The Art of Understanding According to Schleiermacher


The Art of Understanding is a term declared by Schleiermacher in his hermeneutics. He saw hermeneutics as the “Art of Understanding”. Understanding is of course different from knowing. Those who know have not come to understand.

Understanding is the activity of capturing meaning. While knowing is nothing more than the act of gathering data. Data can be known by something, for example: genes, neurons and computers, while meaning can only be understood by someone. What does it mean to “understand” and why is this activity considered an “art”? We will find the answer in the philosophical ideas promoted by Schleiermacher.

A Glimpse of Schleiermacher’s Life

This time I would like to invite readers to philosophize with Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768–1834). Schleiermacher is known as a philosopher and founder of modern Protestant theology who lived in the Romantic era. Romanticism is nothing but a movement critical of the enlightenment of the 18th century.

Romantic thinkers saw the progress of Europe’s science, industry and technology at that time as a decline rather than progress of civilization. On that basis, romantic thinkers were more interested in myths, traditions and religion as objects of interpretation studies. They try to explore the meaning behind this ancient wisdom and then live it anew. Schleiermacher was deeply influenced by the Romantic movement.

Schleiermacher was born on November 21, 1768 in Breslau, Silesia in what is now Poland. He grew up in a Protestant family. His parents even planned that Schleiermacher would be prepared as early as possible to become a preacher.

Schleiermacher then entered into a seminary in Barby/Elbe. At the seminary, Schleiermacher became acquainted with philosophical literature, theology and non-religious romances. This made him confused, between becoming a preacher or a scientist.

This hesitation prompted Schleiermacher to pursue philosophy, theology and philology at the University of Halle. There, he even – for the first time – became acquainted with Kant’s critical philosophy. From the time Schleiermacher taught at Halle in 1805, he began to concern himself with hermeneutics. He died in Berlin on February 6, 1834. Since then, Schleiermacher is known as the founding father of Modern Hermeneutics.

About Hermeneutics

Budi Hardiman in his book entitled “The Art of Understanding: From Schleiermacher to Derrida”, emphasizes that the term “Hermeneutics” is actually not a term that has just appeared in modern times. This term can even be traced in the religious culture of ancient Greece. Hermeneutics etymology is related to the figure of Hermes, who mediates between gods/goddesses and humans.

In Greek mythology, Hermes served as the party that conveyed the messages of the goddesses to humans. However, before Hermes delivered the message, he first understood or interpreted the message for himself. After he understands the intent of the message, then he articulates the intent of the message in a language understood by humans. The gap between the sender of the message, the sender of the message and the recipient of the message must be bridged by this activity called “hermeneutics”.

Hermeneutics in English is called “Hermeneutics”. This term is derived from the Greek word, namely: “hermeneuein” which means “to translate” or “to act as an interpreter”. The activity of translating one language into another is actually nothing but what we call “Hermeneutics”.

The activity of translating is actually not just exchanging a foreign language into our own. More than that, translating is interpreting so that it can be articulated in the taste of our language. In other words, translating is the activity of capturing meaning according to the author’s intent in a language that readers understand.

It should be noted that early hermeneutics was nothing more than an activity carried out by clergy in order to interpret sacred texts, such as holy books. This activity aims to reveal the meaning of Divine Revelation written in sacred texts. The different ways or methods of interpreting then give birth to different and even contradictory interpretations.

This happened in the early development of Christianity. Since its inception, Christianity has been peppered with hermeneutical polemics. The Christian congregation in the city of Alexandria has a way of interpreting the scriptures that is different from the Christian congregation in Antioch.

The divisions that occurred in western Christianity, namely: between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformers were rooted in different ways of interpreting Scripture.

So, since when did hermeneutics become a philosophical problem? We should be grateful to the thinkers of the renaissance in the 18th century who brought out hermeneutical activities from the medieval religious cage. If the medieval clergy limited hermeneutics to the interpretation of scriptures, the Enlightenment thinkers extended the field of interpretation to profane texts. Enlightenment thinkers even looked at the scriptures the same as other profane texts. In the minds of enlightened thinkers, sacred texts are no more special than other texts.

Enlightenment thinkers uprooted the sacredness of the books considered sacred by medieval clergy. Enlightenment thinkers wanted to go beyond radical medieval ways of interpreting a text. In other words, they use rationality – without being driven to strengthen their faith – in order to grasp the meaning behind the sacred texts. That’s what Schleiermacher will do.

The Art of Understanding a la Schleiermacher

We first understand what Schleiermacher meant by the term “understand” (verstehen). According to Schleiermacher, understanding is nothing but the activity of capturing understanding (verständis). While understanding is the result of the process of understanding. The object of understanding activity a la Schleiermacher is none other than language. However, please note that

What is captured from the language is not words as far as words or sentences as far as sentences. In everyday life we often try to catch the meaning behind the words of people who are talking to us. Because for Schleiermacher, the spoken word is never separated from the thoughts of the speaker.

He further emphasized that humans do not think about the same thing, even though they use the same word. A philosopher and a doctor both use the word “human” but their perspectives on this one word are of course different and even contradictory.

Understanding in Schleiermacher is thus the activity of capturing what is thought rather than the grammatical meaning of the language being spoken by the speaker. Therefore, we need to distinguish between “understanding what is said in the context of language with its possibilities” and “understanding (what is said) as a fact in the mind of the speaker”.

Hermeneutics a la Schleiermacher actually tries to capture what the speaker understands by the word he is saying. In everyday life, we often encounter discrepancies between the text and the intent of the text, between the words and the thoughts of the speakers, and between the text and the author’s intent. This gap tends to give rise to misunderstandings.

Misunderstanding then has the potential to cause racial, social, religious conflict and so on.

Then why is understanding a la Schleiermacher considered an art (Kunst)? In order to understand this term, we first need to distinguish between two types of understanding, namely: “understanding spontaneously and understanding with effort”. Understanding spontaneously can be felt in our lives every day. We will easily understand the words of our parents, because we are born and live in the same social, cultural and religious environment. In this context, we understand each other spontaneously.

However, Schleiermacher did not develop such a hermeneutic. The starting point of hermeneutics a la Schleiermacher is nothing but a misunderstanding or lack of mutual understanding. For Schleiermacher, misunderstanding characterizes modern society. Modernity, which is characterized by a plurality of ways of thinking, ways of life, religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs and ideological pluralism, is prone to misunderstandings. Or in Schleiermacher’s words, “in modern times, misunderstandings are inevitable”.

Misconception has become an indisputable fact, in modern times.

Schleiermacher further emphasized that misunderstandings are often caused by prejudice (Vorurteil). Prejudice occurs when readers or listeners feel their perspective is superior to the intent of the author or speaker of the word.

Therefore, understanding in this case can be said to be an art for two reasons: First, because efforts to overcome common misunderstandings are always using “sophisticated” methods and not just spontaneously. Second, because overcoming common misunderstandings is always done with certain rules. Art, in this case is defined as ‘smartness’. This is the same as when a music artist produces beautiful harmonic tones.

The art of understanding is thus the activity of capturing meaning (with sophisticated methods) to overcome common misunderstandings. What you are looking for is the thinking behind a

Expression. In this sense, hermeneutics is nothing but the art of listening rather than the art of speaking, the art of reading rather than the art of writing. Schleiermacher asserted that hermeneutics is nothing but the art of thinking and therefore is philosophical in nature.

With that way of thinking, Schleiermacher made hermeneutics a method in order to capture the meaning behind speech or writing. The use of hermeneutics methodology is not limited to specific texts. For him, all texts, whether spoken or written, can be interpreted in the same way. In fact, interpretation has become an ability possessed by every human being.

