@coursera_myth Assignment 2: Female sexuality boundaries in Imperial #Rome

 Ancient Greek & Roman Mythology Assignment 2  {Coursera / Penn University}

In this course, we have introduced Functionalism, Structuralism, Freudianism, and Myth and Ritual theory as tools to examine our myths. Choose one of these tools and use it to analyze one episode in the Greek tragedies or the portions of Vergil’s Aeneid or Ovid’s Metamorphoses that we have read for this class. It is up to you to decide how long or short an episode is. The best answers to this question will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the theoretical tool, and will use it to reveal something new in the episode under consideration. You may NOT repeat a specific result, using one of these theoretical tools, set out in lecture. Move from the evidence to your conclusion with careful attention to detail. Avoid generalities.

Female sexuality boundaries in Imperial Rome

Virgil writes the Aeneid in times of great political change; the former Roman Republic has given way to an autocracy by Augustus, as sole ruler of the “Imperium Romanum” [1]. Literature and myth written during that time convey multiple social conformities of the era or at least the ones that the Roman Emperor would like to establish. Reading Aeneid’s Book IV, the tragic tale of a woman abandoned by her lover, withholds multiple meanings when viewed from a functionalist perspective.

Dido is infatuated by the Trojan hero, Aeneas; she seems “…fetter’d in the chains of love” [2]. However,  to exhibit her love fervor “by no sense of shame“[2] is unheard of. Virgil stresses through myth that Imperial Roman society would have any attempt “to perfect this affair” [2] remain in hiding, for nothing but shame would be the result; thus Juno cloaks the infamous cave scene in “a pitchy cloud” [2] surrounded by the sounds of a tempest.  This sexual interaction hardly meets the expectations of matrimony for the Romans, thus it is portrayed as a mere “lustful” union of bodies. For an “univira” [1], a one-man woman, to appear less than modest was considered a social hubris. Dryden’s translation is indicative of Virgil’s disproval:


Painting in oils, ‘The Feast of Dido and Aeneas by François de Troy, 1704. Source licensed under CC: http://www.artnet.com/Artists/LotDetailPage.aspx?lot_id=12F5C9013F565317D88FCF849473A0A8 (Retrieved 24 June 2013 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Feast_of_Dido_and_Aeneas_by_Fran%C3%A7ois_de_Troy,_1704.jpg)

Lost in their loves, insensible of shame,

And both forgetful of their better fame. [2]

Dido believes otherwise; yet for a woman to uphold “pudicitia” [1], i.e. remain virtuous certain procedures ought to have taken place. It wouldn’t seem inappropriate for a widow to remarry in ancient Roman times, yet the carnal, non-sanctified affair is deemed as untimely and controversial for a woman of nobility.

The myth goes on to invoke  the Gods, in order for Aeneas to flee in seek of his destiny and as stated in-text “to redeem his honor lost” [2]. These strong words for the epic’s protagonist denote that sexual desire and liberal affairs with a woman of a certain class seldom abide by male duty and honor, too.

Virgil appeals to the reader’s empathy for Dido as he concludes Book IV; still her tragic end is imperative. Could it be that her sister speaks the poet’s mind, as she tries to reawaken the Tyrian queen in vain?

At once thou hast destroy’d thyself and me,
Thy town, thy senate, and thy colony! [2]

Dido has ruined her own life, her family and Carthage itself (!) not only by committing suicide but also by allowing herself to fall from grace. Why is it that Virgil requires a fatal blow for Dido? Again, functionalism justifies the myth’s means to a social end. Augustus had instituted a legislation to enforce piety among Roman women [1], so Dido’s symbolic erotic behaviour might have been illegal as well as immoral during that time.

To conclude, Virgil ‘s Aeneid highlights plenty of social norms during the Imperial Roman Era through a functionalist aspect of  his myth; Book  IV indicates, a woman’s place ought to be next to a lawful husband and not a lover; otherwise one must face severe consequences.

