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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  delve 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 changes, 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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►Links Post:
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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 Tree of Forgiveness." by Edward Burne-Jones. 19th century.

“The Tree of Forgiveness.” by Edward Burne-Jones. 19th century.

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⇒“Metamorphoses” by Ovid:

"Metamorphoses" by Ovid. Illustration by George Sandys. 1632.

“Metamorphoses” by Ovid. Illustration by George Sandys. 1632.

In my previous post, I have mentioned Ovid´s book “Metamorphoses” as a key source of Greek Mythology. 

“Metamorphoses” is a narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid, completed in 8 CE.

It is a “mock-epic” poem, written in dactylic hexameter, the form of the great epic poems of the ancient tradition, such as “The Iliad” and  “The Odyssey.

This poem describes the creation and history of the world, incorporating many classical myths.

Love and hubris are main topics in Ovid´s “Metamorphoses”. 
Unlike the predominantly romantic notions of Love, Ovid considered love more as a dangerous, destabilizing force.
However, there is an explanation for this attitude: during the reign of Augustus, the Roman emperor during Ovid’s time, major attempts were made to regulate morality by creating legal and illegal forms of love, by encouraging marriage and legitimate heirs, and by punishing adultery with exile from Rome.
As to hubris, (overly prideful behaviour) Ovid emphasizes that it entails a fatal flaw which inevitably leads to a character’s downfall. Hubris always attracts the punishment of the gods, as human beings might attempt to compare themselves to divinity.
As a side note, I think the best example of hubris in a Greek Myth is the one featuring Icarus, whose father built two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for them to escape from the Labyrinth for King Minos in which they had been imprisoned, and which had a fearsome Minotaur as guardian. Daedalus (Icarus´father) tried his wings first, but before taking off from the island, warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea, but to follow his path of flight. But soon later, Icarus was so overcome by the incredible feeling of flight, that he tried to fly higher and higher, trying to reach the sun; until, inevitably his wax wings melted, he fell from the sky into the Sea, and died.

Besides, in my last post, I introduced the subject of metamorphoses as it appears in Greek Myths, stating that it is generally defined as the origin of one or more transformations which most times occur as a result of death (tribute), but also as a way exoneration; or punishment.

Ovid. Publius Ovidius Naso. ( 43 B.C/ 17 A.D).

Ovid. Publius Ovidius Naso. ( 43 B.C/ 17 A.D).

Transformation is a common theme in Greek mythology. The gods had the power to change themselves into animals, birds, or humans and often used this power to trick goddesses or women.
In this same sense, I have previously mentioned the case of Zeus, the Ruler of Gods, who took different appearances as a way of courting potential lovers. Furthermore, sometimes the gods and goddesses transformed “others”, either to save them or to punish them.
Daphne, for example, was changed into a laurel tree; whilst Narcissus and Hyacinthus became the flowers that bear their names. 
The metamorphoses I have previously considered involved exclusively flowers, plants and trees and this post intends to present a few more examples of this sort.
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  ⇒“Flowers and Plants in some Greek Myths II”:

►Minthe: A naiad, fond of Hades/ Mint Plant:

Minthe was a naiad or water nymph associated with the Underworld river Cocytus. This river (also known as the River of Wailing) was one of the five rivers that encircled the realm of Hades, alongside rivers Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe and Styx- .

Minthe fell in love with Hades, but Persephone, Hades’ wife became enraged with jealousy, turning Minthe into a crawling plant so Persephone could crush her.

Hades could not reverse the spell so he made Minthe smell good when she walked on, making it so Minthe would always be noticed and never be taken for granted. 

The story also makes sense in a Greco-Roman context as mint was used in funerary rites to disguise the scent of decay. Besides, in Greece, the herb was also a main ingredient in the fermented barley drink called kykeon, which seemingly was the principal potable associated with the Eleusinian mysteries. It seems like this beverage included some really strange psychoactive ingredients, mint among them.

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On the Left: Nymph Minthe by W. Szczepanska. 21st century. On the Right: Mint Plant.

On the Left: Nymph Minthe by W. Szczepanska. 21st century. On the Right: Mint Plant.

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►Crocus, friend of Hermes/Crocus Plant:

Crocus was a friend of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods and god of travellers, liars, thieves, all who cross boundaries.

One day, while they were throwing the disc to each other, Hermes hit Crocus on the head and wounded him fatally.

