Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller

This is the Retelling of the story of Circe from her birth to her involvement in the Odyssey and beyond.

Circe here reminds me of myself as her company is unwanted by all who surround her as she is different from all the others. She is not interested in the great parties, the gossip or the other guests. Instead she is prone to wondering the great halls alone wanting her fathers attention while avoiding her mother.

This lack of attention causes great loneliness in herself as she has no purpose. She has great strength but doesn’t believe in herself because of the ridicule she has previously received from her loved ones. Her innocence and naïveté cause her to fall in love with the first man she sets eyes upon. This is unrequited love but she cannot see it until he falls in love with another. All she wanted was to help another because she cared for him but it wasn’t to be. She repeats the pattern as she cannot help the fact she has so much love to give it spills over. She needs an outlet but without children what is an Ancient Greek girl to do?

You can listen to a sample of this book if you are not too sure about buying it on Audible. It is alternative history as the female side of things tends not to survive. Hence we have history or his story.

Best wishes

Angela

Telling tales in Greek

For Christmas I got this book. It is a children’s book to help English speakers learn the Greek language. It is the tale of the Odyssey and Odysseus. However the Greek that is taught in this book is the original Ancient Greek. This means extra learning of words that they no longer use. It’s interesting looking at the origins of the language though. Some words however remain the same.

The best part of this book is it’s focus on grammar including the most difficult point I have come across so far – the genitive sandwich.

This is very difficult for an English speaker because we don’t really have cases, declension or even gender in our language anymore. We therefore don’t ever need to worry about genderised conjugation or even really conjugating.

English is a hodgepodge of rules that have been adopted from all of the different invaders. This makes it a difficult language to learn because it’s not as pure as older languages are. You do however get compensated by having many cognates with other newer languages.

Another reason for the inherent difficulty in processing Greek from an English speakers perspective stems from the genitive case being the one that you use to indicate possession. In our enlightened times we wouldn’t ever think of saying ‘of Daniel’ to indicate that something belongs to Daniel unless we were referencing The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s anti feminist and very archaic to think in terms like this.

Grammar wasn’t taught much in schools when I was attending in contrast to previous eras. I believe they have changed that now with an emphasis on more exotic foreign languages like Mandarin instead of just European. This means that today’s school children are better equipped to handle the linguistic diversity that is present in the world. At least in my opinion.

Best wishes

Angela

Linear B

This is a very early writing system that predates the Greek alphabet. There has been extensive studies to understand this pre alphabet in both Crete and Cyprus. Knossos is a very important historical site in Crete where these tablets have been discovered on archeological digs.

On Cyprus lectures are given about its importance about its role as a precursor to the Greek language. These lectures are given in Greek at the university of Nicosia in Cyprus but I was able to find out about it because the lecturer is in fact English. There was a magazine article I read about his work and how he came to learn the Greek language over a period of approximately 30 years. I found it fascinating that there is still much to learn about prehistoric times because the information was either recorded in a language that is now indecipherable to us; or was just passed down verbally as they had no means of remembering things in terms of texts.

Linear B is a written language that is in itself predated by Linear A which hasn’t been decoded yet. Linear B was uncovered by English architect Micheal Ventris. He was a Classist and self taught linguist. His specialty was the Mycenaean era of Greece. He sadly died in a car crash very early on in his life otherwise this new field could be much further forward than it is today.

Best wishes

Angela

Reflection

I have recently been having a look at my old photographs as part of an exercise for photography club and I came across some which really sum me up as a person.

First of course is Greece. I love this view whether it’s in reality, a photograph or a painting I have done. I also love sunsets in case you hadn’t guessed by now. Sorry but I’m slightly addicted and obsessed with this time of day. Just so you know and we’re clear on this point 😉 I just like the simplicity of Greece and how natural and uncomplicated things are there. It is of course a mirage as I’m always on holiday there but we all need a little fantasy in our lives.

This is who runs the restaurant that we go to every week in Greece. You’ll notice that I’m dressed for dinner and for once I actually wearing a dress and jewellery. I look damn good and there is a sunset as well as there being the obligatory glass of alcohol. I’m not sure what we are celebrating but life is there to be enjoyed so why not have some champagne every now and again?

