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►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).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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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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►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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►Links Post:
https://goo.gl/YZgWZn
https://goo.gl/9s76TL
https://goo.gl/CXVoVz
https://goo.gl/9SXlrG
https://goo.gl/xvg4ju

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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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the gorgons

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Perseus and Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, (1554). Perseus with the head of Medusa. Details.

Perseus and Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, (1554). Perseus with the head of Medusa. Details.

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In Greek Mythology, the Gorgons were three monsters, daughters of Echidna and Typhon. Their names were Stheno (“forceful”), Euryale (“far-roaming”), and the most famous of them, Medusa (“ruler”).  Although the first two were immortal, Medusa was not, and she was slain by the demigod and hero Perseus.

It was said that their  appearance would turn anyone who laid eyes upon it to stone. The name “Gorgon”  is Greek, being derived from “gorgos” and translating as “terrible” or “dreadful”.

Hesiod in his “Theogony” imagines the Gorgons as three sea daemons and makes them the daughters of two sea deities.

Homer speaks only of one Gorgon, whose head is represented in “The Iliad”as fixed in the centre of the aegis (meaning a mirrored shield) of Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom,  and whose counterpart was a device on the shield of Agamemnon.

In Homer´s “Odyssey”, the Gorgon is a monster of the underworld into which the earliest Greek deities were cast.

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Roman mosaic from 4th C. BC found in Palencia, in the year 1869 and currently at the National archaeological Museum of Madrid.

Roman mosaic from 4th C. BC found in Palencia, in the year 1869 and currently at the National archaeological Museum of Madrid.

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In most versions of the story, Medusa was killed by Perseus.

According to Ovid (“Metamorphoses”, book IV), the reason for the dispute between Athena and Medusa lay in Poseidon‘s rape of Medusa inside the temple of the virgin goddess.

The goddess of Wisdom was supposed to have punished Medusa by transforming her face, which therefore made Medusa an innocent victim.

As to Perseus, he was  the son of the mortal Danae (the daughter of the King of Argos) and Zeus, the Ruler of Gods.

He would later on become the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Dynasty of Danaans

Perseus had been sent to  fetch Medusa´s head by King Polydectes of Seriphus because Polydectes wanted to marry his mother.

The gods backed up Perseus. Thus, he received a mirrored shield from Athena, gold, winged sandals from Hermes (the messenger of the Gods), a sword from Hephaestus and Hades´helm of invisibility.

Medusa was the only one of the three Gorgons who was mortal, so Perseus was able to slay her while looking at the reflection from the mirrored shield he received from Athena.

Perseus could safely cut off Medusa’s head without turning to stone, by looking only at her reflection in the shield.

During that time, Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon.

When Perseus beheaded Medusa, Medusa and Poseidon´s sons, Pegasus (a winged horse) and Chrysaor (a golden sword-wielding giant), sprang from her body.

According to other accounts, either Perseus or Athena used the head to turn Atlas into stone, transforming him into the Atlas Mountains  that held up both heaven and earth.

Many elements of the myth suggest, through its basic ambiguity, the tragic nature of Medusa.

One of the most revealing of these is the gift from Athena to Asclepius of two drops of the Gorgon’s blood, one of which has the power to cure and even resurrect, while the other is a deadly poison.

In his study “The Mirror of Medusa” (1983), Tobin Siebers has identified the importance of two elements, i.e. the rivalry between Athena and the Gorgon, and the mirror motif.

As to the mirror motif, common features are numerous. For example, snakes are the attribute of Athena, as illustrated by the famous statue of Phidias. 

With regard to symbolisms and equivalents, it is interesting to highlight that in Ancient Greece a Gorgoneion (a stone head, engraving, or drawing of a Gorgon face), frequently was used as a sacred symbol in the hopes of warding off evil.

These symbols were similar to the sometimes grotesque faces on Chinese soldiers’ shields, also used generally as an amulet. Likewise, in Hindu mythology, Kali is often shown with a protruding tongue and snakes around her head. Medusa is, besides, one of the most archaic mythical figures, perhaps an echo of the demon Humbaba who was decapitated by the babylonian hero, Gilgamesh.

David Leeming in his book: “Medusa: In the Mirror of Time” (2013) traces the development of Medusa from her earliest appearances in Archaic art and poetry to her more recent incarnations. Leeming makes reference to Jean Pierre Vernant several times in his book.

Particularly he mentions Vernant´s  essay “In The Mirror of Medusa” (1985), in which he examines Medusa in the context of archaic Greek religious life.

Leeming second Vernant when he states that Medusa is basically “a mask conveying the Ultimate Other”. They both believe that Medusa represented the death power which “wrenches humans away from their lives”. (“To gaze at the Other, which is the Medusa mask is to lose the Self, to be petrified”).

Robert Graves (“Greek Myths”, 1958) believes that the myth of Perseus preserves the memory of the conflicts which occurred between men and women in the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. 

