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· Write an essay (around five pages, typed and double-spaced) in which you travel from one era we have covered to another civilization and attempt to carry out an assassination of some key figure. Your essay should justify why your character would do this, based on primary sources, though you may also use class notes and  textbook/lit reading.  Again, this paper should be based on a primary source(s), so you should begin with a primary source and go from there. Your paper should therefore have citations (MLA) of your sources, from history or literature. Your character(s) must be pre-1400AD, and you may not travel to your own society, e.g., Nero murdering Julius Caesar (Jesus and Muhammad are sacrosanct, and therefore not allowed for this assignment).  You may use either first or third person, but first person might allow you to explore motivations more clearly.  You might choose to write a narrative, compose a letter, create a diary, or use some other appropriate form, but you should focus more on the “why” and less of the “how” of your assassination.  Thus, do not be distracted by creating a fabulous story or explaining in detail how the time machine is built.  Your paper should be grounded in the sources and the best papers will show the values that are in conflict. You may frame this in the five categories if you wish. 

The Mission:. (50 pts.) This assignment will count for both History and Literature.

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· Write an essay (around five pages, typed and double-spaced) in which you travel from one era we have covered to another civilization and attempt to carry out an assassination of some key figure. Your essay should justify why your character would do this, based on primary sources, though you may also use class notes and textbook/lit reading. Again, this paper should be based on a primary source(s), so you should begin with a primary source and go from there. Your paper should therefore have citations (MLA) of your sources, from history or literature. Your character(s) must be pre-1400AD, and you may not travel to your own society, e.g., Nero murdering Julius Caesar (Jesus and Muhammad are sacrosanct, and therefore not allowed for this assignment).  You may use either first or third person, but first person might allow you to explore motivations more clearly.  You might choose to write a narrative, compose a letter, create a diary, or use some other appropriate form, but you should focus more on the “why” and less of the “how” of your assassination. Thus, do not be distracted by creating a fabulous story or explaining in detail how the time machine is built.  Your paper should be grounded in the sources and the best papers will show the values that are in conflict. You may frame this in the five categories if you wish.

Getting Started:

· You may choose to assassinate an identifiable historical figure or you may choose a “composite” or “representative figure.”  For example, you may decide that Socrates might travel to China to kill Confucius or that Mark Antony might travel to Sparta to kill Leonidas.  You could also, however, decide that a Spartan warrior might travel to India to kill a Brahmin or that one of Hammurabi’s soldiers would travel to kill a member of the assembly in Athens. Whatever your choice, you must provide clear reasoning and evidence to explain and justify the action.

Disclaimer: We are not, of course, advocating assassination as a viable option for settling conflicts.

Drew 1

Dr. Patterson

Honors Block

December 10, 2018

The Myth of Heteira and Vatsyayana

     “Surely a symposium like this is what it means to be Athenian,” the young man sighed with contentment as he passed the kylix1 to the man besides him, “for what could lift the weight of grief off our hearts better than women and wine? How did your Pericles phrase it today, Aspasia? ‘The pleasures that…’”

“‘The delights which we daily feel in all these things helps to banish sorrow’(Thucydides),” Aspasia answered. Phyrne, the best student of Aspasia, strolled around the andron2.

“You speak as though his words were your own,” she said, glancing at her teacher. “I wonder, Aspasia, if our strategos composed his oration alone or with the aid of another?”

Aspasia had been the mistress of Pericles for a number of years, not simply for her looks but for her “rare political wisdom” (Plutarch, 24.3). But a comment like Phryne’s would win more enemies than friends.

“I agree with you,” Aspasia said, deftly ignoring Phryne’s remark, “that a symposium perfectly displays our way of life. But what single feature of the symposium would best describe Athens?”

“The kylix,” answered one man as he took a deep drink from the cup, “because ‘the fruits of the whole earth flow in upon us’ (Thucydides).”

“The strong men, because they are truly the ‘lovers of the beautiful’(Thucydides),” Phryne said, winking across the room at the man who just spoke.

“The *hiccup* couches *hiccup* because…” the drunk’s words trailed off into a symphony of snores as he buried his face into a cushion.

“All good answers,” Aspasia replied, “but I propose that hetairai such as Phryne and myself are the best example of Athenian values.”

“How so?” Phryne asked.

“Every core value of Athens can be found in the hetairai. They display moderation in the symposium by controlling the urges of men and in their own drinking, they exhibit the metis of Athena in their speech, and they are examples of arête in both body and mind. Not all societies respect women like us, who are as wise as they are beautiful.”

