The monks’ contribution to European society, and the attitude of Christian writers on toward ancient Greek philosophy.

1) What kinds of contributions did the monks make to European society?  Monasticism takes root early on in church history.   It gave individuals the opportunity to separate themselves from the material world so they can practice their spiritual life more intensely.  Monasticism can be practiced in two different ways; monks can be eremitic, or cenobitic.  Eremitic monasticism is the life of a hermit, and absolute isolation from the world.  Cenobitic monasticism is living in isolation from the world, but in a community brotherhood or, for women who became nuns, a sisterhood.  Cenobitic monks made a more significant impact, because people were more able to learn from them.  Monks lived spiritual lives of fulfillment, but they also made tremendous impacts on European society.

One of the most important things the monks did, was establish respect for the manual laborer.  Manual labor was looked down on, and considered to be the lowest position, however, the monks changed this.  The monks did everything to maintain their lives.  Their work ethic was extremely efficient.  They taught themselves and other young men different trades, and established respect from society on manual labor.  They also revolutionized both agriculture, and technology, in many different ways.  They preserved a lot of important historical manuscripts, that, without their transcriptions, we would never have today.  The monks, while they may not be credited for it, made a significant contribution to European society.

2) What was the attitude of most Christian writers toward the philosophers of ancient Greece?  The philosophers Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many more ancient Greek philosophers were the first historically recorded thinkers to really challenge common thought, and ultimately attempt to uncover the truth.  It is important to take into consideration that these men had nothing to base their studies on, they were simply seeking the unknown truth.  What may seem surprising to some people, is that most Christian writers many years later, respected and used the work of these ancient philosophers.

A number of Christian writers pointed out that these philosophers were seeking the truth.  As Minucius Felix says, God can be known from reason, Greeks came to this knowledge.  The theories of the philosophers pointed to the existence of the omnipotent God.  The common attitude of Christian philosophers toward the ancient Greek philosophers was mostly positive.  They respected the Greek thinkers that came hundreds of years before them.  They did not regard the teachings of Aristotle, Plato, or Socrates, to be heresies, but rather the beginnings of trying to understand God.

The challenges of Taxonomy. Is Taxonomy necessary?

Taxonomy is the science of naming and classifying living organisms.  Systematics are the use of data to determine the relationships between different species.  Systematics guide the process of taxonomy, which classify all the living organisms. This is a complex process due to the fact that there are so many living organisms in the world’s overall biomass.

In early taxonomy, there were two kingdoms in which organisms were classified: plants, and animals.  However, there were organisms that possessed characteristics of both plants and animals.  This kingdom of two, was later expanded to include protists, (organisms that possessed the characteristics of animals and plants).  However, this did not include a category for every living organism.  Thus 5 animal kingdoms were developed: plants, animals, fungi, protists, and monera.

Monera, which the single celled prokaryotic classification,posed an issue.  Prokaryotic cells are more similar to eukaryotic cells, than to other prokaryotic cells.  For this and other reasons, monera has become obsolete.

These kingdoms are divided into three domains: bacteria, archaic, and Eukaryota.  (Monera possesses characteristics of more than one domain; another reason why it is obsolete.)

This system has flaws and errors, but at this point, it is the only method scientists have been able to use, somewhat effectively.  A biologist’s classification should not necessarily be taken as an absolute inviolable truth, because there are still many errors in the system.  A biologist’s classification should be considered and also analyzed, with an open-critical mind.

For now, this system is both necessary and important.  Systematics and taxonomy have flaws, but they are an essential means of organization.  This system makes the work of a biologist easier, when researching, or discovering a new species.  Perhaps a better method, with more accuracy will eventually be developed, but for now, biologist’s rely on systematics and taxonomy.

Was there any basis for an optimistic view of Rome in Livy and Ovid?

Livy, or Titus Livius Patavinus (59 BC-17 AD), was  a Roman historian.  Among his works, he wrote a series of accounts on the history of Rome, which survey a period of about 700 years.  Unfortunately, most of these books did not survive.  Livy acknowledges the weaknesses in historical writing, and explains that it is the work of a poet and not the work of historian.  Without account on ancient events, the historian is required to either leave out detail, or fill in the blanks with what might have happened.  Livy’s writings on the history of early Rome provide us with insight, but we cannot rely on them literally.

