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  • Devin O'Donnell

Lycurgus is the man (and this is a benefit of education)

Updated: Feb 14

This week we are focusing on finishing Homer's Iliad. Today we shall begin Book XVI, which marks the turning of the tide of war, the turn of Achilles' "separate peace," and the turn of the epic. From Book XVI on, we encounter some of the most significant events and scenes in all of Western Literature. In addition, this week we'll begin reading and studying the Greek Historian Lycurgus. In our study of Lycurgus, one of the broader questions that we shall consider is this: What is the benefit of an education?


Consider Everdingen's depiction of Lycurgus below. Consider how the title of the piece—"Lycurgus Demonstrates the Benefits of Education"—is depicted in the scene. Lycurgus is seated, while everyone else is standing. He is the free man, while the others stand like servants. He is clearly the man. Like a king, he sits in charge. He is clearly at rest in answering all questions, while the others are restless, asking him questions, waiting on him for a response, and discoursing among themselves. Note also the cat eating from the porridge bowl. This detail seems silly, but actually is the symbol of those around Lycurgus: they are like animals scrounging for food compared to Lycurgus, who has substance and is well fed on wisdom. Thus, the benefit of an education is not simply just to grease the skids that might get you into college or get you a high paying job. The benefit of education (true education) is to have wisdom in order to rule and make laws like a king for the flourishing of social order.



Agenda for the week:

  1. Prayer

  2. New Catechism

  3. Begin reading Lycurgus

  4. Read Book 16


REVIEW HW:

  1. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Pray, that you may not stumble.

___________________


Consider here EVERDINGEN's depiction of Lycurgus. Consider how the title of the piece—"Lycurgus Demonstrates the Benefits of Education"—is depicted in the scene. Lycurgus is seated, while everyone else is standing. He is the free man, while the others stand like servants.



EVERDINGEN, Caesar van, Lycurgus Demonstrates the Benefits of Education, 1660, Oil on canvas, Stedelijk Museum, Alkmaar




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