“If the hetairai uphold all the righteous virtues of Athens, what was society like before them? Do we need to follow the example of our friend Socrates and construct, in this case, an imperfect city to prove our point (Plato, 369a)?” Phyrne replied.

“There is no need.” Aspasia now addressed the entire symposium. “Have any of you heard of the Myth of Hetaira and Vatsyayana?” Silence filled the room. “Well then,” she took a deep breath and an even deeper drink of wine, “it goes like this:

After Hephaestus caught his wife Aphrodite and the god Ares in the act of infidelity (Homer, 8. 300-400), the gods decreed that Aphrodite must pay penance for her wrongdoing and provide an end to adultery. To do this, Aphrodite chose one of her children, Hetaira, and sent her to the East to kill a scholar by the name of Vatsyayana. Although he was wealthy and educated, all Vatsyayana ever thought about was seducing women. But Vatsyayana lacked moderation and was not content with seducing only free woman but also the wives of others. (Vatsyayana, 5.2) If he was left alive, he would pass on his methods to unruly men for generations to”

“What a backwards country,” a man interjected, “if the role of men was to seduce women, and not the other way around.”

“Indeed,” Aspasia continued, “this was against the natural order of the gods, for the power of seduction was only meant to fall to the daughters of Aphrodite. When Hetaira first arrived in the East, she was met with unbearable heat, for the lust of Vatsyayana and men like him burned uncontrollably. Even in death, the desires of men were so hot that their wives were forced to lay on their funeral pyres to satisfy them (Duiker and Speilvogel, 47).”

Aspasia had almost vomited when she saw the widow writhing in the flames. Even if she had not been recruited by Aphrodite to kill Vatsyayana, the sight had filled her with so much disgust and rage that she would have murdered any man who stood watching as the woman burned to death. Aspasia had screamed at the man next to her, imploring him to pull the woman out of the flames. The man had merely told her to be quiet. He said that to pull the woman out would be to violate dharma and the ancient custom of King Rama. He said that the great god of fire Agni was purifying her (Narayan, 149), and that the Ganges would bring salvation to her ashes (Narayan, 17). But the image of that young woman in the flames would forever haunt Aspasia, no matter how many times she retold her experience with Vatsyayana as a myth.

“It was at one of these funerals that Vatsyayana first saw Hetaira (Vatsyayana, 5.2). Even among the screams of the burning woman, he was enamored by Hetaira and could think of nothing else besides her beauty and fair skin.”

At that moment, Aspasia knew what had to be done. For better or for worse, she was committed to her mission. She was already enraged at the docility of the men around her, but when she saw Vatsyayana staring at her, pulling at his moustache and biting his lip while a woman died (Vatsyayana, 5.2), she abandoned all divine incentive. She was going to kill Vatsyayana for herself, for the simple fact that he was too busy failing at flirting to give the dying woman any respect.

“What evil!” Phryne pulled Aspasia out of her memories. “At our funerals, Athenian woman are commended for mourning in moderation (Thucydides). Vatsyayana must truly have been immoderate to think of seducing a woman during a funeral like that!”

“Indeed,” Aspasia replied, “Before Hetaira, men like Vatsyayana would often attempt to seduce women in public at marriage ceremonies, sacrifices, festivals, and funerals (Vatsyayana, 5.2). In order to prevent these holy days from being defiled, Hetaira invented the symposium. Now, if men desired to indulge themselves in seduction, they would do so inside the andron after festivals. But back to the story of Vatsyayana,” Aspasia took a sip from the kylix. “After the funeral, Vatsyayana invited Hetaira back to his house.”

Aspasia had no other option than to accept. Aphrodite had dropped her in a foreign land at a funeral with no provisions or accommodations besides a vial of hemlock and the order that Aspasia always refer to herself as a married woman whose husband was travelling. But where was Aspasia to stay? It was either Vatsyayana’s guest house or the street, and the closer she stayed to him, the faster she could kill him and return to Pericles.

“At his home,” Aspasia continued, “Vatsyayana and Hetaira were accompanied by many other men and women. Even though his goal was to seduce Hetaira, Vatsyayana refused to speak to her directly. Instead, he held conversation with the other men about her, hoping to stir up her interest (Vatsyayana, 5.2).”

The only emotion stirred up was hate. Aspasia had entertained the elite of Athens. Socrates and his disciples had even traveled to her home to hear her speak (Plutarch, 24.3), but Vatsyayana would not even address her while she sat in the same room.