Works cited:

1. Burton, Neel. “Sexuality in Ancient Rome.”  Web Blog post. Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers LLC, 24 June 2012. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201206/sexuality-in-ancient-rome&gt;.

2. Virgil. “Book IV.” The Aeneid. Trans. John Dryden. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://classics.mit.edu/Virgil/aeneid.4.iv.html&gt;


First – Year Composition 2.0 {Coursera / Georgia Tech} – Personal philosophy essay final (completely revised)

Embracing the utopian era of digitalized communication

Not a day goes by without me checking my online life. I have just finished my first cup of coffee and hastily eaten my sandwich. Not much of a breakfast but it will do. Second cup of coffee is brewing, while I boot up the laptop – thank God for Window 7, that Vista system took forever, I contemplate as I yawn. My throne my revolving IKEA chair awaits. First I open my e-mails tab, second tab belongs to Facebook  – should I open Twitter? – nah… leave it for later. Let’s open Google calendar  – oh crap, MOOC deadline today? – I don’t have time for a philosophical essay!!!   I do this regime almost every day, perhaps each time opening a different website or maybe accessing data from my cell instead of my laptop. For Christmas, I usually ask Santa for a new gaming PC or an iPad and I am a girl! Shouldn’t I be asking for new shoes or something? I beg to differ.

I am a digital native; I belong to the generation Y. Having said that, I have reinterpreted the term “generation gap” between us and the non digital literates as a complete and utter communication barrier. Thus, I would advise people to reconsider their hostile inclination towards technological tools. We live in a society of informatics. Information is digitally displayed everywhere, virtually enhanced, accessed and shared by millions of people every day. Our modern-day amenities include at least two or three digital devices. Companies now take a look at their future employee’s Facebook. Television has finally found a decent opponent. I could receive a piece of information in the news interpreted one way or I could surf the Internet – which I do – to find out multiple versions of the “truth” and personally decide which one is convincing or not. And yet there are people  – in the Western World – who are against social online connectivity and the use of technology, refusing to learn so much as to e-mail. Don’t get me wrong, in case an environment lacks the technological infrastructure, it is perfectly understandable to grin, while reading this text. The digital divide has yet to be bridged around the globe. However,  isn’t it anachronistic to remain a sworn enemy of progress at the dawn of the 21st century in parts of the world where progress actually flourishes?

I cannot fathom why a person would shun today’s technology, especially when it comes to considerably simplifying communications. I also don’t see the point on regarding  social media as spying tools. Number one, CIA and Interpol can spy you anywhere,anytime, they hardly need Google+ / Google maps / Google period. Secondly, what is it that you have to hide?






Manon Lescaut ( by Abbé Prévost) analytical paper

The Fiction of Relationship {Coursera / Brown} – WEEK 2 HOMEWORK



Symbiotic relationships: the shortcomings of youth

Symbiosis might qualify for a true definition of the ideal love; each partner mutually depending on the other, forming a beneficial co-existence. Age and maturity substantially contribute to such a state between a couple. I would assume the alternative term, fusion, the union of two separate individuals into one entity, even on spiritual premises, was perhaps unheard of in the 18th century and highly doubtful whether it can truly be achieved even by today’s standards. Siding with a somewhat cynical approach of the novel, I am inclined to suggest that the couple’s ill-fated story was one of co-existence, taken to an extreme, but symbiotic? Hardly.

Enter Manon, a young lady, forever infatuated by new temptations to expense. (p. 72: §119) Her poorest of backgrounds didn’t allow for many choices to earn her living. Satisfied with finding affluent, funding suitors, she trespasses on de Grieux’s intense amour, callously suggesting that whom one beds is not necessarily whom one loves. Precarious words in the case of our protagonist, who foolishly believes that her figure transcends into a divine dimension, equal to that of Magdalene or – blasphemously – God himself. Manon puts her own individual self and lust for luxury above all costs, even that of her dignity.