In fact, the function of the Gorgon’s mask was to keep men at a safe distance from the sacred ceremonies and mysteries reserved for women, meaning, those which celebrated the Triple Goddess, the Moon.

Graves reminds us that the Orphic poems referred to the full moon as the “Gorgon’s head”. The mask was also worn by young maidens to ward off male lust.

Consequently, according to Robert Graves, the episode of Perseus’ victory over Medusa represents the end of female ascendancy and the taking over of the temples by men, who had become the masters of the divine which Medusa’s head had concealed from them.

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“La Méduse” by Jean Delville. 1893

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►Gallery: “The Gorgons”: 

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“Medusa” by Arnold Böcklin (On the Left: 1878. On the Right: 1897).

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“The Gorgon Medusa”, by Caravaggio. (1590).

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►Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgon
http://www.rwaag.org/medusa
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2014/2014-08-09.html
https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=vQqIWcgAxhIC&redir_esc=y
http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/bogan/medusamyth.htm
https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2008/12/25/medusa-inspired-art-on-show/

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  Last but not Least: “Three Awards” 

Thank you very much to bloggers from Time for my Thoughts, Jully´s Blog and Dear Kitty for nominating me for a Blogger Recognition Award, a Creative Blogger Award and a Real Neat Blog Award, respectively.

I will follow these basic rules for these three awards: 

♠Thank the person who nominated you. ♠Add the logo to your post. ♠Nominate ten (10) bloggers of your choice and tell them about the nomination. 

I. Nominees Blogger Recognition Award: 1. Natascha’s Palace 2. Art Box 3. Way Station 4. Book lover circumspect4 5. WolfBerryKnits 6. Cheryl “Cheffie Cooks” Wiser 7. Blabberwockying 8. Ricettedicasamia 9. Missameliaandsir 10. Keep The Hope.

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II. Nominees Creative Blogger Award: 1. Dreamspinner Extraordinaire 2. La Luna Escarlata 3. Spiritual Dragonfly 4. Trees of Transition 5. Stephanie’s Book Reviews 6. Collage a la intemperie 7. Breathe In My Touch 8.Time for my Thoughts 9. Dear Kitty 10. Of Means and Ends.

•~~~•  •~~~•  •~~~•  •~~~•  •~~~•  •~~~•  •~~~• 

III. Nominees Real Neat Blog Award:  1. Joys of Joel 2. Soul Synchronicity 3. Be Different Buddy 4. Ionic Bond Blog 5. El Mejor Viaje del Mundo 6. Nearly Dear 7. Jully´s Blog 8. Diana Douglas 9. All Nine 10. Imperfect Happiness.

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artemis

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Diana the Huntress, by Luca Penni (16th Century).

“Diana the Huntress”, by Luca Penni (16th Century).

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Artemis (Roman Equivalent: Diana) was the greek goddess of hunting, wilderness and wild animals.

She was also a goddess of childbirth, and the protectress of Virginity and the girl child up to the age of marriage.

According to the Homeric account and also to Hesiod she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. She was the sister of Apollo. According to Pausanias, Artemis was a daughter of Demeter, and not of Leto.

Artemis as the sister of Apollo, is a kind of female Apollo.

Artemis is moreover, like Apollo, unmarried; she is a maiden divinity never conquered by love. The priests and priestesses devoted to her service were bound to live pure and chaste, and trangressions of their vows of chastity were severely punished. 

When Apollo was regarded as identical with the sun or Helios, nothing was more natural than that his sister should be regarded as Selene or the moon, and accordingly the Greek Artemis is, at least in later times, the goddess of the moon. Phoebe was one of the many names she was called. The name Phoebe means the “light one” or “bright one”.

Another earlier version of the Goddess is the Arcadian. According to it, Artemis  is a goddess of the nymphs.

There was no connexion between the Arcadian Artemis and Apollo. Her epithets in Arcadia are nearly all derived from the mountains, rivers, and lakes. Thus she was the representative of some part or power of nature. Also according to the Arcadian version, Artemis hunted with her twenty nymphs, who accompanied her during the chase, and with sixty others, daughters of Oceanus, with whom she held her dances in the forests of the mountains.

The representations of the Greek Artemis in works of art are different accordingly as she is represented either as a huntress, or as the goddess of the moon; yet in either case she appears as a youthful and vigorous divinity.

~As the huntress, her attributes are the bow, quiver, and arrows, or a spear, stags, and dogs.

~As the goddess of the moon, she wears a long robe which reaches down to her feet, a veil covers her head, and above her forehead rises the crescent of the moon. In her hand she often appears holding a torch.

On one of her birthdays Artemis asked for Six wishes from Zeus, his father. These wishes were.

  1. To be able to live life chaste.
  2. To be able to be a lifelong bachelorette and never marry.
  3. A bow and arrow like that of Apollo’s
  4. Hunting dogs to assist her hunting.
  5. Stags to lead her chariot.
  6. And 80 virgin nymphs to be her hunting companions.

