Mind your Business, Worry Only of Your Own Affairs

Dear Name Withheld,

Your internal conflict between being loyal to your friend and the issue of public safety is a valid one. The advice you were given to “[tell] X that she should inform Y about the situation and also tell the school the truth” is perhaps not the best advice. Let me ask you this; why are you so concerned with the affairs of others? If X has decided to keep her decisions of not vaccinating her son private, then allow her the courtesy to do so. In his writings, Marcus Aurelius writes to those in similar situations as you; ” Do external circumstances to some extent distract you? Give yourself leisure to acquire some further good knowledge and cease to wander aimlessly. Then one must guard against another kind of wandering, for those who are exhausted by life, and have no aim at which to direct every impulse and generally every impression, are foolish in their deeds as well as in their words”. Do not worry yourself with the personal decisions of X. Rather, focus on yourself. “[One must] do one’s own work and not be a busybody; not to welcome slanderous gossip.” Rather than spreading the secrets of your friend, you should focus on your own issues. Maybe on the health of your child in ways that don’t correlate to vaccinations?  Perhaps the focus on the betterment of one’s self will do them more good than one’ focus on the betterment of another.

Best of luck to you,


(Gabriella, Team Hestia)

Can I Spread the Word About an Unvaccinated Child?

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Can I Spread the Word About an Unvaccinated Child?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Sept. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/magazine/can-i-spread-the-word-about-an-unvaccinated-child.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthe-ethicist&action=click&contentCollection=magazine®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=10&pgtype=collection

Trends in Contemporary Art

This is a painting I found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art called The Card Players painted by the artist Hale Woodruff. The painting is similar to the Pablo Picasso’s painting we discussed in class called Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.  Both artists were inspired by African art, masks in particular. They both paint the faces with the image of African masks. Both paintings are striking and surprising. They’re western art pieces imcorporating African arts. This is know as modern art. Contemporary artist are breaking ‘rules’ and making the art that is important to them. The paintings are different in the subject. In Picasso’s painting is of the prostitute women of the alley. He paints them with distorted faces and models some of their faces after the masks. In Woodruff’s painting, the subject is two figures (who appear to be male) sitting at a table and playing cards. The painting has a more intimate feel, the focus is on the the figures and what they are doing, while Picasso’s painting focuses on distorted images of nude women in an open setting. 

Gabriella, Team Hestia 

Extra Credit Selfie 

This is a selfie of me with two containers of Greek yogurt that I found on the top shelf of my refrigerator. They might be labeled the same but one is more of a plain yogurt, and the other is a dip. Greek yogurt originated from Greece, where it was traditionally made from goats milk. In addition, the container on the left incorporates Greek columns as well as Greek motifs in the frieze above the columns. These architectural techniques were designed by Greek architects mainly to be used in religious and public buildings such as the Parthenon and other such temples. The columns seems to be of Doric order due to their overall simplicity, but it is hard to tell exactly. I don’t think the ancient Greeks intended for their mastermind architectural developments to be used on food containers, or their culinary developments to be mass produced by Costco. Consumerism has engulfed the modern world and here we are now.

Gabriella, Team Hestia

Gods, But Not Heroes.

I asked three students the five questions given in the instructions to the blog post.

1. Michael V., Sunday morning, via text.

a) yeah, sure.

b) yes, i’m Jewish.

c) yes

d) yes, there’s a story about King Solomon, King of Israel who died in the 900s BC. the story goes that two women came to home fighting over a baby which each women claimed to be hers. to solve issue, king Solomon proposed an idea: they could split the baby in half an each women would get half the baby. when one women readily agreed and the other did not, the king knew write away who the real mother was.

e) the major thing to learn from this story is his wisdom. he was known all around             the world for it. not much of a value, but rather holds historical value.