Schleiermacher’s art of understanding is nothing but an attempt to capture the meaning of text (written or spoken) both from a grammatical point of view and the objective condition of the writer or speaker. If the writer expresses his thoughts through writing in the form of sentences, then the interpreter tries to use the language (sentences) to understand the mental objective condition of the writer or speaker.

Thus, the interpreter is able to understand every writing and utterance based on the perspective of the writer or speaker. According to Schleiermacher, this kind of hermeneutical methodology is effective in overcoming misunderstandings in modern social, cultural and religious life.

Benefits of Studying Philosophy

Benefits of Studying Philosophy

Philosophy is knowledge and intellectual investigation of all phenomena in depth. In studying philosophy, one is required to have the courage to learn various unusual terms and to understand various long and complicated reasonings. When deciding to study philosophy, you must be able to think logically and openly.

It should be noted that reading philosophy books contextually is still difficult for ordinary people to understand. Therefore, to study philosophy through text, it is necessary to study the basics of logic first so that you are trained to think logically and systematically. If you are used to it, studying philosophy will be fun.

Think Critically and Logically

Teaches to Think Critically and Logically

Studying philosophy certainly has various benefits. One of the most commonly known benefits is teaching them to think critically and logically. Philosophy itself is a means of testing scientific reasoning, so as to make a person critical and careful in his field of knowledge.

Critical thinking will prevent someone from being solipsistic and thinking that his opinion is the most correct. In addition, by thinking critically and logically, it will be easier to filter fake news. The mind is also more open, thus avoiding intolerance.

Find Value in Life

Helps Find Value in Life

The next benefit of studying philosophy is that it helps discover the value of life. It’s no secret that someone often asks what is the meaning of life and what do we live for. By studying philosophy, such questions will be easier to answer.

Philosophy is able to provide understanding and views about life and the world. This is what makes it a source of inspiration and a guide for life in various aspects. By finding the values of life, a person will become wiser in dealing with all the problems that are being faced.

Developing Science and Technology

Developing Science and Technology

Studying philosophy apparently also plays a role in the development of science and technology. Please note that the philosophy of science provides the foundations for life as well as other sciences. Therefore, the philosophy of science is useful in developing science and technology whose existence is able to make life better.

Philosophy of science apparently is not only useful for neutralizing various findings of knowledge but also thinking about how this knowledge is useful in life. Thus, science and technology are not only present for the benefit of humans, but also for the benefit of nature. Studying philosophy makes a person able to understand science as a whole and use it as a basis for learning.

Various Flows in Philosophy that Need to be Known



It should be noted that in philosophy there are various schools that need to be known. One of them is the flow of rationalism which adheres to reason. This school prioritizes reason as the only reliable source of knowledge because reason is the most important tool in acquiring and testing knowledge.

Reason has the ability to solve various life problems. Rational understanding argues that truth is in accordance with evidence-based on facts, not from experience alone. The purpose of reason here is logical thinking, so that all logical things can be confirmed to be true.



The next stream that needs to be known is idealism. Idealism is a school of philosophy that prioritizes the soul. You could say that idealism is the opposite of the flow of rationalism. Because in the flow of idealism assumes that knowledge where psychological processes are subjective.

One of the philosophers with the flow of idealism is Plato. According to him, the mind is the original image of a spiritual nature and the soul lies between the original image and the image of the world that is captured by the five senses. It is this view that makes idealism often seen as the opposite of realism.



Empiricism is the next philosophical stream that needs to be known. This flow emphasizes the role of experience and downplays the role of reason in acquiring knowledge. Unlike rationalism, which only relies on reason, empiricism requires sensory evidence to determine truth.

The flow of empiricism is guided by the experience that has been passed. According to this flow, knowledge can be obtained through experience with the intermediary of the senses. It should be noted that this truth based on experience has succeeded in having an impact on the field of law and human rights.



The next current in philosophy is materialism. It does not require grandiose and abstract propositions, the flow of materialism adheres to facts that are clear and easy to understand. Materialism holds that something that is stated as a fact is a material.

The material itself can be interpreted as materials, objects, and everything that appears. Material-oriented people are called materialists. A materialist is more concerned with material things and leaves aside everything that transcends the senses.



Positivism is the next trend in philosophy that needs to be known. This flow is a perspective based on science or oriented to natural science. So it can be said that positivism focuses on real facts and overrides things that are outside reality.

It can be said that positivism is close to empiricism because they both believe that knowledge is based on experience based on the senses. The figures of the positivism school argue that humans will never know anything more than what they have seen and found based on real facts.

Learn Philosophy by Reading Philosophy Books

Reading Philosophy Books

Understanding philosophy is not only for students majoring in philosophy. Those of you who are interested in various aspects of life can explore it through various philosophy books.

Therefore, on this occasion, we have some recommendations for philosophy books that can be a reference for you.

Many say philosophy courses are difficult and complicated. Apparently, philosophy teaches you how to seek truth, ideas, and knowledge in this life. By studying various philosophical studies, many insights will open up and of course, you can also write down ideas, discuss and then debate them with your friends or lecturers.

You have to start reading philosophical works, not just reading one work of a philosopher. But must explore the thoughts of various philosophers.

There are several books in the form of novels that can bring you closer to philosophy. Both for beginners and for professionals who want to deepen their philosophy.

Getting to Know Famous Philosophers

Famous Philosophers Aristotle


The first philosopher who is impossible to miss for those of you who want to study philosophy is Aristotle. Aristotle has contributed so much thought to science, including religion. So many religions in the world harmonize their religious teachings with Aristotle’s thoughts.

One of his thoughts that is widely used today is the theory of the syllogism, namely the method of drawing conclusions from two premises containing facts. Not only that, but Aristotle has also studied and contributed a lot of knowledge in various fields of science. Among them are art, literature, government, economics, society, and others.

Famous Philosophers Plato


Plato was one of the three great philosophers from Greece, along with his partner Socrates and his student, Aristotle. Plato’s most famous thought is the Trias Politica. According to Plato, to achieve a good government, it means that there are three things that a state needs to have, namely the executive, legislative, and judicial bodies. This is stated in his book entitled Republic.

Plato’s thinking was finally used by every country that upholds democracy to date. Apart from writing about government, Plato also wrote about metaphysics, ethics, and education. All of his thought contributions provide additional knowledge for education today.
Paul of Tarsus

For Christians, the name Paul means a prophet or apostle. His name is Paul of Tarsus. Tarsus itself is a region in Turkey at the mouth of the river Tarsus Çay in the Mediterranean Sea. Paul was a loyal follower of Jesus from Nazareth. Paul’s meeting with Jesus occurred when Jesus was on his way to Damascus.

Paul wrote the story of his journey and thoughts based on the life of Jesus Christ. Until now, many of his thoughts have survived and are used by world Christians.

Famous Philosophers Rene Descartes

Rene Descartes

Turning to France, there is the name Rene Descartes. The great name of this philosopher is due to the contribution of his thoughts which are so great. Descartes’ name is also called the founder of modern philosophy and of course also known as the father of modern mathematics. Descartes’ first work entitled “Regulae ad Directionem Ingeni” was his unfinished work.

In late 1968, he had a disagreement with Chandoux, another well-known philosopher of the era. Descartes’ concept of science is very different from Chandoux’s. Because, according to Chandoux, science can or can only be built from various possibilities. However, for Descartes, knowledge can only be built based on facts or strong reasons.

As a result, there is a lot of knowledge that is present, thanks to Chandoux’s previous thoughts which have begun to be doubted by many parties. Descartes’ thought is what is called rationalism.