“Women and children were also in the room. Whenever a woman would sit near Vatsyayana, he would ignore her and feign sleep (Vatsyayana, 5.2). However,” Aspasia took a deep sip from the kylix, “the most disturbing and immoderate habit of Vatsyayana was concerning children. When a child approached him, he would not hold back from embracing and kissing him in an attempt to show his affection to Hetaira (Vatsyayana, 5.2).”

Aspasia had never believed that the gods had given women a greater love for children until she witnessed how Vatsyayana acted around them (Xenophon). Now she never wanted to see a child and a man in the same room again.

“This evil of Vatsyayana disturbed Hetaira so much that when she invented the symposium, she only allowed men and other daughters of Aphrodite to reside inside the andron. Therefore, the women and children would be free from the seduction of men like Vatsyayana and able to pursue arête in their own tasks, the women by weaving and the children by learning their daily lessons.

“Hetaira stayed in the guest house of Vatsyayana for a time, waiting for the opportune moment to employ her cunning metis and dispose of him. In the attempt to seduce her, he gifted her with a small sum of money and a portion of nuts native to that region. Vatsyayana used this as an excuse to visit her at his leisure, as he would take out a portion of that money or some betel nuts during every visit (Vatsyayana, 5.2). But Hetaira was never paid for her service. This is why the daughters of Aphrodite take a fee for their time, since Hetaira decreed that men should only visit them on their own terms.”

The only reason Aspasia had agreed to such a demeaning task was for her end goal. As a youth, she had arrived at Athens as a foreigner and a nobody. Now, she was an independent business owner, as she maintained her own house of hetairai (Plutarch, 24.3). But in the country of Vatsyayana, Aspasia had no way to distinguish herself besides supervising his betel nuts.

“The day came when Hetaira intended to remove the evil seducer Vatsyayana from the world. He visited the guest house, and in conversation with her, he requested one of his betel nuts. But Hetaira had poisoned the betel nuts by soaking them in hemlock. Once Vatsyayana chewed on the nut, the inner fire that had filled the man with lust and passion was snuffed out. For her service to Aphrodite, Hetaira returned to Athens and held the first symposium, quelling the fire of men by the services of the daughters of Aphrodite. They were then named hetairai and now continue to uphold moderation in Athens by their metis in speech and arête in body and mind…”

If anything good came from Aspasia’s mission, it was the Myth of Hetaira and Vatsyayana. Aspasia had seen the dangers of a world where women were treated as a means to an end and burned once their usefulness was depleted. She would not allow herself to ignore the horrors she had seen in the East. Her encounter with Vatsyayana had also provided her with the perfect myth to justify the necessity of hetairai in Athens.

“and so ends the Myth of Hetaira and Vatsyayana,” Aspasia concluded, justifiably proud of herself. But the andron was completely silent as the early rays of dawn peeked through the windows. All the men and other hetairai had fallen asleep during Aspasia’smyth. All but one. On a couch, Phyrne sat upright, the head of a sleeping man resting on her lap. She stared at Aspesia with amazement in her eyes and smug grin on her face.

“So, Hetaira,” Phryne said, smiling at her teacher, “was Vatsyayana much to look at?”

Works Cited

Duiker, William J. and Spielvogel, Jackson J. The Essential World History, 7th Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. London: Penguin Classics, 1997. Kindle Edition.

Narayan, R.K. The Ramayana. New York: Penguin Books, 2006. Print.

Plato. Republic. Trans. C. D. C. Reeve. Indianopolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc, 2004. Print.

Plutarch. Life of Pericles. trans. Bernadotte Perrin. London: Harvard University Press, 1916. Perseus Digital Library. Web. 9 Dec. 2018.

Thucydides. Pericles’ Funeral Oration. trans. Richard Hooker, 1996. Human Rights Library— University of Minnesota. Web. 9 Dec. 2018.

Vatsyayana. Kama Sutra. Bibliomania. Web. 9 Dec. 2018.

Xenophon. Oeconomicus. trans. E.C. Marchant. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1923. (taken from EWH page 101)

1. kylix: drinking cup used in symposia

2. andron: the room used for hosting symposia

December 10, 2018

Time Traveling Assassin Essay

The Crash of Shiduri and Rama

Scene 1. [Shiduri’s Tavern.]

Shiduri. [Aside] In India, a mortal man, Rama, is spreading lies throughout the entire culture. His people believe that he is an reincarnation of the Supreme God and his purpose is to extinguish evil. But, as a Mesopotamian goddess myself, I know the gods would never defile their title by becoming human. The divine would not even act so kindly towards the matters of the human world. I can confidently say this because Marduk, the highest god, created mankind to do the laborious work of the deities. Men are expected to worship the gods who gave them life. Likewise, men are denied immortality because only gods deserve this privilege (“Enuma Elish: A Babylonian Creation Epic”). The deities actually treat these men with harshness and as temporarily tools used for their dirty work. Rama is leading India to believe the opposite of this blatant truth and, as a result, I must kill him before he does any more damage.