2. Rahel S., Monday afternoon, In the library.

a) yeah

b) yes, i’m Israeli.

c) yes

d) yes, someone very important to our people is the former prime minister of                   Israel,  Golda Meir. Meir was born in the Ukraine and then moved to the United States with her family. Golda’s parents did not support her education so she moved away and completed high school on her own. she later moved to Israel and became their first female prime minister. She was a political activist almost her whole life and was extremely influential.

e) Growing up, Golda Meir had always been an inspiration to us girls. so many people told her she couldn’t achieve what she did because of her gender and she proved them all wrong. she was an incredible feminist icon to so many of us and opened up so many minds about the capabilities of women.

3. Sammie D., Monday afternoon, in the libary

a) yes

b) Yes, im from Haiti

c) yes

d) yes, Toussaint Louverture. He was one of the main leaders of the Haitian Revolution. he was partially responsible for the independence of my country. even throughout slavery, he encouraged the people and never gave up.

e) it teaches us to never give up and to always be positive and have hope, which is something we need in this day and age and looking back at this hero gives us hope even today.

In all three interviews, the students spoke about someone who was great among their people because of what that person had done for others. Golda Meir for women, King Solomon for the Israelites, and Toussaint Louverture for the Haitian people. In the Greek mythologies, the gods are portrayed as selfish, and do thing that benefit themselves without any care for anyone else. they act impulsively on emotion and do not consider the consequences of their actions on others. “Even furious Juno, now plaguing the land and sea and sky with terror: she will mend her ways and hold dear with me
these Romans, lords of the earth, the race arrayed in togas” (Virgil, 3). In this quote, it shows how the goddess Juno acted out of her own anger and emotions, against the benefit of the people, and very selfishly.

Gabriella, Team Hestia

Modern Day Caesar/Baroque Caesar (overlap)


Cagnacci, Guido. David with the Head of Goliath. 1655. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

This painting I found in the Met visually corresponds to the 17th century baroque style art we learned about in unit four. In the painting David with the head of Goliath , Cagnacci uses chiaroscuro, a popular technique used by many other 17th century painters which incorporated an extreme contrast between light and shadow, often used for dramatic effect. The scene depicted is a dramatic one that has been reinterpreted by artists throughout centuries, and especially during the baroque era. David is depicted calm and confident and yet the scene is characteristically baroque with the severed head of Goliath in his hand. Since this painting is an actual baroque painting, there are hardly any differences in its style. However, it is arguably less grotesque than many baroque style paintings; there is no blood in the scene, and by use of chiaroscuro, the focus is less on the severed head and more on the pose and calm expression of David.

The celebrities and Caesars of the pre-modern era were the artists. Art and architecture were hugely emphasized all around the world before television and modern day medias existed. artists were recognized for their talents and admired even by the church, regardless of how “immoral” their actions were. In this sense the attitude towards them was strikingly similar to the attitude the Romans had towards Julius Caesar and their willingness to allow him to do this things the rest of the population wouldn’t be.

“The first of his new roles was in The Ides Of March , a new film project to be directed by the actor/producer/ writer/director George Clooney. Having already established his credentials as a director with Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind , Good Night, and Good Luck and Leatherheads , Clooney had his latest script set in the murky world of politics and was scheduled to begin shooting in February 2011..”

Johnstone, Nick. Ryan Gosling : Hollywood’s Finest, John Blake, 2013. ProQuest k Central,        http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/brooklyn-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1569214.
Created from brooklyn-ebooks on 2017-11-27 11:31:36.

The book I chose is a biography on the rise to fame of actor Ryan Gosling. This paragraph speaks about how Gosling was starred in a movie directed by George Clooney titled “The Ides Of March.” it also mentions other works by Clooney.

The author uses the term “Ides Of March” in reference to the title of a movie that Gosling was cast in. since the phrase was used in the title of a movie it is logical to assume that the Clooney expects his audience to somewhat be familiar with its meaning/reference/origin.

a)”When they had begun to honour Julius Caesar…”

b)”At any rate, some actually ventured to suggest permitting him to have intercourse with as many women as he pleased, because even at this time, though fifty years old, he still had numerous mistresses.”