As the young man collapsed and was dying, three drops from his blood fell on the centre of a flower thus becoming the three stigmata of the flower named after him.

Etymologically, the word crocus has its origin from the Greek “kroki” which means weft, the thread used for weaving on a loom. 

As a medicinal and dyeing substance, crocus has been known in ancient Greece for its aroma, vibrant colour and aphrodisiac properties, thus making it one of the most desired and expensive spices.

Another use in ancient Greece was that of perfumery also using it to perfume the water while bathing. Frescoes in the palaces of Knossos (16th century b.C.) clearly depict a young girl gathering crocus flowers as well as in the archeological site of Akrotiri, in Santorini and Homer, in his writings calls dawn “a crocus veil”.

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On the Left: "Mercury (Hermes)” Statue at the Museum Pio Clementino, Vatican. On the Right: Crocus Flower.

On the Left: “Mercury (Hermes)” Statue at the Museum Pio Clementino, Vatican. On the Right: Crocus Flower.

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►Paean, Asclepius´pupil/ Peony, Plant of Healing:

Peony was named after Paean, who was the physician of the gods who healed, among others, Hades’ and Ares’ wounds.

The flower myth related, says that Paean was a student of Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing

Asclepius excelled as a doctor, partly because serpents helped him to discover the healing properties of certain herbs.

Unfortunately, Asclepius became so skilled that he was able to revive the dead. Angry that the son of Apollo had interfered with nature and human mortality, Zeus hurled a thunderbolt at Asclepius, killing him. However, while they understood that interfering with natural death was wrong, humans continued to worship Asclepius as the founder of medicine.

Back to Asclepius´pupil, Paean, he was once instructed by Leto (Apollo‘s mother and goddess of fertility) to obtain a magical root growing on Mount Olympus that would soothe the pain of women in childbirth.

Asclepius became jealous and threatened to kill his pupil. Zeus saved Paean from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower. 

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On the Left: Statuette of Paeon . 2nd century. On the Right: Peony, flower.

On the Left: Statuette of Paean . 2nd century. On the Right: Peony, flower.

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►Cyparissus/ Cypress tree:

Cyparissus was a handsome young man from the island of Kea, the son of Telefus and grand son of Hercules.

He was god Apollo‘s protege as well as of god Zephiros (god of the wind). He asked the heavens for a favour; that his tears would roll down eternally. The favorite companion of Cyparissus was a tamed stag, which he accidentally killed with his hunting javelin as it lay sleeping in the woods. The gods turned him into a cypress tree, whose sap forms droplets like tears on the trunk. Therefore, the cypress tree became the tree of sorrow, and a classical symbol of mourning.

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On the Left: "Cyparissus" (mourning his deer) by Jacopo Vignali. 1670. On the Right: Bald Cypress Leaves.

On the Left: “Cyparissus” (mourning his deer) by Jacopo Vignali. 1670. On the Right: Bald Cypress Leaves.

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►Phyllis, Demophon´s wife/Almond Tree:

Phyllis was a daughter of a Thracian king.

She married Demophon, King of Athens and son of Theseus, while he stopped in Thrace on his journey home from the Trojan War.

Demophon, duty bound to Greece, returns home to help his father, leaving Phyllis behind. She sends him away with a casket, telling him that it contained a sacrament of Rhea and asking him to open it only if he has given up hope of returning to her. From here, the story diverges. In one version, Phyllis realizes that he will not return and commits suicide by hanging herself from a tree. Where she is buried, an almond tree grows, which blossoms when Demophon returns to he

A daughter of king Sithon, in Thrace, fell in love with Demophon on his return from Troy to Greece. Demophon promised her, by a certain day, to come back from Athens and marry her, and as he was prevented from keeping his word, Phyllis hung herself, but was metamorphosed into an almond-tree, which is a symbol of hope and rebirth.

In my previous post, I also made reference to another myth featuring an almond tree, which I will summarize here again.

This myth involved Cybele, his son Agdistis and his grandson Attis.

Medallion depicting Cybele and the sun god in the sky looking on as she rides in her chariot. 2nd century BC

Medallion depicting Cybele and Helios, the sun god in the sky looking from above as she rides in her chariot. 2nd century BC

Cybele (the so called “Great Mother”) gave birth to the hermaphroditic demon Agdistis.

Afraid of such creature, Cybele cut off his male sexual organ and from its blood sprang an almond tree.

When its fruit was ripe, Nana, who was a daughter of the river-god Sangarius, picked an almond and laid it in her bosom.

