. If it was the future tense it always carried the first meaning. The men of the court decided that the question of the tenses was a much smaller issue than the sister had made of herself.
The saying might not have been Greek, but from the North so it wasn't too clear. The phrase 'It's in God's hands now.' might be interpreted by a different culture as: 'It is now in the hands of the Gods'.
That night after the king went to bed about 100 men left the palace as fast as they could with every weapon available and they also took the king's dogs.
When the king awoke in the morning it was unusually quiet and he found the palace was completely unguarded. His prominently displayed sword was missing and there was not a soldier or able bodied man left in the palace. Every possible weapon had disappeared. Even the kitchen knives were gone so the cook had to use an old axe he found to cut up food for the meals, but then it disappeared too. Even the trees in the garden had been cut down and made into staves.
The saying that the king had uttered under his breath got shortened to 'the king wants the sister dead'. Three days later everybody and every thing including the king's sword was back in its proper place. Guards were standing as they should and several men were hauling in new trees to plant them in the garden. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
[Of course I'll never be able to get the statement 100% because there are few if any words with a double meaning that carries over from Macedonian to English. What a fool I can be to even try!]
It would be interesting to see if we can make the statement work in ancient Macedonian or Greek. There is still something missing with it and I am not sure what it is.
Some alignments were kept in secret. Some of these alignments were known by many but kept from the wives. That included even the queen. I guess the queen's sister didn't know about this one either.
They were secret because Macedonia was very powerful. Alignments often lasted only year to year. So if an enemy intended to attack you it was best to have them to do it when Macedonia was your ally but the enemy didn't know it. Then when they attacked your country Macedonia would thrash them.
You could even end up running the other country since Macedonians hated most of the politics involved with running other countries. That freedom and the protection that came with Macedonian rule was loved by many over the rulers they had before like Darius III. He reminds me of Saddam Hussein. There is a perspective for you.
© 2003, 2020 John Pinil