Famous Philosophers Confucius


In China, there was a thinker who was considered the Great Teacher named Confucius. His teachings about morals and goodness teach his adherents to always live harmonious life. Confucius was known as someone who loved to learn. Even Western thinkers like Leibniz and Voltaire were also inspired by Confucius’ thoughts.

Confucius’ teachings became a “religion” for people in China and East Asia called Confucianism. In China itself, Confucianism is called Confucianism. Therefore, for followers of the Confucian religion, Confucius is considered a prophet.

Confucius’ teachings are so strong and influential in East Asia such as Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and throughout the world.

7 Ancient Greek Philosophers

filsuf yunani kuno

A philosopher is a thinker who produces an idea, ideas, and new thoughts that are wise and useful for civilization and human life. There are so many philosophers or philosophers in this world. It’s just that the famous ones are from Greece, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Therefore, world civilizations often quote the results of their thoughts for a wiser life.

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1. Aristoteles (385-323 SM)

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher student of Plato. Of the many students of Plato, Aristotle was the most influential in world civilization. When human knowledge is still too general and broad, he divides it into different categories of subjects, such as physics, metaphysics, poetry, biology, mathematics, rhetoric, to politics. Aristotle is indeed a figure in Greek philosophy whose influence is felt to this day.

2. Socrates (469-399 SM)

The Greek philosopher Socrates is a thinker who is very influential in the Western philosophical tradition because of the results / fruits of his thinking. One of his most phenomenal ideas is the Socratic method, which is a form of philosophical study by exploring the implications of the interlocutor’s position to stimulate the emergence of rational thinking and new ideas. Until finally Socrates was executed for destroying the youth’s belief in the gods.

3. Plato (427-347 SM)

Plato was a Greek philosopher student of Socrates who had the same philosophical views as his teacher. However, Plato was a more systematic thinker than his teacher. One of the results of Plato’s thinking is about the idea which according to him is a reality that can actually be recognized by the five senses if from everything that exists. Plato was also the founder of the Platonic Academy in Athens, the first high school in the Western world. In the view of physics, Plato agrees with the thoughts of Pythagoras. Plato always thought it was important for human beings to do physical exercise, mostly if they had purpose of becoming a well known leader of society. Physical exercise or now called sports are also good for health, especially football which turns out to be the most popular sports based on a media that specifically talk about football thoroughly.

4. Zeno Citium (490-430 SM)

Zeno is an ancient philosopher who is slightly different from other philosophers. While many philosophers use reason and knowledge to interpret nature, Zeno spends his time thinking about the paradox of motion and plurality. Zeno also has many self-initiated paradoxes, such as the concept of infinity which was later debated by later generations of philosophers.

5. Thales (620-546 SM)

Thales was a philosopher who produced many ideas, one of which he stated that water is the basic principle (in Greek arche) of all things. Water is the base, principal, and basis of everything that exists in the universe. Thales has also been named the Father of Ancient Philosophy by historians.

6. Pythagoras (570-495 SM)

Pythagoras was a classical Greek philosopher and founder of Pythagoreanism. He was also a mathematician who succeeded in creating the Pythagorean Theorem, one of the key calculations in geometry. Many of Pythagoras’ ideas have influenced modern philosophy. According to the Athens Insiders report, Pythagoras was the first to teach that the shape of the earth was round.

7. Anaxagoras (500-428 SM)

Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek

is a civilization in Greek history starting from the Archaic Greek period in the 8th to 6th centuries BC, until the end of the Ancient Age and the beginning of the Early Middle Ages. This civilization reached its peak in the Classical Greek period, which began to develop in the 5th-4th centuries BC. In this classical period Greece was ruled by the city-state of Athens and successfully repelled the attacks of the Persian Empire. Athens’ golden age resulted in the conquest of Athens to Sparta in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. With the conquests of Alexander the Great, Greek culture, known as the Hellenistic civilization, expanded from Central Asia to the western tip of the Mediterranean Sea.

The term “Ancient Greece” was applied to an area that spoke Greek in Antiquity. Its territory was not only limited to the peninsula of modern Greece, but also included other territories inhabited by the Greeks, including Cyprus and the Aegean Islands, the coast of Anatolia (then Ionia), Sicily and southern Italy (known as the Greater Greece), and other Greek settlements scattered along the coast of Colchis, Illyria, Thrace, Egypt, Cyrenaica, southern Gaul, the eastern and northeastern Iberian Peninsula, Iberia, and Taurica.

By most historians, this civilization is considered the foundation for Western Civilization. Greek cultural norms had a strong influence on the Roman Empire, which in turn passed its version on to other parts of Europe. Ancient Greek civilization also greatly influenced language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and the arts, driving the Renaissance in Western Europe, and a resurgence during the Neo-Classical revival of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and America.

5th Century BC

Athens and Sparta allied themselves to face a powerful and dangerous foreign threat, the Persian Empire. After suppressing the Ionian Revolt, Emperor Darius I of Persia, Emperor of the Achaemenid Empire decided to conquer Greece. The Persian offensive in 490 BC ended with the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon under Miltiades the Younger.

Xerxes I, son and heir of Darius I, tried to conquer Greece again 10 years later. However, a large Persian army suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Thermopylae, and the Greeks were victorious in the Battles of Slamis and the Battle of Plataia. The Greco-Persian Wars continued until 449 BC, led by Athens and its Delian League, by this time Macedonia, Thrace, and the Aegean and Ionian Islands were all free from Persian influence.

The dominant position of the Athenian maritime empire threatened the position of Sparta with its Peloponnesian League, which covered the cities of mainland Greece. This inevitable conflict culminated in the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC). Despite repeated success in stopping the war, Athens was repeatedly pushed back. The Plague The plague that hit Athens in 430 BC and the failure of a military expedition to Sicily greatly weakened Athens. It is thought that a third of Athenians died, including Pericles, their leader.

Sparta succeeded in provoking the revolt of the Athenian allies, and as a result crippled Athens’ military power. An important event occurred in 405 BC when Sparta succeeded in cutting off Athens’ food supply from the Hellespont. Forced to attack, the crippled Athenian naval fleet was crushed by Spartan forces under Lysandros in the Battle of Aigospotami. In 404 BC Athens appealed for peace, and Sparta determined the terms; Athens had to lose its city walls (including the Long Wall), its navy, and all its colonies overseas.

4th Century BC

Greece entered the 4th century BC under Spartan hegemony, but it was clear from the start that Sparta had weaknesses. The demographic crisis caused Sparta’s power to be too broad while its ability to manage it was limited. In 395 BC Athens, Argos, Thebes, and Corinth felt capable of challenging Spartan domination, which led to the Battle of Corinth (395-387 BC). This war ended with the status quo, with Persian intervention interspersed on behalf of Sparta.

Sparta’s hegemony continued for 16 years after this event, until Sparta tried to impose its will on the citizens of Thebes, Sparta was defeated at the Battle of Leuktra in 371 BC. The Theban general Epaminondas led the Theban troops into the Peloponnesian peninsula, causing many city-states to cut ties with Sparta. The Theban troops succeeded in entering Messenia and liberating its people.

Deprived of land and colonized people, Sparta fell into a second-class power. The hegemony of Thebes continued to exist even though it was short-lived. In the Battle of Mantinea in 362 BC against Sparta and its allies, Thebes lost their important leader, Epamonides, although they were victorious. As a result of this defeat, both Thebes and Sparta suffered heavy losses so that neither of them nor their allies could gain dominance in Greece.

The weakening of the various city-states in the heart of Greece coincided with the rise of Macedonia, led by Philip II. Within twenty years, Philip had succeeded in unifying his kingdom, expanding it northward by cornering the Illyrian tribes, and subsequently conquering Thessaly and Thrace. His success was due to his innovations, which reformed the Macedonian army. Philippos repeatedly intervened in the political affairs of the southern city-states, leading to his invasion in 338 BC.

