Archive for the ‘Literatura’ Category

►Greek Mythology: Pandora and Helen of Troy, Misogynistic Stereotypes” /

“Collaboration with Carolee Croft”🍎:

“Pandora” by John William Waterhouse. 1896.

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“With the curse, comes a blessing. Zeus wanted to punish humanity by creating you, the first woman, and by giving you that box filled with curses such as illness, war, and poverty. But if you look inside the box, one thing remains. It is hope”… (“After the Evil Spirits are Unleashed”. Carolee Croft).-

⇒♦ Introduction and Sketch of this post:

Greece is widely known as the birthplace of democracy, freedom of speech and thought, and egalitarian life. But in ancient Greece, women had no political or social rights. In Ancient Greece, males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, political and social privileges and authority. This, in practice came along with prejudices against women, belittling of women, and their exclusion, and Misogyny in many ways. 

In ancient Greek mythology, two of the female characters who fit (and fed) this patriarchal model are Pandora and Helen of Troy

Both, the myths of Helen of Troy and Pandora spring from cultural anxieties about female beauty and female sexuality, centered on the figure of the Parthenos – the girl at marriageable age, a figure who must cross from the world of childhood in her father’s house to the house of her husband. Both women cause tremendous damage, even to people beyond their immediate surroundings.

Pandora is the giver of all gifts craved for by Mankind. When Prometheus decides to steal the secret of fire from the gods, Zeus becomes infuriated and decides to punish humankind with an “evil thing for their delight”. This “evil thing” is Pandora, the first woman and Epimetheus´wife. Pandora carried a jar (or box) which she was told to never open. Pandora cannot resist peeking into the jar, and by opening it she unleashes into the world all evil.
Carolee Croft, in the second section of this post, wrote a brief story starring Pandora: “After the Evil Spirits are Unleashed”. Carolee presents here an all-encompassing perspective, as her story delves into what might have happened right after Pandora opened the mischievous box. 
Pandora could remind us of  Eve, who tempted Adam to eat an apple, taken from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Curiously enough (or not so much) Helen of Troy´s conflicting participation in the chain of events that led up to the Trojan War, starts with an apple, too. More specifically, a Golden of Apple, sometimes called The Apple of Discord. The so-called “Judgement of Paris” was a contest between the three most beautiful goddesses of Olympus: AphroditeHera and Athena, for the prize of a golden apple addressed “To the Fairest”. Paris chose Aphrodite, swayed by her promise to bestow upon him Helen, the most beautiful woman, for wife. The subsequent abduction of Helen led directly to the Trojan War and the fall of the city.
Pandora´s curse was her curiosity and disobedience, while Helen´s was her extreme beauty. These characteristics, under certain circumstances  could have once caused ominous effects. A clearly patriarchal society might have stressed these features, creating a quite negative perception and reception of these figures.

 1. ⇒♦ Women, according to Hesiod, Aristotle and Plato:

  
Hesiod described the first created woman simply as “the beautiful-evil thing”. She was evil because she was beautiful, and beautiful because she was evil. Being a good-looking man was fundamentally good news. 
Aristotle had no doubts that women were intellectually incapable of making important decisions for themselves. In “Politics” (1254b13–14), he states that: “As regards the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject”. Thomas Martin says that Aristotle´s view of the inferiority of women was based on faulty notions of biology. He wrongly believed, for example, that in procreation the male with his semen actively gave the fetus its form, while the female had only the passive role of providing its matter. 
According to Plato women are physically inferior, bear instead of beget children, and are generally weaker than men. But, in “The Republic”, he argues that women should be able to take on the same social roles equally with men in his ideal state. His ideas are based upon the view that women and men have the same nature in respect to acting as guardians of the state, except that the one is weaker while the other is stronger .
However, in a later dialogue “Laws”, Plato returns to the traditional view of women. He states the relative differences – which he had previously made out to be equal – would prevent women being in any way equal to men. He states that women  have an inferior virtue than men and warns about the dangers of freeing women from their confined, domestic role without giving them an alternative function, because this could lead to “sex indulge in luxury and expense and disorderly ways of life”.

 2. ⇒♦ Women in Ancient Greece:

Young women were expected to marry  (at the typical age of fourteen) as a virgin, and marriage was usually organised by their father, who chose the husband and accepted from him a dowry. 
Married women were, at least in the eyes of the law, under the complete authority of their husbands.
In the family home, women had to rear children and manage the daily requirements of the household. They had the help of slaves if the husband could afford them. Contact with non-family males was discouraged and women largely occupied their time with indoor activities such as wool-work and weaving. They could go out and visit the homes of friends and were able to participate in public religious ceremonies and festivals. Whether women could attend theatre performances or not is still disputed amongst scholars. More clear is that women could not attend public assemblies, vote, or hold public office. If a woman’s father died, she usually inherited nothing if she had any brothers. If she were a single child, then either her guardian or husband, when married, took control of the inheritance. In some cases when a single female inherited her father’s estate, she was obliged to marry her nearest male relative, typically an uncle.

3. ⇒♦ Pandora:

Pandora was the first female sent by Zeus to punish humans. In Greek mythology, the creation of Pandora is branded as the root of all evil. Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked by the sacrifices, stealing fire for man, and refusing to tell Zeus which of  his children would dethrone him. 

As punishment for these rebellious acts, Zeus sent him a woman made of clay named Pandora. Zeus gave her a box (or jar) and forbade her from opening it. Then he sent her down to earth, where her curiosity led her to open the lid. When she did,  all other misfortunes fled out. 

But, the patriarchal interpretation of these myths can be erased to show a different picture. Pandora, who is gifted in every way, entered a society where women play an unproductive role in society, dependent on men for all needs. Hence anxiousness,curiosity, and ignorance consume her. Pandora is also symbolic of the subconscious. She represents the human subconscious which is the deep seat of all emotion, fear and feeling. 

4. ⇒♦ Helen of Troy:

Helen of Troy, also known as “the Face that Launched a Thousand Ships”, was the stunningly beautiful mortal, daughter of Zeus and Leda. She came out of the same egg as her mortal sister Clytemnestra and she also had two brothers, the twins Castor and Pollux.

Helen’s name, which sounds similar to the word for Greece (Hellas), but also to a verb “to destroy”. This was exploited particularly by Aeschylus, who sees Helen as the “ship-destroyer, man-destroyer, city-destroyer”.

Back to Helen, it seems that Zeus wanted to reduce the human population, so he arranged for the birth of the two characters who would make the Trojan War inevitable: Achilles and Helen, representing “seductive female beauty and destructive male strength”. They have in common an extraordinary self-awareness and concern for their future reputations in myth and legend. Both were half-human, half-divine, Achilles being the son of the mortal Peleus by the sea-goddess Thetis, and Helen the daughter of Zeus in the form of a swan and of the Spartan queen Leda.

Owing to this parentage, she hatched from an egg – the first mark of her unusual, not-quite-human status. Helen is the only female child of Zeus by a mortal woman, an exceptional woman in this as in every other respect. Other versions of the myth suggest that she was the daughter of Nemesis, or “Destruction”.

From a young age, Helen was prone to getting abducted. When she was seven years old, the Athenian hero Theseus swiped her, but she was retrieved by her brothers, Castor and Pollux.

Years later, suitors from all over Greece began to court her, and took an oath that they would all fight together for her eventual husband Menelaus, whose main claim to fame was his wealth, won Helen as his wife.

Soon after, the Trojan prince named Paris was appointed to judge between three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. He chose Aphrodite, goddess of love, and gave her the Golden Apple which was labeled “To the Fairest”. But, as Helen was already married, Paris (Menelaus´s brother), Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan WarIn the ensuing Trojan War, Hera and Athena were implacable enemies of Troy while Aphrodite was loyal to Paris and the Trojans.

