Monthly Archives: February 2013

Criminal Minds quotes Plato, or do they?

Criminal Minds was definitely one of my favorite shows for a while and sadly I only stopped watching new seasons because of time issues; unfortunately I can’t schedule my life around the TV schedule. I still watch the reruns every time I notice one is on, which is about every hour of the day if you use enough channels. I saw a rerun not too long ago and knew I had to write a post about it. It was season 2 episode 6 The Boogeyman. This is the episode after Elle gets shot and she misses her psych evaluation. The team is after someone who is murdering children in Texas.

One of my favorite parts about Criminal Minds is the quotation at the beginning and end of the show. I always try to catch these and I (nerdy, I know) would actually get mad if I turned the TV on just a minute too late. The quotation at the beginning of The Boogeyman episode is, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” The narrator, Hotch, attributes it to Plato. This like many other quotations said to be from Plato is a misattribution. While the phrase is all over the internet and can be found on T-shirts, there is not one site that gives evidence of where the quotation came from. No one can state the book and line of Plato’s works from which this quotation was pulled. Don’t get me wrong I love the phrase and I think it has so many great meanings in it, but it is not from Plato. If anyone has or can find it, please let me know, but I have been over all of the works I have (which is most of them) and I have searched a lot of scholarly discourse and I still have not found it. Some sites attribute it to Socrates which would mean it is attributed to Plato since all of Socrates’ words are written by Plato.

Criminal Minds is a great show and the quotations add intelligence and depth to many of the episodes which aren’t exactly lacking in those categories anyway. You just missed the boat on this one, Criminal Minds. Research would have allowed you to step further into the light on this one and learned that it is a statement without a source.

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Eris Quod Sum on Twitter

Follow Eris Quod Sum on Twitter now! @ErisQuodSumblog. I will tweet about little things now and then that are not substantial enough for full posts as well as give updates when new posts have been published.

Battlestar Galactica and Sophocles’ Ajax

In case this blog isn’t nerdy enough, I thought I would up the nerd factor a little bit and write about not only classics, but Battlestar Galactica. I’m not usually a big fan of sci-fi anything, but people kept telling me to watch this show so I finally broke down and started it. Now I’m addicted. I should note here that I have just started the 3rd season and therefore I may be missing things and I will most likely not be spoiling much.  For the sake of this post not being incredibly long and unfocused, I would like to ignore some of the more obvious allusions to Greek mythology like the usage of Greek gods and even the less obvious use of the Pythia oracle. This post will focus on one (possibly accidental) reference to Greek mythology: The relationship between Gaius and Number 6 (also known as Caprica 6, but she shall be called Number 6 here).

Their relationship is definitely a large focal point for the show, but what got me really interested in it is that after only a few episodes I saw a parallel between their relationship and that of Ajax and Athena in Sophocles’ Ajax. In the Greek tragedy Ajax is continually manipulated by Athena who speaks directly to him. Some scholars have interpreted Athena as Ajax’s madness incarnate (well sort of since she’s a goddess).  Some theatrical interpretations and adaptations have shown Athena as only being seen by Ajax and being on stage the entire time to direct the events of the play. The use of deities as mental illnesses or madness in many of Sophocles’ plays has been contemplated by scholars. I enjoy entertaining the notion that Greek playwrights used the gods to portray what we today would consider internal working of the mind as well as mental health issues.

As I have not finished the series yet I cannot say what is going on between Gaius and Number 6, but when she is instructing him and manipulating him aboard Galactica while he is the only one who can see her, there is a striking resemblance to Ajax and Athena. I look forward to seeing how this plays out, if he is crazy, a cylon, or there is another explanation. No matter what though, there is no denying the similarities between the two relationships. I wonder if this was influence or accidental, but either way it is awesome.

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The Ancient Origins of Valentines Day: Lupercalia, where whips excite.

With Valentine’s Day coming up I thought there was no better time to start writing again than on my favorite historical holiday. Let me start by saying I hate Valentine’s Day for a number of reasons, but I love the story of its origins and of course its origins go back to Ancient Rome. The Ancient Roman festival was known as Lupercalia and took place February 13-15. As with many holidays, which are all great stories, Valentine’s Day was originally established around a pagan holiday in order to transition people seamlessly to Christianity. The reason I love the history of this holiday is the drastic change that has occurred through time.

Lupercalia was a fertility festival according to Plutarch who claims that the festival helped pregnant women with their delivery and barren women become pregnant. This is not that much unlike the modern Valentine’s Day; I’m sure some would say it has similar function today (wink wink), although others I’m sure would prefer that it not help with fertility. The interesting part however is the difference in practice. Valentine’s Day is all about love and gentle caring. Its predecessor, Lupercalia, was about naked men running through the streets whipping women.

The festival began with a sacrifice. After the sacrifice, young men cut pieces of the hide off of the animal (usually 2 goats). With these pieces of hide they fashioned whips and ran through the streets naked whipping the people gathered in the crowd. Women, even noble women, would actually purposely get in the way of the men in order to be whipped. This at first seems shocking, but when we remember that the whipping was believed to lead to fertility it is a little less outrageous. The Romans were up for pleasing the gods in anyway necessary. And somehow through history and Christianity this ritual turns into our Valentine’s Day of chocolate, flowers, and romance (maybe for some who read 50 Shades of Grey the whipping will carry on). 

For primary reference on Lupercalia see Horace’s Ode book 3 poem 18 and Plutarch’s Life of Romulus

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