After decisively defeating the combined armies of Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Khaironeia in 338 BC, Philippos became the de facto hegemon of all of Greece, except Sparta. He forced the majority of Greek city-states to join the League of Corinth and ally with it, and prevented them from attacking each other. Philiposp began an attack on the Achaemenid Empire, but was killed by Pausanias of Orestis at the start of the conflict.

Alexander the Great, Philip’s son and heir, continued the war. Alexander defeated Darius III of Persia and completely destroyed the Achaemenid Empire, and incorporated it into the Macedonian Empire. Due to his prowess, he earned the title ‘Great’. When Alexander died in 323 BC, Greek power and influence was at its peak. There is a fundamental change in political, social and cultural norms; further away from the polis (city-state) and increasingly developed into a Hellenistic culture.



In running the economy, a country needs an ideological basis so that all functions can run properly and regularly. Many ideologies are adopted by various countries in the world, including capitalism. Well, here’s a further explanation of this ideology.


Capitalism is an ideology that believes that capital owned by individuals or groups of people in society can realize human welfare. In its application in the economic system, it is possible for every citizen to control capital and business with the aim of making a profit.

One of the salient features of this system is the minimal state intervention. Indeed, the government can still apply regulations, for example, including the amount of the minimum wage. However, the government is not actively involved in national production planning.

In the 19th century, this concept began to emerge from a Scottish economist, Adam Smith. He coined the theory of “The invisible hand”, which believes that the balance of the market can be formed naturally based on supply and demand.

One of the things that benefit the capitalists is transacting in the free market. Due to the intense competition between sellers with the same product selling, those with capital tend to be able to create more innovative products. This makes their products much sought after by buyers. The higher the demand, the price of goods can be increased at will, moreover there is very minimal government intervention in regulation.

Furthermore, this understanding emphasizes individual rights in managing capital. This greatly affects the distribution of income. If you have a lot of capital and manage it successfully, a person can reap wealth and give it to the heirs when he dies. So, it is unlikely that wealth can be distributed to people outside the kinship circle.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages Capitalism

Like any financial system, capitalism has its advantages and disadvantages. The first advantage is a more efficient and effective use of resources. This happens because the owner of the capital has set a target to get the maximum profit. In addition, people’s mindsets are more creative because they are faced with high competition. What’s more, unique products tend to be more in demand by consumers.

However, the implementation of this system also has disadvantages. Because access to capital can only be owned by certain circles, imperfect competition in a free market cannot be avoided. This is the root of the occurrence of market monopoly. Furthermore, this capitalist system causes entrepreneurs to only focus on money so that other problems such as the welfare of workers are neglected.

The next bad impact faced is the threat to the sustainability of natural resources. Because the owners of capital set a large profit target, exploitation of natural resources will be carried out on a large scale without thinking about the sustainability aspect.

Examples of Capitalism

Despite much opposition from some economists, in fact capitalism is still going on. One example of its application is in America, especially during the leadership of Donald Trump. The capitalists or owners of capital can do many ways to get big profits, including pressing the price of labor to the lowest level. Meanwhile, those who do not have access to capital are even worse off.

The election of Joe Biden as the new president certainly provides fresh air for economic improvement in America. Biden plans to increase the personal tax based on the amount of income he receives. Of course, income from these taxes can play a role in improving the welfare of those who are left behind.

Another example that can be seen directly is the presence of modern markets such as malls and supermarkets. Unconsciously, this modern market is slowly starting to displace the existence of traditional markets. The convenience and convenience of shopping makes consumers more interested in spending their money in modern markets, from shopping for clothes to kitchen contents.

Capitalists do have to spend big money when they want to build. However, the reciprocity of the benefits is doubled. Meanwhile, traders who sell in traditional markets can be eroded over time.

This is an explanation of what capitalism is and an example. Indeed, one of the advantages of this system is that it can achieve maximum profit, but only applies to those with capital. Welfare inequality also occurs because not all individuals can access capital and start businesses.

Classical Economics

Classical Economics

In the world of economics, many theories are used and of course each has its own problems. So, you must know about classical economics and modern economics in order to adapt to current conditions.

Before proceeding to the discussion of the problems, let us first get acquainted with the understanding of classical and modern economics so that we can understand them more fully.

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Understanding Classical Economics

adam smith

Classical economics was first popularized by Adam Smith, who said that a free market would form its own equilibrium. This means that the market balance does not need any intervention from certain parties.

In this way, supply creates its own demand so that aggregate production will generate sufficient income to cover all the resulting expenditures.

Characteristics of Classical Economics

The following are some of the characteristics of classical economics, among others.

  1. The economy has a free enterprise system, meaning that it automatically returns to a position of equilibrium by itself.
  2. In the occurrence of the system, the government does not intervene. The government’s role is to enforce the law and build economic supporting infrastructure.
  3. Sellers and buyers automatically form a market price for these goods.
  4. The wage rate is determined based on the law of demand and the law of supply of labor.

Classical Economics Problem

Based on the characteristics above, problems will arise in the economic system itself, including the following.

1. Production Problem

The first classic economic problem is the problem of producing a product. Producers (in this case the company) must know and predict exactly what goods and services needed by consumers are and in what quantities must be produced so that they are not too much or too little in the market.

This makes the production problem also think more about its production projections.

2. Distribution Problem

Second, handling and tackling distribution problems and ensuring that the distribution of goods to consumers can be of safe quality, on time and in the right quantity.

3. Economic Problems

And the problem that is the least accessible is when the product reaches the market, you have to know whether the product will be consumed properly and according to needs or even wasted because the market turns out to be no longer in need or even the price reaches the consumer’s hands is very high.

So, the problem is not only with producers because they are confused about production, but consumers must also be able to increase their income to be able to buy the goods that are sold and needed.

Understanding Modern Economy

In general, the modern economy is an economic system that must be able to meet unlimited human needs with limited resources, so the problem is very complex.

Modern Economic Problems

The following are some of the problems that arise in this super complex modern economy.

1. What goods and services are produced and in how much (What?)

The first modern economic problem must be closely related to the production of goods and services.

Here, producers must know to determine what goods and services must be produced with limited available resources, how large the amount of production and also at what price is right to sell.

All of this must be carefully considered because human wants and needs change rapidly, but the resources to buy them are very limited. If there is a miscalculation, producers will suffer losses, and even go bankrupt because their goods are piling up in vain.

Moreover, the era is digital and there are more and more similar products. Research is important to find out the needs in the market.

2. How to Produce The Goods (How?)

Second, after knowing the number and types of goods to be produced, the next problem is how to produce cheap and effective goods.

The available resources are very limited and producers must be able to determine the most efficient production technique for them to save production costs.

How many employees. What technique is used. In addition, producers must also be able to determine whether to produce with human power, or with the help of machines.

3. For Whom Are The Goods Produced? (For whom?)

Finally, who will enjoy the products that have been produced?

Basically, the benefits of goods and services produced are not only for consumers. But there are other parties who receive benefits.

Spinoza Ethics

Spinoza Ethics


Benedict Baruch de Spinoza or better known as Spinoza emphasized that humans are part of nature, what humans experience is a necessary event, with the certainty of the laws of geometry. Human emotions and behavior are not something outside the laws of nature. Soul and body, spirit and body are the same. Humans cannot choose their actions freely. because the actions taken by humans are actually the same as the fall of a stone that is thrown up. Humans only feel free because they do not understand the causes of their actions and the causes that determine why humans want certain things and have certain motivations.