The Greek texts seem constantly to return to the issue of Helen’s responsibility for her actions. Homer depicts her as a wistful, even a sorrowful, figure, coming to regret her choice and wishing to reunite with Menelaus. But Sappho argues that Helen willingly left behind Menelaus to be with Paris. 

⇒♦ Conclusion:

Ancient Greece had periods of intense patriarchy. 

Greek mythology started out as being more feminine, particularly during the Minoan Age (2000-1400 BC). But, with the spread of the Indo-European groups become more masculine

During the Classic period (500-336 BC), Athena was the most important goddess.

This could be understood to be in accordance with a Patriarchal Society. As a matter of fact, Athena was born solely of her father, Zeus. As Georgia Platts says in her post “When Gods were Mothers”: “In Greek mythology Zeus planted his seed in the goddess Metis. But he feared a prophecy warning that his children would become more powerful than he. So he swallowed Metis. Which created an enormous headache. Only a double-headed ax implanted in his skull could relieve the pain. And out leapt Athena, fully grown and armed”.

And, as a Warrior Goddess, Athena mostly identifies with men. In Aeschylus’s “Eumenides”; Athena says, “There is no mother anywhere who gave me birth, and, but for marriage, I am always for the male with all my heart, and strongly on my father’s side”.

This association with males being the creative force of society is not accidental, as males were considered the civilizing and productive force of society. 

In this same line, Pandora and Helen of Troy are part of a social and political system that tended to identify the world’s evils and destruction with women. These legitimizing discourses concurrently provided men with certain “criteria for entitlement”, meaning  a strong, natural right of their primacy above women. 

During the Hellenistic period (336-146 BC), and, as the culture shifts, Aphrodite replaces Athena. Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, was born from the white foam produced by the severed genitals of Uranus (Heaven), after his son Cronus threw them into the sea. Although she was also born of male alone, she was worshipped  as one of the most important goddesses of the time and was depicted in many art works as the ideal woman, nude for the first time in history. She presided over sexuality and reproduction, necessary for the continuation of the community. Maybe that´s why Aphrodite was majorly worshipped by young women about to be married. And even courtesans and prostitutes. The close bond that the Greek felt to exist between fertility and the fruitfulness of the land lies behind Aphrodite´s connections with vegetation and the earth in general. By this time, love and partnership were seen as more important than containing or controlling women.

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► “After the Evil Spirits are Unleashed”, by Carolee Croft:

Pandora didn’t know what happened when she opened the box, but suddenly everything seemed different. There were footsteps in the hallway, and soon a young handmaiden burst into her luxurious chamber.

“The evil spirits are upon us!” her handmaiden cried, then fled from the room in a frenzy.

Pandora sensed the danger, but at the same time a strange feeling of satisfaction came over her. At least she had done something.

The gods had blessed her with many gifts: beauty, a quick and clever mind, the skill of weaving and sewing. This was all well and good, but she could only occupy so much of her time with crafts. A mind like hers needed stimulation, and there was no stimulation to be had when she had about as much freedom as a footstool. She was not allowed to hunt, nor to sit on the councils, not even to leave the palace grounds without her husband’s permission and an entourage of ladies.  

Was it curiosity that had made her open the lid of the box or just boredom?.

Either way, the spirits were unleashed, and now screams of panic reached even her secluded boudoir.

She always had to wait in her chamber until her husband, Epimetheus, would deign to visit. Now, he would probably blame her for this disaster. He was going to kill her!

The panic around her was contagious. She ran to secure the back door, then the front. At least for the moment, she would be safe.

Pandora collapsed onto the floor and sat huddled against the wall with her head in her heads, her eyes closed to block out the world. She knew it was useless to lock herself in. Soon the curse of the gods would be upon her too, not to mention the rage of the entire human race. 

Then she heard a soft rustle and looked up to find another handmaiden in her chamber. 

“How did you?… I locked all the doors”.

Then she realized, this handmaiden was amazingly tall and beautiful, and she had never seen her before around the palace. The scent of ambrosia radiated from her powerful looking figure. 

One of the gods was in her chamber. 

“Pandora, do not fear. It is I, Athena”. 

“Why do you come here?” Pandora asked, not quite believing she was safe from the gods’ wrath. 

“I came to give you good news. The box was always meant to be opened. Why do you think Zeus entrusted it to you? This is all part of a grudge he bears mortals.”

“How is that good?”

“Come over here,” the goddess picked up the box and beckoned her over to sit beside her on the pillows of the kline

Pandora obeyed, wiping away tears of despair.

“With the curse, comes a blessing. Zeus wanted to punish humanity by creating you, the first woman, and by giving you that box filled with curses such as illness, war, and poverty. But if you look inside the box, one thing remains. It is hope. Now, close your eyes, and you will see what I mean.”

Pandora closed her eyes, and suddenly a flurry of visions exploded in her mind. Endless generations of women, of which she was the first. Some lived in strife, but others found peace and even happiness with the men in their lives. Marriage was not always an oppressive duty. Many women would also be free of men’s oppression, but even the ones who were not completely free seemed to find ways to influence their husbands and sometimes get their own way. It was a sort of game, she realized.

She saw women using their wits to persuade men to do their bidding. She saw women raising their children and passing down knowledge. She saw women ruling nations. She saw women saving lives. These women were never powerless.

She opened her eyes. The goddess was gone, and now she understood what Athena wanted to tell her. 

Then she heard a loud knocking on the door. 

“What is the meaning of this?” her husband’s voice pronounced. “Come out here at once, woman!”.

No longer afraid, she went to the mirror and checked that her hair was absolutely perfect, then unlocked the door and opened it. 

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“Pandora”, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. 20th century.

About Carolee Croft:

Carolee Dixit: Enchanted by romance on page and screen, I have always tried to write my own versions of the perfect fairytale. As for real life, I believe I may have already found the man of my dreams, but I still haven’t found the dog of my dreams. I’m obsessed with Italian greyhounds. I can usually be found enjoying the outdoors or relaxing with a good book on the West Coast of Canada.

🌟💫Connect with Carolee: Blog, Amazon Author Page, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Carolee Croft..

Carolee Croft on WordPress: https://caroleecroft.wordpress.com/

An excerpt from Carolee Croft´s latest book, “Ariella´s Escape”:

Set in a medieval fantasy world, this is the story of Ariella, a lady warrior who is entertained by a male slave while on a dangerous mission.

(Note: The excerpt is the slideshare below, divided in three parts. Press Pause ⏸️ to get to read each part, starting with 1; and then click on ▶️ to move on).

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⇒Links Post: 
https://goo.gl/E6Y3udh
http://www2.ivcc.edu/gen2002/greek_and_roman_women.htm
https://broadblogs.com/2015/05/07/when-gods-were-mothers/
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1984/10/25/platos-women/
https://www.classicsnetwork.com/essays/the-nature-of-women-in-plato-and/786

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►La Poesía no Muerde. Two Poems:

I am very happy to tell you that my poems “Vértigo” (“Vertigo”) and “El Espacio de tu Ausencia” (“The Space of your Absence”) were featured at “La Poesía no Muerde”.

“La Poesía no Muerde” is a blog hosted by Hélène LaurentIt  is a collective blog in Spanish which Poetry prompts are usually triggered by images that might lead to poems or poems that wait to be illustrated with images. In the case of the “magazines”, audio/videos are included. The videos are created by  Hélène Laurent and, usually, each member reads his own poems. You can check out my two poems (In Spanish) in this post and over here. I am adding below the two poems, translated to English and the audio/video for “El Espacio de Tu Ausencia”, in Spanish. 