“Readings on the Imperators.” The Past in Present Tense, 6 Nov. 2017,        pastinpresenttense.wordpress.com/classics-1110/7-caesar-augustus/readings/#Cassius-Dio.

We don’t have any beloved emperors today, instead, we have celebrities. Similarly to the way Julius Caesar was honored, we “honor” and look up to modern day pop icons such as actors, musicians, etc. Because of his position, The Roman people approved of Caesar having intercourse with as many women as he pleased, something which would be unacceptable for any other person in their society. We hear of celebrities partaking in behavior and committing acts deemed unacceptable in our society, and we too give them a “free pass” because of their fame. Although he hasn’t publicly committed any act that disagrees with our societal rules and standards, Ryan Gosling is a great example of a pop icon. Attractive, talented, personable, he’s admired and honored by many. A modern day Julius Caesar.

Gabriella, Team Hestia


Linear Perspective From My Perspective

I took this photo when I was walking down the sidewalk to class. When I looked up ahead of me I immediately thought of our art class. 
This image is very similar to linear Perspective in the painting we learned about in class “The Holy Trinity With The Virgin…” by the artist Masaccio. In this painting, Masaccio uses the illusion known as linear Perspective to create a sense of depth and 3D in the painting. 

This photo is similar in that, while it isn’t actually three dimensional, looking at it on a two dimensional screen, one can sense the depth in the photo and which objects are closer, and which are further away. Both images are used for that purpose, to give a false sense of reality from something as simple as an image.

It is different from “The Holy Trinity” because while Masaccio painted a an image he made up in his mind, my image is one of a real place, with real objects and real people. They are also different in that while Massacios image is shown in religious context to invoke feelings of spirituality, mine is purely an illustration of the area from the point of veiw I saw it in. 

Gabriella, Team Hestia 

Your Republic, My Republic


The intended audience for this article are people who have a combined interest in both politics and history because it speaks about the founding of the roman republic and how the term “republic” evolved into what we know it as today. Its target audience may also be modern day republicans who are interested in the history of the label of their party.

The article does not connect the search terms “France” and “Gracchi” but rather briefly mentions the economic policy of the Gracchi and later on heavily discusses the different types of republics in European history. It states that the Gracchi “sought to redistribute land to the lower classes, territorial accumulation as a form of agrarian policy became linked to the populist threat to the rule of an Optimatedominated senatorial republic: in a word, tyranny.” (Kennedy 2). The goal of the Gracchi was to give land to lower classes and seize control over the senatorial republic. The article later discusses the various differences in economic policies of European nations and how the policies molded the term “republic” into what we understand it as today. The article states that “French mercantilism was clearly embedded within the political theory of absolutism and the social relations of French feudalism. As a consequence of these social, political and economic differences, a classical republicanism of virtue persisted in France right up to the Revolution France’s commercial empires in the Americas or, further back, with Rome’s military-political empire” (Kennedy 329). In other words, Frances economic attitude affected their political stances as well, and vice versa.

“When owing to floods, famines, failure of crops or other such causes there occurs
such a destruction of the human race as tradition tells us has more than once happened, and as we must believe will often happen again…it is a necessary consequence that the man who excels in bodily strength and in courage will lead and rule over the rest.” (Polybius 5). Just like Frances economic policy had a lot to do with it’s politics, polybeos’ theory describes what he deems to be a natural occurrence to the political status of a group of people who’s economic status changes (due to natural disasters). Both writings support the idea that a nation’s economic status weighs heavily on its political status.

Gabriella, Team Hestia

MLA citation:

Kennedy, Geoff. “The ‘Republican Dilemma’ and the Changing Social Context of Republicanism in the Early Modern Period.” European Journal of Political Theory, SAGE Journals, 11 June 2009, journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1474885109103833#articleCitationDownloadContainer.


Hidden Fasces

IMG_0004.jpgI walked around the statue of George Washington in front of the Federal Hall National Memorial Building for maybe five minutes before I found the fasces in the statue. Although this was the first one I identified (correctly), I spotted more and more throughout the remainder of my trip. In addition, the amount of classical style columns used outside of buildings in Manhattan is unbelievable! One would almost think that our city was modeled after ancient Rome itself.

