We had fun with this one
Advice for all men: When you mess up, fess up!
Part of what makes the Aeneid such a timeless classic is that it captures so many aspects of human nature. Wes Callihan brings these alive in the Old Western Culture curriculum.
Was Henry the V a “Christian King?” William Shakespeare, in his play Henry V, seems to say “yes!”.
There is a famous line in the play which calls Henry “the mirror of all Christian kings.”What does Shakespeare tell us about his ideals of kingship through Henry V? Let’s look at some examples:
He is valiant. We began to see this in Henry IV Part One, when Henry is wounded, he keeps fighting. In Henry V, he courageously leads his men, both at Harfleur and Agincourt. He sends away the French herald who has come to arrange ransom in advance, telling the herald that he would rather die than be captured and ransomed.
He is just. Henry wants to be sure that his claim to the French throne—and therefore the war he is raging—is just, asking for the sincere advice of the bishop of Canterbury in a long conversation (Henry V, 1.2). Later, during the campaign, his old tavern companion, Bardolph is caught stealing. The king upholds the sentence of hanging, and then declares that “we give express charge that…there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the French upbraided or abused in disdainful language…” (Henry V, 3.6)
He is merciful. Though he uses strong threats when addressing the besieged Harfleur, he tells his aide to be merciful to them when they surrender. He does not prosecute the man who challenged him unknowingly to fight.
He is honor-driven. In the famous “St. Crispin’s Day Speech,” when his cousin wishes they had with them more of the men they left in England, Henry replies “…I would not lose so great an honor as one man more, methinks, would share with me, for the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!” (4.3) How different from another of Shakespeare’s characters, the inimitable Falstaff! Falstaff disdains honor as a mere word that can do nothing to help the soldier who died in its name. (Henry IV, Part I, 5.1). Henry, on the other hand, cares not whether or not he dies so long as he has honor.
He is humble. More so than one would typically expect of royalty—and certainly more so than his cocky French enemies! He sees the king as another man with an extra load of responsibility, not as a god among men. After the battle, he refuses to take glory for the incredible victory, or to let his men do so. Instead, he orders that the Non Nobis and Te Deum be sung. When he engages in a different kind of campaign, the campaign to woo a princess’ heart, he is self-deprecating about his ability to woo either with words (“I am glad thou canst speak no better English, [Kate,] for if thou couldst, thou wouldst think I had sold my farm to buy my crown.”) or with good looks (“If thou canst love a fellow…whose face is not worth sunburning, that never looks in his glass for love of anything he sees there…”)(Henry V 5.2).
He is devout. His piety is not simply put on for the show—in his most intimate moments, it is what shapes him. Before the Battle of Agincourt, he muses alone and then prays a heartfelt prayer for help and forgiveness for his father’s sin. In the opening scene of the play, the Bishop of Ely calls Henry “a true love of the holy Church” (Henry V 1.1)
He is crowned. The crux of his development as a character lies in taking up the royal crown and scepter. If “the mission makes the man, ” by extension, there is a sense in which the crown makes the man. A crown is a symbol of responsibility. It is a mission and covenant. It is a great privilege, but one that can be misused.
King Richard II, the shallow and unjust king whom Henry V’s father deposed, took this mission and the concept of divine right in the wrong sense and perverted it, using his position for license. Henry V understood this mission and divine right (hence his guilt over his father’s murder of Richard) in a much truer sense than Richard.
The crown, he realizes, is not a tool that he can use; rather it represents a higher authority that will turn him into a tool to serve others. He must decrease in order for his people to increase. In fact, perhaps a better description of this relationship would be “divine covenant.” By taking up the crown, Henry has sacrificed his own desires, put away “the old man,” and become a new creation of sorts. Henry discusses some of these sacrifices in his pre-battle musings on the nature of ceremony, saying that the peasant little knows “What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace, whose hours the peasant best advantages” (Henry V 4.1)
It is not inappropriate to say that coming into the kingship required a kind of conversion on Henry’s part. This is where Richard II failed. Richard was under the same set of covenantal obligations as Henry V, but rejected those obligations. As a result, he was pruned from the tree of royalty, cut off from the kingly covenant. This does not excuse Henry V’s father, Henry IV, from the responsibility of having done the deposing, but it does help us understand Henry V in contrast to his predecessors. Called to the kingship, he has become something greater and nobler than himself.
Find out more HERE.
We have received several questions about whether our video courses will work in other countries.
The short answer is: YES!
For many of us in the USA, this question seems absurd, since DVDs are digital. For various reasons, mostly surrounding distribution of major motion pictures, MOST movies distributed on DVD and Blu Ray are region coded. DVDs in the US are from region 1, DVDs from Europe are region 2, etc. See the map below to see how the 6 regions are divided.
The DVDs released by Roman Roads Media, including the Old Western Culture series, Grammar of Poetry, Introductory Logic, and Intermediate Logic, as well as those from our partner Compass Classroom, are REGION 0. This means they will work in EVERY region of the world. We did this very intentionally since we want to make sure our overseas clients have no issue playing our DVDs!
In many aspects, ancient Rome was a modern state. They had city planning, sewage, hot baths, heated floors, elaborate customs, traditions, and a rich culture. After the fall of Rome, there was a brief “dark ages” in which much of the technology and culture of Rome disappeared. That period is not as long as some would have you think (a subject discussed in the Old Western Culture curriculum), but there was a decline.