The almond disappeared, and she became pregnant.

Soon after the baby (named Attis) was born, Nana abandoned him, but a couple took care of him. 

When he was a young man, the foster parents of Attis sent him to Pessinos, where he was to wed the king’s daughter. 

Just as the marriage had started, Cybele appeared in her transcendent power, as she was jealous because she had fallen in love with Attis (his grandson).

Attis went mad, cut off his genitals and died. From Attis’ blood sprang the first violets.

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On the Left: "Phyllis and Demophoön" by John William Waterhouse. 19th century. On the Right: Almond Trees.

On the Left: “Phyllis and Demophon” by John William Waterhouse. 19th century. On the Right: Almond Trees.

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►The Nymph Pitys/The Fir tree:
Pan, the god of the wild and shepherds, was in love with the nymph Pitys. The god of the North wind was also attracted to Pity, but the nymph chose Pan over him.
The North Wind wanted to take revenge so he blew her over a gorge and killed her.
Pan found her lifeless body laying in the gorge and turned her into sacred tree, the Fir-tree.
Ever since, every time the North wind blows, Pitys cries. Her tears are the pitch droplets that leak out of the fir-cones in autumn.
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On the Left: "Pan and Pitys" by Edward Calvert. 1850. On the Right: Fir Trees.

On the Left: “Pan and Pitys” by Edward Calvert. 1850. On the Right: Fir Trees.

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►Rose, created by the goddess of flowers, Chloris, from a dead Nymph:

"Flora and Zephy" by Bouguereau. 1875.

“Flora and Zephy” by Bouguereau. 1875.

In Greek mythology, the rose was created by the goddess of flowers, Chloris (Roman equivalent: Flora).

One day, Chloris found the lifeless body of a nymph in the forest and she turned her into a flower.

She called Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Dionysus, the god of wine.

Aphrodite gave the flower beauty as her gift and Dionysus added nectar to give it a sweet fragrance. Zephiros, god of the West Wind, blew the clouds away so Apollo, the sun-god, could shine and make the flower bloom. That is how the rose was created and rightfully crowned “Queen of Flowers”.

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On the Left: Chloris. Detail "Primavera" by Sandro Botticelli.1478. On the Right: Rose Flower.

On the Left: Chloris. Detail “Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli.1478. On the Right: Rose Flower.

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►Orchis (son of a nymph and a satyr)/Orchid Plant:

In Greek mythology, Orchis was the son of a nymph (a female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform) and a satyr (a rustic fertility spirits of the countryside and wilds).

During a celebratory feast for Dionysus, Orchis committed the sacrilege of attempting to rape a priestess.

His punishment was to being torn apart by wild beasts. From his death arose Orchids which are a testament to the male reproductive organs (the testis). Today, the orchid means refinement as well as beauty. The origin of the plant name comes from the word orkhis, a word to describe part of the male genitalia, because of the shape of the bulbous roots. 

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On the Left: Fight between Nymph and Satyr. Naples National Archaeological Museum. On the Right: Orchid Plant and flowers.

On the Left: Fight between Nymph and Satyr. Naples National Archaeological Museum. On the Right: Orchid Plant and flowers.

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Flowers and Plants

Flowers and Plants: Peony, Rose, Orchid, Cypress (Leaves), Crocus, Mint (Leaves), Almond Tree (Flowers), Fir Tree (Branch).

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►Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocus_(mythology)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyparissus
http://amphipolis.gr/en/fyllis/
http://www.valentine.gr/mythology5_en.php
http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Paion.html
http://www.mythindex.com/greek-mythology/P/Phyllis.html
http://www.ancient-literature.com/rome_ovid_metamorphoses.html
https://tropicalfloweringzone.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/dendrobiums-orchids/
http://www.dominiquehackettchc.com/mint-wonderful-go-to-herb/
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mnemosyne1

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“Mnemosyne” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1881) .-

“Mnemosyne” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1881) .-

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Mnemosyne/ Μνημοσύνη (Roman equivalent: Moneta(0)) was a Titaness, goddess of Memory (1) and the inventor of Words (2)

Mnemosyne was also a goddess of time. She represented the rote memorisation required, before the introduction of writing, to preserve the stories of history and sagas of myth. She was the daughter of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, consisting of twelve elder gods/goddesses, being Mnemosyne included among them.