Gabriella, Team Hestia

Common Knowledge: Fairly Common After All

I asked three people the following questions:

1.Do you know who Alexander the Great was?

2.What do you know about him?

3.Where did you learn about him?

“yeah, he was a Greek king who was very powerful. I learnt about him in school.” (Ilana, my sister, age 11, in our home)

“yes, he was an emperor. i learned about him in global history in high school.” (Ariela, my friend, age 17, over text)

“Yeah. Macedonian leader, pretty cool dude. Son of King Phillip, excellent military strategist. Made Macedonia strong. I learnt about him in high school.” (Michael, cousin, age 20, Emmons Ave.)

All the answers I received were pretty similar and correct in the fact that Alexander the Great was a powerful emperor. However, this is only a small fraction of what we learned about him in class. While Alexander is referred to as the son of king Phillip, he was actually the son of the Egyptian king Nectanebos who mated with Olympias under the disguise of being the god Ammon. Nectanebos was a prophet and predicted that Alexander would become as powerful as he was. 

“And when Alexander heard this, he ran and climbed up onto the statue and embraced it and said: “This is my father, and I am his son.”

“And he greeted him, saying, “Hail, Alexander, conqueror of the world.” And Philip remained cheerful and happy in the secret and hidden hope for his son.”


IMG_9586.jpgI came across the columns of Ashley Home Furniture Store on my commute to college. they are a contemporary interpretation of the classical Doric columns. The columns are extremely similar to their classical counterparts. They both have smooth, round capitals which are connected to the entablature by a square abacus. The difference is clear as well. Typical roman columns would not be seen connecting arches, but rather upholding the frieze and pediment of a building.                                                                             Alexander the great was king of the ancient Greek kingdom Macedonia. He lived at the end of the Greek Classical period which perished along with him in 323 BC. These columns would have been seen in Greece during his time.

Gabriella, Team Hestia



What Is Ideal in the School System?

The author of “SCHOOL DISASTERS” in the New York post confronts the flaws of the educational system. More specifically the difference between the performance of black students and white students. His ideal school system is one where each race of students achieve at the same level whether or not they reach high scores. This way there is no one to blame for the lack of achievement. Not the teachers who are unable to raise the grades of their students, or the students who refuse to put in an effort. Their parents won’t be blamed for not preventing the issue and lastly, society won’t be blamed. In a world where everyone worked at the same pace and achieved the same way, there is nothing to make a comparison to. The educational system would be equal.

“While “educators” are quick to seize upon the defects of students, parents, and society, as if that automatically vindicates the schools, the fact is that if our public schools had perfect students, perfect parents, and a perfect society, these schools would still be failing… ”

However, I don’t agree with the claims made by Sowell. If every student in the society were to achieve at the same rate it would not equal a perfect society. I don’t think that Socrates or Plato would be satisfied with this form of perfect society. According to the philosophers, a Utopia can only be a Utopia if its members are happy which can only occur through “ethical intellectualism”. Limiting ourselves to only performing as well as our peers will not allow us the intellectual freedom to be happy.


Sowell, Thomas. School Disasters 

New York Post, 2003.