To continue on with the imaginative theme this is my husband on our wedding day. I am Cinderella who has finally been allowed to go to the ball and he is Robin Hood. He is my saviour and in the tradition started by Shrek everyone else who came to the wedding was dressed up in historical or fairytale attire. It was a wonderful day that hasn’t yet been bested in any of the subsequent weddings I have been to.

This is me relaxing outside in Greece at my in laws house. I like to read quite widely on a range of topics to kind my mind active. Also I do like to try new things “the curious kitty aspect as it’s been named” hence I’m reading a book about how to make cocktails because I’m partial to them.

This is also me having a drink surprise, surprise while watching the World Cup. I love watching football or soccer to Americans. I’m neither masculine or feminine really. A combination of both but some days I’m definitely more of one than the other like here I’m indulging my laddie side. This is is also in Greece but you can tell this is only a British thing on this occasion by the people in the background.

This is also me again quite laddie, interested in culture (Pirates week celebration in the Cayman Islands where I used to live), history as it’s a replica ship, being part of a hive of activity but also quite distant. I keep myself to myself while the world carries on with its business. It’s almost like I’m in a separate time zone as I’m able to observe the world around me but unable to fully interact or integrate into it. My husband who I met here helps me enormously with this. I think it’s also sunset here too.

This is my latest sunset picture which shows even in the UK we can have some pretty stunning scenery. It’s good to appreciate the places that you spend time in as that allows you to become settled. Sunsets allow you to notice that everything no matter how beautiful has its time but it can be reborn the next day into a new shape with new possibilities.

This image shows how much I like reflections, symmetry, rivers, parks, nature and while we all have flaws this doesn’t totally obscure who we are. It shows that we all were learners once with room for improvement. It’s up to us whether we actually continue to do that or not. It is also another place I have lived in for a short time. These are however not in chronological order. also my brain doesn’t like to always put everything into the correct order so this is a good representation of what happens in my mind on a regular basis.

This combines my love for travel, history, art and architecture. I like the clean lines that are present in Art Deco but also the idea of form and function as espoused by the Bauhaus movement in Germany of about the same time. There are also sculptures and nature present which is 2 more boxes ticked for me. Lastly this was taken when I went on my best friends hen do when we went to a gay bar as we like to do things slightly differently to usual. See below for more explanation.

This photo shows how absolutely bonkers I can be at times because this was my hen do. I went to the zoo wearing this, got my face painted to match and then came home to drinks while watching Eurovision. This was my maid of honour whose wedding I’m shortly going to and for which I am also maid of honour. I like the reciprocity here.

Sometimes pictures can explain much better than words ever can the things that mean the most to you in your life. Here I am with the people I spend the most time with on a trip to Northern Greece. We were on a wine tasting tour because we wanted to see more of the country to better appreciate the terroir as well as the history and culture. It’s useful for language purposes too. Finally I like to travel to see more of the world so that I can get an understanding of the way others live.

Finally these are people who I thought would be my forever friends as I spent a lot of time with them but due to circumstances in their own lives it wasn’t meant to be. This is good for me to remember that there are many paths in life that we can can take and while some seem very good initially, they don’t all turn out the way we expect them too. Change is an essential part of life and we need to accept the good while also making room for the removal of those things that were not so good in the end.

You might notice a distinct lack of people my own age but I’ve never been very good at socialising due to my Autism; plus when your self employed there is a lack of people to associate with in the first place. You need like minded people and there not generally found in pubs no matter how many you go to or how frequently you visit them. I’m in no way an alcoholic but alcohol allows you to release your inhibitions so it’s easier to try to connect.However, due to not being particularly social due to the anxiety and panic it can cause and not having the usual prerequisites like having a job to talk about; this makes things very difficult for me. There is only so many times you can talk about the weather, what was on TV recently and the drinks in your current establishment.

So the social isolation is quite crushing at times no matter where I am. This is why I’m trying to better myself with languages, art, photography, journaling, philosophy and learning about who I am as well as my place in the world. Neuroscience and psychology are helpful here as well as biochemistry.

I hope you like this insight into my life

Angela

Linguistic Priorities

I have recently become interested in learning Italian after watching Sky Arts photographer of the year but need to remember that it takes an absolute age for me to learn a language. I still haven’t learnt either Greek, Spanish or Russian.

