Pause to eat breakfast (4)

By cheri block

Yesterday (May 19, 2010) 1st Class on Alcibiades

The gods divided our seminarians into two groups of 15  people and off we went to our places around the table. Five women and ten men comprise our group. Will it surprise you to learn that the majority of the participants are….drumroll…..attorneys?

Suffice to say, opinions about law, government, intention, and political theory fly around the room freely and (ahem) confidently.

Perfect. I settle in with my literary look at the material and feel cozy in my spot, lodged between two large men who are history buffs. They also ate quite a bit of the wrapped candies on the table. I stuck to my water. This is serious material, so I don’t want be dehydrated.

There is so much to share with you all about the first class and about Alcibiades, about a wonderful interview I conducted with Eva Brann (Google her if you have time), and about the morning spent wandering around downtown Athens, but at this moment, Judge Blah is standing at the door, motioning to me to come with him to breakfast.

And since an enormous demonstration will start in about 2 hours (which I promise I will photograph and report on), I guess I’d better heed his wishes.

More this afternoon (when we have been told to stay here in the hotel).

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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21 Responses to Pause to eat breakfast (4)

  1. s block says:

    I would suggest that of all the great professions lawyers have a stake in Greece, the origins of democracy and the rule of law. IN fact, the presence of lawyers and government types in Greece is even more demonstrated in the Romans wholesale transposition of the Greek jurisprudence to Rome including the Twelve Tables. So go easy on those lawyers Cheri. They are likely lonely and burnt out and are are searching for the ancient roots of what became their life’s works.

    Man of Twelve Tables

  2. Man of Roma says:

    Cheri, what you are doing is simply superb. I thought yourstudents from California were into the thing, but now I hear there are ‘drumroll’ attorneys all over the place. But, I hope your students are there too. Much prefer students to attorneys I’ll confess (judges are much better.)

    I posted some hasty materials on Alcibiades at ‘Who was Alcibiades? (2)’. This Eva Brann seems a great humanities scholar. You American Hyperboreans don’t ‘just’ go to Greece, you bring scientists, scholars, like Alexander the Great when he had his little ‘trip’ to the East.

    And, the picture above, the street & the old widow in black makes me feel in the South of my country.

  3. Cheri,

    How fun to be with you in spirit. In another life I was an attorney and once I really needed a good one. Sooner or later we all usually do.

    Hope Judge Blah buys you a hat to remember your adventure. You have the perfect face for a hat.


  4. andreaskluth says:

    I hope they’re integrating your location into your seminar — ie, that you’re not just sitting with American attorneys in a room eating candy.

    I’ve never been there, btw. I wonder: Can one still walk from Athens to Piraeus?

    • Cheri says:

      The walk from ancient Athens to the Piraeus would be very far, maybe 10 miles. To get there now, one would take a metro and get off at the Piraeus Station.

      Now, instead of triremes, cruise ships are parked.

  5. Heather says:

    So many attorneys in the seminar? Are you sure you didn’t accidentally get delivered to Tartarus?

  6. Cheri says:

    You know, Heather, I hadn’t even considered that. I’ve had the sense all week that other entities were about.


    I was just observing that with more than half of the seminarians either practicing or retired attorneys, there is a lot of talk, albeit insightful
    ( note I am now covering my tush in case one of them is reading my blog…)

  7. Sablock says:

    I would have hoped with the venue representing the origins of Democracy in a country economically failing on a Road to Serfdom due to socialism, that comments about us lawyers would be more sophisticated. The rule of law, of course is the force against which non democratic corrupt governments must wrestle. It doesn’t surprise me that there are many lawyers involved. Along with you literally giants, it demonstrates how quality lawyers do have a passion for the very rule of law that allows this blog in the first place. My best to the lawyers.


  8. Cheri says:

    As Judge Blah would say, Fair comment.

    I would observe that many lawyers speak first and listen second.

    Am I wrong?

    • Sablock says:

      No more or less that a percentage of teachers, doctors, clergy and the press. But don’t slip into pop culture that would throw out all the lawyers Tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bath water. And I remind you that Ghandi was a lawyer and practiced for 20 years.

      Man of Roma, before avocatos (sp) orators spoke on behalf of complainants at the forum. The Twelve Tables appropriating Greek laws were placed in full view of the common man so he or she knew what their rights were. It was considered I’mportant for the common man to know what the rule of law was. Am I correct? For me, I would always want an exceptional lawyer to move agaist the excesses of government.

