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Star magic in the Iliad

The Homeric Catalogue of Ships has been a puzzle for studying the Iliad since antiquity. The catalogue lists those who took part in the siege of Troy and where they came from. The catalogue appears to be slapped into Book II with no plain reason and while Homer wrote it, it was not his best bit. Some early editions of the Iliad drop the Catalogue of Ships completely, others leave it in a box by itself. Cynics have said that the list was just a crowd-pleasing list of places. A bit like a rock star screaming “It’s great to be back in Scunthorpe again” so that the poet’s audience may see their region mentioned in the poem. In fact, it was believed

Dr Who and the problem of immortality

Last night’s episode of Dr Who got me thinking about the nature of immortality and humanity's relationship with Gods. In the “Girl who Lived,” the Doctor created an immortal girl Ashildr (Maisie Williams). She had to write down stuff because soon her memories became overloaded, she forgot about the many lives she had lived and called herself “me”. Immortality changed her making her care less about other humans. Bored, she spent her time robbing people for a modicum of excitement. Immortality kills off feelings like love, desire and right and wrong. It is the “mayflies” as the Doctor calls them which have life correct because they hang onto every bit of life they have. The problem of immortality was first noticed by the Greek writer

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