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Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne among them.-

Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne among them.-

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She was also lover of the Ruler of Gods, Zeus
After Zeus led the war against the Titans and established himself as the leader of the Olympians, he feared that, even though he might be immortal, his great victories and decisions might soon be forgotten.

Longing for a way to preserve the memory of his many great feats, he dressed as a shepherd and went to find Mnemosyne. 

The account tells that Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses (3)

The Muses were nine young, beautiful maidens who became the representatives of poetry, the arts, the sciences and sources of inspiration.
They were often depicted as accompanied by Apollo, who represented discipline and application of the arts. The Muses were: Calliope, epic or heroic poetry Clio, history Erato, love poetry and flute-playing Euterpe, lyric poetry and lyre-playing Melpomene, tragedy Polyhymnia, sacred music and dance Terpsichore, choral music and dance Thalia, comedy and idyllic poetry Urania, astronomy and cosmological poetry.
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“Apollo and the Muses” by Simon Vouet. 1640.

“Apollo and the Muses” by Simon Vouet. 1640.

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mne8Mnemosyne’s name derives from Mene, Moon, and mosune, ‘wooden house’ or ‘tower’, so literally means ‘the House of the Moon’.
 
The goddess Mnemosyne is sometimes credited with being the first philosopher, as her gift was the power of reason.
She was given responsibility for the naming of all objects, and by doing so gave humans the means to dialog and to converse with each other. 
The powers to place things in memory an that of remembrance were also attributed to this goddess.
 
The name Mnemosyne was also used for a river in the Underworld, Hades, which flowed parallel to the river of Lethe (4).  
Lethe was one of the five rivers of the underworld of Hades, around the cave of Hypnos, the greek god of Sleep, and through the Underworld, where all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. 
In chant XXXI of Dante’s “Divina Commedia”, at the very top of Purgatory, Dante is dipped into the River Lethe, which will cause amnesia. The chant of Asperges me (purge me) accompanies his immersion, and he then forgets his past sins and his atonement for them is complete.
Furthermore, the words Lethe or Elysium are often used as metaphors for the underworld or Hades in general.
Charon was the ferryman of the dead, in the service of the underworld domains of Hades. He received the shades of the dead from Hermes, who gathered them from the upper world and guided them through the underworld. Charon transported them in his boat to a final resting place in Hades, the land of the dead, on the other side.
The fee for his service were two coins which were placed on the eyelids of the dead person or just one coin, which was put in the mouth of the dead as a Greek burial custom .
It was believed that those who had not received due burial and were unable to pay his fee, would be left to wander the earthly side of the river Acheron, haunting the upper world as ghosts, being also unable to reincarnate.
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“Mnemosyne, The Mother of the Muses” by Frederic Leighton. (19th century).

“Mnemosyne, The Mother of the Muses” by Frederic Leighton. (19th century).

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Some ancient Greeks believed that souls were made to drink from the river before being reincarnated, so they would not remember their past lives. 
Other accounts taught the existence of another river, the Mnemosyne; those who drank from the Mnemosyne would remember everything.
More specifically, according to the Orfism, a Greek mystical religious movement, the newly dead who drank from the River Lethe would lose all memory of their past existence.
The initiated were taught to seek instead the river of memory, Mnemosyne, thus securing the end of the transmigration of the soul.
 
Besides, Mnemosyne was considered a minor oracular goddess. She presided over the underground oracle of Trophonios in Boiotia. Ancient Greeks sometimes worshipped Mnemosyne in the form of a spring, alluding to her profuse, flowing energy. 
Before being brought to the oracle, initiates were taken to a place with two pools lying next to each other. They were instructed to first drink from the pool of Lethe, the Goddess of forgetfulness, in order that they might forget their previous lives. Then they were taken to the spring of Mnemosyne to drink so that they would remember all that they were about to learn from the oracle.
Finally, Mnemosyne can be related to Aletheia, the greek goddess of Truth, Remembering and the Unhidden. The Roman counterpart for this goddess is Veritas

Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) is a Greek word variously translated as “unclosedness”, “unconcealedness”, “disclosure” or “truth”. Contained within the etymology of the word Aletheia is “lethe” meaning “forgetfulness”, “oblivion” and also applicable to one of the five rivers of the Underworld in Hades, as it was previously said.

The german philosopher, Martin Heidegger in his book “Time and Being” drew out an understanding of the term as ‘unconcealedness’. According to him, aletheia is distinct from conceptions of truth understood as statements which accurately describe a state of affairs (correspondence), or statements which fit properly into a system taken as a whole (coherence).