Soviet Russia: A False Utopia

The Soviet Union formed in 1922 after the Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian Provisional Government, which had lasted about eight months after the eradication of the Russian Empire. The Iron Curtain was placed in 1945 at the end of World War II and was lifted in 1991.  According to Gal Beckerman, author of “Hijacking Their Way Out of Tyranny”, the Iron Curtain was an attempt to disguise Russia’s “orthodox communism” as a perfect utopia and to silence the voice of its citizens.  “…[If] the Bolsheviks had built the perfect society, why would any well-adjusted citizens want to leave, let alone risk their lives to do so?”.  Beckerman writes, “Jews were understandably at the forefront of the emigration battle. Even as they were forbidden to exercise any kind of Jewish identity, they also had no option to assimilate in Soviet society… But the doors were firmly shut; those who requested permission to leave were refused and then ostracized.” Yosef Mendelevich “attracted the eyes of the world” after his failed attempt to commandeer a plain and fly it to Sweden in order to leave Russia and move to Israel. He knew of the possibility of failure but decided that even if he was caught, it would be worth it to have brought the attention of other nations onto this issue. According to Beckerman, Mendelevich’s attempt to defy his government was the beginning to the end of so many people’s suffering. Gradually, more and more Jews were allowed to leave The Soviet Union until eventually, the Iron Curtain fell apart completely. Beckerman demonstrates how Mendelevich was a hero of sorts by risking his life to free himself and many others. In Xenophon’s Constitution Of The Laecidaemonians he writes; “[At] Sparta the most important men show the utmost deference to the magistrates: they pride themselves on their humility, on running instead of walking to answer any call, in the belief that, if they lead, the rest will follow along the path of eager obedience.” (8;2). In contrast to Beckerman, the act of defying one’s government is not something Xenophon approves of. He believes that authority must be revered and honored. I think I live in the same society as the author because I share his appreciation of defying a tyrannical government in order to free its people.

Gabriella, Kaplun

Team Hestia

Beckerman, Gal. “Hijacking their way out of tyranny.” New York Times, 18 June 2010, p. A29(L). New York State Newspaperslogin.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=SPN.SP01&sw=w&u=nysl_me_brookcol&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA229195999&it=r&asid=e36c4d77ec527c3fa0589eefd361f674. Accessed 17 Sept. 2017.


Ooh, Shiny!


When is it appropriate to label someone a barbarian? When they eat with their hands? When they speak a language that is not your own? Well, in Greek society a person was considered a barbarian because they were different and to the Greeks, anything that wasn’t Greek was beneath them. In modern culture we are somewhat similar. Anyone who does not share our moral standards is a barbarian.

Greed has the capability of turning the most civilized of people into total barbarians. Such is the case with illegal poachers and the Ivory trade. In Los Angeles, the sale of Ivory products is now illegal under the new law filed on September 6th, by Attorney Mike Feur. Three men charged with the illegal sale of Ivory products are being regarded as barbarians.

“The Ivory trade is barbaric. It jeopardizes many animals that are at risk or on the verge of extinction,” Feuer said.

This article is most likely centered towardenvironmentalist and those who advocate against cruelty toward animals. These men, through their actions are characterized as selfish and greedy and are now depicted as barbarians because they do not share the same sympathy toward endangered animals, and animals in general, that the law or public does. This barbaric Greed is similar in the case of Croesus us whomever forced the Greeks to pay tribute to him and “conquered the Aeolians, Ionians and Dorrance of Asia.”

And though Croesus had succeeded in doing these many things, he was still referred to by Greeks as a lowly barbarian.


September 6, 2017

-Carrissa, Team Hestia

Donald Trump and the Greeks

“Our [decivilizing] society is like a vast wasteland that tries to escape its meaninglessness and thoughtlessness by entertaining itself with the notion that glory against [non-civilized] barbarians is still possible. Our [decivilizing] society goes on gazing into its meaningless existence until it seems its busy imagination at last wills the barbarian into existence.” (Singh, Abhimanyu)

Abhimanyu Kumar Singh, a journalist, discusses the idea of a group of people being ‘civilized’ or ‘uncivilized’ as a construct of the western nations. The western culture has established the concept of “civilization” to refer to a people that uphold their values. everyone else, is ‘uncivilized’ or; ‘other’. In this case, Singh writes that “Other Muslims from certain countries” are referred to as “barbarians” by President of The United States, Donald Trump, in his speech delivered to the citizens of Warsaw, Poland. The article is targeted towards people living in western nations who, Like Trump, see Muslims from outside nations as ‘uncivilized’ or ‘barbaric’. The shared value of the targeted audience is their ignorance and lack of perspective when it comes to cultures other than their own. The small-minded view of seeing your own cultural standard as a world-wide standard is something many (if not all) western nations experience. “Such was the number of the barbarians, that when they shot forth their arrows the sun would be darkened by their multitude.” In Herodotus, the term ‘barbarian’ was used to describe all Non-Greeks. The Greeks considered any group of people who didn’t talk like them, dress like them, conform to the same gender values and sexual customs as them, to be uncivilized and barbaric. They saw their own cultural standards as standards for all nations. if we use history to learn from it, we can see how similarly the mistakes of the Greek ideology mirror ours. We can learn to embrace differences instead of attacking them.