Zeus was amused by Artemis’ wishes, and being her good father, he granted her each wish she asked for.

Artemis would never marry, and would be chaste for all eternity. She roamed with her hunting dogs, nymphs, and her stags, hunting all throughout the mountains, where she resided.

Appearances of Artemis in other myths and in Homer’s “Iliad”:

•In the myth of Actaeon, he was a hunting companion of Artemis ; at some point, he saw the goddess naked bathing in a spring and tried to rape her. As a punishment, Artemis transformed him into a stag and his hounds killed him.

•In the myth of Orion which has various versions, Orion was also a hunting companion of Artemis  and the only person to have won her heart. However, he was accidentally killed either by the goddess or by a scorpion which was sent by Gaia.

In another myth, Zeus, changing his form to resemble Artemis, managed to seduce Callisto, one of Artemis’ hunting attendants. As a companion of Artemis, she took a vow of chastity. Zeus appeared to her disguised as Artemis and they had sexual relationships. As a result of this encounter she conceived a son, Arcas.

•In some versions of the story of Adonis, Artemis sent a wild boar to kill him because he was a better hunter than she. In another version, Adonis was not killed by Artemis, but by Ares, as punishment for being with Aphrodite.

In Homer’s “Iliad”, Artemis may have been represented as a supporter of Troy because her brother Apollo was the patron god of the city. At the Greek’s journey to Troy, Artemis becalmed the sea and stopped the journey until an oracle came and said they could win the goddess’ heart by sacrificing Iphigenia, Agamemnon’s daughter.

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►Gallery: “Artemis” (Ancient Greek Vases):

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” Diana’s Maidens” by Edward Robert Hughes (19th Century).

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►Gallery: “Artemis or Diana” (Paintings):

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Poem Artemis by Irina

O Artemis!

Steadfast virgin for all eternity

Out of wedlock born to Leto

Fathered by Zeus the mighty

Baby midwife to Apollo

Her twin brother;

She helped her mother

And thus became the patron saint

Of birthing mothers and their babes

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The virgin Goddess of Hunting

Roamed throughout the mountains

With a hunting bow and arrow like Apollo’s

With her eighty virgin nymphs

With hunting dogs, and sacred stags

To lead her chariot

Hunting chaste in lush wilderness;

Six desired gifts from father received

The mighty ruler of Mount Olympus

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The most cherished gift Virginity

Thus she turned Callisto into a small bear

Punishment for loss of chastity;

Her jealous arrow

Condemned the bear to die

But cunning Zeus, the nymph’s seducer

Turned Callisto into sparkling stars

To shine for us forever in the sky

As Callisto Bear or Ursa Minor

~~~

The Virgin Goddess for all eternity

Never loved but one, Orion, a mortal son;

Apollo, jealous, tricked his sister

Through a wager, to shoot

The “floating object” far on the horizon

It was Orion, her one and only love;

In her grief she turned him

Into brilliant stars

Forevermore to shine for her and us

~~~

O Artemis!

Goddess of Hunting

Protector of animals, trees and flowers

Goddess of Virginity, Goddess of Light

As silvery moon you joined Orion;

In the darkness, your love

Forever will shine bright

Lend us your strength, allay our fears

Lead us safely through the night.

©Copyright 2015 Irina Dimitric

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Irina Dimitric. http://irinadim.com/

Irina Dimitric. http://irinadim.com/

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►About Irina Dimitric:

Irina dixit: “I’m a blogger. My recent passions are writing poetry and photography. Now and then I write a story… The ups and downs of my life are reflected in my poems and short stories, and the mood of the poems ranges from dark to bright and from serious to downright silly. Laughter is to me like the air I breathe. I’m a fighter and don’t give in easily to misfortune’s impact”. 

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•Make sure to visit Irina’s Blog, Irina’s Poetry Corner.

•Feel Free to connect with Irina at: Twitter and Google Plus.

•Irina has recently published a poetry book, “Dreams on my Pillow”. 

You can purchase Irina’s book at Amazon or Xlibris.

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Click on the book cover.

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“Haz de Luz”. ©Amalia Pedemonte. 2015. Fotografía publicada en “La Poesía No Muerde: Imagen encontró poemas”: http://wp.me/p3U19M-10C

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Artemis.html
http://www.theoi.com/Summary/Artemis.html
http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Artemis/artemis.html
http://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/artemis/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemis

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It is great to get these three new awards. Premio Dardos (x2) coming from Jagxs and  Sonrisas de Camaleón.

Plus, a Creative Bloggers Award, from Living a Beautiful Life.  

I want to thank these three bloggers and suggest you to please make sure to check out their blogs and follow them if you haven´t still done so.  

Note: For the three awards, I will nominate blogs I have recently came across and like, recent followers and/or plussers. Also, I am changing the logos so that way I can include new awards among mine… And, finally, I will follow the nomination process without answering questions or mentioning facts about me…. 