Ovid, or Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC-17/18 AD), was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus.  Ovid was banished to the black sea region by Augustus in 8 AD, around the same time in 8 AD, he wrote the metamorphoses. The metamorphoses tell the story from the creation, through to the death of Julius Caesar (44 BC).  The central  theme of the metamorphoses, is the change of the gods, and thus the world they were worshiped by.  Both of these writers start with the story of creation and provide background, and use this background when they later describe the events that brought  Rome to be an important part of western civilization

Livy and Ovid both provided accounts of the origins of Rome.  These two accounts are distinct, however, similarities are drawn between the two.  It is the same basic story of creation that we are given by the Greek writer Hesiod in Theogony.  They are slightly different, but it’s the same general story line.  Following the story of creation, the stories follow different paths, but they both include the idea of the corruption of mankind.  The metamorphoses and Livy’s series of books, each displayed different ways of dealing with this corruption of mankind, it was not the same series of historical events.  However, they both resulted in establishing hope for the city of Rome.

Livy wrote about the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, Romulus killed Remus, and he reforms and goes on to develop Rome.  He gives the Roman people a set of laws.  He gives the city hope, and he builds it up.  Some of his methods lacked a system of ethical balance, but he was believed to have led the early Romans and build their civilization.  Ovid, in comparison, writes about an event that reflects the story of Noah and the flood.  The corruption of mankind was so vast that Jupiter sent a flood to wipe mankind from the face of the earth.  There were two survivors,  Deuclion and Pyrra, who repopulated the earth, by tossing stones over their shoulders that turned into human beings.

The basis for an optimistic view, in both stories, is hope.  Hope that the corruption will be demolished.  These people had motivation to build a city, and they did.  Hope for relief is a powerful motivation in the mind of man.

Christian life between letter of Pliny and the Edict of Milan.

Prior to some of the great persecutions, there was not unrelenting persecution of the Christians.  Pliny, a Roman statesman, observed the Christians, and saw nothing wrong with the way they gathered and prayed.  They were not disrupting society, and they were causing no harm to one another.  They were not worshiping the Roman gods, but they were not committing any form of crime in the practice of Christianity.  Pliny is famous for writing a letter to the emperor Trajan, requesting answers.  Should these Christians be sought out and destroyed? Trajan replied with a policy that was less severe, but still had severe aspects.  He said that Christians will not be sought out, however if they are turned in with valid merit, then they would be punished for this.  This gave the Christians some relief, but they still had to be very cautious in day to day life.

Following this, there were several prosecutions that occurred.  Many innocent Christians were slaughtered.  The most significant of these was the Great Persecution (303-305 AD) under the emperor Diocletian.  The Christians were required to sacrifice to the emperor under pain of death.  There were many Christian martyrs during this persecution, but there were also people who conformed to the commands of the emperor, and lost their faith.

As you can imagine, the faithful Christians lived a life of fear, and they spent their days and nights watching for Roman prosecutors.

The Christians were relieved from this when the emperor Constantine came into reign.  He believed that he owed his success in the battle of Milvian bridge (312 AD) to the Christian God.  He returned property to the Christian people, which later leads to the Edict of Milan (313).  Toleration is extended to Christians and they are made whole.  The Christians were finally able to live without fear of being prosecuted.

How Important was the rhetorical Context of Cicero’s orations: his listeners’ fear of Catiline’s conspiracy and army?

Rhetoric was a central aspect of Cicero’s orations.  Without the use of rhetoric, he would not have made the same impact during his era, nor would he have impacted the modern world.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), is considered to be one of the most effective users of rhetoric in history.  He was a Roman politician who served as consul in 63 BC.  This man, was regarded even in his own time for his rhetorical abilities.  The thought of being pursued by this in front of the Roman Senate is daunting for the victim. In each of his speeches he delivered, he had a goal, and he was consistent with that goal throughout the speech.  For this reason, the victim knew they would be defeated if they attempted to deny Cicero’s accusations.

Cicero pursued a man, known in English as Catiline (108-62 BC), he was a member of the Roman senate.  Cicero believed, and argued, that Catiline was conspiring an attempt to overthrow the city.  He verbally addressed him in front of the Roman senate.  He accused Catiline of being the source of evil in the city of Rome.  He delivered four different orations, each with different goals, all of which had a focus on removing Catiline’s conspiracy from the city.

Rhetoric was central to Cicero’s series of orations.  The use of rhetoric, was the heart of his speech.  What exactly is rhetoric? From Wikipedia: “Rhetoric is the art of discourse, wherein a writer or speaker strives to inform, persuade or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.”  In order to make his audience fear Catiline’s conspiracies, Cicero had to use rhetoric to effectively motivate his audience.  He had to persuade and motivate his audience to take action against the conspiracy of Catiline.

The orations he delivered were not in the format of a trial.  They were strictly political speeches.  He did not specify his accusations and he offered no proof of his accusations.  He did not order sanctions against Catiline, he just gave him advisory.  The goal of his first oration was to persuade Catiline to leave the senate, and to ultimately leave the city of Rome.  He accomplished this goal through use of rhetoric.  Cicero was successful in this task, and Catiline departed from the city.  This was done, not through lawful force, but rather by means of effective rhetoric.

