New York County Courthouse

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While on my way home one day, I was trying to think of what I could use for my first blog post, when it hit me.  I could use the building that I’ve walked by countless times, for my first blog post.  This picture is of the New York County Courthouse, in lower Manhattan.  This courthouse, in my opinion, resembles that of an ancient Greek temple as it seems as if it was modeled after ancient Greek classical architecture.  On the front entrance, it seems that there is a colonade of sorts, which I believe to be of the Corinthian order.  I believe this, because the columns themselves appear to be slim and have elaborate capitals, which is what characterizes Corinthian order columns.  It also has a triangular pediment, with approximately 13 figures carved in bas relief from a type of stone or granite, perhaps.  A security guard had told me that the three statues on top stood for Law, Truth, and Equity.  The frieze bears the inscription “The True Administration of Justice is the Firmest Pillar of Good Government”.  In my opinion, I don’t think this differs much from the source material, other than the medium, which I am unsure of what it exactly is, but looks like stone.  I don’t think the building has a much different function as well, as it serves to represent the courts as holy temples that worship the principles of law, order, and justice.

In addition to this grand piece of architecture in our backyard, I would like to take this time to connect what we learned in unit 1 of Art History to what we learned in our Classical Culture class.  In Art history we learned what different sculptures found in the Parthenon and its pediments represent.  We learned a lot of the sculptures signified the ascendancy of the Greeks, all their triumphs, their value of civilization over barbarism and rational thought over chaos.  Similarly, we learned in Classical culture how the Greeks thought any culture or civilization foreign or unlike their own, were barbaric.  Simply because of the fact that those culture were foreign.  In fact, Professor Yarrow taught us that the word Barbarians is actually derived from what the Greeks thought of other civilizations.  The Greeks couldn’t understand foreign languages, so to them, when other civilizations tried to communicate in their own language it came off as, “Bar…Bar…Bar!”  I found this pretty interesting and coincidental since we skimmed over barbarism in Greek sculptures in Art History as well.

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Who Was Alexander the Great?

(Cindy L., My mom, 50 yrs old, at home)

Do you Know who Alexander the Great was?: Um, wasn’t he that Greek philosopher? Or no, maybe he was the emperor of Greece?

What do you know about him?: Not much, sorry, I don’t really remember who he is.  I just know he was like Greek or something, he had something to do in ancient Greek history

Where did you learn about him?:  Well I think I learned about him in High School, which is probably why I don’t really remember much about him.

(Jared L., Brother, 19 yrs old, at home)

Do you know who Alexander the Great was?: Is that really one of your questions, seriously? Of course I do.

What do you know about him?: He was a young conqueror that basically conquered all of Greece, defeated the Persian empire and conquered it, parts of the Middle East, and parts of Africa, like Egypt.  He was an ingenious military commander, super educated and smart and was the leader of one of the largest empires in history.  I think he originated from Macedonia, and was taught by a bunch of people like maybe Aristotle?  Anyway, he was basically a great big emperor in ancient history.  Oh yeah, and he brought upon Hellenistic culture/age, and created a bunch of cultural diffusion with the territories and regions that he conquered, which many say is a good thing.  I think he married a Persian women, created the city of Alexandria and created the library of Alexandria, which is now lost.  His empire fell because of his generals grasping for power and it all falling apart and to the Romans.  I don’t exactly remember how he died but I think he died of natural causes.  He was known because of his prowess, his military genius, and is hailed as one of the most influential people in the world’s history.  A bunch of statues, art, and stuff like that have been made to honor him.

Where did you learn about him?: High school, middle school, and just books, duh.

(Jeff L., Brother, 27 yrs old, at home)

Do you know who Alexander the Great was?: Yep, a really big emperor and influential person in ancient Greek History.

What do you know about him?: Uh, a lot, I’m not gonna say all of it.  Let’s see, he was the emperor of one of the largest empires in the world.  He conquered a bunch of territories at a really young age, which is why his empire was so big, he is known for his empire and intelligence.  There’s a crap ton of statues and art works made out to honor him.  Basically he was a big deal and is still a big deal when it comes to ancient history.

Where did you learn about him?: School and books.

There is actually a lot similar about the answers I received, other than the answers from my mother, who didn’t really remember who Alexander the Great was (which is understandable considering how long ago she learned of him).  My brothers’ answers were actually quite similar on a large number of things.  They both knew that he was the emperor of a huge Empire in ancient history and that he conquered and erected his empire at a very young age.  In addition, they know he was revered for his intelligence and military prowess.  They also knew about how there are countless art works and statues made in honor of him.  Ultimately Alexander the Great was a very influential person, both in his time and even nowadays.  He is known for his reputation and the great number of achievements that he achieved, which is not an easy thing for anyone to accomplish, especially at his age.  This is very similar to what we learned and what we went over in class that was based on the readings.  In class we delved deeper into his history and what he did during his life, that brought him the reputation that he now has.  We also touched upon how he spread culture from the different regions he conquered throughout his empire and brought upon the Hellenistic era/age.

And Alexander became learned in every matter and trained himself so well, as I said before, that it became clear that he was being taught by some divinity. […]  Thus it was clear that the victory was of his doing.”  This quote from the reading, “A History of the Great World Conqueror, Alexander of Macedon”, shows just how great Alexander was, even as a young child.  Almost every battle he joined and fought in, even battles between fellow students, resulted in victory due to his actions.  Alexander the Great earned his reputation, he learned a lot from his teachers, but a great deal were from his own actions and teachings that he taught and learned himself.  Not many people can do that, especially on the caliber and level that he had, which just shows how great he truly was.