Humans cannot choose what they want and what they don’t want to do, nor can they choose between good and evil. Therefore, Spinoza consequently denies the possibility of judging an action as just or unjust, sinful or meritorious, the judgments themselves being necessarily given. According to Spinoza, an ethic that wants to advocate a change of life makes no sense against the backdrop of determinism. What is possible is an analysis of human actions, motivations, desires, and feelings. Then the question is ethics is nothing more than that? Doesn’t ethics at least want to show how humans can live better, more useful, happier lives? What’s the point of looking for ethics unless people can change?.

Such questions may remain difficult to answer. Spinoza’s situation was similar to that of the Stoics. The Stoics too had a deterministic view, but he wanted to show how a wise person can live more calmly and steadily. From Spinoza, a fairly difficult thought is required. On the basis of the total determinism of thought and content, humans find the possibility that humans can improve the quality of their lives through their own efforts.

The starting point of Spinoza’s teachings is emotion. According to Spinoza, every individual being, human, animal, or whatever is intrinsically trying to defend himself. This effort is called conatus, which is an experiment or basic effort. The basic effort of all providers is to defend themselves. Conatus is identical to the essence of each provider. So whatever exists seeks to defend itself and to increase the power of its activities. The basic effort is encouragement. The basic effort drive is reflected in the consciousness consciousness as desire. Desire is the most basic human emotion. When humans are in the process of transitioning to a stronger state, the desire is in the form of pleasure. Conversely, if the transition to a lower state is reflected as feelings of sadness or pain. Therefore, pleasure, pain, and desire are the three basic human emotions.

Through his ethics, Spinoza tries to explain what we really mean when we judge something as good or bad. Good is all kinds of favors as well as what produces a feeling of pleasure. Evil is any feeling of pain, especially that which thwarts our desires. Similar to the teachings of naturalism and the teachings of Epicurus, Spinoza said that what is good is what we want and bad is what we do not want. According to Spinoza, human emotions are determined, including judgments about good and bad.

Read Now: Ancient Greek

Passive Emotions

At first glance all emotions seem passive. But there are also active emotions, that is, emotions that flow from the spirit insofar as it is active. The more one understands and understands the logical relationship between ideas, the more one is active or not passive.

Active Emotions

Active emotions can only be associated with desires and pleasures, but not with feelings of pain. These active emotions show themselves as strength of heart (fortitudo) and can be divided into courage or magnanimity (animosity) and nobility (generosity).

Spinoza’s ethics taught that in order to progress morally, humans must progress in understanding. Humans must form ideas that are in accordance with reality and are clear, so that human views become correct. Truth means that humans have true ideas, including about themselves. When humans allow themselves to be dominated by passive emotions, we are prevented from getting clear ideas. Human eyes will be closed. Humans understand, and understanding means overcoming the feeling of pain. Understanding is the path to human happiness, freedom from the shackles of negative emotions.


Vintage Yachting Games

This year, 54 years after the fall of the International 12 foot dinghy off the IYRU-list, we shall witness an historical moment: the start of the official return of our dinghy on the international scene. In September, we are going to officially participate in the Vintage Yachting Games Copenhagen. For these games we shall use the now well established tradition of the Friendship Series of the 12 Foot Classical Wood Club, under which the slight variations of wooden International 12 ‘s as they race in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey and Japan can all participate,  sometimes with some slight modifications of their rigging system. Rules are stated in the Copenhagen NOR. This web page contains further explanations and information only.

Vintage Yachting Games, Copenhagen 18-22 September 2018.

International 12 foot dinghy Class.

Notice Of Race


Organised by: Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub

The Vintage Yachting Games is a quadrennial competition event for ex-Olympic Yachting Classes: Europe, International 12, 2.4 Metre, O-Jolle, 12m2 Sharpie, Flying Dutchman, Yngling, Star, Soling, Dragon, 5.5 and 6 Metre. Her supervisory board consists of the Presidents/Chairmen of above classes. This year, 2018, they are held in Copenhagen, 18-22 September. The Vintage Yachting Games Organisation VYGO works with the international class organisations. Sailors represent their national class organisation. If none exists in their nation, they shall represent their international class organisation.

Copenhagen 18-22 September 2018.

For the International 12 we now have registrations from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands. We hope for participants from Japan. The well-known 12footCWC tradition will hold. So, as the Copenhagen NOR states, we race with wooden clinker built international 12’s, built according to the original design, and shaped, rigged and fitted accordingly. Vintage dinghies will generally be accepted, round wood should be solid, sails should be fixed to boom and lug (yard) such that no profitable in-race adjustment is possible. There should be no gear for profitable in-race adjustability of the mast foot. A boom marline is allowed but not required. On individual cases the International 12 class organisation shall decide with or without request.

We cherish the company of international 12 sailors from other continents! Our Japanese and Turkish International 12 friends and others are invited to apply for lending or hiring a local International 12 foot dinghy at box.

For details and questions: ASB4

Race Waters

Oeresund, E of Skovshoved and Hellerup Harbors just N of Copenhagen. The race areas are 25 miles (38 km) South of Helsingor (Hamlet’s Elsenore) where the Sund is just over 2 miles wide and the tides get blocked. The dinghies will be at Hellerup harbour (yes that has changed). The race areas start less then a mile off the coast. All winds between NW and S are land winds. Distance E to Sweden is 12 miles (19 km).

Harbour, Lodging and Camping

The dinghies will sail from Hellerup.
Campers, caravans, tents: in Hellerup harbor Harbour camping and parking inquiries and reservation.
Camping also on: Charlottenlund Fortet, a nearby historial sea fort.
The 2018 VYG International 12 dinner will be held Friday 21 September at the Hellerup Harbour Restaurant.

The entry fee covers besides the use of the regatta centers facilities, regattas, storage and craning, the admittance of the opening-, championship dinner, price giving- and closing ceremony.

Do the Dutch “Grou” International 12 class event the weekend before Copenhagen!

Most Dutch Copenhagen participants will compete in the Grou (North-Netherlands) International 12 class event the weekend before. This is a big Dutch International 12-event that not rarely has over 40 participants. The Dutch International 12 Copenhagen participants will probably leave in convoy after prize giving in Grou Sunday night, have lodging/camping reserved past Bremen, Monday proceed to the Puttgarten ferry (3 hrs), and after the ferry one and a half hour to Copenhagen, ETA Monday 1630. Relaxed. Ample time to settle, prepare, fire the cannons and raise the glass.

For French, UK and Irish Copenhagen-participants the Grou event is almost on the way! The International 12 class organisation 12footCWC filed a request to incidentally apply the so called Kaag-rule to the Grou event, which allows foreign International 12’s to participate. Non-Dutch International 12 sailors are welcome to join the Sunday evening (17 September 2018) International 12 Grou-Copenhagen convoi and reserve for lodging camping at our post-Bremen stay for the night.



Anabasis, Eye witness report, written early -4th century by the Athenian Xenophon, of a 100,000 head rebellious Persian military campaign, marching from the Aegean East coast all the way to the Persian Capital Babylon, and the return of 10,000 Greek mercenaries after defeat.

Read More: ASB4

A Military Campaign

What misery it must have been for those people living 2400 years ago along the route of Persian prince Cyrus’ monster army, marching from the East Aegean Sea coast to Babylon in order to oust Cyrus’ brother, king Artaxerxes.