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►Rules for these Three Awards:

♠ Thank the person who nominated you for the award. Agradecer a la persona que te ha nominado.

♠ Add the logo to your post. Agregar el logo del premio en tu blog. 

♠Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs. Nominar otros diez (10) bloggers, informándoles en sus respectivos blogs.

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►I) Nominees~Premio Dardos~Focal White & Black Version:

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1. Iridediluce 2. K’ Cadences 3. A Joyful Creation 4. Alex Kiaw 5. Living a Beautiful Life 6. Writing Stories Rocks 7. Ruido Claro 8. Utopian Fragments 9. Le Rimenaute 10. RV John.

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►II) Nominees~Premio Dardos~Chameleon Version:

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premio-dardos

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1. Le Trouvaille 2. Free Spirit Mystic 3. People Forward 4. Claudia Moss 5. Margie in Italy 6. Territorio Escrito 7. The Faerie Embassy 8. Presupuesto Zero 9. Your Bones & Their Lies 10. Mina Barrado

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►III) Nominees~Creative Bloggers Award:

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1. In Sapphic Sunshine 2. Jagxs 3. Sonrisas de Camaleón 4. Bundle Post 5. Mehflowers 6. MaryAnn’s World 7. Living in the Forest 8. Daphnedawn 9. Bojenn 10. Peaks and Valleys

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helen01

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"Helene glorifee" by Gustave Moreau (1897).

“Hélène glorifiée” by Gustave Moreau (1897).

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Helen of Troy, also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and sister of Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux.

Pollux shared a father with Helen (Zeus), whilst Castor’s and Clytemnestra’s father was he king of Sparta, Tyndareus.

In Greek myths, Helen was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus, who was Agamemnon‘s brother.

When it was time for Helen to marry, many princes came to seek her hand.

During the contest, Castor and Pollux had a prominent role in dealing with the suitors, although the final decision was in the hands of King Tyndareus, Helen’s father.

Menelaus, her future husband, did not attend but sent his brother, Agamemnon on his behalf.

Before this, when Helen was a young girl she was kidnapped by Theseus

In most accounts of this event, this happened when Helen was seven years old.

It is said that two athenians, Theseus and Pirithous, thought that since they were both sons of gods, both of them should have divine wives; they thus pledged to help each other abduct two daughters of Zeus.

Thus Theseus chose Helen, and Pirithous vowed to marry Persephone, the wife of Hades.

Hades pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast, but, as soon as the pair sat down, snakes coiled around their feet and held them there. Helen’s abduction caused an invasion of Athens by Castor and Pollux, who captured Aethra (Theseus’ mother) in revenge, and returned their sister to Sparta.

After the Judgement of Prince Paris, she was presumably abducted by him and this led to the Trojan War

That is why Helen is also known as the face that launched a thousand ships.

Helen is sometimes depicted as being abducted and even raped by Paris.

However, Sappho argues that Helen willingly left behind Menelaus to be with Paris.

Homer depicts her as a wistful, even a sorrowful, figure, coming to regret her choice and wishing to be reunited with Menelaus.

Paris was killed during the Trojan War, and according to Homer’s “Iliad”, Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead, or even getting re-married with Priam’s surviving son Deiphobus, who she will betrayed hiding his sword, immediatly after the sack of Troy had begun.

During the fall of Troy, Homer says that after the Trojan Horse was admitted into the city Helen circled the Horse imitating  the voices of the Greek women left behind at home, almost like the Sirens did. Thus, she tortured  the men inside the wooden horse (including Odysseus and Menelaus) with the memory of their loved ones, and brought them to the brink of destruction.

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"Helen on the Walls of Troy" by Gustave Moreau (1895).

“Helen on the Walls of Troy” by Gustave Moreau (1895).

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The faces that launched a thousand ships. Both Frederick Leighton (left), and Gustave Moreau (right) depict an expressionless Helen; a blank or anguished face.

“Helen on the Walls of Troy”. (Two paintings dated 19th century). Both Gustave Moreau (1) and Frederick Leighton (2) depict an expressionless Helen. Blurry, anguished faces, that precisely “launched a thousand ships”.

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Gallery: “Helen of Troy”:

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The story of Helen began in young life

As Theseus plotted to take a Divine wife

Conflict ensued as her brothers did invade

Capturing Theseus’s Mother, revenged repaid

~~~

Helen of Sparta, Daughter of Zeus

A beauty to behold blooming with youth

She attracted her suitors to ask for her hand

Menelaus won her; Becoming Queen of his land

~~~

Abducted by Paris, or did she willingly run?

As Oaths to her King another battle was begun

Her face did launch a thousand ships to sea

As Helen of Troy, another legend began to be

~~~

Helen of Troy, a beauty to behold,

A Trojan Horse, a plan so bold

Queen of Laconia, Menelaus her King

Now coupled with Paris, more tragedy to bring

~~~

Who can say what heartache transpired?

