Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: History

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.

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November 3, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

The October Quarterly Discussion merged two chapters from The Prince by Machiavelli with a chapter from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Of prime interest was the focus on the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. Machiavelli presents him as a champion of the princely cause since he successfully tricked and killed his opponents,

 » Read more about: Gibbon Meets Machiavelli  »

November 11, 2022

Thanks to 2022 HMU Fellow in Ideas David Kirichenko for today’s review.

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

There are defined patterns to how humans behave. Being social creatures, it is important to understand our own behaviors and motivations to grasp the reality of the world around us. In his book The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene attempts to weave together an appreciation of how humans operate through the lenses of history,

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: The Laws of Human Nature  »

November 4, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

For the October Quarterly Discussion, we read Plutarch’s “Coriolanus” and a speech by David McCullough titled “Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are.” I was not really sure if this combination would work because of the great differences between the two pieces. Plutarch’s biography portends to be history, but is simultaneously a commentary on culture,

 » Read more about: Plutarch Meets McCullough  »

September 2, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Years ago, under the pressures of student life, I read the full volume of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (often referred to as Parallel Lives). Honestly, I was dreading it because I harbored assumptions about some of these ancient texts. (And we all know what a mistake it is to assume anything.) At that time,

 » Read more about: Plutarch Is My Favorite  »

March 18, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

As chrysanthemums and tulips sprout, birds nest, and winter eases its hold on the ground, humans also begin to change some behaviors. We associate spring with life and vitality. With this also comes annual responsibilities such as cleaning. Cleaning is one of those mundane tasks that demonstrate cultural values or cultural shifts. Much can be learned about cultures through notes about the way that we clean,

 » Read more about: The Mundane  »

July 30, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

In the History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides spends a few pages describing a conflict between the island of Melos and the Athenian superpower. After the unsuccessful attempt at diplomacy, the Athenians surround the island. The story ends with the Athenians annihilating the entire Melian population. In what is commonly referred to as “The Melian Dialogue,” Thucydides writes:

“Meanwhile the Melians in a night attack took the part of the Athenian lines opposite the market,

 » Read more about: The Melian Dialogue  »

July 23, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Harrison Middleton University’s July Quarterly Discussion revolved around ideas of justice. We focused on two pieces of literature, one excerpt from Thucydides and the other a letter written by Simón Bolívar. Both pieces introduce ideas of justice which deserve a second look in comparison to our understanding of justice today. Thanks to the participants of July’s Quarterly discussion which,

 » Read more about: Working Definition of Justice  »

July 16, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Likely you are already familiar with the image of Olympics rings, the symbol of the Olympic Games. First introduced in 1913, it has become a ubiquitous representation of sports across continents. Based on a design by Pierre de Coubertin, the rings represent the five participating continents of the time. The colors exhibit at least one color from every participating nation’s flags.

 » Read more about: Olympism  »

June 25, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

It is easy to assume that the way things are now is the way that they have always been. For example, visiting a museum is commonplace now, however, museums have not always been around. In fact, “curiosity closets” predate museums and offer a glimpse into human history and curiosity, wealth and prestige, and naturalists and hobbyists.

 » Read more about: Summer Birds  »

April 9, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Today’s post is a brief look at translation and word choice in Thucydides. Both small sections from The History of the Peloponnesian War, Book IV, Chapter XII, furnish a glimpse of the author’s opinion. Though Thucydides set out to write a history of the war, and very conscientiously presents two balanced sides of the story, he cannot avoid opinion.

 » Read more about: The Opinion of a Historian  »

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