The start of a new section of the eye-witness report I am reading typically goes like this: “and then we travelled 20 parasangs [5.3 km, an hour’s march] and reached a good area with many inhabited villages and much cattle”. Provision need for Cyrus’ army per day should have been roughly 50 tons of meat, 50 tons of grain, 50 tons of onions, 15 tons of garlic, or its caloric equivalent. I would rather not go into graphic detail about the state this army would leave such an area behind. Let me just do the calculation and leave the rest to you imagination: suppose the “good area” harboured a tribe of 5,000 and the army would stay there for four days only. The stock consumed of such a tribe would amount to

4 * 100,000 / 5,000 = 80 days

That is an amount of food that was planned to maintain that tribe for 80 days or almost a quarter of a year.  And those would be winter days, because from mid winter to late summer harvest time, such stocks would not be available. An 80 days food stock would only be there right after harvest time, when the tribe has prepared its winter stocks, so armies typically marched in autumn, as they did until well after Napoleon’s time.

So after the army is gone the tribe is left with winter coming and no food.

Great Men of History, like Cyrus, Alcibiades, Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon and what have you, were worse than winter itself, even worse than overexigent feudal lords. Any passing of such Great Heroes meant winter death of all except who would be taken (virgins, boys, the latter far from only popular with the Greek) or accepted by the army. That is also why we see my eye-witness reporter, when showing himself satisfied with what appeared at the horizon, employ the expression “inhabited villages”. They were not the first army passing.

It was undoable to collect in stealth an army of 100,000, even if the build-up happened scattered. Cyrus handsomely tried but failed. His brother Artaxerxes, who already once was about to kill Cyrus, but got prevented by their mother, got air of it in Babylon and understood the purpose.

Cyrus’ army included 10,000 Greek mercenaries, in good mood, led to expect few worries and good booty, by being left, like the rest of the army, in limbo about the aim of the march. And our dear esteemed reporter, a “guest” of Proxenus, a Greek general. Tourist! Enjoying the landscape and dining with his host, prince and the rest of the general staff. The name’s Xenophon, in his thirties,  rumoured to have been one of Socrates’ boyfriends when a minor, at least having shown by some of his writing to have profoundly internalized Socrates’ teachings. Later he writes even to have taken Socrates’ advice when embarking on the trip.

Such reading, nowadays prohibited at schools I hope, was given to me on my gymnasium for its lofty display the Greek Roots of Our Civilization – and now, in the end, I have restarted thinking they were right after all. (Let me honestly add that our teacher rightly thought of Xenophon’s Anabasis as a nice, clear and simple first reader in Greek.)

Also, they tore out nails and teeth, and cut arms, legs and balls: when the army would kidnap you, as a local, to show the way through some area, you knew you were lost, since sooner or later you would cease to know the road, which your captors would not be ready to believe until after decent torture that would leave you dead.

Shortly after, few would remember exactly where those virgins, boys and new soldiers had entered the army. Sucked into the Eastward moving monster-machine they liked to forget it themselves: the hostage syndrome, another brilliant ruse of nature, refined in Darwinian evolution to become a boost of mankind’s competitiveness in Nature. Who would not be ready to forget his family facing this awesome food security and formidable protection? Follow our leader, here we go!

What first amazed me in the Cyrus-Xenophon landscape, but generally in that of Antiquity is that, technically, there is no necessity at all for war (defined as struggle between groups of the same species): there was plenty arable land everywhere. For thousands of years, people could have continued farming in peace by extending over good “virgin” land. Yet, the smarter guys shun the farming career, train themselves as fighters and warlords, inviting themselves and their armies for dinner at the homesteads of peasants. That in turn prompts a competition in that parasitic trade, triggering heroic battles of some warlords against others, and all that. Hundreds of thousands of people die while the earth’s crust, then so much more beautiful than it is now, had more than plenty to feed everybody peacefully, in a way that would not overstretch anybody’s energy.

But leave those errand thoughts: who has them only sees his own incapability of understanding human nature as codified in the human genome and consistently revealed in the gruesome history of jewry, christianity and islam. We are not built to deal with each other as peaceful cows.

Warlords consume people, their wheat and their cattle. The vacated arable developed land will soon be discovered by others and taken into use. Then after a year or two you can come back to “harvest”.

Have you heard that argument in political land ownership disagreements: “We were here first?”. Then now you know the answer: “If that is so you are lucky you’re still alive”.

The rhetoric is that of heroism, bravery and nobility, rewarding good with good and bad with deserved demise. From Homer’s Iliad till well after Napoleon’s Russia campaign.

Just in case any anger pops up in you, it helps when we just face it: you and me are just two specimens of the species. Its scientific name is Homo sapiens sapiens.

Resignation hence is appropriate. And detached observation. And independent thinking.

Truth Revealed, Battle Lost

When half way the army learns the true mission, that makes for a crisis: among the Greek soldiers the mood is to go home. Clearchus, pretending to keep their side, thus to be in conflict with Cyrus, cunningly reconciles them, though that needs a wage rise.

More distressing news trickles through about Babylonian army build up and neighbouring armies joining. Cyrus in problems sustaining the bravery of his soldiers. And a row in the army between the Thessalians and the Spartans, almost leading to a small Greek battle, barely controlled by Cyrus. Then still far from Babylon, trails of some 1000 enemy horses explain why henceforth al fields and villages passed are burnt. A warlord at Cyrus’ side, starting to feel the enemy party now was better to be part of, offers to grab the enemy platoon, got sent, planned to defect, gets betrayed, arrested, returned home, court-martialed, sentenced to death and killed, though Xenophon feels unsure: the last time seen he was still alive and nobody ever saw him again.

Now, if Xenophon is right, we sense the reason for the hesitation of the soldiers: Xenophon quotes a million for the enemy army! But we should simply not believe this, for we go into:


A Cyrus piercing the enemy lines towards his brother, wounding him before getting killed himself also has the distinctive smell of a Homeric rat.

So, we shall never know how, but the “noble” prince Cyrus died. At Babylon, the highest civilization of the time. The Greek suffered only few casualties. The aftermath cat-and-mouse end game of the following days is in the river estuary where, like in Dutch history, the military defense makes use of highly controlled local inundations.

There the able, cunning and, Xenophon holds, treacherous generals of Artaxerxes manage to divide the remnants of Cyrus’ army and murder the complete army-top of the Greek, invited for a cordial dinner, one escaping on horse-back, holding his entrails to prevent them from dangling behind him, to home the message. The dead include Xenophon’s host Proxenus and the brilliant and charismatic Spartan commander Clearchus.

The Greeks end up at the far side of both big Mesopotamian rivers, that is, on the left (East) bank of the Tigris.

Xenophon Takes Return Trip Leadership

Xenophon takes over, but not after a decent dream sent by Zeus the God of gods, that he manages – to the modern reader’s surprise – to interpret in this vein.

There he is, philosopher’s boyfriend with 10,000 Greek desperadoes. An impressive army, enough to, say, conquer Egypt (in post battle negotiations, Artaxerxes declined their serious offer to do so). But the monster needs food. Every day 5 tons of meat, 5 tons of grain, 5 tons of onions, 1.5 tons of garlic, or its caloric equivalent.

Fortunately for Xenophon, also some experienced generals with insufficient rank, leverage or naivety to join the fatal dinner, survived. No wage, no booty. Home. But how? They decide to go North (NOT the same way back of course: scorched earth, no food).

Tissaphernes, satrap in the West, neighbour of the Greek, leading his men, taken East to help Artaxerxes vanquish his brother, back home, is erroneously, in my view, not instructed to chase the 10,000, obviously on the same route, before him as fast as he can, thus minimizing damage, but instead harassing and blocking them. Pushed on the back foot in this operation Tissaphernes even starts burning villages to avoid Greek acquisition of provisions. A smart idea? Knowing both armies in the same boat, the Greek consider to do some burning of their own and compete a bit in empty stomach fighting to bring Tissaphernes to reason.