Daughter of Zeus, extremely desired

Did she find Happiness? Who can tell?

But what we do know- Men fell under her spell..

 ©2015 Sue Dreamwalker.-

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►About Sue Dreamwalker:

Sue Dreamwalker is a Mother, a Wife, a Poet, a writer, and an Artist.
She hosts a wonderful blog, Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
You can also connect with Sue at Google Plus.

►Sue Dreamwalker Dixit: 

“I am an ordinary woman who sees beyond this Vale,
Who wants to share her light and knowledge with others
I walk my path trying to help others along the way,
I hold a Dream of life that will end decay 
My path is long and the road may be tough 
But each of us has to try and give back and say enough is enough
So I share my visions through poems and thought
of hopes and Dreams in this life we get caught”.~
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Sue Dreamwalker. Visit her Blog: https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/

Sue Dreamwalker. Visit her Blog: https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/

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I would like to thank Henar de Andrés from “Pensando en la Oscuridad” for nominating me for a Black Wolf Blogger Award.

I would also like to thank  José Sala and Millie Thom for both nominating me for two Very Inspiring Blogger Awards (OMG & Puppy Versions).

please make sure to check out their blogs and to follow them, If you haven’t still done so!. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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►Rules for these Three Awards:

♠ Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
♠ Add the logo to your post.
♠Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs. 

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►I) Nominees~ Black Wolf Blogger Award (Sparkles Version):

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1. Souldier Girl 2. Uninteresting Calc Equations 3. The Main Focus 4. Fedpoint86 5. Jully’s Blog 6. The Bégel’s Blab 7. It’s Jieyang! 8. Kintal 9. Underground Energy 10. Eye will not cry.

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►II) Nominees~Very Inspiring Blogger Award (OMG Version):

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1. Caminando 2. Collage a la Intemperie 3. Milam Ahard 4. Mimoreliadospuntocero 5. VivalaViv 6. Americana Injustica 7. All Out of Excuses 8. Bear Trainer 9. My red abyss 10. Perso in Poesia 2015.

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►III) Nominees~Very Inspiring Blogger Award (Puppy Version):

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1. Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings 2. Desertsunsaga 3. 4. The wind horse blog 5. The Cvillean 6. Ana Linden 7. Coming Out Crooked 8. Captain’s Log 9. The Dark Night Chronicles 10. Spahr Plops.

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►Links Post:
http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/hd/abouthelen.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_of_Troy
http://whitedragon.org.uk/articles/troy.htm
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ElAnt/V10N2/
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/JudgementParis.html
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/troyilium/a/helenoftroybasc.htm

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►Greek Mythology: “The Erinyes” (The Furies):

►Poetry: Verónica Boletta: “Three”:

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"Orestes and the Erynies" by Gustave Moreau (1891).

“Orestes and the Erynies” by Gustave Moreau (1891).

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In Greek Mythology, the Erinyes were mainly goddesses of vengeance.

The name Erinnys, which is the more ancient one, was derived by the Greeks from the erinô or ereunaô, I hunt up or persecute, or from the Arcadian word erinuô, I am angry; so that the Erinnyes were either the angry goddesses, or the goddesses who hunt up or search after the criminal

The goddesses were often addressed by the euphemistic names Eumenides (“Kind Ones”) or Semnai Theai (“Venerable Goddesses”). Eumenides signifies “the well-meaning,” or “soothed goddesses”.

They were probably personified curses, but possibly they were originally conceived of as ghosts of the murdered. 

They were depicted as ugly, winged women with hair, arms and waists entwined with serpents:

 “You handmaidens, look at them there: like Gorgones, wrapped in sable garments, entwined with swarming snakes!”. Aeschylus, “Libation Beaers” (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.).

According to the Greek poet Hesiod, they were the daughters of Gaia (Earth) and sprang from the blood of her mutilated spouse Uranus; in the plays of Aeschylus, they were the daughters of Nyx; in those of Sophocles, they were the daughters of Darkness and of Gaia. Euripides was the first to speak of them as three in number.

Later authors named them Allecto (“Unceasing in Anger”), Tisiphone (“Avenger of Murder”), and Megaera (“Jealous”).

Among the things sacred to them we hear of serpents, chthonian animals associated with the Underworld. Also their sacred bird was the screech owl, a nocturnal bird of ill omen, closely associated with curses and the gods of the dead. As to the plants, they were associated to the narcissus.

They were particularly worshipped at Athens, where a festival called Eumenideia was celebrated in their honour.

These goddesses were sometimes seen as servants of Hades and Persephone in the Underworld.

As the Erinyes not only punished crimes after death, but during life on earth, they were conceived also as goddesses of fate, who, together with Zeus and the Moirae, led such men as were doomed to suffer into misery and misfortunes.

The wrath of the Erinyes manifested itself in a number of ways.