Instead, Heidegger focused on the elucidation of how the “world” is disclosed, or opened up, in which things are made intelligible for human beings in the first place, as part of a holistically structured background of meaning.

There is also an interesting association between Memory, seen as a faculty and Plato´s theory of Ideas. Plato, through Socrates´voice, states- in the dialogue “Phaedo”- that the soul was immortal and gives four arguments to prove so.

The basis of these reasonings were previous statements which relate the ability to apprehend Ideas through a sort of process of intuitive memory.

In Plato’s Dialogues, learning appears as a process of remembering, assuming that the soul, before its incarnation in the body, was in the realm of the “Forms”. There, the soul saw the Essences-Forms or Ideas, rather than the pale shadows or copies we merely experience on earth. Hence, when we identify an object, we are just remembering the Idea or Form which remains as an incorruptible and eternal essence behind and at the same time beyond the particular object.

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 ►Notes:
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Study of Jane Morris for ‘Mnemosyne’ (detail), 1876.-

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Study of Jane Morris for ‘Mnemosyne’ (detail), 1876.-

(0) Moneta. In Roman mythology, Moneta was a title given to two separate goddesses: the goddess of memory (identified with the Greek goddess Mnemosyne) and an epithet of Juno/Hera, called Juno Moneta. Moneta is also a central figure in  John Keats‘ poem “The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream”. (See Excerp below)
‘Is Saturn’s; I Moneta, left supreme
‘Sole priestess of this desolation.’
I had no words to answer, for my tongue,
Useless, could find about its roofed home
No syllable of a fit majesty
To make rejoinder to Moneta‘s mourn.
 
(1)Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory.  Socrates: “Let us, then, say that this is the gift of Mnemosyne (Memory), the mother of the Mousai (Muses), and that whenever we wish to remember anything we see or hear or think of in our own minds, we hold this wax under the perceptions and thoughts and imprint them upon it, just as we make impressions from seal rings; and whatever is imprinted we remember and know as long as its image lasts, but whatever is rubbed out or cannot be imprinted we forget and do not know”. Plato, Theaetetus 191c (trans. Fowler).-
(2) Mnemosyne, inventor of Words. “Of the female Titanes they say that Mnemosyne discovered the uses of the power of reason, and that she gave a designation to every object about us by means of the names which we use to express whatever we would and to hold conversation one with another; though there are those who attribute these discoveries to Hermes. And to this goddess is also attributed the power to call things to memory and to remembrance (mneme) which men possess, and it is this power which gave her the name she received”. Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 67. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (C1st B.C.).-
(3) Mnemosyne and Zeus, parents of  the nine Muses“And again, he [Zeus, after lying with Demeter] loved Mnemosyne with the beautiful hair: and of her the nine gold-crowned Moisai (Muses) were born”. Hesiod, Theogony 915 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (C8th or C7th B.C.) 
(4) Mnemosyne, a river which flowed parallel to the river of Lethe. “He [Aithalides, son of Hermes, gifted with unfailing memory] has long since been lost in the inexorable waters of the Acheron, yet even so, Lethe (Forgetfulness) has not overwhelmed his soul [ie unlike the other dead he remembers his past lives and retains his memory in the underworld]”. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 642 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.).-
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►Gallery: “Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory ”:
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“To Mnemosyne (Memory). The consort I invoke of Zeus divine; source of the holy, sweetly speaking Mousai nine; free from the oblivion of the fallen mind, by whom the soul with intellect is joined. Reason’s increase and thought to thee belong, all-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong. ‘Tis thine to waken from lethargic rest all thoughts deposited within the breast; and nought neglecting, vigorous to excite the mental eye from dark oblivion’s night. Come, blessed power, thy mystics’ memory wake to holy rites, and Lethe’s (Forgetfulness) fetters break”. Orphic Hymn 77 to Mnemosyne (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.).-
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collaboration
This part of the post on Mnemosyne consists of a collaboration with two talented canadian women. Resa McConaghy and Christy Birmingham.
I was initially invited to join Resa and Christy in order to work in something together. Resa is an artist and costume designer and Christy a freelancer writer and poet.
I was delighted to be part of the project which figuratively unites a continent from North to South, or viceversa. And, nor less than having a Greek Goddess as pretext!.
Resa created a beautiful gown based on Mnemosyne whilst Christy wrote a poem following the same implicit prompt.
So, without further ado… I am leaving you with these two Northern Stars, and their respective contributions…
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guarda_griega1_2-1 (1) RESA
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Resa has created a mesmerizing gown inspired in Mnemosyne. She chose red and white for the dress and added some beautiful details such as golden traces representing Mnemosyne’s daughters, the Nine Muses. I also liked the way she introduced the iconic two masks, depicting Comedy and Tragedy.
Mnemosyne was the patroness of poets, and she played a very important role when it comes to preserve the Oral tradition. So I think this detail speaks out loud in that sense. 
Resa tells us more about this gown in her post on Goddess Mnemosyne, which you will be able to find on her blog Art Gowns.
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Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by © Resa McConaghy. 2016.-