Make sure to follow La Poesía no Muerde. If you want to submit a poem, contact me in the Welcome page or leave a comment so I can provide a translation to Spanish, as it is the main language for the blog. I´ll gladly do so!. 🙂

🌟💫Blog: La Poesía no Muerde. Facebook. Twitter. ///  Hélène LaurentBlog (Desenredo)Facebook. Twitter

“Vertigo” and “The Space of your Absence”:

(Click on the screenshots for bigger, full resolution)

 

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I was delighted to be over at Esmé´s blog “The Recipe Hunter” to share a tasty recipe. This is such a great blog for all Food Lovers!. You can find many easy, delicious and healthy dishes. Here is my post: “Spanish Paella (Rice with Seafood)”.

🌟💫 Make sure to check out Esme´s blog and follow her there and on Social Media: Blog: The Recipe Hunter. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram.

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“Two Special Shout-Outs”:

I would like to thank Debi Riley and Jason Youngman for these special posts on their blogs.

Jason´s post: “Be Grateful – Not Hateful. Canticle of the Sun”.- (Thank you, Jason for the note you sent me as to the Canticle and for sharing your amazing reading of Eliot´s “Four Quartets”).

Debi´s post: “Palette Knife Acrylic Abstract… Scorched Wings of Icarus”.- (thank you Debi for the shout-out and for sharing such sublime Artwork. Brilliant!)

Both are very talented, prolific and talented artists. Please make sure to check out their blogs and follow them!.🌟💫

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Last post of the year!. Thank you to all my readers.

Wishing you Merry Christmas & all the best for 2018! 😀

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► “Metis in Ancient Greece”:

“Collaboration with José Cervera”💫:

Statue of the Greek philosopher Plato (c. 428 B.C.-348 B.C.). Behind him, the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena. Modern Academy of Athens.

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Summary:

This article is divided into three sections.

The First section presents Metis as a character, a Titan Goddess.

Being swallowed by Zeus (his cousin and husband), Metis would succumb to the same fate that Cronus´children, as indicated in the Second section.

The Third section will categorize different types of Knowledge, in Ancient Greece; Metis, among them. In that same section, the post will highlight how the word Metis acquired different meaning, changing from the name of the Goddess (Metis, the  Oceanid Titaness & Zeus´cousin and wife) to refer to a type of Intelligence (Practical wisdom). Thus, Metis was considered to cover all cognitive processes that were necessary for man in order to face adverse or confrontational situations against powerful adversaries, often in unstable and complex environments. Three examples from Greek Mythology will be provided. Finally, some final thoughts in the conclusion.

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I. ►Metis, The Titan Goddess:

Metis was a mythological character belonging to the Titan generation. Like several primordial figures, she was an Oceanid. She was born of Oceanus and his sister Tethys, of an earlier age than Zeus and his siblings.

Metis was the first spouse of Zeus, and also her cousin.

Zeus lay with Metis but immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear extremely powerful children: the first, Athena and the second, a son more powerful than Zeus himself, who would eventually overthrow Zeus.

In order to forestall these dire consequences, Zeus tricked her into turning herself into a fly and promptly swallowed her. He was too late: Metis had already conceived a child.

As Zeus had swallowed Metis, Athena leaped from Zeus’s head. She was fully grown, armed, and armoured. 

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II. ►A (side) note on Zeus and Cronus´Cannibal behaviours:

The similarities between Zeus swallowing Metis; and Cronus, swallowing his children, have been noted by several scholars.

Cronus was the Titan god of time and the ages. He envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus.

Cronus attacked him with the sickle, castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea.

From the blood that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, and the Erinyes  were produced. The testicles produced a white foam from which the goddess Aphrodite emerged.

 

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Once Cronus had castrated Uranus, he and his wife Rhea took the throne. Under their power a time of harmony and prosperity began, which became known as the “Golden Age”; a time when it was said that people lived without greed or violence, and without toil or the need for laws. But not all was well for Cronus, as he had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy.

 

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When the sixth child, Zeus, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. 

Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, and handed Cronus a stone wrapped in clothes, which he promptly swallowed, thinking that it was his son.

Once he had grown up, Zeus used an emetic given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the stone, which was set under the glens of Mount Parnassus, and then his two brothers and three sisters. 

This would lead the Olympians in a ten-year war against the Titans, before driving them defeated into the pit of Tartaros. Many years later, Zeus released Kronos and his brothers from this prison, and made the old Titan king of the Elysian Islands, in the Underworld

As to Zeus´s story, relevant to us here, José Cervera accurately notes that the Ruler of Gods might have swallowed Metis (also) because he was to a certain extent aware of the fact that he was lacking something. Meaning: The Practical Wisdom that Metis represented. By swallowing Metis, however, Zeus had gained wisdom as part of his intrinsic nature. This would be a case of Incorporation which reminds us (despite the differences) to the biblical account, according to which Eve was molded by God from Adam´s rib.

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III. A ►Different Types of Knowledge: Episteme, Techne, Metis and Phronesis:

For the Greeks and particularly for Plato, Episteme and Techne represented knowledge of an order completely different from Metis.

Episteme means “science”, “understanding” or “knowledge”, with the implication that the understanding was rationally founded, in contrast to mere opinion or hearsay. Noesis, or dialectic reason, is the method used by Episteme.  

Techne entails “technical skills”.  It could be expressed precisely and comprehensively in the form of hard-and-fast rules, principles, and propositions. Techne is based on logical deduction from self-evident first principles.

Nous is the closest word to “intelligence” but it is more correctly translated as “mind”, and “mental activity”. For Plato and Aristotle it is the part of the soul which perceives abstract truths. 

Phronesis means “practical wisdom”, “good judgement” or what we might call “common sense”. 

Metis, in what concerns us is another form of practical wisdom, what we would call “cunning”. It is similar to Phronesis in that it entails knowledge of how humans behave, but it is manipulative and deceitful rather than seeking the common good. Cunning intelligence would later be defined as Phronesis.

III. B ►Metis, Magical Cunning and Practical Wisdom. Examples of Metis in “The Odyssey”:

By the era of Greek philosophy in the 5th century BC, Metis had become the mother of wisdom and deep thought, but her name originally connoted “magical cunning”.

Metis represented a wide array of practical skills and acquired intelligence in responding to a constantly changing natural and human environment.

Hence the word Metis began to be used to denote a particular form of practical wisdom, 

The classic case of Metis is Odysseus, as he often used his cleverness to deceive and defeat his enemies. This is found many times in Homer´s epic poem.

•1. One example of Metis as magical cunning  appears in Book XII. We are referring to the episode in which Odysseus plugged his crew’s ears with earwax, while binding himself and his crew to the mast of the ship to avoid the Siren´s song

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•2. When it comes to Metis (magical cunning), the episode of Polyphemus, from Homer´s “Odyssey” (Book IX) is also worth mentioning.

The Cyclops Polyphemus is portrayed as a cruel monster who had devoured a few of Odysseus’ men. The hero  wanted to beat him and take revenge so he offered Polyphemus some wine. The cyclops easily got drunk, but before falling asleep, he asked Odysseus his name, Odysseus told him his name was “Οὖτις”, which means “nobody”. While the monster was sleeping, Odysseus used a stake to blind him. When Polyphemus shouted for help from his fellow giants, saying that “Nobody” had hurt him, they just ignored him as they just took his words literally (“Nobody had hurt him”). In the morning, the blind Cyclops let the sheep out to graze. But Odysseus and his men had tied themselves to the undersides of the animals and that was how they managed to finally get away. 

•3. Finally, the Trojan Horse. Wasn´t it a great example of Metis or Cunning, as well?. Using trickery rather than violence, Odysseus disguised warriors as a gift, men as (a wooden image of) an animal, a symbol of the Greeks’ future victory as an image of their defeat, and ultimately, a clever trap. Once inside the city walls, the transformation was reversed and the act of Metis revealed for what it was.