The most severe of these was the tormenting madness inflicted upon a patricide or matricide. Murderers might suffer illness or disease; and a nation harbouring such a criminal, could suffer dearth, and with it hunger and disease.

This is mostly what happens in Aeschylus’s “Oresteia”, a three-act drama of family fate, like the “Oedipus trilogy” by Sophocles.

The three parts of “The Oresteia” are: First: “Agamemnon”. Second: “The Libation Bearers“. Third and last play: “The Eumenides”.

In “Agamemnon”, Clytemnestra herself  murders his husband Agamemnon.

In “The Libation Bearers”, Clytemnestra is murdered by her son Orestes.

In the  third and last play,”The Eumenides”, Orestes is judged because of his crime by a jury composed of Athena and twelve Athenians. Although Orestes’ actions were what Apollo had commanded him to do, Orestes has still committed matricide, a grave sacrilege. Because of this, he is pursued and tormented by the terrible Erinyes. 

In Aeschylus’ tragedy “The Eumenides”, the Erinyes introduce themselves and later on, say to Orestes: 

“We claim to be just and upright. No wrath from us will come stealthily to the one who holds out clean hands, and he will go through life unharmed; but whoever sins and hides his blood-stained hands, as avengers of bloodshed we appear against him to the end, presenting ourselves as upright witnesses for the dead”. (Aeschylus’ Oresteia “The Eumenides”. 310).
“We drive matricides from their homes … Since a mother’s blood leads us, we will pursue our case against this man and we will hunt him down”… (Aeschylus’ Oresteia “The Eumenides”. 230).
“Allow us in return to suck the red blood from your living limbs. May we feed on you -a gruesome drink! We will wither you alive and drag you down, so that you pay atonement for your murdered mother’s agony”. (Aeschylus’ Oresteia “The Eumenides”. 265).

At Delphi’s Oracle, Orestes has been told by Apollo that he should go to Athens to seek the aid of the goddess Athena.

Once in Athens, Athena arranges for Orestes to be tried by a jury of Athenian citizens, with her presiding.

The Erinyes appear as Orestes’ accusers, while Apollo speaks in his defense. The jury vote is evenly split.

Athena participates in the vote and declares Orestes acquitted because of the rules she established for the trial.

Despite the verdict, the Erinyes threaten to torment all inhabitants of Athens.

Athena, however, offers the ancient goddesses a new role, as protectors of justice. Thus, she persuades them to break the cycle of blood for blood, as  as mercy should always take precedence over harshness. This threat satisfy the Erinyes, who are then led by Athena in a procession to their new city.

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"Orestes Pursued by the Furies" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1861).

“Orestes Pursued by the Furies” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1861).

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►Gallery: “The Erinyes” (The Three Furies):

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►Poetry: A poem by Verónica Boletta: “Three”:

Fate

is revenge.

Impious triad of

blood,

tears and whips.

Talion’s trident, (*)

incarnated in snakes:

haughty,

horrific and

unmentionable.

Each murder

finds punishment

in the gathering point

in which Eternity

and Infinite

turn into Hell.

Death

is not solace,

nor sheltering sky.

Hence…

madness.

©2014 Verónica Boletta.-

Note: (*) Talionthe system or legal principle of making the punishment correspond to the crime; retaliation.

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►About Verónica Boletta:

Verónica lives in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has a degree in Economic Sciences. 

‘Numbers’ are her Career of Currency as she says.

Regardless, she has her own “B side”. She is also a writer and therefore likes to embrace ‘Words’, particularly in the shape of great poems…

So, being this said and without further ado, make sure to check out Verónica’s blog hereAlso feel free to connect with her at Twitter

Verónica Boletta dixit“Abrazo los números como profesión de divisas y las palabras como profesión y esperanza de vida. Reescribo mis credenciales y mis cartas de presentación así como borroneo en bocetos, la vida. Soy la mirada y el ojo, los sonidos y el oído, las letras del abecedario y las palabras, los pies en la tierra y la esperanza en el cielo”.~

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Verónica Boletta.-

Verónica Boletta.-

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►Links Post:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/222733/Furies
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Erinyes.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erinyes
http://dutchie.org/goddess-erinyes/ 
http://www.maicar.com/GML/ERINYES.html
http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Fi-Go/Furies.html

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►Greek Mythology: “Myrrha, Adonis and Persephone”(Myths and Interpretation):

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Myrrha

“Myhrra assisted by Lucina, the Goddess of Birth” by Jean de Court (1560).

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As we know from the previous postAdonis, Myrrha’s son, was raised up for both Goddess Persephone and Aphrodite.

Myrrha’s mother (being more precise, Adonis’ grandmother) had said that her daughter Myrrha was even more beautiful than Aphrodite herself . This was taken as offensive by the goddess of Beauty, who took revenge on that.

And in this case she took revenge of Myrrha’s mother by punishing her daughter, cursing Myrrha to fall in love and lust after her father, Cinyras.

