Phi Beta Cons

Howlers at the Expense of Ancient History

You’ll have to laugh – although such intellectual disorder is not really a laughing matter – at the following student errors on a final exam sent to me by an English professor at a branch of SUNY: 

  • “Athene helps Telemachus and Odysseus to be reunited and restore order to Troy.  This all took place around 450 B.C. but it was not written down until 800 B.C.”

 

  • “Much like Odyssus Augustine, who at one time was reared as a saint in Hippo, is tempted by pretty women as well as by a pear tree.  But later he loses his self-control problem and converts into a Christian.”

 

  • “Odysseus, the main character, though having the hand of Venus (Venus-Isis) right on his side, is faced with much despair when he has to leave his wife and sons behind before he goes on many ‘adventures’ and encounters things.  He defeats the Cyclopse after barely being eaten and meets Nausicaa while naked then stumbling over Calypso who holds him prisoner and gives him all of the winds.”

 

  • “Beginning with Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ written down around 800 BC, when infact the events took place in the 4th century. There are many examples of order, tragedy, and some triumph.”

 

  • “A large wooden horse is brought by Aeneas from Troy, which Queen Dido thinks is a sign of appreciation.  When the wooden horse is opened up and a number of Greek soldiers jump out, Dido is in shock.  Thankfully, Aeneas and his men show up and promise to restore her disorder.”
  •  “In Homer’s Odyssey while Odyssus is gone for ten years trying to get home from Calypso’s isle about 700 B.C. and enduring the many abstacles he faces along the way, the entire time’s he’s trying to restore order with in his selfs life.” 
  • “The Odessy, written down around 800 B.C., its events are said to actually take place around 500 B.C.”

 The exasperated professor comments:

What really gets me is the chronological befuddlement of so many of those enrolled in my class, for whom Colin McEvedy’s New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History was a mandatory text required in class at every class-meeting — to which I constantly referred.  One would think that they would notice that the dates count down until 1 A.D. and then count up.  But this would imply that they actually glanced now and then at the Atlas.

 

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More
U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More

Election-Meddling Redux

It is not an attack on the American election. It is an influence operation aimed at the American media, using the $60 billion per annum American intelligence apparatus to pull it off. And it’s working. On Wednesday night, it was suddenly announced that U.S. security services would conduct a press ... Read More

Election-Meddling Redux

It is not an attack on the American election. It is an influence operation aimed at the American media, using the $60 billion per annum American intelligence apparatus to pull it off. And it’s working. On Wednesday night, it was suddenly announced that U.S. security services would conduct a press ... Read More
Culture

Equality and Envy

We are not the same. Neither men, nor women, nor races, nor ages, nor nationalities, nor in wealth, nor in training, nor in beauty. We are not equal in any way. And that is a reason to be proud and happy, because at the end of the day we are human and not the product of some factory. Let us once and for all ... Read More
Culture

Equality and Envy

We are not the same. Neither men, nor women, nor races, nor ages, nor nationalities, nor in wealth, nor in training, nor in beauty. We are not equal in any way. And that is a reason to be proud and happy, because at the end of the day we are human and not the product of some factory. Let us once and for all ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More