“Building of the Trojan Horse” by Giandomenico Tiepolo (1774).-

 

In these examples of Metis, taken from “The Odyssey”, the emphasis is both on Odysseus’s ability to adapt successfully to a constantly shifting and challenging situation and on his capacity to understand, and hence outwit, his human and divine adversaries. 

It is not a minor detail, either, that Odysseus is traditionally aided by Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. 

Athena- as mentioned before- was born from Zeus’ head, after the latter had swallowed her mother, the goddess Metis, because, as it had been predicted to him that his children by her would overthrow him.

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►Conclusion:

Metis, understood as a type of  practical wisdom, is commonly found in Greek Myths and Literature. In all its facets and faces of the same phenomenon lies a peculiar kind of behavior. More specifically: the extreme attention, observation, flexibility and creativity to sort out things, under certain “special” circumstances.

However, despite its relevance, Metis as type of Intelligent ability has been also relegated, criticized and even despised.

Plato intentionally ignored it, keeping it aside in his Gnoseological Theory. In turn, he enthroned the discursive Episteme, clearly much more acceptable to him, as he considered that Episteme was related to the highest degree of Knowledge.

Plato´s ideal of knowledge was sternly rational and hence: Apollonian. He made sure to suppress any “intuitive” shade that might somehow darken the diaphanous light of Reason and Episteme. Indeed, as pointed out before, Plato despised practical knowledge basically because it did not depend on Dialectical Reason (Noesis) and it seemed to be linked to the body and senses, therefore to the so-called “Dionysiac” forms.

Suffice it to recall that for Nietzsche, the Apollonian-Dionysian Dichotomy, (“The Birth of Tragedy”. 1872) represented the opposition between structured, geometric forces; and fluctuating, creative, irregular forms; respectively. Nietzsche contrasted the cerebral Apollo with his half-brother, the hedonistic Dionysus. Apollo, as the sun-god, represents light, clarity, and form, whereas Dionysus, as the wine-god, represents drunkenness and ecstasy.

However, back to Plato, it is worth noting that certain Dionysiac forces still seem to be present in his dialogues. Most times in the forms of myths or allegories. 

We could conclude that Episteme and Metis are different types of intelligences.Episteme is rigid, dialectic and Apollonian, while Metis might be quite unpredictable in its reasonings and linked to Dionysus. But despite this, they complement each other. We´d rather say the ideal entails not a dichotomy but, instead, a conjunction of abilities. 

Apollo (on The Left) & Dionysus (on The Right), representing the duality of Arts… And Intelligence. Apollo=Episteme. Dionysus=Metis.-


♠About José Cerbera:

José is a Spanish philosopher and blogger. In his own words: “I am a restless and curious being who believes in the religion of books and their healing power. But without forgetting that the mystery of existence isn´t contained in any book. I have studied Philosophy and that led me to distrust everything. Later on, I believed in me. Soon after, in the World Itself and what goes beyond it because it just boundless”. Please check out José´s blog: “El Ritual de las Palabras”. Thank you, José! ⭐️💫.

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José Ignacio Cervera. Click to visit José´s blog.-

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♠Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metis_(mythology)
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisMetis.html
https://ritualdelaspalabras.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/las-artimanas-de-la-inteligencia/
https://socialecologies.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/metis-cunning-intelligence-in-greek-thought/
http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/2255/1/e_bracke_thesis.pdf
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphemus
https://locvsamoenvs.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/homers-odyssey-12181-201-siren-song/
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Mythology: “Dogs in Several Myths”🐕:

“Collaboration with Brenda Davis Harsham💫”

Artemis & Dog. Roman copy of the 1st cent. CE after a Greek original, 4th cent. BCE. Rome, Vatican Museums.

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Introduction:

The dog is the first domesticated animal, and is symbolically associated with loyalty and vigilance, often acting as guardian and protector. Dogs are portrayed as guides and companions, hence the notion of “man’s best friend.”

Dogs almost always appear in a positive light. Native American legends generally portray the dog as the symbol of friendship and loyalty. The Joshua Athapascans believe that dogs were the first beings made by their creator-figure, Xowala’ci. The Jicarilla Apache, on the other hand, tell the story of God Black Hactcin, who first created a dog and then made man as a companion for the dog.  

In Irish Mythology, dogs were the traditional guardian animals of roads and crossways and are believed to protect and guide lost souls in the Underworld. Irish seers chewed the meat of a dog in a ritual to gain prophetic vision. To be called “hound” was an honorable nickname for a courageous warrior; the name of the god Cuchulain is literally “Hound of Culann” or “Hound of Ulster”.

Cuchulain was named Sétanta when he was born. Sétanta  killed a blacksmith’s Celtic hound in self-defense. When Culann, the blacksmith asked who would now guard his shop the young Sétanta offered to take the dog’s place thus gaining himself the title of Cuchulain, ‘The hound of Culann’. The offer was turned down and “Cuchulainn” (former Sétanta) went on to become one of the greatest warrior legends of that era, and the nickname stuck.

Cartonnage Anubis mask.

In Ancient Egypt, the dog was linked to the dog-jackal god, Anubis, who guided the soul of the deceased to the Hall of Truth where the soul would be judged by the great god Osiris. Anubis was associated with Wepwawet (also called Upuaut), another Egyptian god portrayed with a dog’s head or in canine form, but with grey or white fur. Historians assume that the two figures were eventually combined.

One of the centers of the cult of Anubis was Cynopolis, or the city of dogs. The Greeks and Romans associated Anubis with Sirius in the sky and with Cerberus in Hades.

Dogs in general were highly valued in Egypt as part of the family and, when a dog would die, the family, if they could afford to, would have the dog mummified with as much care as they would pay for a human member of the family.
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A crouching or “recumbent” statue of Anubis as a black-coated wolf (from the Tomb of Tutankhamun)

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In Greek and Roman mythology, dogs often acted as guardians; the three-headed dog Cerberus, for example, guarded the entrance to the underworld. Many cultures associated dogs with death as well as with protection.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans often chose dogs as pets. They were often seen on Greek and Roman reliefs and ceramics as symbols of fidelity. Cats were not favoured over dogs, on the contrary Ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t keep cats as pets. However, occasionally, dogs appear in negative roles, such as the fighting dogs belonging to Hecate. 
Dogs are also featured in Plato‘s dialogue, “Republic“. In Book II, Socrates claims that the dog is a true philosopher because dogs “distinguish the face of a friend and of an enemy only by the criterion of knowing and not knowing” and concludes that dogs must love learning, because they determine what they like and what they do not based upon knowledge of the truth.
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Dogs In Greek Mythology:
Cerberus:
Cerberus watched the Underworld.
Cerberus is reminiscent of a serpent, called a “great worm” in Dante’s “Inferno” and often said to have a mane of serpents, the tail of a serpent, and the claws of a lion. The three heads of the dog look at once into the past, the present, and the future. 
Cerberus was the son of Typhon and Echidna, and fulfilled his duty as “Hound of Hades” as faithfully as possible.
This dog allowed many people to enter, he didn’t let anyone leave.
However, some were able to escape from the Underworld. Orpheus lulled Cerberus to sleep by playing soothing music; Hermes did the same but used water from the river Lethe. The most famous of all, however, was Heracles, who did not use such subtle methods. Driven mad by Hera, Hercules slew his son, daughter, and his wife. Hence he was given Twelve Labors as penance for his acts. The last of these was to capture Cerberus and bring him to the land of the living. Heracles was able to do this by wrestling the dog into submission and dragging him away from Hades.
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Artemis´ and Hecate´s dogs: 
Goddesses Artemis and Hecate, both kept dogs.
The Greeks offered black dogs (and lambs) to her in sacrifice, just as they did to Artemis, for whom they are also sacred.
The myths tells that Pan gave the virgin-huntress Artemis seven dogs “which pulled down very lions when they clutched their throats and haled them still living to the fold” (Callimachus, “Hymn to Artemis”).
Hecate presided over the crossroads, and was protector of entrance ways, households and thresholds. She was always accompanied by Stygian dogs, and her approach was announced by the howling of dogs. (“Then the earth began to bellow, trees to dance, and howling dogs in glimmering light advance, ere Hecate came” Fairclough, H. R. trans. 1916. Virgil, “Aeneid”. Book 6. Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Press).
The triple-figured maiden goddess had three heads: that of a horse, a dog, and a lion. Myths tells us that the Trojan Queen Hecuba leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy and that Hecate took pity on her and transformed her into a black female dog. 
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Laelaps, Zeus´Gift to Europa:
When Zeus was a baby, a dog, known only as the “golden hound” was charged with protecting the future King of Gods. This may have been the same dog Zeus later gave to Europa. Zeus had fallen deeply in love with the beautiful Europa, and, when given the chance, stole her away to the island of Crete. There he tried to seduce her by giving her three gifts: Talos, a giant bronze creature; a javelin that never missed, and Laelaps, a dog that never failed to capture its prey. Europa eventually gave the dog to Minos, King of Crete. After being cured by Procris of a terrible disease, Minos gave her the great dog Laelaps. The dog was soon sent to capture the Teumessian fox, a giant fox that could never be caught. This created a paradox, for the dog always caught its prey, and the fox could not be caught. The chase went on unto Zeus grew weary and confused of the dilemma and simply turned both into stone, frozen forever in the chase and cast them into the stars as the constellations Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (the Teumessian fox).
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The Constellation of the Greater Dog (Alpha Canis Major):
Sirius is is the brightest star in the night sky, with 22 times the luminosity of the sun. It is located in the constellation Alpha Canis Majoris or Greater Dog. Sirius has a smaller companion white dwarf star known as The Pup or Sirius B.
  