Aphrodite appears here as a trouble maker. It is not the first time that she had looked for acknowledgment of her Beauty.

We must keep in mind here the Judgement of Paris in which Aphrodite offered Helen the most beautiful mortal woman, to Prince Paris of Troy, in exchange of that famous Golden apple labeled for the fairest one.

Retaking the preceding points, roman poet Ovid referred to Myrrha’s story in “Metamorphoses,” Book 10, lines 467-518.

Myrrha was the daughter of King Cinyras and Queen Cenchreis of Cyprus.

Myrrha felt attracted to her father. Knowing the love was forbidden she fought it as hard as she could to avoid her feelings. But as he couldn’t do so, she tried to kill herself. Just before she was goindg to commit suicide, Myrrha was discovered by her nurse who finally dissuaded her.

Myrrha confided her forbidden love to the nurse. The nurse tried to make Myrrha suppress the infatuation, but could not calm the girl. Finally the nurse agreed to help Myrrha get into her father’s bed if she promised that she would not try to kill herself again.

The women got their opportunity during a feast. Myrrha’s father, King Cinyras, was drunk in his bed. The nurse helped Myrrha to get into the bed by telling the King she was a young woman who was deeply in love with him.

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"Myrrha and Cinyras". Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses. Book X.

“Myrrha and Cinyras”. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”. Book X.

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In this manner, Myrrha and the nurse were able to deceive Cinyras. The affair lasted several nights in complete darkness to conceal Myrrha’s identity. One night, Cinyras wanted to know the identity of the girl with whom he had conducted the affair. Upon bringing in a lamp, and seeing his crime, the king drew his sword and attempted to kill her but she could escape.

After becoming pregnant of her own father Myrrha walked for nine months, lost in her own guilt.

Zeus finally took pity on her and transformed her into a myrrh tree.

When it came time for the birth, the Myrrh tree was somehow assisted by the birth goddess Lucina and six water nymphs. The tree appeared to wrench and finally cracked and delivered a baby boy, who would be later called Adonis.

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"The Birth of Adonis".  Engraving by Bernard Picart for Ovid's "Metamorphoses", Book X, 476-519.

“The Birth of Adonis”. Engraving by Bernard Picart for Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”.

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Aphrodite found the baby by the myrrh tree. She sheltered Adonis as a new-born baby and entrusted him to Persephone, the wife of Hades, who was the God of the Underworld

Aphrodite fell in love with the beautiful youth (possibly because she had been wounded by Eros’ arrow).

Persephone was also taken by Adonis’ beauty and refused to give him back to Aphrodite.

The dispute between the two goddesses was settled by Zeus 

Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. Thus he decided to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.

Adonis’ death was tragic. He was killed (castrated) by a wild boar and died in Aphrodite’s arms, who sprinkled his blood with nectar from the anemone.  

It was said that Adonis’ blood turned the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring.

After Adonis’ death, Aphrodite was so sad that Zeus decided to make Adonis immortal, allowing him to leave the underworld, to spend eight months of the year with Aphrodite.

He always, however, had to return to Hades and remain there the other four with Persephone.

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"The Death of Adonis" by Giuseppe Mazzuoli.(1709). The State Hermitage Museum

“The Death of Adonis” by Giuseppe Mazzuoli.(1709). The State Hermitage Museum

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Something worth highlighting here. There is a remarkable analogy between Adonis’ stay in both the Underworld and the World of the Living and Persephone’s myth, being also this Goddess one of the women (with Aphrodite) who raised Myrrha’s child, Adonis. 

This is shown specifically by the fact that Persephone (Demeter’s virgin daughter) was abducted by Hades, King of the Underworld.

According to the myth, Hades planted a meadow full of the narcissus flowers in order to entice Persephone. When she pulled on the flower, the Underworld opened up and Hades sprang up, carrying her off.

Later on, he gave Persephone a pomegranate. As she ate it, the fruit somehow cemented her marriage to Hades. Thus, she was bound to Hades for six months of each year, winter and autumn.

Persephone was allowed by her husband to join her mother in the World of Living, but only when summer and springtime arrived. 

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►”Greek Myths of Myrrha. Symbolism and Interpretation”:

Critical interpretation of this myth has considered Myrrha’s refusal of conventional sexual relations to have provoked her incest, with the ensuing transformation to tree as a silencing punishment. It has been suggested that the taboo of incest marks the difference between culture and nature and that Ovid’s version of Myrrha showed this.

Myrrha’ s love for his father may be related to the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Jung.

The Electra complex is a girl’s psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father. In the course of her psychosexual development, the complex is the girl’s phallic phase, a boy’s analogous experience is the Oedipus complex.