Web. Retrieved 17 June 2013 from http://www.livre-ancien.eu

His uncontrollable passion for the woman is so intense that he soon spirals into a chain of unlawful actions in order to subsidize their bond;  his newly found thousand sentiments of pleasure (p. 22: §39) drives  him in defiance of family, church, law and social order. His idea of love, sanctified in his state of mind, justifies the means to an end. Yet, how can one expect mere children of our age (p. 28: §49)  discovering sexual ecstasy for the first time – in case of the man in our story – take love seriously?

Pleasure and plenty she loved too well to sacrifice them for my sake (p.77: §128), he exclaims frantically when he faces the danger of losing her affections over his own material deficits. In a sense symbiosis here is substituted by  emotional leeching. Manon sucked on de Grieux’s feelings, he on the other hand was pumping more blood in his affective veins, nonetheless. Modern psychologists would likely call it sociopathic or a serious case of mental obsession on his behalf. It is no wonder that his only true friend, Tiberge, perhaps acting as the voice of a fictitious, wiser, older brother this time, puts aside his empathy and curses the wretched union: “…and may you yourself remain alone and deserted, to learn the vanity of these things, which now divert you from better pursuits!” (p.97:  §156)

All in all, the novel symbolizes fiction of a non symbiotic relationship, hence not reflecting a true love story but rather a doomed, youthful, carnal infatuation, which led both individuals to their demise.

Works cited:

Prévost, Abbé. Manon Lescaut. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Project Gutenberg. Web. 17 June 2013. <http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/468&gt;.

#Clmooc Week 1 Introductions


Making Learning Connected: The MOOC


Yet another cMOOC this week – it seems I am experimenting with those lately. We were asked to introduce ourselves and to do so include our digital alter ego, an avatar. She looks a bit fierce, come to think of it! Any thoughts?

My google+ entry in the MOOC’s community:

Hi everyone! So time for introductions – I created an avatar, using ageofgames.net since I hail from the epic/high fantasy gamer community – My name is Roza, I am currently a grad student at the Hellenic Open University, researching the use of MOOCs in German language teaching. So far I have managed to complete like 10 MOOCs – mostly the xMOOC kind – and I will try to create my own experimental one for the purposes of my dissertation this year. My blog is mostly a collection of my MOOC homework and some creative writing / gaming / opinionated articles on the side. Glad to join you!

Ninja Zombies: Why #gamers like to #game

Crafting an effective Writer: Tools of the trade {MSJC / Coursera} Week 5 Journal Writing 1 and Final writing Assessment

Module 1 Writing Activity

Pick one of the four topics listed in the Week 5 writing assignment and choose the topic that most appeals to you for your final, peer-reviewed paragraph. Once you’ve made your choice, start with the first step of the writing process, inventing, and try a few of the methods to develop your ideas.  If you find that the topic does not seem to be working, try developing another topic. Once you’ve developed some good ideas for your paragraph, move to the second step, organizing, and construct an outline that you can use for drafting your paragraph.

Topic #2 
Identify and describe a favorite activity or interest and provide at least four reasons why this activity or interest holds your attention and/or is enjoyable to you

cluster (mind mapping) brainstoming week 5

For the purposes of this assignment I chose the  “cluster” brainstorming technique, mentioned in the course and as always I employed an appropriate digital tool for the job, called Mindmeister. Here’s the final paragraph for Week 5′ s final assignment.


For the Unit 5 final writing assignment, you will compose a direct paragraph, one that has

  • a title;
  • a clear topic sentence;
  • a fully developed body, which includes necessary and sufficient details and examples;
  • necessary and appropriate transitions;
  • a logical conclusion; and
  • a minimum of fifteen (15) sentences.

Before you submit your paper for peer review, plan to proofread for

  • subject-verb agreement errors,
  • pronoun-antecedent agreement errors,
  • shifts in verb tense,
  • faulty parallel structure, and
  • comma, capitalization, number, word choice, and spelling errors.

You should imagine your peers in this course as your readers/audience. Because of the diverse population of students enrolled in this course, you need to be keenly aware of the need to provide details and examples that are clear and precise. Keeping in mind a living audience, rather than one you imagine, will help you convey more reliably the value of your perspective in the topic upon which you choose to write.