Enter Rama.

Shiduri. [Aside.] I have invited Rama to travel through time and enter my tavern. I plan to have a discussion with him over drinks, beer in his case and nothing in mine. He will believe I am interested in learning about his life, but I will actually be using the alcohol to alter his mind and trick him into taking his life. Although this trick may seem harsh, it is the way of the gods.

Rama. Greetings, Shiduri. May I ask why you have invited me to your tavern on the edge of the ocean?

Shiduri. Rama, I deeply admire the symbol of the ideal man you have become in India. I invited you here to learn more about the motivation that causes you to act ideally in all situations. Take a drink every time I ask a question and enlighten me.

[Hands Rama a beer.]

Rama. [Takes a drink.] My motivation is dharma, with mine specifically being to “destroy Ravana, the chief of the asuras, abolish fear from the hearts of men and gods, and establish peace, gentleness, and justice in the world” (Narayan 67).

Shiduri. [Aside.] Clearly, I already knew Rama was motivated by dharma. But, I am going to keep finding areas in which to ask him questions.

[To Rama.] Wait, what exactly is dharma?

Rama. [Takes drink.] Well, dharma, or duty, regulates human behavior. Every individual has a duty based on their place in society. Also, given that India greatly values family, everyone has a duty to respect the orders of parents and remain devoted to the family. When one follows their dharma correctly, they move unto their next reincarnation. The ultimate goal of following dharma is to achieve release (moksha) from reincarnations into the Great World Soul (Duiker and Spielvogel 44).

Shiduri. [Aside.] Rama is quite mistaken about the afterlife, as I suspected. Reincarnation simply does not exist because humans do not have immortality. Instead, humans are sent to the underworld after their death, where dust lines the door and they never return. All beings become equal in this afterlife as crowns of kings are discarded and all wear feathers. Mesopotamian mortals actually fear this afterlife because they see the lack of social class and civilization clothing as a descent from the culture they created back into nature (Mitchell). Once, a man by the name of Gilgamesh, tried to escape death for this very fear. I now have to explain the true purpose of life to him.

[To Rama.] I believe the purpose life is to “love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace” (Mitchell 169). In other words, you are supposed to enjoy the life you have. But, what do you believe the purpose of life is?

Rama. [Takes drink.] The purpose of life is not about the simply enjoyment of life. Rather, one must always be focused on reaching moksha through following their dharma. Moreover, life’s purpose also includes keeping an equal balance between evil and good in the world. This balance is so essential that the gods become involved. When Ravana was overpowering the world with evil, the gods sent me down as a reincarnation of the Supreme God to release him from this evil. These deities even sent a special chariot to help me during my final battle against Ravana (Narayan).

Shiduri. [Aside.] It is as if Rama actually believes these gods would be so helpful and forgiving! The gods would actually never take the time to become a mortal or extinguish evil without killing the person. I mean, five gods once agreed that the way to extinguish evil was to just kill all mankind with a flood. The god Ea felt the urge to not necessarily spare the life of mankind, but to go against this decree of the other gods. He whispered through a reed fence and indirectly advised the mortal Utnapishtim to build a boat (Mitchell). Clearly, the gods do not usually care about kindly helping the humans. In turn, the humans have to act like Ea and outsmart the gods into getting their way. This relationship is clearly shown through the Mesopotamian economy, as I will ask Rama about.

[To Rama.] I am a goddess myself and I am not quite sure the gods would ever act so kindly. The Mesopotamian people can certainly attest to this fact because the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, sky, and surrounding environment were made from body of the unruly goddess Tiamat (“Enuma Elish: A Babylonian Creation Epic”). These rivers flood unpredictably, ruining crops and entire cities. Likewise, there are scorching winds, heavy downpours, and intense humidity. The people try to control the nature for the use of their agriculturally based economy through a mass irrigation system, systematic agriculture, and the domestication of animals. Furthermore, they build armies for defense from attacks and surround their cities with walls and even indoor gardens (Duiker and Spielvogel 11). The king Gilgamesh once set out to kill Humbaba, a monster in the forest, because he feared the uncontrollable nature lurking outside his city walls (Mitchell). Despite all of their efforts, the nature is still not fully controlled and the people correctly believe the harshness of the gods are to blame. Explain to me, Rama, how the gods are not harsh if they cause this environment?