Canis Major is usually seen as one of the two hunting dogs of the great hunter Orion (Sirius). The other dog is of course Canis Minor, the Lesser Dog.
 
One version, previously mentioned above,  says that Zeus turned the Laelaps and Teumessian Fox to stone and cast them into the stars as the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor, respectively.
According the other version, after Orion´s death, Artemis placed Orion faithful’s dog (Sirius) in the sky, at his heel.
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Argos, Odysseus’ faithful dog:
One of the most moving stories involving dogs in the one concerning Argos, the loyal friend of King Odysseus  from Book 17 of Homer’s “Odyssey” (c. 800 BCE). Odysseus comes home after being away for twenty years and, thanks to help from the goddess Athena, is not recognized by the hostile suitors who are trying to win Odysseus’s wife, Penelope’s hand in marriage. Argos, however, recognizes his master and rises up from where he has been faithfully waiting, wagging his tail in greeting. Odysseus, in disguise, cannot acknowledge the greeting for fear of giving away his true identity in front of the suitors and so ignores his old friend; and shortly after, Argos lays back down and dies.

Argos and Odysseus

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►Other legendary dogs in ancient stories and myths:
Bau: This Sumerian goddess of fertility and healing, patron deity of the ancient Babylonian city of Lagash, is often depicted with the head of a dog.
Fenrir: In  Norse mythology, Fenrir is a monstrous wolf, a son of the god Loki, determined to kill the god Odin.

Set: He (Osiris´brother) is yet another ancient Egyptian canine deity, usually depicted as a broad-shouldered man with an animal’s head.

Xolotl: Often depicted as a man with the head of a dog, but sometimes as a skeleton, Xolotl was the Aztec god of lightning and fire.

Cerbura and SurmaSimilarly to Cerberus, Cerbura is the three-headed infernal dog of the Krishna legend. Surma is a terrible beast from Finnish mythology. This huge dog with the tail of a snake, guards the gates of Tuonela, the realm of Death.

Sarama, The Mother of all Dogs & Yama´s dogs: In Hindu Mythology, Sarama is a female canine, who is referred as mother of all the dogs, and who helped God Indra to recover  his stolen divine cows. Yama, the Hindu god of death has four dogs with four eyes guarding his abode.

Fionn’s hounds, Bran and  Sceolán: There are many stories of the Irish Wolfhounds in Mythology. The most famous hounds are, without doubt, Fionn’s two favourites, Bran and Sceolán. They were brother and sister, of human descent, their poor mother, Tuirrean, (Fionn’s aunt) having been turned into a hound whilst she was pregnant by jealous Uchtdealb, woman of the Sidhe, and lover of Tuirrean’s husband. They were said to have been so tall, that their heads reached chest height to a man.

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► Links Post:
http://www.indiandogs.com/nativelegends.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_the_dog#cite_note-8
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adamantinemuse/2016/07/hekate-isis-and-the-dog-star-sirius-welcome-to-the-dog-days/
https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Cerberus/cerberus.html
http://hekatecovenant.com/resources/symbols-of-hekate/dogs/
https://aliisaacstoryteller.com/2014/02/23/the-irish-wolfhound/
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/09/23/the-death-of-argos
https://www.dogspot.in/the-importance-of-dogs-in-hindu-mythology/
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/HekateGoddess.html

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Detail showing Canis Major. Published in Alexander Jamieson´s “Celestial Atlas”, 1822

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💫“Laelaps, Hound of Magic”💫:

Sun-lit fur, storm-wind swift,

star-bright eyes, she

adores the olden air

of Mount Olympus,

dwelling of gods.

She finds scents at Zeus’s hand,

pounding clouds, chasing prey,

She never misses.

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Yet Zeus sends her away,

tail drooping, eyes sad,

to serve Europa,

hunting kri-kri,

dodging their wild-goat horns,

nosing out badgers, martens,

hedgehogs and hare, circling Crete

on fleet feet. But dreaming everlong

of Olympus, cast out, cast down.

~~~

She’s bewildered,

passed on, passed over,

given next to King Minos,

then to cross-dressing Procris

and on to Kephalos, the errant husband.

The long-lived hound hunts, chases,

drinks deep, finds new hands and

new scents, until the very last.

 ~~~

The monstrous Teumessian fox

mocks a hundred hounds,

slips the nets of a hundred men,

devours a hundred boys.

Paradox.

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The dog

always catches her prey.

The fox

cannot be caught.

 ~~~

Storm-wind hound hurls herself

into the chase, pants,

outpaces Kephalos,

fleeter than a spear,

fleeter than an arrow,

fleet as time itself.

But they never near Olympus.

Always, the hound needs the red-earth

scent of fox in her nose.

Always, the fox slips away.

Lungs burns. Feet bleed, but

never a whisker nearer that bushy tail.

Children grow gray and stooped,

watching them pass.

Hillsides wear away

from their pounding feet.

Deadlocked,

bones like rock,

hills aflame,

snapping, howling.

Bound to chase,

but never to catch.

 ~~~

Until blood-scent reaches

Olympus. Zeus watches,

remembers the velvet nose,

the twilight hunts, the sun-lit fur,

the starry eyes. His tears

fall on them both.

The salty splash

turns dog and fox to

sun-shot marble, mid-pounce.

~~~

Young boys in awe;

young girls in tears.

Never-resting, frozen in

not-escaping, not-capturing,

not-eating, not-drinking, not-sleeping.

~~~

Zeus tosses them

into the stars.

Canis Major.

Canis Minor.