I do love the Greek language but I have to be super relaxed and happy to use it so that rarely happens. I usually have alcohol in me too. It’s amusing the other day I just started writing in Greek to my husband using the Latin alphabet (he’s dyslexic so can’t read Greek or write it for that matter) which presents extra challenges because of transliteration. I’m amazed he understood then I write something else which was more difficult but then we became unstuck as he didn’t know how to reply in Greek. Therefore I never got an answer to the second query until he turned up which in fact answered it.

Pou eisai?

“English response to Where is he?”

Xaxaxa Lipon? Ratao Itan sou spiti?

“Since he is in the pub he obviously ain’t gonna tell me when he is coming home.”

Apologies for bad grammar and spelling but it got the point across.

Best wishes

Angela

My Progress in Spanish, Greek and Russian

Recently I have been watching Greek Tedx talks and pop videos on YouTube with the subtitles on but the catch here is that the subtitles are in Greek also. It’s amazing the progress I have made by being able to understand more of what they are talking about than just pure listening. Greek pop videos are usually easy to figure out but going from a gist to understanding the idea behind it purely by seeing more than a 10 second countdown clip and reading the words is pretty cool. Pop music repeats the same simple lyrics so there good for learning but the con is that they don’t use proper language so it’s more slang which still can be helpful.

The Tedx talks are for when I want to step it up although that’s several levels up and I’m not quite ready for understanding these yet. I think maybe I have a 50% comprehension level here.

I’m debating how to progress with my Spanish and Russian studies. I like Latin American Spanish far more than European Spanish which is rather problematic for me considering where I live. I’m hoping extensive use of Netflix and maybe Amazon Prime/YouTube will assist here?

I don’t know enough Spanish to be able to watch purely with native subtitles but the American accents are so off putting when they speak in English. I have very sensitive ears and hearing so the stereotypical high pitched whiny American accent really gets to me. They speak their native language so beautifully but then when it’s dubbed into American English OMG!!!!!

I’m the kind of person that gets bored quite easily if I don’t understand things so I’m basically making a rod for my own back as the saying goes. I’m complaining about something while knowing that this is actually the best way to learn a language. A first world problem as it’s now called.

As to the Russian language this can surprisingly sound beautiful if spoken by the right people. If they sound so mellifluous (honeyed from Greek ;)) then I don’t mind the English subtitles. However, I watched a dual English/Russian pop song today and it was horrific. His voice was bad and the translation showed that while the voice matched the words, the song seemed to be in 2 halves like a he said, she said argument. Why?

This was post was inspired by the fact that I watched a video (another yes I know) and this was about the tricks that polyglots used to learn languages. In it the author said the best way to learn was to talk and to make mistakes. I’m deathly afraid of this but that is the subject for another article as this is getting long as is the subject of reading which I’m again addressing.

Best wishes

Angela

Linguistic insights into the shared Greek and Russian cultures

Since I love both history and language I thought this video was both amazing in giving new insights and intriguing as it makes you want to learn more.

What a love for the Russian language can do for you.

Netflix

This is a brilliant platform to watch foreign language films on subjects that you are interested in. I have already posted about watching The First Line which is English but with plenty of Greek to keep me happy. I have also been watching Cathedral of the Sea which is Spanish (English subtitled) history, The Medici which is Italian history, Bolivar which is Spanish (English subtitled) Latin American history and the Last Csars which is Russian history. That last one is part dramatisation, part historical program. For pure drama in Russian with English subtitles watch Trotsky. This is not for the faint hearted as it’s quite raunchy from the start.

If you need to practice your English I recommend watching Peaky Blinders. This is on BBC IPlayer as well as on Netflix. You have 4 seasons so far to sink your teeth into. This is set in Birmingham just after World War One and the language is quite raw but it’s highly enjoyable. Not one for children but then neither are any of the above programmes either.

Do you have programs to recommend that I should watch as you don’t tend to hear about any of the ones above when asking people for viewing suggestions?

Best wishes

Angela

Eight Greek inscriptions

Eight Greek inscriptions

https://scientificgems.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/eight-greek-inscriptions/
— Read on scientificgems.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/eight-greek-inscriptions/

Here is some Greek phrases to analyse while I address some personal issues that prevent me from actively blogging at the moment.

Best wishes

Angela

The First Line

This is a movie on Netflix about the Parthenon marbles. They were taken by Lord Elgin in the 18th century for safe keeping in the British Museum. This is the attempt by some Greek lawyers to get them back. It has lots of Greek conversation on which to practice which is very useful for me. I hope you all enjoy the film as much as I did.