Simply halting should do it as well, I would think, though nobody considers it: Tissaphernes’ boys want home, and for want of provisions no army can stay on the same place. But whatever, this is the last time we hear of Tissaphernes. Up-mountain towards the water shed we face a local tribes defending themselves by cunningly doing the wrong thing: obstructing the Greeks, who had no option but to march on at any cost, even if few would survive.

Command seems to require rhetorical persuasion, at least Xenophon loves it. Since he got in charge he could report his own speeches instead of others’. Brilliant, well composed treatises about which option will be the one to acquire provisions, security against the enemy and good progress towards the motherland. Proud of his professional persuasion, proudly revealing to us readers that in private he often entertains motives different from the ones ornamenting his speeches.

Another absolutely required leadership skill in those times was the dissection of entrails. Their colours contain the messages of the gods: attack or evade? Make the alliance or shun it? Sometimes an oral colour report is mistrusted by the soldiers, and the whole thing had to be publicly redone, invariably with resounding consistent results.

Xenophon depicts himself as a humble but born leader, well able to steer 10,000 scary desperadoes. What man he wants to be seen to be is read in all necrologies he unfortunately already had to write thus far in the book – we have been dying like rats. The necrology of Cyrus is the loftiest, though at our multi-millennium distance it can’t prevent us from judging Cyrus – like all others – the thug he should be to be capable of doing what he did: elsewhere in the book Xenophon shows himself perfectly aware of what is the real supreme quality of any top leader: to be able to display intentions, make promises and even take oaths with the total body language of someone who is serious, and be able to reassume such trust generating body language whenever in the company of anyone who not (yet) operationally needs the knowledge of his well-designed intentions of breach; and the ability to fathom any counterpart in agreements trying to do the same. But this is nowhere to be found in his ridiculous necrologies. O! Those human front lobes!

Fighting left and right, climbing Northward, out of the basin of the Euphrates and Tigris the Greeks get well above the 2000 m level, bare legged through blinding snow, towards the water shed. Not a small high mountain section: 120 km or so, mountains there really only start going over in downslopes at 50 km from the Black Sea. We’re still far from there.

Kurds and Armenians already there (Turks will need another small millennium to arrive). Another enemy pass-block. Now it has become routine. Calmly Xenophon proposes to circumvent the pass by “stealing a march”, playfully challenging general Cheirisophus, whom he claims, being a Spartan should be the best thief of them two. Cheirisophus, with equally playful force, argues, from his good knowledge of Athenian life, that Xenophon, since he is Athenian, no doubt has that honour.

A number of hostile and less hostile tribe encounters later they approach the coast of the Black Sea, were the climate is bearable again. And there it is! “Thalassa! Thalassa!” (“The sea! The sea”), is a famous string of the book. Right there is Trapezus, the first Greek colony.

Back in The Greek World

In Trapezus Cheirisophus sails off to get transport ships from his fellow-Spartan, the Spartan high admiral Anaxibius, who happened to be at Byzantium.

Meanwhile Xenophon waits with the rest, organizing systematic looting expeditions to non-Greek settlements in the vicinity for provisions and capturing trade ships at sea, an backup-source for sea transport of the troops, using war ships borrowed from the Trapezians. One borrowed ship sneaked out with its crew, another captured quite some ships which they use to earn some money by entering the business of local sea transport.

Here Xenophon and the 10,000 have to thoroughly rethink themselves, for the rules of bounty and danger change: though still only approaching along the Asian coast, we are no longer simply surviving, this is trickier: we enter Greek politics. The Greek are dangerous to extort, and many of the non-Greek tribes they now pass on the way are Spartan allies or at least allies of Spartan allies. We deal with officials knowing wide areas, having smooth communication and capable, by lie or truth, to remotely set in motion against you invincible chunks of military power. But worst of all: they rule the place where you’re heading with all means: home.

And of course things were bound to get tight at Trapezus at short notice: provisions went rapidly down, looting targets ever more remote. Hunger. More trouble to keep your hands of nearby tribes friendly to Trapezus that should be spared for diplomatic reasons. And still no Cheirisophus with ships. Then they can’t hold any longer, march, row and sail with the few ships they have, Westward along other Greek coastal colonies, each of them situated isolated between local tribes, lootable, but clients of formidable Persia. If some of them have enough leverage we’re all dead.

Naturally, the Greek harbour towns have no reason whatsoever to be less worried than other towns about the news of the 10,000 approaching. Though your boy and daughter may be (may be) safer, your food gets swallowed just as fast. Some Greek towns shrewdly provision the 10,000 on the condition they massacre some unfriendly neighbouring tribes. That’s done then, with wise company to show our 10,000 the subtle local distinctions between friend and foe. Meanwhile Cheirisophus is back, a good fellow indeed, since he is empty handed. Other smart Greek cities manage to keep most of their provisions by providing fast ships to sail on, on the condition that our numerous murky company boards immediately, al citizens praising the gods for the Easterly winds.

Meanwhile the soldiers see much they desire, could not care less, and must be energetically withheld from looting. Murmuring raises it ugly head. Moreover danger is down, so we have time to come back to the scores we had to settle among each other.

Some soldiers consider to start their own business as independent warlord, conspiracies form agains Xenophon himself. The 10,000 split in ethnic factions. Arcadians and Achaeans, then Spartans under Neon, who gradually takes over from Spartan general Cheirisophus, ill and about to die. And a rest under Xenophon that he wisely refuses to characterize ethnically. As you would guess, the Spartan faction breaks solidly through to Calpe, 100 km from Byzantium. The Arcadian-Achaean faction gets thoroughly beaten while looting, and is rescued by Xenophon – only because he feels he could not survive without them. They swear to have learned their lesson. O, we are intimate friends again, for now a total demise against Bithynians and elite cavalry of Persian satrap Pharnabasus is a real possibility.

Total misery: we ran out of food. Moreover the colour of sacrifice animal intestines is unsuitable for attack. They keep trying until all animals are eaten: no more sacifice, network with the gods down. Chased from at their last meal, if it may be called a meal, by attacking Bithynians. This looks ugly indeed.

But lo and behold! Heraclea, a Greek town they have been firmly ad odds with, brings some emergency aid. Including animals, so we even can sacrifice again! And the colour of intestines is … positive!

Looting goes best with some food in your body. And we need to bury a lot of dead Arcadians and Achaeans. A lot of energy wasted, but yet you do it.

The huge enemy prepares but there is no way back. We beat ourselves through and reach “our” Spartan contingent in Calpe.

There we all wait for Byzantian governor Cleander’s boats.

Cleander appears. With two (yes 2) war ships. No transport ships. His staff includes Dexippus, the deserter who stole one of the two warships borrowed by the 10,000 from the Trapezans to do some piracy, and sailed of to Byzantium. And Dexippus had told Cleander a fine story.

After some frightful expert intrigue from both sides Xenophon is intimate friends with Cleander and we do not hear about Dexippus anymore.

We do a last round of looting and make a market at Chrysopolis, opposite Byzantium at the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, to sell the booty.

The Byzantium Predicament

Byzantium, Europe at swim distance. And we’ve just finished three quarters of the book.

Byzantium. Later called Constantinople, now Istanbul, controlling the Bosphorus, the small strait connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmora leading to the Dardanelles, another small strait, and then to the Mediterranean. At the European side you see a few little Greek harbour towns (which we would now call villages), but mainly Thracians. At the Asiatic side, where we still are, we see a few Greek village “towns” and a lot of tribes controlled by the Persian satrap Pharnabasus.

Byzantium had been Athenian but was now controlled by the new Greek superpower Sparta.

While the 10,000 were still approaching on the Asian coastline, and had broken through his elite cavalry, Persian satrap Pharnabasus had already asked himself how to deal with the sizeable murky company at minimum cost, and had decided to  send a messenger to Spartan high admiral Anaxibius: “please sail those boys over and I will fulfill your wishes in all respect!”

