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A Contrary History of the West, And Other Essays (New)
by Sworder, Roger
Publisher: Sophia Perennis
Book ID: 9781597311304, 1597311308
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What was the purpose of the ancient Greek Olympics? No one really knows. But the first essay in this book examines one early Greek games whose purpose we do know. And that was to cleanse the site of a massacre from a deadly pollution. These games were a periodic ritual to appease the furious dead. And they worked. The second essay looks again at what is due to Caesar. Jesus makes no compromise with the Romans. If the penny was Caesar's, Caesar was Jehovah's.
The title essay frames the last thousand years of Western history as a series of political constitutions. We travel backwards in time from the democracies now through plutocracy, aristocracy and theocracy to the first millennium. It is a contrary history because it goes backwards and because it argues that people's lives in those earlier times were usually better than ours in one vital respect.
Other essays provide a metaphysical basis for the professions, demonstrate the intellectual power of John Keats, and argue that the Laws of Gravity are spiritual. Newton himself wrote that one of his laws was a principle of Pythagoras. The front cover shows Aphrodite on the Portland Vase, which is also re-interpreted.
Roger Sworder graduated Master of Arts from the University of Oxford, taking his degree in the study of Classical Philosophy and History. He undertook doctoral studies at the Australian National University with a thesis on Plato's theory of knowledge. His first book, Mining, Metallurgy and the Meaning of Life, examines the consecration and, more recently, the desecration of these crafts in Western history. In 2008, Sophia Perennis published Sworder's Science & Religion in Archaic Greece: Homer on Immortality, Parmenides at Delphi. Sworder recently retired as lecturer in the Department of Arts at La Trobe University, Bendigo, where he was a member of a team that provided one of the few courses in traditional studies in the West.
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- Richard Smoley, from the introduction
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