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by © Resa McConaghy. 2016.-

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Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

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 About Resa McConaghy:
resaResa is a canadian artist, costume designer and author.
She hosts two blogs Graffiti Lux and Murals and Art Gowns.
She has written a book, “Nine Black Lives, available on Amazon. You can follow Resa on Twitter, too.
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 Art Gowns: http://artgowns.com/ Graffiti Lux and Murals: http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

Art Gowns: http://artgowns.com/ Graffiti Lux and Murals: http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

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Christy has written a beautiful poetic ode to Mnemosyne. The title is so clever, I like the fact that she has chosen a gerund and that Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory is being remembered.

The first stanza delves into the temporal dialectic of memories (second and third verses), alluding to Mnemosyne´s daughters and developing that idea in the second stanza, in which Zeus is also mentioned as the father of the Muses.

The third stanza entails a great twist as it places Mnemosyne´s influence among us, hic et nunc (here and now). Christy highlights how Mnemosyne is being acknowledged in the collaboration that beckons her spirit to birth again.

You can check out more Christy´s poems on her blog Poetic Parfait.

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Remembering Mnemosyne

She is one with memory,
Closer to the past than the present,
With a future that pops forth nine muses who
Walk with mythically-lined toes full of
Musicality, poetic verse, and
Laughter for miles.
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The talented Muses are born as
Presents to the mind –
They are gifts from Zeus and Mnemosyne,
Whose passionate harvest spread over evenings that
Would later inspire three creative women afar.
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Her magical wonder ignites poetic words that
Mix with design and descriptions into a
Collaboration that beckons her spirit to birth again,
This time with dialogue, syllables and an exquisite
Red fabric that cloaks us all in comfort.

© Christy Birmingham. 2016 .-

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©Poetic Parfait 2016. Artwork for Christy Birmingham´s Poem.

©Poetic Parfait 2016. Artwork for Christy Birmingham´s Poem.

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About Christy Birmingham:

cb1Christy is a canadian freelance writer, poet and author. She is the author of two books. The poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination”(2013), available  at Redmund Productions. And another poetry book,  “Versions of the Self” (2015), which you can find on Amazon.  She also hosts two blogs: Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. You can connect with Christy on Twitter too. 

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Poetic Parfait: http://poeticparfait.com/ When Women Inspire: http://whenwomeninspire.com/

Poetic Parfait: http://poeticparfait.com/ When Women Inspire: http://whenwomeninspire.com/

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisMnemosyne.html
http://greekmythology.wikia.com/wiki/Mnemosyne
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/PotamosLethe.html
https://lpsmythologywiki.wikispaces.com/Greek+Myths–The+River+of+Styx
http://symbolreader.net/2014/02/16/the-secrets-of-the-odyssey-2/
http://www.britannica.com/topic/Lethe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aletheia
http://artgowns.com/2016/02/01/goddess-mnemosyne/
http://poeticparfait.com/2015/05/16/versions-of-the-self-poetry-book-kindle-and-hard-copy/
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hermes0

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“Mercury” by Evelyn De Morgan. 1873

“Mercury” by Evelyn De Morgan. 1873.

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(Roman name: Mercury) was the messenger of the Gods.

It was Hermes´duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld, which is known as a psycho pomp.

Carl Jung often speaks of Hermes as psycho pomp, spiritual friend, or personal guide.

He says: “From the earliest times, Hermes was the psycho pomp of the alchemists, their friend and counselor, who leads them to the goal of their work. He is like a teacher mediating between the stone and the disciple… To others the friend appears in the shape of Christ or Khidr or a visible or invisible guru, or some other personal guide or leader figure”. (Carl Jung, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. 1934–1954. Vol.9 Part 1. CW 9I, para. 283).