Now Anaxibius, the Pharnabasus offer in mind, invites the 10,000 leadership over to Byzantium for deliberation. He promises work and money. Xenophon was not at these deliberations. He prepares to head home. But Anaxibius is dead against it. Xenophon should cross with the 10,000; what could he do? He complied.

A Thracian, of the peoples inhabiting the area around the Greek harbour towns at the European side, appears on stage, interested in the 10,000. His late father got knocked off his throne and he wants it back. But Xenophon tells him they will cross anyway, so there’s nothing to negotiate now, the can see later if a deal is useful.

Exactly where to we disembark at the European side? A crucial question in the light of the havoc we shall now witness, but we are ill informed.

For on the next lines of the book the 10,000 are inside Byzantium town. Within the walls. Within the gates. And Anaxibius wants them out. Who for god’s sake let them in?? We shall never know.

While Anaxibius is at his unenviable task, Xenophon prepared to leave and pays his goodbye visit to Byzantium governor Cleander. That was not a smart thing to do. He got ordered to lead the 10,000 out of town first.

The 10,000, expecting roll call, military assignment and food, leave town and head where Anaxibius is preparing his speech.

Anaxibius clears his throat and recommends to head East where the Thracians form good looting prey. No military assignment, no food.

And Anaxibius made two technical errors: 1. he insufficiently strenghtened the town walls’ and gates’ defences against a far from imaginary 10,000 disgruntled mob rule siege. 2. he started his speech too early, so his words propagated backward along the men marching out, and thus reached the last ones who just left the gate where a nervous high officer Eteonicus stood ready with an impressive beam to decently shut it.

When Eteonicus did so, returning soldiers threatened to break it, but another few were still inside, which made things easier. Other soldiers climbed a breakwater to reach a place where the weakly guarded wall could be climbed.

Looting the Thracians? Then let us start here! Citizens fled in their houses, trade ships, war ships.

Xenophon gets, in his own beautiful Greek, “sucked” into town with the masses of “his” men “worried about the fate of Byzantium”.

Anaxibius outside, seeing no use in further addressing the chicken, calls a fisherman to sail him around town to go the defense of last resort, the acropolis. It urgently needed its commander, it was about to fall to 10,000 desperadoes without one!

This looks stupid. Too stupid. Anaxibius’ informers in town may have been shrewdly misled to erroneously report all soldiers were out. Or some had hidden themselves, may be even on Xenophon’s orders. And we ask ourselves who led them in town in the first place. This story stinks.

Does not now everyone want Xenophon dead? One side for treason and the other for its failure? No! This, according to Xenophon, is what the soldiers cry: “Now, Xenophon, is the time to prove yourself a man. You have got a city, you have got triremes, you have got money, you have got men; to-day, if you only chose, you can do us a good turn, and we will make you a great man.”

Ad interim acting governor of Byzantium Xenophon orders the 10,000 into rank and file on Kalumenos Square “to limit the damage to Byzantium”.

Well, there you stand. What do you say? Another fine speech by Xenophon, the longest, it seems, thus far, I summarize: “That was a good idea of you all to conquer Byzantium! I am not surprised you feel cheated and angry! I am sure we are now all in the mood to loot Byzantium. But! Where would that lead? Let us first do some thinking:  we shall be at war with Sparta and all their allies. Remember how the Spartans even subdued Athens! And where could we retreat if overpowered? South at the Persian side everybody is against us: we have been fighting with Cyrus, and on the way back we have looted all we met. My dear men! They will come from all sides to kill us. And from the Greek side you will even see your own relatives attack you! Sure we will never see our homes and die here! What a disastrous and miserable end of our lives! I propose we send a messenger to Anaxibius to say we did not reenter Byzantium to loot, but to kindly ask him for provisions that would allow us to reach home, and if such is not available to show him that at least we do not go because we got tricked but because we obey!”

Message incoming on Kalumenos Square. Sender: Anaxibius, acropolis. It is read: appreciate the discipline of the 10,000,  will report accordingly. At present engaged studying the situation and considering what to do.

Suddenly out of nowhere a Theban general appears at the square. If that is a purely private initiative the man, from my personal stance, is a magician. He is ready to lead and feed the 10,000.

OK then. The 10,000 leave town again. With Xenophon. Whoever stays inside shall be sold as a slave, Anaxibius shouts. Outside, the general brings food.

Xenophon wants to head back in. Cleander is dead against it but Anaxibius, about to be replaced as high admiral, and preparing his leave himself offers to take Xenophon at once. OK then.

Outside town the Theban general quickly runs out of food and gets chased. Deliberation among the 10,000, while quite some sell or, after a spectacular price fall, even simply drop their weapons and sneak out.

Anaxibius and Xenophon sail out and at once meet Aristarchus on his way to replace Cleander as governor of Byzantium. Anaxibius tells him he ordered all remnants of the 10,000 still roaming in Byzantium to be sold as slaves. On Artistarchus’ arrival Cleander turns out not to have done so. Swiftly, Aristarchus knocks down to the hammer and sells over 400 of them.

Next, Anaxibius and Xenophon pay a visit to Pharnabasus, who mind you, had promised “everything” for the bravery to sail the 10,000 over to the European shore. And hadn’t they succeeded miraculously against all odds?

But Pharnabasus had been informed  about Anaxibius’ replacement as high admiral and told our murky duo that the creditor in this deal now is new Byzantium governor Aristarchus. Anaxibius grabs Xenophon’s throat, tells him to bring the 10,000 back to the Asian side to organize a decent intimidation stand-off in combination with a short instruction to the satrap in clear Persian, and kicks him on a warship to go get them.

What can you do? On arrival at the 10,000 Xenophon is warmly welcomed, since they are, with knifes drawn, in prospectless deliberation with the new Spartan leadership. Xenophon stays far of that, they want him dead there. Seuthes is in the market again. Xenophon lets the 10,000 stop the talk with Aristarchus c.s. and first accepts Seuthes offer to do something  about the hunger: Seuthes knows some well filled villages of vassals of the present king of Thrace, whom he want to kick off his throne. While eating, we continue the talking.

Neon and Aristarchus (do not ask me why) go deep to frustrate a matters, but a deal with Seuthes gets made.

In the subsequent Seuthes campaign the 10,000 do too well: too many Thracians join, the Greek influence at court weakens, pay gets overdue.

But the gods come to the rescue: the Spartans have to fight Tissaphernes again and come to collect the 10,000. With transport ships. Meanwhile anger and distrust among the soldiers about overdue Thracian wages reaches the point where in a plenary meeting it is proposed to stone Xenophon to death.

And Xenophon would not be Xenophon if he did not go for a decent speech. The longest thus far, but I skip it since meanwhile Eurylochus of Lusia smartly whispers to the Spartans: “Why don’t you make Seuthes pay and we go?”. And Seuthes paid, though he was broke: in cattle.

“Well, my boys”, Xenophon said, “it is time for me to g …”, but he had to bring them to their new Spartan commanders first, they felt. (Do not ask me who would have done it had Xenophon been stoned to death.)

At Lampsacus, it seems, but it is not altogether clear, is the transfer to the Spartans. There, Xenophon meets his friend Eucleides, who congratulates him with his safe homecoming and asked what it yielded him. “Upon my word” Xenophon answers, “hardly enough to get home, I will have to sell my horse and all that’s left in my pockets”. I reads like somehow he regarded it as crediting his balance.

And the 10,000, under their Spartan commanders, set out to wreak havoc in the lands of Artaxerxes’ satrap Tissaphernes, giving him ample opportunity, after a full and closed round of 7000 kilometers again to curse the late prince Cyrus.