Ninja Zombies: Why gamers like to game

Among recent pop culture trends, gaming is considered one of people’s most favorite pastimes, myself included;  however, video games seem to signify more than a mere pastime. Choosing to spend one’s free time in front a computer or a console constitutes a highly immersive experience, though quite addictive at times, too. First of all, video games are plain fun; while an obvious argument in support of this hobby, it is also a convincing one. For instance, when a player unlocks an achievement, occasional laughter is accompanied by a feeling of self-satisfaction, marking the gaming experience as a personal accomplishment of a difficult task. Furthermore, gamers develop social skills. With the advent of social media and cloud based services they may share game content or feedback on their progress globally, as well as collaborate with people in-game around the world at the same time. On a smaller scale, people playing on a console, like Playstation or XBox, can enjoy themselves with family members at home by simply attaching a separate controller, thus creating a family shared experience. Moreover, game studies have shown that problem solving skills are being boosted throughout interactive media. Gamers, engrossed in the shooter genre, are often more capable of receiving critical decisions quickly. Similarly, strategy video game enthusiasts possess tactics and planning insights. Were you aware that frequent Angry birds players bear a large amount of mathematical and geometrical abilities? Finally, video games personally interest me since they promote vast research interests. As of late, the marketing sector seeks to incorporate game elements in customer services (gamification);  online education providers are also experimenting with gamified content to promote motivation during the learning process. For example, unlocking a badge – a sort of virtual “sticker” on-line as a reward for a task well done – was actually inspired by video games. To sum up, while the majority still frowns upon video games as “a waste of time”, as a member of the digital native generation Y, I tend to regard  them as tools for creativity, inspiration, fun and potentially employment opportunities. Food for thought: are you prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse scenario? Gamers are…

Personal #writer’s transition: From pen and paper to #digital drafting

Crafting an effective writer: Tools of the Trade {Coursera / MSJC} – Forum question

Think about the process you follow when you compose a piece of writing. Do you follow a series of steps that work for you? If so, share the steps you follow. After reading about the five step writing process detailed in this unit, do you think that your process of writing could be enhanced?



Whenever I have to jot something down quickly, I just scribble some words on paper. But when there’s an assignment, essay, article or something like that I skip the whole traditional process and fully utilize the media. It wasn’t always like that  for me, of course. I ve had serious trouble accepting e-books and the fact that clicks would take the place of flipping through pages. Still as time goes by, I am getting used to technology enhanced writing / reading.

The stages of writing: 


I ‘ve always started with listing as a brainstorming technique. I like keeping things linear, I am also obsessed with structure – well at least I try to keep it that way. To do so, I usually benefit from a note taking app on my desktop – this is really useful if you re using mobile phones as well – if you see something of interest, note it down on your cell, maybe take a picture. Visuals are great when it comes to supporting your writing. You may even consider writing based on something you saw and captured your attention.

Freewriting usually works too.

Audience and purpose: 

Contemplate what it is you are actually writing about and maybe imagine your average reader (he could take the imaginary form of a tiny avatar for fun’s sake). Post your drafts on a blog and ask for feedback. At first you might get one or two hits, but don’t be discouraged. Once the Internet embraces your presence, you will gradually enrich this process and at the end of the day get your own audience. Most of all, drafting will become a dynamic process.


The crucial think about writing for academia is evidence and that takes a lot of time. Most of the time I prefer to digitally highlight some important ideas from an article / text (bibliography). Bookmarking webpages also works when surfing Internet’s  vast ocean of information.

If it’s creative inspiration I ‘m after, I place a small footnote on short stories or novel pages, concerning what I liked or didn’t like, again using digital note taking tools.

Drafting and Revising:

For me it’s both happening at the same time. I write something, I decide I don’t like it, I write something else instead. I think the most basic point here is: RETURN to your work. I ‘ve personally spent hours on end on a single article. Writer’s block? Maybe. I would probably go with fatigue. Take a rest, press SAVE and then come back to drafting / revising after a day or two. It will still be there but you will start fresh. And that always works wonders for you, trust me.