If Cicero had not accomplished what he did with his rhetorical techniques, Catiline may have been successful in his attempt to overthrow the city.  If not successful in his attempt, there would have been executions of innocent Roman citizens.  It was not over, however.  When Catiline left the city, his allies were still corrupting Rome, Cicero confronted this in the following orations.  Catiline would later attack the city, but he was no longer inside the walls of the city, and he lost power because of this.  Without the rhetorical context of Cicero’s orations, his audience would not have taken action, and the course of history would be vastly different.

Teachings of Christianity vs. the Values of Earlier civilizations.

Christianity and it’s teachings presented radically different views than the religions that were valued by civilizations before Christianity came. The religions of the Greeks and Romans had significant impact on western civilization, however, neither of those, or any other similar religion, had come anywhere close to the impact that Christianity had and still has on the modern world.  There are many distinct differences and ideas that set Christianity apart from the other religions.

The origins, the teachings, the levels of authority, the laws, and every other aspect of Christianity is different than the religious views that came before it.  The origins of Christianity track way back to the beginning of time in the Old Testament, but until the birth of Christ, this was regarded as the Jewish religion.  The Greeks believed that their religion originated with the god Cronos, and from him came a subordination of gods.  This is one of the chief differences, the christian view, is that there is one sovereign God, all powerful.  The Greeks however, have a system of gods, and each can potentially be defeated.  The Greek gods were brought into existence by bearing one another.  Christianity itself, really began in the New Testament, and it’s teachings changed mankind.

In the New Testament, God became man, to save the world from its wicked love for sin.  Christ came to earth as a Savior, to save mankind.  He performed many miracles, not to show off his ability, but to offer mankind examples.  He died on the cross so that mankind could be cleansed of their sins.  His teachings are basic and understandable.  In parables he provides example of the principles he teaches and offers them in a different context.  The Greek and Roman gods did not have this same sort of spiritual relationship with their followers.  They did not lay out their common principles in a way in which mankind could understand them.

Christianity provided truth for all those who sought it.  Christ, through his disciples, laid down the instruction to living a good spiritual life, and taught man how to avoid sin.  This distinct truth was not provided to the Greeks and Romans from their religions, there was a sense of mystery.

If you had been Catiline, what would you have said to undermine Cicero’s case?

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) was a Roman politician who served as consul in the year 63 BC.  He is believed by many to be one of the greatest masters of rhetoric in history.  He was persuasive in his arguments and had significant power because of this.  Cicero was also a lawyer as well as a politician, and in a verbal confrontation, he attacks a figure of that time, Cataline.  Cataline (108-62 BC) was a member of the Roman senate, but he had his own organizations by which there were suspicions that he might attempt to overthrow the city.

Cicero uses his rhetorical tactics to dramatically addresses Cataline in front of the senate.  This was not a trial however, this was a political oration delivered by Cicero.  Cicero, even in his own time, was regarded as a master of rhetoric.  Being verbally pursued by this man raises a level of fear in the victim. Cicero had goals in his speech, but he did not make these obvious.  Among other goals, the main goal of Cicero in his oration was to persuade Cataline to leave the city of Rome.  The entire oration was centered around this goal.  Had I been in the place of Cataline, I would have made an effort to react differently to Cicero’s accusations.

Cicero made several vague accusations towards Cataline, and basically portrayed him as a monstrous threat toward the Roman Republic.  While the accusations may have been true, they were neither specific or direct.  He did not refer to specific events in which Cataline conspired in wrongdoings.

I do not know if, in this confrontation, Cataline had the opportunity to speak, but if I were in his place, I would have made an effort to intervene.  I would have requested Cicero to specify his accusations, and provide relevant proof for them.  And if he was unable to speak during the oration, I would have confronted it when Cicero had finished speaking.

Perhaps Cataline did not make an effort to deny these accusations of being a danger to the Roman Republic, because perhaps they were true.  Perhaps he really was conspiring against the city, and perhaps he knew that it was true that he deserved death.  It is not apparent that he made any effort whatsoever to defend himself.  He could have demanded evidence that what Cicero said was true, but if Cicero was able to provide it, Cataline could face death charges rather than simply charges to leave the city.  It could have been that the reason he didn’t deny it was to avoid the possibility of the Senate uncovering some of his monstrous deeds.  Perhaps he saw it as a safer option to remain silent, and be sentenced to leave the city with his army.  Then he could later attack Rome through warfare (which is what he did).

The reasons for his silence in the process is unknown to the text.  If I were in his place, I would have confronted Cicero in a similar way that he was confronting Cataline, using logic and a means of rhetoric.  I would have asked the senate how they accepted these accusations against him when there was no specified proof that they actually happened.