As a psychoanalytic metaphor for daughter–mother psychosexual conflict, the Electra complex derives from the 5th-century BC Greek Mythological character Electra, who plotted matricidal revenge with Orestes, her brother, against Clytemnestra, their mother, and Aegistus, their stepfather, for their murder of Agamemnon, their  father. This story is told by Sofocles in his tragedy and by Aeschylus in his trilogy “Oresteia” (Second tragedy, “The Libation Bearers”).

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►Greek Myths of Myhrra, Adonis and Persephone. Symbols and Meanings”:

•Myrrha, transformed into a Myrrh Tree: Punishment. Myrrha is transformed and rendered voiceless making her unable to break the Taboo of Incest. The word “myrrh” in Ancient Greek was related to the word μύρον (mýron), which became a general term for perfume.

•Myrrha having sexual relationships with her father: Myrrha’s behavior here might be linked to the hero archetype, known as “The Fall”. It describes a descent in action from a higher to a lower state of being, an experience which might involve defilement, moral imperfection, and/or loss of innocence. This fall is often accompanied by expulsion from a kind of paradise as penalty for disobedience and/or moral transgression.

•Myrrha feeling guilty while she is pregnant: This attitude might be associated with, was is known in the Hero Pattern, an Unhealable Wound. Here, the wound, physical or psychological, cannot be healed fully. This would also indicate a loss of innocence or purity. Often the wounds’ pain drives the sufferer to desperate measures of madness. 

•Adonis, castrated by a Wild Boar: Adonis Castration might be considered equal to a Father-Castration, performed by Cinyras (Myhrra’s father and Adonis’  father and grandfather at the same time).

Castration is here performed as an extreme punishment which leads to death. It also entrains the fact that Adonis won’t be able to have sons or daughters with his substitute mothers (Aphrodite and/or Perspehone).

The symbology of Wild Boar is that of truth, courage and confrontation.

In some native Indian tribes Wild Boar was used as a way to teach young braves how to be honest and find their courage when they told a lie to the tribe.

•Aphrodite sprinkling Adonis’ blood with nectar from the anemone: Anemone blossom stories are mostly about death – that’s why its blossom is often liken with being forsaken or left behind. In the Greek version of Adonis’ death, the Anemone is a plant that symbolizes unfading love. 

For the Christian version of the meaning of anemones, it’s a symbol of the blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross.  That’s the reason why you’ll see a bunch of anemones on several paintings of the crucifixion.

•Adonis’ death and resurrection: The most common of all situational archetypes, Death and Rebirth grow out of the parallel between the cycle of nature and life. The cycle of death and rebirth was linked with the regeneration of vegetation and the crop seasons in ancient Greece. Besides, this myth is related to the perennial nature of beauty, as Adonis died only to be reborn in the underworld.

•Adonis’ blood, which turned the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring: Red (Blood and river colors) Red represents sacrifice; violent passion, disorder, sunrise, birth, fire, emotion, wounds, death, sentiment, mother. Rivers/Streams: They represent life force and life cycle

•Adonis resurrected, spend his time with both Persephone in the Underworld and Aphrodite in The World of Living: Beyond the fact that both Goddesses raised Adonis, this metaphor might be linked to the double dichotomy Light-Life / Darkness-Death. In which Light usually suggests hope, renewal, life and intellectual illumination; whilst darkness implies the unknown, death, ignorance, or despair.

It might be also related to the opposites Hell (Underworld)/Heaven: Hell represents the diabolic forces that inhabit the universe and heaven the God Forces.

•Persephone eating the pomegranate that Hades gave her: In this myth, the pomegranate is related to the changing of seasons and might be also considered as a symbol of indivisibility of marriage. Seasons: Spring: It represents Birth and New Beginnings. Summer: Associated to maturity and Knowledge. Autumn: Linked to Decline, nearing Death, growing old. Winter: Representing Death, sleep, hibernation.

•Persephone’s realms: The Underworld: Black space. Black color: It represents darkness, chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, the unconscious and evil.

•Persephone released from the Underworld by HadesAs Persephone came back to the Living World to spend six months of each year with her mother Demeter, the flowers and crops grow great. 

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►Links Post:
http://www.uffizi.org/artworks/la-primavera-allegory-of-spring-by-sandro-botticelli/
http://www.iconos.it/le-metamorfosi-di-ovidio/libro-x/venere-e-adone/immagini/21-venere-e-adone/
http://spiritsymbols.blogspot.com.ar/2013/10/wild-boar.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrrha
http://ancientsites.com/aw/Post/1260902
http://www.squidoo.com/pomegranatesymbolism
http://froggey.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/the-pomegranate-the-righteous-fruit/
http://www.auntyflo.com/flower-dictionary/anemone
http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/greek_goddess_persephone.htm
http://www.paleothea.com/SortaSingles/Persephone.html
http://mythologyinfo.webs.com/theseasons.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electra_complex
http://www.muhsd.k12.ca.us/cms/lib5/CA01001051/Centricity/Domain/520/English%203/Unit%201%20–%20Early%20American%20Lit/ArchetypesandSymbols.pdf
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