Gabriella, Team Hestia


Singh, Abhilasha. “Empathy, Morality: Traits of a Civilised Nation.”Http://Www.deccanchronicle.com/, Deccan Chronicle, 10 Sept. 2017, http://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/books-and-art/100917/empathy-morality-traits-of-a-civilised-nation.html.


Golden Aphrodite

20170905_154809 (1)

Photo taken at Grand Central Library.
Quote taken from Song of Demodocus.

“So he pressed and her heart raced with joy to sleep with War and off they went to bed and down they lay…”

The carving on the entrance of Grand Central Library portrays Aphrodite as an image of beauty; long gorgeous hair and rising out of water as her Seafoam origin story would imply. She is literally golden and is meant to be an object of admiration. The image complements her reputation as the adored goddess of love and beauty.

The quote from the Song of Demodocus however, gives an alternate portrayal of the deity. Rather than being admired, Aphrodite is ridiculed for an act of adultery by the other gods. She is caught in a less than graceful position and suffers humiliation at the hand of her husband Hephaestus. It is revealed that the goddess of love, ironically, had no love for her husband and would much rather offer her affection to the god of war, Ares. Which in my opinion is also very ironic.

It seems to me that the two different portrayals come from two different places. The “perfect” Aphrodite is the image that is displayed for mortals, while the gods are well aware of Aphrodite’s less-than-perfect nature. After reading the hymns and plays I think it’s safe to say that none of the gods are worthy of the extremely high pedestals people at the time had put them on. However, people who don’t take Classics probably wouldn’t know of Aphrodite’s multiple affairs and acts of trickery. Despite not truly deserving the title, I think she’ll remain the Golden Aphrodite for a very long time.

-Carrissa, Team Hestia

Oedipus and His Position of Power


We’ve spent time discussing Oedipus’ fatal flaw: Hubris. His prideful manner led to his downfall. He was rash in his decisions and quick to anger. What we haven’t asked ourselves is; what made Oedipus a tragic hero? As quoted by Ben Brantley of The New York Times; “Power makes a freak of those who wield it”. Oedipus, alone at the top, was presented with a problem that was his to fix. A Plague had spread throughout Thebes leaving its citizens devastated and Oedipus is committed to finding the cause of it. Tiresias the oracle reveals that Oedipus himself is the curse. Proud as ever, Oedipus immediately refuses to accept this as truth and threatens to kill Tiresias. We see here how power has affected his mindset. Oedipus is so focused on using his power to fix the problem that he is blind to the answer right in front of him. In addition, his pride doesn’t allow him to see the god Apollo’s truth as greater than his own. We see these traits fairly often among modern day politicians. One example of this is in recent events, when president Putin of Russia decided to invade Crimea and the Ukrainian mainland after being warned by the western nations not to. This resulted in heavy sanctions being placed upon Russia and its people. The sanctions were placed on the import of Russian oil and export of food to Russia. This resulted in the inflation of the ruble and lack of food for the public. Similarly to the people of Russia, the people of Thebes were suffering because of decisions made by their leader. When a leader only listens to himself and does not heed the advice of others, he will find himself much like Oedipus, “Lonely both at the top and at the bottom”.

Gabriella, Team Hestia

Brantley, Ben. “THEATER REVIEW; Private Horror Made Public.” Nytimes.com, 6 Oct. 2000, http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/06/movies/theater-review-private-horror-made-public.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Ftheater.