Lighting Olympus,

turning the heavens

with the wind of their pursuit.

~~~

©Copyright 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham.

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►About Brenda Davis Harsham:

Brenda is a wonderful writer and poet, who lives with her family in New England, USA. 

Her poetry and prose were published at the places listed here. Fine art prints by Brenda are available to purchase here
Brenda regularly blogs at Friendly Fairy Tales. A blog I highly recommend!. 💌🔺
Make sure to check out her blog and follow her!. You can also find her on Twitter.

 

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Click on the logo to visit Brenda´s blog. Thank you Brenda for your great poem!.

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PS: ►Special Features & Mentions from other Bloggers:

Thanks to dear bloggers from “The Shield of Achilles”, “Graffiti Lux and Murals and “924 Collective” for the special posts!. I am adding them as they were chronologically posted by the authors; and/or discovered by me…  😁 I am adding a brief description and pics for each one of these post at the end. Please check them out!.- 
Kathleen´s blog, “The Shield of Achilles” is great. She blogs about Greek Mythology, from a historical, sociological and, above all, scholarship perspective. She also has excellent posts about Homer´s Iliad, Analyzing different subjects, such as the Death of AchillesThis is the Guest post on Hephaestus, featured on Kathleen´s blog.✍️.-
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Please check out Resa McConaghy´s post on her excellent blog Graffiti Lux and MuralsIt is a tribute to Argentina, as we celebrate its 201st independence anniversary. The post includes graffitis from Toronto, Canada and from Caminito, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Resa´s blog is an open invitation to discover Street Art and its contemporary artistic importance. The complete post in Resa´s blog is this one: “Argentina – Independence Day”.🇦🇷 .-
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Thanks to 924Collective for the beautiful Tribute. This is a very nice blog, and I recommend it to my readers as it distills Art and Creativity. I am adding one of the images included over there. This is the post I am making reference to: “Aquileana of Argentina”.-🏛️⭐️
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► “Hermes & Writing in Ancient Greece”: “Collaboration with Alan Severs”✍️:

Statue of Hermes/Mercury. Roman copy. 200 AD.


Summary:

“Hermes”, by W. B. Richmond. From “The magazine of art” vol. 9, 1886.

♠Divided into three sections, this article revolves around three main themes: Hermes, as The Greek God of Writing and his equivalents in other cultures; Plato´s derogatory ideas of writing, amidst the prevailing Oral Tradition; and how this eventually would change, as writing became a most accepted form, when the Greeks adopted the Phoenician Alphabet.

Greek God Hermes was the equivalent of the egyptian God Thoth, and from both of them resulted a Hybrid God: Hermes Trismegistus.

Hermes´roman counterpart was Mercury

In Norse Mythology, his Homologous figure was Odin.

Hermes and his associated figures are described in the first section.

♠The second section refers to Plato´s dialogue “Phaedrus”, emphasizing Socrates´quite negative statements concerning writing in that dialogue.

In “Phaedrus”Plato denies the legitimacy of the written word in favour of the oral tradition. With that purpose, Socrates tells us a myth, featuring Thoth (also known as Theuth and Hermes´egyptian equivalent).

Greece’s transition to literacy, was slow, and it augmented and transformed the traditions of oral culture which had for centuries been instrumental in the handing down of certain forms of cultural knowledge.

Before the advent of writing, Greek citizens’ knowledge of their history, the ways of their gods, and the attitudes, mores, and taboos of their society were orally transmitted. This occurred not only through parent-to-child communication and transmission within a community, but also through the poetry of the bards, most notably Homer and Hesiod.

The third section  delves into this issue, taking into account how writing effectively evolved in Ancient Greece.

As a matter of fact, Writing went through different phases, summed up as follows:

>Linear A Script: It was the written language of the Minoans of Crete, remains undecipherable.

>Linear B Script: It consists of the Mycenaean Civilization and the only partially decipherable Linear B script of Crete. 

>Phoenician Alphabet: It was the alphabet of ancient Phoenicia, which first came to Greece sometime before the 8th century BCE, from whence it spread.

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Section I. Hermes, Thoth, Hermes Trismegistus, Mercury and Odin:

Hermes was son of Zeus and one of the Pleiades, Maia

Hermes, Greek God. 540 BC

The name Hermes appears to have originated in the word for “stone heap.”

Probably since prehistoric times there existed in Crete and in other Greek regions a custom or erecting a herma, consisting of an upright stone surrounded at its base by a heap of smaller stones. Such monuments were used to serve as boundaries or as landmarks for wayfarers. A connection existed between these simple monuments and the deity named Hermes.

Hermes had many attributes and represented many things. Hermes was the Olympian god of herds and flocks, travellers and hospitality, roads and trade, thievery and cunning, heralds and diplomacy, astronomy and astrology. Besides, he was the herald and personal messenger of Zeus, and also the guide of the dead who led souls down into the underworld. 

He was also a god of science and wisdom, art, speech, eloquence. And, most importantly: “the God of Writing”. 

The Greek God Hermes, as God of Writing, finds his analogue in Egypt as the ancient Wisdom God Thoth (sometimes spelled Thouth, Theuth or Tahuti). 

Thoth, Egyptian God of Writing.

Thoth was important in many myths of Pharaonic Egypt: he played a role in the creation myth, he was recorder of the gods, and the principal pleader for the soul at the judgment of the dead. It was he who invented writing. According to relevant sources, he wrote all the ancient texts, including the most esoteric ones, including “The Book of Breathings”, which taught humans how to become gods.

In ancient Egypt,  Thoth created script. Besides, he was connected with the moon and thus considered the ruler of the night.

Furthermore, Thoth acted as an emissary between the contending armies of Horus (Egyptian God of the sky and kingship) and Seth (god of the desert, storms, disorder and violence in ancient Egyptian). Thoth eventually came to negotiate the peace treaty between these two gods. His role as a mediator between the opposites is thus made evident, perhaps prefiguring the role of the alchemical Mercury as the “medium of the conjunction.”

Both Hermes and Thoth were gods of writing and of magic in their respective cultures.

Hermes, the Greek god of interpretive communication, was combined with Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom, to become the patron of astrology and alchemy. In addition, both gods were psychopomps, guiding souls to the afterlife. Hermes Trismegistus may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

As Alan Severs says in his post “The Grammar of Magic”:

“Writing and magic have always been closely associated. The Egyptian God Thoth was thought to be  the inventor of writing and the patron of every magical art. The considerable cultural contact and resulting overlap over the centuries because of conquest and trade between Egypt, Greece and Rome led to the deities Hermes and Mercury who shared many of the same attributes as Thoth before they all further blended together, creating the composite figure that was to later an immeasurable influence in the history of ideas, Hermes Trismegistus”.

Last, but not least: there is still another Egyptian parallel. Specifically, in the figure of Anubis. In classical mythology, Hermanubis was a god who combined Hermes with Anubis (given that they were both conductors of souls).

Hermes Trismegistus, floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Siena. 1480s.

Hermes´roman equivalent, Mercury had essentially the same aspects as Hermes. He also wore winged shoes and a winged hat, and carried the caduceus, a herald’s staff with two entwined snakes that was Apollo‘s gift to Hermes. He was often accompanied by a cockerel, herald of the new day, a ram or goat, symbolizing fertility, and a tortoise, referring to Mercury’s legendary invention of the lyre from a tortoise-shell.

Like Hermes, he was also a god of messages, eloquence and of trade, particularly of the grain trade. He was also, like Hermes, the Romans’ psychopomp, whose ability was to lead the newly deceased souls to the afterlife.

Thoth. Hermes Trismegistus and Mercury.

Another related God, given his attributes, is Odin.

Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic people, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. In the major mythological Old Norse texts, the Poetic and Prose Eddas, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear named Gungnir, and wearing a cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companions: two wolves and two ravens named Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory). As well as being the Germanic equivalent of Hermes, Odin appears to have marked shamanistic tendencies as he frequently has ecstatic visions in other realms after undergoing various trials and ordeals.