One of his most famous regular roles was as as God of Crossroads, leader of souls to the river Styx in the underworld, where the boatman Charon would take them to Hades.

He was also portrayed as an emissary and messenger of the gods: an intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. He has been viewed as the protector and patron of herdsmen, thieves, oratory and wit, literature and poetry, athletics and sports, invention and trade for being cunning and full of tricks.

He was also the patron of of luck and revered by gamblers and merchants undertaking new enterprises.

hermes05Hermes was son of Zeus and one of the Pleiades, Maia

He was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Zeus had impregnated Maia at the dead of night while all other gods slept. When dawn broke amazingly he was born.

Maia wrapped him in swaddling bands, then resting herself, fell fast asleep. Hermes, however, squirmed free and ran off to Thessaly.

This is where Apollo, his brother, grazed his cattle. Hermes stole a number of the herd and drove them back to Greece. He hid them in a small grotto near to the city of Pylos and covered their tracks.

Before returning to the cave he caught a tortoise, killed it and removed its entrails. Using the intestines from a cow stolen from Apollo and the hollow tortoise shell, he made the first lyre.

When he reached the cave he wrapped himself back into the swaddling bands.

When Apollo realized he had been robbed he protested to Maia that it had been Hermes who had taken his cattle. Maia looked to Hermes and said it could not be, as he is still wrapped in swaddling bands. Zeus the all powerful intervened saying he had been watching and Hermes should return the cattle to Apollo. As the argument went on, Hermes began to play his lyre.

The sweet music enchanted Apollo, and he offered Hermes to keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre. Apollo later became the grand master of the instrument, and it also became one of his symbols.

Hermes was also known as something of a trickster, stealing at one time or another Poseidon’s trident, Artemis’ arrows, and Aphrodites girdle.

Hermes appears in Homer´s  Iliad. He is most often described by Homer as ‘Hermes the guide, slayer of Argos’ and ‘Hermes the kindly’.

In Homer´s Odyssey, Hermes helps Odysseus, especially on his long return voyage to Ithaca. 

Another hero helped by the god was Perseus. Hermes gave him an unbreakable sword and guided him to were the Gorgon Medusa was.

Hermes is usually depicted with a broad-brimmed hat or a winged cap, winged sandals and the heralds staff (kerykeion in Greek, or Caduceus in Latin).

He was often shown as a shaft with two white ribbons, although later they were represented by serpents intertwined in a figure of eight shape, and the shaft often had wings attached.

Symbols of Hermes were the turtle, the stork, the rooster, the goat, the number four.

Originally Hermes was a phallic god, being attached to fertility and good fortune, and also a patron of roads and boundaries.  It is also possible that since the beginning he has been a deity with shamanic attributes linked to divination, reconciliation,magic, sacrifices, and initiation and contact with other planes of existence, a role of mediator between the worlds of the visible and invisible.

As to Hermes Trismegistus, he may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth

In Hellenistic Egypt, the Greeks recognised the congruence of their god Hermes with Thoth, egyptian God of Knowledge. 

Hence, the two gods were worshipped as one in what had been the Temple of Thoth in Khemnu, which the Greeks called Hermopolis.

There is still another Egyptian parallel, specifically, in the figure of Anubis. In classical mythology, Hermanubis was a god who combined Hermes with Anubis. Hermes and Anubis’s similar responsibilities (they were both conductors of souls) led to the god Hermanubis.

Icons of Hermes were displayed in front of houses and where roads intersect. He was seen as guiding people in transition.

Hermes was worshiped throughout Greece, especially in Arcadia, and festivals in his honor were called Hermoea. 

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On the Left: “Parnaso” by Andrea Mantegna, 1497. On the Right: Detail Hermes and Pegasus.

On the Left: “Parnaso” by Andrea Mantegna, 1497. On the Right: Detail Hermes and Pegasus.