But when we think back to Rome’s height, we normally think of its technology, conquests, or even its debauchery as it declined. But what about ancient Rome’s fashion?
A Little introduction to Roman Fashion
Men: The basic garment was a tunic, often belted. On top of this was worn the well-known toga–but not as universally as we might think. Togas were a sign of status, and could only be worn by Roman citizens. Social classes were strictly defined, and clothing reflected this. A thin red stripe on your tunic indicated that you were from the equestrian class, and not of the common rabble. A broader red stripe indicated the senatorial class. Except for certain special instances, togas were always white. Cleaners even used urine to bleach them! Togas were not practical to wear, though, and gradually became more ceremonial rather than an everyday social garment. Hair became more complicated under some emperors, and Nero is said to have made curled hair popular among men. Beards were popular later on in the empire.
Women: The basic garment was a tunic, either in the Greek style of a chiton, or a peplos. Both of these were simple, loose-fitted, long dresses attaching at the shoulder, often with brooches. Once a woman married, she began to wear a stola, a long, draped garment. Respectable women under the empire, however, never wore togas–to do so meant you were either a prostitute or adulteress. Hair was a platform for a great deal of opulent creativity, and could give our most elaborate modern stylists a run for their money. Piles of curls, wigs, gold hairnets, coils of braids, finger waves, and more were common, and women were expected to spend a great deal of time on fixing it. They even had special servants, called ornatrices, to fix their hair for them.
To give a fun, imaginative, (and anachronistic) peek into what Rome’s fashion was like, here is what a Roman “fashion magazine” might look like. Volgo means “everywhere” in Latin, and is from the verb “to publish.” And now you know where Vogue magazine got their name.
1. The Parisii were the tribe of Gauls who gave their name to the city then called Lutecia and now known as Paris.
2. Breeches, called braccae, were worn by Gauls and German tribes, and were viewed as effeminate for Romans to wear. The emperor Honorius banned them in the 4th century AD. However, Roman soldiers fighting in their mediterranean uniforms in the northern climates found them very practical in braving the cold weather, and they became an accepted part of military gear.
3. Matrona is equivalent to our English “matron,” a married woman.
4. Epistulae - Letters
5. Salvete – (salve in the singular) was a common Latin greeting.
6. The Aedile – Aediles were elected officers who helped maintain public order.
The Benefits of a Classical Education for…Car Design?
We can see the influences of ancient classical art all around us, from the symmetrical lines of early 19th century architecture and the imposing columns on government buildings, to the classically inspired clothing of Jane Austen’s day.
Yes, in the 1920s, Chrysler decided to look forward by looking back to the classical age for inspiration in the design of their elegant new Coupe. In this and its related ad, we find references to the Parthenon, Egyptian lotus leaf, and “wave border.” Rather than start from scratch with designers’ ideas, Chrysler, in good twentieth century spirit, has applied a “scientific” approach to finding the best aesthetic ideals from the “canons of ancient classic art.” And this is not an isolated case! Other car ads from this era reflect the same classical references, though some come across as comically contrived and forced.
But men in togas and ancient stone temples hardly seem to fit with the relatively-recent development of the automobile. Were the car marketers simply trying to make any possible appeal to an intellectually elite audience? Or cultivate a more rooted image ethos in the fast-growing market? Or was there something more widespread going on?
The clue lies in the popular artistic developments of the 1920s and 30s, the Art Deco movement. We can often pick out Art Deco by its iconic combinations of clean-cut lines, swirled curves and jagged straight lines that influenced architecture, interior design, and fashion after World War One. Car design rhetoric reflected the influences on the art of the time. Art Deco represented a bold new step away from the florid and busy Art Nouveau of earlier decades, yet “symbolically referenced ancient civilizations.” It seems that automobile customers were so aware of Art Deco’s classical connections that even the Vestal Virgins helped make some car sales!
Watch Chrysler trace the early history of man as it pertains to the development of the car, from a day when engineers were classically educated!
Dr. David Erb recently composed a new setting to Psalm 13 influenced by Handel’s Suite No. 4 in D Minor (HWV 437) Sarabande, and it’s beautiful!
Hear Dr. Erb explain how this came about in this little out-take from the recording of Psalm 13.
And here is rendition of the original piece by G.F. Handel:
(If audio player does no appear, click HERE)
Now listen to Dr. Erb’s Psalm 13 recording:
YouTube version HERE.
If you would like to hear Psalm settings by Dr. Erb, click here: www.romanroadsmedia.com/learning-the-psalms
Have you ever found yourself reading a very old book and wondering “How did they do it all?” The castles, the battles, the art, the clothing? I still can’t read a history book, or even a historical novel, without trying to imagine the historical context around each story. So when I found out about Guédelon, I got really excited! In a century when houses are built in less than a year, and even skyscrapers take only a few years, it’s hard for us to fathom what the architectural feats of yesteryear actually involved. Guédelon bridges the gap between our imaginations and reality. Visionary Michel Guyot and a team of historians, archeologists, stone-masons, wood-cutters, and builders have combined historical study with a kind of reverse archeology to build, from scratch, a medieval castle–using only medieval building techniques! Talk about bringing history to life!
Homeschool field trip anyone? You can read more about their amazing project here: The Guédelon adventure- An introduction
Next Week’s Friday Foray: How the Chrysler Motor Company looked to ancient Rome as they designed their cars.