Rama. [Takes drink.] Shiduri, India has a very similar environment. We live in the monsoon zone, where the southwest monsoon brings heavy rains that often cause droughts. We make up for this downfall by using trade and manufacturing (Duiker and Spielvogel 43). Yet, we still do not look down on the downfall because the environment is still part of the dharma. In fact, “the river descends with a lot of merchandise such as precious stones, sandalwood, peacock feathers, and iridescent flower petals and pollen grains, carrying it through the mountains, forests, valleys, and plains of Kosala country, and, after evenly distributing the gifts, ends its career in the sea” (Nakayana 3). This river flows in a path, just like the path of dharma, and gives gifts along the way. We, the Indian society, do not blame the gods for our environment because it is simply an extension of dharma.

Shiduri. [Aside]. I have had a change in heart because I now realize Rama has not been told of anything other than dharma. He believes dharma affects everything so heavily that even the economy is apart of the path. Clearly, he just needs to be told of the truth. As a provider of life, I will be the one to enlighten him.

[To Rama.] I understand you fully believe in dharma, but I want you to listen to what I have to say. First, I want to mention that in this male dominated society, Mesopotamian women are expected to stay at home, care for children and husbands, and perform childhood tasks. Our laws, including Hammurabi’s Law Code, makes it clear that men rule over women (Duiker and Spielvogel 10). But, women are also considered providers of life because they provide the meals, maintain the household, produce children through sex, and knowledge. Given that I have a tavern where I provide beer, sex, food, and advice, I am the example of an ideal women. I once provided advice to Gilgamesh about the meaning of life, and I want to do the same for you (Mitchell). Please do not see this as a form of disrespect, I am still acknowledging your dominant role while I am trying to advise you. May I enlighten you beyond the belief of dharma?

Rama. [Has taken enough drinks to be blatantly drunk]. Shiduri, you know I cannot imagine a world with no dharma. Our laws, including The Law of Manu, also state that the woman’s place is within the home. Woman should also be honored and respected by men (Duiker and Spielvogel 42), but it is still their duty to adhere to dharma, not try to advice the man against his dharma. For example, when my wife was kidnapped by Ravana, I destroyed Ravana to follow my dharma, not to save her. Afterwards, I told her I could not take her back because “it is not customary to admit back to the normal married fold a woman who has resided all alone in a stranger’s house” (Narayana 162). Instead of arguing against our societal customs or dharma, she jumped into a burning fire. I took her back once I knew she was pure and respected my dharma. Thus, I cannot allow you to disrespect my dharma by arguing with my beliefs, or even against your own dharma by not believing the words I say.

Shiduri. [Aside.] Not only is Rama disrespecting the knowledge I have as a woman, he is using the story of his wife as an example. He is so proud to admit that he chose his dharma over loving his wife. I already told him that the point of life was to do the latter, but he clearly is not listening. He must go because he will only continue to led his culture into a tunnel of dark lies. I know exactly how to use my words to get rid of him.

[To Rama.] If you truly believe in dharma, I challenge you to take your own life. Clearly, the Mesopotamian population does not understand this concept of dharma. If you die, you can come back in a future life to my land and enlighten these people. You were already successful in enlightening the Indian people in your current life, so you will easily be able to do the same for these uninformed Mesopotamians. I understand you may be doubtful that your reincarnation will occur in Mesopotamia, but remember that I am a goddess. I have the ability to choose your next life, like the gods did when they made you Rama. I will ensure you have the opportunity to enlighten my people, you have my word. In fact, I know it is your dharma to trust me and spread knowledge in my land. You must obey this dharma.

Rama. If you believe it is my dharma, then I have need no further discussion. I will take my life.

[Stabs himself and dies.]

Shiduri. [Aside.] Rama’s crucial mistake was to trust me, a goddess. I was destined to trick him, that is the way of the gods. Of course, he will only go to the dreaded afterlife for his oversight. But, if his dharma actually existed, he would actually come back to Mesopotamia. He would not do so to teach our people about his false beliefs. Instead, our people would teach him the art of handling his drinks and stopping others from tricking him.

Works Cited

Duiker, William J., and Jackson J. Spielvogel. The Essential World History, Seventh ed., Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2014.

Enuma Elish: The Babylonian Creation Epic. Longman Anthology of World Literature.

Mitchell, Stephen. Gilgamesh: a New English Version. Simon and Schuster, 2013.

Narayan, R. K. Ramayana: a Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. Penguin, 2006.

“The Law of Manu.” The Essential World History, Seventh ed., Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2014, pp. 42.

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