Best wishes

Angela

Greek Grammar – parts of speech

Since grammar is not my strong suit but it is crucial to be able to communicate correctly I have decided to share some videos from a lady who is very good at demonstrating her ability to teach others.

The conversation series

50 verbs in Greek

100 common phrases in Athenian Greek

How to have a basic conversation in Greek with common phrases

My previous work

Series links

My published books

Best wishes

Angela

50 verbs in Greek

I like the fact that Lina explains in great detail the fact that lots of words in Greek have several meanings. I’m not a great talker so she does the job amply for me.

Part of my conversation series

100 common phrases in Athenian Greek

How to have a basic conversation in Greek with common phrases

For my other work see here

Series links

My published books

Best wishes

Angela

100 common phrases in Athenian Greek

This lady is very easy to understand, she explains herself well and there is the written examples of the phrases she is teaching you in English and Greek.

Compare this to my version How to have a basic conversation in Greek with common phrases and you will notice differences because island Greek is simpler and abbreviated. It’s also not as correct but still gets the message across. The main things I can think of is that sit down καθίστε η κάτσε κάτω and I don’t know δεν ξέρω (the Lefkas version doesn’t emphasis the separate words and blends them together) are said differently.

Best wishes

Angela

Apostolos (Lakis) Santas Greek soldier 1922-2012

His family come from Lefkás while he was born in Patras. They put this gravestone up in front of a children’s playground which carries his name. The area is known as Apostolos Santas square. They also have a big sewing shop in town if I’m correct here since it’s an unusual surname.

He took down the German flag from the Acropolis on 30th May 1941 which is what it says on the gravestone.

Big Wikipedia article on him Apostolos Santas.

Best wishes

Angela

Russian general 1745-1817 and saint 2000-

To saint Theodore Ouaskov Nauargo of Russian fleet in return of the establishment of the eastern state.

Is a direct translation of what it says in Greek and Russian but his name in English is more like Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov. Fyodor Ushakov

This statue was produced on 1 October 2016 in Moscow Russia which is a very precise date but it is printed on the side. It is also the only statue here that has Russian writing which is quite unusual considering this is a Greek island nowhere near Russia.

However once I had discovered who he was then I realised how important a person he was and why he should be celebrated with a statue. He fought in the Mediterranean alongside Lord Horatio Nelson the famous English naval captain and even outranked him. Nelson made sure he got reassigned because he felt unjustly treated. The above wiki article tells you a lot about him. I’ve never even heard of him and I’ve lived in the area where Nelson is from (Wimbledon) for ages along with my parents who are also history buffs. This is why I’m letting someone else tell you here.

Best wishes

Angela

Maria Callas soprano opera singer 1923-1977

She was a very famous Greek from America who fell in love with a fellow Greek who was charming, charismatic, ambitious and basically your stereotypical self made man. He got what he wanted and dictated the terms of the relationship as you would expect for a man in his position and of the time and culture he came from. She was a delicate flower who just wanted to sing but she didn’t have the means by herself so she needed a patron. Step forward Aristotle Onassis who provided the means for her to do so. They also had a very famous relationship while she was married to her husband Giovanni Batista, Onassis being married to his first Tina, together Maria and Onassis had a child Homer who subsequently died and the pairing continued until he got married to Jackie Kennedy.

She turned up for the Festivals held in Lefkás in 1964 so there are pictures of her in the Gramophone museum Lefkás town. There are also details of her life here Skorpios.

Wikipedia articleMaria Callas

Do you have any notable opera singers from your country?

Best wishes

Angela

Aristotle Onassis Greek shipping magnate 1906-1975

This is the statue dedicated to Aristotle Socrates Onassis that is on the Nidri harbourside. This is across the water from the island Scorpios that he bought from the Greek government and lived with Jackie Onassis Kennedy. Most people know the story of his life and for those that are unfamiliar here is the Wikipedia article Aristotle Onassis and there are 2 biographies on him. I’ve read them both, Ari and Nemesis. He is buried on the island of Scorpios but no one can get anywhere near it when the now owner a Russian billionaire is in residence. The only people allowed on the island are workers to create a super luxury resort which has been talked about in the local press but it’s still very secretive the goings on. However you can learn some more about him in this article Skorpios.

There are pictures of his time on the island in the Gramophone museum Lefkás town.

Any infamous people like this from your country?

Best wishes

Angela