In Norse Mythology he was associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry and the runic alphabet. In the long Eddic, gnomic poem Havamal (The Words of Odin the High One) Odin sacrifices himself to himself by hanging from a tree (presumably Yggdrasil, the World Tree) for nine days and nine nights in order to obtain knowledge of the runes, which is suggested throughout Norse mythology as being a symbolic alphabet used for magical purposes. 

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►Section II. Plato´s dialogue “Phaedrus”, in which Socrates pronounced himself in favour of the prevailing Oral Tradition and, thus, against writing:

In his dialogue “Phaedrus”; Plato denies the legitimacy of the written word as capable of conveying knowledge in any truly significant way.

In this dialogue, Socrates puts the case against writing into the mouth of  Thamus, the Egyptian equivalent of Zeus.

When Thamus is presented by the god Theuth (Thoth) with the invention of writing, Thoth claims it “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories, for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered”. But Thamus replies:

‘Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise’. (Plato´s “Phaedrus”. Line 140 and following).
Socrates adds his own conviction that written words are inhuman, unresponsive to questioning, and indiscriminate as to whom they address themselves. At best, they can only “remind him who knows the matter about which they are written” (Plato´s “Phaedrus”. Line 278).

Walter Ong points out in his book “Orality and Literacy” [*Click here to read book] that these denunciations can by the modern reader as the same ones levelled by many against computers. This analogy is instructive because it allows us to understand in some small way the nature of the enormous change that was taking place in early Greek culture at the time of Socrates and Plato: the transition from a dominantly oral mode of transmitting knowledge to a slowly emerging literate one.

The Egyptian god Thoth, or Tehuti, in the form of an ibis. With him is his associate, the ape, proferring the Eye of Horus.

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►Section III. Towards a Literate Society: Writing in Ancient Greece:

1) >Linear A and Linear B Scripts:

Linear A (1700 BC)  was the written language of the Minoans of Crete. It consists of 60 phonetic symbols representing syllables and 60 symbols representing sounds and concrete objects or abstract ideas. There is no consensus on how to translate the Linear A symbols

Linear B (1450 BC) was first studied by Sir Arthur Evans, but it was not until 1952 that it was deciphered by Michael Ventris.

Linear B  is generally seen as a more simplified and less pictorial version of the earlier scripts . It is also far more cursive in its shape. The script consists of about 87 symbols, which each represent a syllable, as well as some ideograms which represent an entire word or idea. It seems that the Myceneans used writing not to keep historical records but strictly as a device to register the flow of goods and produce into the palaces from a complex, highly centralized economy featuring regional networks of collection and distribution. [To see examples of  decipherments of Linear A and Linear B Minoans tablets, please visit this guest post at “The Shield of Achilles”].

2) >The Phoenician Alphabet in Greece:

The alphabet of most modern languages was originated in ancient Phoenicia (11oo BC) and first came to Greece sometime before the 8th century BC, from whence it spread. Homer’s “Illiad” and “Odyssey”, written around 800 BC, are early examples of the Greek use of the Phoenician alphabet, as are the classics “Theogony” and “Works and Days”, by Hesiod.  Homer’s poems appear to have been recorded shortly after the script’s invention: an inscription from Ischia in the Bay of Naples, dated 740 BC, appears to refer to a text of the “Iliad”; and illustrations inspired by the Polyphemus episode in the “Odyssey” were found in Mykonos in 715 BC.

Herodotus claimed that the Phoenician alphabet was brought by Cadmus to Boeotia where he founded the city of Thebes.

The early Greek alphabet, based on the alphabet of the Phoenicians, was different from the linear and hieroglyphic scripts preceding it in that each symbol represents a single consonant as opposed to a syllable.

The Phoenician alphabet consisted of 22 characters with vowel sounds built into the symbols. The Greeks modified the Phoenician alphabet by changing some of the symbols as well as creating separate vowels.  They also made their alphabet more phonetically correct.

By using individual symbols to represent vowels and consonants, the Greeks created a writing system that could, for the first time, represent speech in an unambiguous manner. Furthermore, while Linear B seems to have only been used for inventories and lists, the Greek alphabet was used for literary purposes. Writing became not simply a means of recording events, but also an art form in itself.

⇒Writing from right to left. Bidirectional writing. Writing from left to right:

In the earliest versions of the alphabet, the Greeks complied with the Phoenician practice of writing from right to left and the letters had a left-facing orientation.

A good example of writing from right to left is shown in the inscription on the so-called Nestor’s Cup, a clay drinking vessel of the 8th century BC, which bears a famous inscription.

The text of the inscription runs:

Nestor’s cup, good to drink from.
Whoever drinks from this cup, him straightaway
the desire of beautiful-crowned Aphrodite will seize.

The so-called Nestor’s cup from Pithekoussai, Ischia and its inscription.

This was followed by a period of bidirectional writing, which means that the direction of the writing was in one direction on one line but in the opposite direction on the next, a practice known as boustrophedon.

During the 5th century BCE, however, the direction of Greek writing was standardized as left to right, and all the letters adopted a fixed right-facing orientation. 


Conclusion:

So far, we have seen that there are clear and effective similarities, when it comes to certain Gods.

Gods Hermes, Thoth (and the hybrid resulting of both: Hermes Trismegistus); as well as Mercury and Odin, they all represent similar ideas.

They all seem to be fused in an eclectic space of cultural juxtaposition, despite the cultural differences.

This could prove Carl Jung´s thesis of the Collective Unconscious. According to him, the human collective unconscious is populated by archetypes and universal symbols, shared among beings of the same species.

Worth noting that Hermes and his equivalents were mainly considered here keeping in mind their specific roles as “Gods of Writing”.

Plato was a keen defender of Oral tradition, against writing. This is evident particularly in his dialogue “Phaedrus”, in which Socrates (by retelling an Egyptian myth), states that Writing will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory.

Pisistratus (6th century BC/ 527 BC) was tyrant of Athens whose unification of Attica and consolidation and rapid improvement of the city’s prosperity helped to make possible it’s later preeminence in Greece.

Pisistratus clearly supported Oral tradition. And he did so, by specifically encouraging Dramatic Arts and TheatreIndeed, theatre was a key technological factor of specialization in Greek culture. The choral poetry offered a fissure through which the choir was first sung until the actors took over in order to visually stage the oral poetry.

Probably, this was the most evident symptom of the transition from an Oral culture to a hybrid, semi-oral or audiovisual Culture, which dominated the fifth century BC and classicism. At last, by the end of the century, Writing prevailed.

When introducing writing, (Linear A, Linear B, and especially alphabetic writing), the Ancient Greeks privileged the visual sense against other senses such as seeing or hearing. Alongside this change, their conception of space and time was also altered, going from discontinuous to a linear, homogeneous conception. Hence, the chronological narrative and History itself arose as new types of discourses.

By objectifying words and making meaning accessible to a much longer and more intense meaning of what is orally possible, writing fostered private thought and increased awareness of individual differences.

Thus, Writing led to free initiative and creativity of the Ancient Greek society as a plural “whole”, while preserving the value of the individual forms. Such a tendency could be also considered a “call for democracy”, as a political correlate of literacy, expressivity, abstraction and individualization.



♠About Alan Severs: Alan defines himself as an occasional writer of fiction, poetry; and essays on modernism, mysticism, mythology, magic and mystery. His blog, Cakeordeathsite covers many of these and other interesting subjects. Please check it out hereThank you, Alan! 🐬

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Click to visit Alan´s blog.-

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Links Post:
https://http://www.ancient.eu/script/
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lineara.htm