Overview of The Business Opportunity of Selling Products Online.

The opportunity of selling products online is a realistic business opportunity IF it is done correctly.  There is a lot of skills and experience that can be attained by launching a successful online business that distributes products.  There are dozens of online platforms to sell on, or products can be sold on a personal website.

Who will I serve in the marketplace? The group of customers (age, gender, and interest) really depends on the niche of products the business sells.  For my own business, I have not yet determined my product niche.  These customers can be next-door neighbors, or people in other countries.  The customers could be a consumer business, for instance, I could sell business equipment.  However, to start, I will be targeting consumer individuals, or small business owners.

 How will I help them?  I will help my customer by providing quality products and a unique customer experience.  I will ensure that the customer gets their return on their investment, and that they can genuinely enjoy doing business with me.

What are the barriers to entry for this service? One of the main barriers to entry for this business opportunity is the stiff competition.  There are a lot of aspiring businesses who are attempting to sell their products online, some of them succeed at this.  To overcome this barrier, an individual must research and learn how to market the product.  Lack of persistence is another barrier to entry, the business owner must relentlessly find new ways to create a better product and experience for their customer, otherwise they will get lost in the shuffle.

How will I make money doing this service?  The way to make money selling products, is to simply sell products.  There are not many other ways to make money in this field of business, however, business owners can later branch off and create demonstration videos of how the product can be used, Go-pro for example.

Why is this a long-term opportunity for me?  If I start a business distributing products online and can achieve success in doing so, this is a long term business opportunity.  People will always need solutions to their problems, so if an individual can solve, or help to solve problems a consumer may face, with an innovative product, there will always be a demand.  This is a business that I could use to support myself through college.

The Impacts of Mutualism, Predation, and Interspecific Competition.

Explain how mutualism, predation, and inter-specific competition are different from each other. How does each one affect the interacting populations of the two species?

Mutualism, predation, and inter-specific competition, are all categorized as inter-specific interactions between two species.  Each one of these include an interaction between two or more species in the same environment.  In each of these interactions, each species is either harmed or benefited by the type of interaction.

  1. Mutualism is when two organisms work together in a way that is beneficial (or maybe even essential) for both parties.  An example of this is the relationship between bumblebees and flowers.  The bumblebee collects nectar, which is the essential source from which the bumblebee makes their food.  In the process of collecting nectar, the bee flies from flower to flower spreading pollen, helping the flowers in an area to pollinate, which is essential process for the reproduction of the flower.  This is an interaction between two species in which both species benefit.
  2. Predation is the involvement of two organisms, when one species (the predator) kills and eats another species (the prey) that is subordinate on the food chain.  An example of this is a coyote, catching and feeding on a rabbit.  The coyote needs the nutrition of the rabbit, it is essential for survival.  If there were not predators such as coyotes to prey on rabbits, the rabbit population would expand to an unmanageable number.  The predator benefits from this interaction at the expense of the prey, who only receives harm, or in this case, death.
  3. Inter-specific competition is when two different species compete for the same resource in a given ecosystem.  Predators, herbivores, and any type of plant encounter this issue.  An example is when the main diet of a hawk in a given ecosystem is a rabbit, but coyotes in that same ecosystem are supported by rabbits.  Both have a limited supply due to the pressure on the rabbit population caused by both species.  Neither species really benefits from this.

Man’s unique good according to Seneca, and Trajan’s Column.

According to Seneca, what is man’s unique good? How should a good man conduct himself?  Seneca (4 BC-65 AD) was a Roman Stoic philosopher.  In his letters to Lucilius, he portrays the unique good of man that separates him form all other beings.  Human reason, according to Seneca, is the characteristic of man that separates mankind from animals.  Human reason is man’s unique good, therefore for a good man to conduct himself he must exercise this exclusive quality.   To live a good life, man must exercise and expand his ability to reason.  This is the real value of man in his opinion, therefore man must pursue that value.

Trajan’s column.  Among the many unique pieces of Roman art, Trajan’s column, has been one of the surviving architectural monuments.  The construction of this triumphal column began in 106 AD was completed in 113 AD.  The piece of art honors the Roman Emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian wars.  The depictions on this piece are extremely detailed, and well preserved. Every scene on the column demonstrates in detail the Romans in war with the Dacians, and their victory.  The detail of these depictions is very helpful to historians because they tell the stories of Roman life during the Dacian wars.

The figure that currently sits on top is a statue of St. Peter that was installed by a renaissance pope in 1588.  During the lifetime of the emperor, there was a bronze eagle on top which was replaced by a bronze statue of Trajan after his death.

Trajan’s column is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of the artistic architectural talent of the Romans Trajans Column