Editing /  Punctuation  / Spelling: 

Check. This takes seconds. Just open spell checker and maybe a polishing tool on the web. Typos be gone! If you had received any feedback from readers or peers – or your Mom – incorporate it wisely.

Retrieved 12th June 2013 from: http://jsandhouse.files.wordpress.com


You can’t really tell if your personal writing process will stay intact forever. I have to admit that as technology advances maybe the current tools I am using will be rendered obsolete in a couple of years. Still, since it is a matter of personal taste, I wouldn’t worry about “formalities” such as writing stages though. Can you really cage creativity?




#GodsWillBeWatching game analysis

This post is my response on #rgMOOC co -op {week two}


Gods will be watching” is a survival game, available on the web for free. The storyline unfolds in the bleak future; the year is 2257 A.D. Essentially the player assumes the role of Sgt. Burden, who along with a group of field specialists comprise a research group (registered as part of the Everdusk Company for the Universe Knowledge).

They venture towards a unhospitable planet called Sineicos in search of evidence regarding the paralyzing Medusea virus; alas they are attacked and all their research work is stolen. On the verge of despair the group must find a way to repair their damaged radio in order to transmit an alerting message to the orbiting station which will enter the planet’s communication radius within 40 days.

The group consists of the following members, each tasked with a certain activity, though all actions are controlled by the player:

  • the psychiatrist.
  • the soldier
  • Marvin, the dog
  • a robot, named Br4n -Don
  • an engineer
  • a doctor
  • Sgt. Burden

Each click assigns only one activity – apart from the aforementioned tasks the player can choose to check food rations, ammo or medical supplies storage data. Respectively that also consumes “clicks”. There is a variable “click limit” for each “day”, so the player needs to choose his actions wisely. Typically, game difficulty climaxes each time the group loses a member, so again caution needs to be exercised.


Though hardly an eye candy, this relatively tricky survival game demands time and constructive strategic decisions in order to keep the group alive. Behind the curtain lies an elaborate manipulation of human priorities and basic instincts.  I personally tested my skills the first time, deeming keeping the fire burning and food supply rations high as imperative; the result, was having people going mad from not talking to them. Survival instincts kicked in or would have in most player cases, since the scenario is toying with primal needs – can one really keep them in check at the same time? Food and heat certainly made it to the top of the list but within a group – lest one is savage – communication and social interaction should go hand in hand with primitive desires. Not only a current but an ongoing social concern is to experiment on whether the human being is indeed Aristotle’s ” social animal” by nature or – pun intended – a mere animal, aiming for the survival of the fittest, as the law jungle (in this case the planet) has it.

Interestingly so, the game features another implicit social directive. At the end of the game the title changes format: “Gods have been watching”. Is it the author’s intention to reassure participants that there is a God in this universe? One is profoundly astounded by the measure fate intervenes with human lives delving deeper into the changed sentence context. St. Burden does everything humanely possible to inhibit everyone in his group from going mad; still, there is no finite recipe or, well, the algorithm is really hard to find, if there is any. Thus, the group members disappear one by one, as the player  embarks on different game strategy approaches each time. Universally the laws of nature and fate are far superior than any human intervention. Not even the robot can save the day…

Gods deem that the group is damned in the wilderness of Sineicos. Real life on the other hand seldom gives you “clicks”, so make sure you use your only token wisely.

Retrieved 12 August 2013 from http://www.ludumdare.com

First-Year Composition 2.0 {Georgia Tech / Coursera} – week 2

Major Assignment 1: Personal Philosophy Essay

Compose a 400-500 word personal philosophy essay in which you lead your audience to recognize and understand why a specific belief is important to you. Before you begin, review the modules and slides from week two. Imagine that you are writing to another person enrolled in this course, someone who doesn’t realize that you hold this particular belief or that you hold it so strongly.

This essay is not fiction; instead, it is a way to share your belief about one aspect of your life. For example, you might write about one of the roles you play in your life, an important value you hold, a significant relationship you’ve had, a position you take on an issue, a personal goal, and so on.