http://www.ancient.eu/timeline/writing/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestor%27s_Cup
https://cakeordeathsite.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/the-grammaire-of-magic/
http://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Alphabet/
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes.html
http://www.john-uebersax.com/plato/myths/phaedrus.htm
http://www.csuchico.edu/phil/sdobra_mat/platopaper.html

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►Greek Mythology: “Hephaestus”  /

“Collaboration with Holly Rene Hunter”:

“The Fall Of Hephaestus” by C. Van Poelenburg. 17th century.

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Hephaestus (Roman equivalent: Vulcan)  was the Greek god of fire, metal work, blacksmiths and craftsmen.

According to Homer’s  “Iliad”, Hephaestus was born of the union of Zeus and Hera. In another tradition, attested by Hesiod, Hera bore Hephaestus alone.

Hephaestus. Attic Red Figure. 430 – 420 BC.

Hesiod tells us in “Theogony”, that in order to get even with Zeus for solely bringing about the birth of Athena, Hera produced the child Hephaestus all on her own.

Though Hesiod’s version seems to be the one that is most commonly accepted among readers, its content greatly alters our understanding of the birth of Athena. The ancient texts unequivocally state that it was Hephaestus who released the goddess from the head of Zeus by cracking the god’s skull open with an axe.

After Hephaestus was born, Hera was anything but pleased with his appearance, so she threw him off of Mount Olympus and down to earth.

Luckily, baby Hephaestus splashed down into the sea where he was rescued by two daughters of Oceanus; Thetis and Eurynome.

An interesting point is that he was lame. In vase paintings, Hephaestus is usually shown lame and bent over his anvil, hard at work on a metal creation, and sometimes with his feet back-to-front.

Hephaestus Thetis at Kylix, Attica vase figure

He walked with the aid of a stick. In some myths, Hephaestus built himself a “wheeled chair” or chariot with which to move around, thus helping him overcome his lameness while demonstrating his skill to the other gods. The “Iliad”, says that Hephaestus built some bronze human machines in order to move around.

There are two interpretations which describe how Hephaestus lost full use of his legs. The most basic of the two theories simply states that he was born that way and that was the reason why Hera rejected him and chose to toss him into the sea.

Another myth has it that he once tried to protect his mother from Zeus’ advances and as a result, the Ruler of the Gods flung him down from Olympus, which caused his physical disability; he fell on the island of Lemnos where he became a master craftsman.

Archetypal psychology uses mythical and poetic modes of discourse to deepen our understanding of lived experience and behavior. The stories associated with the Greek god Hephaestus are among the earliest representations of disability.

Vulcan. Roman archaic relief from Herculaneum.

Bitter Hephaestus does not intend to stay hidden away in an underground cave forever. Anger toward his mother inspires him to seek revenge.

These “negative” emotions engender the courage that is necessary for the disabled outcast to claim his rightful place in the world.

The archetypal psychologist Murray Stein suggests that loosening the bonds of his mother frees an introverted Hephaestus from his own psychic entrapment and moves him forward in the process of individuation and personal development. Hence, in Hephaestus we find a character who is motivated by his anger to confront a world that has discarded him.

In an archaic story, Hephaestus gained revenge against Hera for rejecting him by making her a magical golden throne, which, when she sat on it, did not allow her to stand up. In another story, Hephaestus sent sandals as gifts to all the gods, but those he sent to his mother were made of immovable and unyielding adamantine. When she tried to walk she fell flat on her face as though her shoes were riveted to the floor. 

Seeing how events were happening, the other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus to let her go, but he refused, saying “I have no mother”. At last, Dionysus fetched him, intoxicated him with wine, and took the subdued smith back to Olympus on the back of a mule accompanied by revelers—a scene that sometimes appears on painted pottery of Attica and of Corinth.

Amphora depicting Hephaistos polishing the shield of Achilles. 480 B.C.

Hephaestus crafted much of the magnificent equipment of the gods. He designed Hermes´ winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite‘s famed girdle, Agamemnons staff of office, Achilles‘ armor, Heracles‘ bronze clappers, Helios‘ chariot and Eros bow and arrows.

There is a still a very relevant intervention of Hephaestus in a  well-known cosmogonic myth. It tell us that Zeus was angry at Prometheus, the Rebel Titan, for three things: being tricked by the sacrifices, stealing fire for man, and refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus’s children would dethrone him. 

As punishment for these rebellious acts, Zeus ordered Hephaestus make a woman made of clay named Pandora. Zeus gave her a box and forbade her from opening it. Then he sent her down to earth, where her curiosity led her to open the lid. Out flew sorrow, mischief, and all other misfortunes that plagued humanity. In the famous story of Pandora’s box, we may learn how earthly hardship was born.

According to most versions, Hephaestus’s wife was Aphrodite, who was unfaithful to Hephaestus with a number of gods and mortals, including her brother Ares.

After he learned his wife had an affair with her brother, Ares, he devised a plan with which he humiliated both lovers.

Helios, the Sun God (later replaced by Apollo) was able to see most things during the day, as he drove his sun chariot across the sky. It was one of those days that Helios witnessed Aphrodite taking her lover in her bed, while Hephaestus was absent.

The Sun God easily recognised Ares. So, he told everything to Hephaestus.

Hephaestus decided to take revenge on the lovers. Thus using his wit and his crafting skills he fashioned an unbreakable net and trapped the two lovers while they were in bed. Hephaestus walked back to his bedchamber with a host of other gods to witness the disgraced pair. Only the male Olympians appeared, while the goddesses stayed in Olympus

Poseidon tried to persuade Hephaestus to release the adulterous pair. At first, Hephaestus refused the request, because he wanted to extract the most out of his revenge, but at the end he released his wife and her lover. Ares immediately fled to Thrace, while Aphrodite went to Paphos at the island of Cyprus.

In Renaissance literature, Hephaestus– as master of fire- is identified as the founder of the alchemical arts and its greatest practitioner. He is frequently portrayed as an evil and sinister figure because in turning base metals into gold he is imitating Nature and thus forging the Work of God. Alchemists believed that the story of the binding of Aphrodite and Ares in Hephaestus’ bed was an encoded recipe. Aphrodite represents copper, Ares represents iron and Hephaestus is the fire that is needed to facilitate an alchemical transformation. In the archetypal psychology literature, Aphrodite and Ares, Love and War, are always imagined as an inseparable “psychic conjunction”. As the alchemist-smith in our soul, it is Hephaestus who binds the two lovers together.

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“Vulcan” by Bertel Thorvaldsen,1861. Thorvaldsens Museum.

►Poem: “Hephaestus”, by Holly Rene Hunter:

Hera, you have cast me from the mount.

Shattering the sphere, salt lime stings my 

skin where I am abandoned to the sea as

less than weeds. 

My cries are the waves  that

flow from  seashell eyes into the

arms of Oceanus.

Aphrodite plucks me up,  a heron

biting my body  and harpooned legs

that break against the sea wall.

I have loosed the crown of  Athena,

split with my ax the fearsome bird of prey.

Impaled, his eyes are those of a  startled deer.

Seized by  fate  I have gathered my medium and

with my broken hands and feet I mold precious metals

into  creations for Gods.

Goblets for Dionysus,

for Aphrodite, the unfaithful,   a copper belt.

A chariot of human form for broken Hephaestus

that I might roam the world unfettered.

For Hera, a golden throne,

where she is bound to dwell forever.

©Holly Rene Hunter. 2017 .-

Holly Rene Hunter.

About Holly Rene Hunter. 

Holly Dixit: “I am Holly Rene Hunter writing at WordPress under the pseudonym Heartafire. I make my home in Florida.  I began writing as a child, an outlet for a wild imagination, my first poem  published was written at age eight and  included in  the Dade County Public Schools Book of Songs.  I am currently assisting with editing for authors whose first language is other than English.  On a personal note, I am a motorcycle enthusiast who loves to paint and write poetry.  If you are so inclined, you can find a sampling of my poetry at Bookrix.com free of charge or visit  my blog here.

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Book by Holly Rene Hunter. You can find a sampling of her poetry at Bookrix.com free of charge here: https://aheartafire.wordpress.com/.

Check out Holly´s Blog. https://aheartafire.wordpress.com/.

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