  9. Man of Roma says:

    Cheri, Greece may not have triremes any more, but, despite her being totally negligible as an economy, she has one of the biggest mercantile fleets in the world (all those beautiful islands etc.).

    Not by chance Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, the Kennedy widow, married the Greek shipping magnate (and very Turkish-faced) Aristotele Onassis (Αριστοτέλης Ωνάσης), whose full name was a bit pompous to tell the truth: Aristoteles Sokrates Homer Onassis.

  10. Man of Roma says:

    My dear Sablock – I recognize you from the guitar, since you often change nick – you have a bizarre personality (in the good sense), which automatically brings me to like you very much!! Since I am most bizzarro too, without a doubt.

    I know very little about law, but it seems natural to me that the Twelve Tables were appropriating Greek laws. The Romans were second-rate Greeks, the Etruscans themselves were heavily influenced by the Greeks too, so the Romans had no chance but to be a bit Greek even before they actually met them. The Greeks themselves considered the Roman a weird but interesting type of Greek coming from the uncouth periphery of ‘their’ culture.

    L’avvocato. How can I love avvocati? Rome today has more avvocati (ie lawyers) than the rest of Italy! AND, Italy has more avvocati than the WHOLE of West Europe!

    Possibly in the place you’re from avvocati are a valid defence against the excesses of government.

    But here, they are a hideous (tho powerful) lobby that impedes we get out of the chaos of our legislation, since they ‘thrive’ from it! That this is also a survival of our ancient past doesn’t make me happy at all. Avvocati mostly are South people. In the Greco-Roman world to be an avvocato was considered prestigious. This sort of race to become an avvocato we have in our partly undeveloped South (or to become a military, or a politician, other appreciated careers in antiquity) is one of those survivals of antiquity – like the Mafia btw – I would gladly get rid of. Period. It makes Italy, a modern country, lame a bit.

  11. Man of Roma says:

    Sablock, are you Richard in disguise btw? 🙂

  12. sablock says:

    I am not Richard but thanks for the compliment.
    We have too many lawyers too and due to a lack of mentoring and enculturation, some lawyers don’t get it. And yes, we have grid lock in government sometimes and often lawyers are involved.

    But to judge all lawyers based on the excesses of a few is unfair and marginalizes those lawyers who are carrying the touch consistent with the highest standards of civility and ethics. Most people I know who have excellent lawyers, love their lawyers and realize how important they can be. So that’s my only point. And I suppose I get tiresome of those who have no idea of how much hard work is associated with what we lawyers do.

    I don’t think the average person, and even a lot of highly educated people understand what the rule of law is and why without it, we would be in big trouble.

    I think in order to discuss this properly, my wife and I should meet you in Siena or Rome and have dinner. Is there are need for mediators in Rome? That’s what I do.

    You have a beautiful country and many wonderful people. La Mama ha fato ‘il gnocci?? Let me know when she does and I will fly over; I will bring the wine.



  13. Man of Roma says:


    Mediators .. it can be interesting but, business apart, you two can come whenever you like. Fun and exchanges are better than business. I have a place for 2 in my house – 400 yards from the Colosseum – and another place eventually. Bring TONS of wine. Or bring NONE since one thing we don’t lack is this gift from the gods. Gnocchi we make 2-3 times a week. Mama, my wife, is sunny and sociable (my email is at my blog.)


  14. Sablock says:

    I agree on the business thing. You are very gracious; I hope you ran this by Mama before extending the invite.
    I will take the same risk. Come to Sacramento and we will drive west to San Francisco and then East to zlake Tahoe. And time permitting north to the Napa valley. It’s pretty hot here in the Central Valley but the summer evenings are to due for. You would be at home as I BBQ the meat and vegetables on the grill including Steve’s tomatoes bellisimo with fresth garlic and finished with a slice of mozzarella that is quickly smoked.



  15. Richard says:

    Steve, I am silenced by your overstatement of my worth.

  16. Man of Roma says:

    So Steve, it is agreed. You have my mail. My wife and my daughter are the business people. My youngest daughter and myself, we help them with ideas and work, but we are more dreamers and musicians (both engineers, though in different ways.) From Cheri’s ‘About Me (again) Oh dear’ page I infer you to be Cheri’s brother. Which is certainly further guarantee of your worth. And, let me tell you, you sister is a wonderful person and of course we all love her very much.

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