Taking the red pill: Living in the  Matrix of conspiracy theorists


Human evolution has made our species stronger, brighter and more flexible; it has not, however, managed to save us from each other. Ever since the beginning of time, man rages war on fellow-man, inflicting pain and suffering in his wake. It is hard to blame human nature for being at fault; it sounds much easier to construct a scape goat, instead.

I marvel at conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones. They feed my need on attempting to explain the barbaric inner nature of the human race. It’s the ominous New World order regime or the faceless market conglomerates that prey on our innocent society. Them, I say, and not our endless lust and greed for more that causes the disproportional distribution of food and welfare. The blood sucking leeches,a.k.a. the banks, are responsible for our demise as a consumerist society; the fact that we were buying useless on credit, we couldn’t actually afford is entirely irrelevant. The wretched media are disseminating information as they please, withholding the truth from us! Can we handle the truth? Moreover, if we don’t like what we are watching, then how come we are still on the couch in front of the telly? We are being brainwashed by Hollywood, the conspiracy refutes. Of course, we are. Teenagers are starving themselves to look like Cosmo girls, because blondies emit strange, magnetic, radio waves keeping them away from the chocolate. At the same time, these girls lack proper attention from fellow humans, friends, family, themselves really. Even God has abandoned us in our hour of need. We seem to have left him first, I recall.

Take a good long hard look at ourselves – accept what we are capable of, mercy or utter evil, since we can practically do both, at the same time even! Our ego preceeds our social instincts. Ourselves are vastly more significant than others – perhaps we were “built” this way. I doubt if we are ever going to be able to survive within a globalised society, should we refuse to relinquish the “I” . Believing that corrupt politicians and satanic forces are paving the way to our destruction gives humans the benefit of the doubt as society’s true culprits. Still,  it’s our nature that is bribable and dishonest, politicians just manage to get away with it, that’s all.

When Neo had the choice between the blissful blue pill and the all knowing red one, he wanted to believe that there is something more out there, just like Mulder in the X-files, just like anyone in our modern pop culture. We want to believe – it’s just the popular thing to do. But there isn’t any Architect waiting to take responsibility for OUR own actions, I ‘m afraid.

Or is there?


The fiction of relationship – Week 1 assignment (Brown / Coursera)


Instructions: Respond to the following in your own words. Your response should be a single paragraph of 75-150 words. 

Paying close attention to the common dictionary definitions when talking about both ‘fiction’ and ‘relationship’ write a paragraph asking yourself this question: what is the ‘fiction of relationship’? How can one define the dimensions of this phrase? Is it a paradox? As you see it, what bearing does this phrase have on the experience of our encounter with others, the others we find not only in life but in the literature we read?


Wikipedia quotes fiction as an imaginary work of art, invented by an author [1]. Relationships on the other hand may seem real, though hardly tangible as a notion. Relationships can be interpersonal [2] or intrapersonal, leading to self reflection and awareness.

One wonders, to what extend should we allow for fictitious literature to portray the reality of relationships? Fiction might be giving the reader a mere interpretation, yet we do seem to covet the author’s  personal view on human interactions; perhaps it is through his/her imagination we attempt to explain our own insecurities or fears for the “others” – even for ourselves – endlessly trying to delve into the hero’s or heroine’s role. Every self-proclaimed literature enthusiast feels at least once the urge to identify oneself with a fictional character.

We quote fiction as artistic – a fabric of creative imagination –  but isn’t life itself a form of dynamic art? To me, attempting to understand human relationships requires a bit of fiction or at least some source of poetic / dramatic inspiration. Fiction is the truth inside the lie [3] concerning relationships.



  1. “Fiction.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 July 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiction&gt;
  2. “Relationship.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 May 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship&gt;.
  3. King, Stephen. ““Fiction Is the Truth inside the Lie.”.” Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 June 2013. <http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8830-fiction-is-the-truth-inside-the-lie&gt;. Quotable Quote.