Q&A: The Golden Mean (Book, Annabel Lyon, 2009)

A bust of Aristotle.
A bust of Aristotle.

Hello everyone! While I do have a (hopefully) very interesting post on a Soviet propaganda film in the works, which I hope to get on the site by next week, and I may get another full post out on the weekend, today I am going to do a second post on The Golden Mean, by Annabel Lyon. I am doing this post because I was asked several questions about my first post, which I have done my best to answer here. So, with no further delays, here we go. Because this is a long one, continue past the link to see more.

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How Accurate Is: The Golden Mean (Book, Annabel Lyon, 2009)

Aristotle tutoring Alexander the Great; by JLG Ferris, 1895.
Aristotle tutoring Alexander the Great; by JLG Ferris, 1895.

Hello everyone! Today, I am going to be doing a book post, this time on The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon. This book focuses on the tutoring of Alexander the Great by the famous philosopher (and student of Plato) Aristotle from 343 BCE until (possibly) 335 BCE. This is a period of history surrounding which there is much speculation but little information; no details from the sessions survive until today, and so only the record of their existence remains. As a result, Lyon had a large canvas to work with, and she does not disappoint, providing a carefully constructed description of the tutoring and the effects it had on both figures involved, as well as a brief summary of the life of Aristotle himself through flashbacks. Essentially the only times in the book she deviated from the historical record, in fact, were when she filled in gaps in the historical record surrounding the life of Aristotle. I will list such examples of those as could be found here.

  • Aristotle’s second wife, Herpyllis, is presented in the novel as the maid of Aristotle and a childhood acquaintance; in fact, little is known about her except her marriage to Aristotle. However, her identity in the book is one of the more common theories surrounding her, so Lyon is as close to historically accurate as possible.[1]
  • As far as I have found, there is no record of Aristotle tutoring Arrhidaeus, the incapable elder brother of Alexander; it is likely this was a fiction on the part of Lyon so the relationship between Alexander and Arrhidaeus could be seen.
  • Although Lyons does not appear to weigh in specifically on how long the tutoring of Alexander lasted, there is some debate on the subject; estimates range between five and eight years.[2]

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How Accurate Is: The Social Network (Movie, 2010) Part 2

Facebook's headquarters beginning in 2009, a far cry from their newest building, which has an entire park on the roof.
Facebook’s headquarters beginning in 2009, a far cry from their newest building, which has an entire park on the roof.

Hello everyone! Because I know you are tired of this site only ever pointing out mistakes, today I am going to do a post on the things The Social Network did right. Please do not assume my previous post means the movie was entirely inaccurate; all this website tries to do is educate people on historical inaccuracies so that their views of historical events are not coloured by inaccuracies in popular media. With that said, here are several things that the movie did well.

  • The emails and blog posts present in the beginning of the film appear to have been quoted exactly as written; these were not dramatizations for the purposes of the plot.[1]
  • The depiction of Facemash crashing the Harvard networks was partially accurate; the Harvard Crimson says “traffic to the website was so heavy that [Zuckerberg] could not even log on to his own computer.”[2]
  • Zuckerberg’s anecdote about constructing a program that Microsoft wanted to buy appears to have been accurate; the program in question was named Synapse. Also true is the fact that he turned them down.[3]
  • The role of Eduardo in the business appears to have been related correctly, regardless of any disputes about the nature of his eviction from the company; he was, in fact, the first investor in the company.[4]

For more, continue past the link.

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