The other day Fr. Peter and I were reminiscing about taking classes with Fr. George Dragas. I shared with Fr. Peter a memory of one class where a student in passing referred to one of the Ecumenical Councils and was a bit unsure of the date. Fr. Dragas paused and said to us “You don’t know the dates and places of the councils?”. Here we were just a year removed from Church History class and, well, no one could name them. So he went to the board and wrote them all down from memory: Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople (553), Constantinople (680), and Nicaea (787). I realized at the time I should know them. Did I then go and memorize the list? Of course not. But now I will do my best. The conversation with Fr. Peter got me thinking…what other lists of seven should I know? I realize this stuff could well be considered trivia but I imagine back in the day a cultured man would be expected to know such things, so why not?
So…The seven hills of Rome? I can name off the top of my head the Palatine, Capitoline, Esquiline and Aventine. After further review let’s add the Quirinal, Viminal and Caelian. The seven deadly sins are gluttony, avarice, lust, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride (it is well worth exploring the original words to get a better translation and interpretation, though). We all know that the only extant wonder of the ancient world is the Great Pyramid of Giza. How about the others? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria all spring to mind. The others are the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia. I have never really known what the “Seven Seas” specifically were but have always understood it as meaning the whole world. And the Seven Dwarfs? I don’t think the girls have watched that one yet, which means my memories are from thirty years ago. Dopey? Sleepy? Sneezy? That is about all I can name. Let’s look those up as well…And according to this site Bashful, Doc, Happy and Grumpy (How could I forget that one?).