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►Galleries: “Hermes, the Messenger of Gods”:

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Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes
http://www.ancient.eu/Hermes/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes_Trismegistus
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/hermes.html
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes

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lpnm3

Click above to visit the blog / Click en el logo para ingresar al blog.~

Click above to visit the blog / Click en el logo para ingresar al blog.~

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► “My Poem Tempus Fugit at La Poesía no Muerde” 

[December 10th, 2015].~

I am very glad to tell my readers that my poem “Tempus Fugit” has been featured at “La Poesía no Muerde”. I initially wrote the poem in Spanish, based in an image called “Il tempo che passa e il tempo che resiste”provided by Angela Caporaso (Caserta – Italy) so I am attaching the image, the poem in Spanish and its translation to English…

“La Poesía no Muerde” is a blog hosted by Hélène Laurent. It is a collective blog in spanish which prompts are usually triggered by images that might lead to poems or poems that once published are waiting to be illustrated with photographs or creative images, such as collages or digital creations… With that being said, I hope that you take a peek and subscribe if you enjoy it, which I am sure you will…

As to the poem I was making reference to, you can check out the original post here. It is also included in La Poesía no Muerde, fourth literary magazine, page 42.

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►La Poesía no Muerde / Poetry doesn´t Bite

~ Poem~“Tempus Fugit”:

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tempus fugit

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tempus fugit english

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►Last but not Least: Four Awards:

AWARDS

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Thank you very much to Millie Thom from the namesake blog, Irena from Books and Hot Tea,  Yemie from Straight from the Heart and Luis López from ByLuis7 for nominating me for an Epic Awesomeness Award, a Dragon’s Loyalty Award a Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award and a Bloguera con Buen Rollo Award, respectively… Please make sure to check out these blogs and follow them, if you haven´t already done so… 

*Note*: If you have been nominated, check out the four awards which are displayed at the end. Click on the respective logo to save it.

♠Rules for the Epic Awesomeness Award:

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present at least 7 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Write about the indirect questions above… just let it flow… 

Question 1→You are awesome; tell us why… what does awesome mean to you?… 

Awesome… I guess it means extremely good… But, on the other hand, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as and adjective, which implies that something or someone causes feelings of fear and wonder: causing feelings of awe. 

I was think of Immanuel Kant… In his book, “Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime” (1764),  Immanuel Kant describes the feeling of the sublime and the feeling of the beautiful.

Some of his examples of feelings of the beautiful are the sight of flower beds, grazing flocks, and daylight.  

As to Kant, they “occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling”. 

Feelings of the sublime are the result of seeing mountain peaks, raging storms, and night. These ones, according to Kant, “arouse enjoyment but with horror”. Kant said that Beauty and the Sublime can be joined or alternated…

So, I am that “awesomeness” could be a sort of dual feeling at times… Isn’t idealization or admiration a sort of sublimation?. … Don´t we experience a sort of shivering dizziness when we come across something/someone awesome after all?.

Question 2→You are my friend; tell us about other blogger friends …

I have met extraordinary bloggers and I felt a sort of deep connection with many of them… Even when Virtuality would seem a veiled reality, at times… I´d rather call it an alternative Reality, at least, using as measurement parameter, our Reality … I find so many beautiful posts, I learn every single day something new due to my blogger friends… For the record, I am now thinking that Twitter is also a great tool. I believe that it is a very efficient way to catch up with blogs you really like and to do so almost daily…

My seven nominees for the Epic Awesomeness Award are: 1. Jeri Walker #Editor 2. Life as we See It 3. Straight from the Heart 4. House of Heart 5. A Chaos Fairy Realm 6 Books and Hot Tea 7. A Writer’s Path.

 

♠Rules for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present 6 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Write 7 things about you.

→The 7 facts about me are… 

 1. I am a scorpion in the horoscope and was born one day before my mom, but, needless to say, a few decades after her… 2. I’m very superstitious. 3. I am extremely cynical when arguing with someone… I usually know how to leave my opponent speechless… 4. I love cats, I not only speak to them, but I speak with them 5. I hate ignorance by conviction 6. Once I´ve started a series on Netflix I enjoy, I seldom set it aside before having completely finished it. 7.  I believe in God, despite my rational faith in the Theory of Evolution.

My six nominees for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award are: 1. Shehanne Moore 2. ByLuis7 3. Scribble and Scrawl  4Millie Thom 5. Micheline’s Blog 6. Scattered Thoughts

♠Rules for the Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award: 

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present at least 7 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Answer to the following questions below. 

1.What’s your life’s philosophy? I will mention three principles, concerning this question. a. Be tolerant… your opinion is just a personal, thus relative, standpoint. b. Be Patient. Try to get the whole picture, before jumping in… c. Give people the benefit of the doubt, until all doubts are vanished. 

2.One word that best describes you would be?… Steadfast. 

3.What’s the one best thing for you about being female, or if being the case male?… Honestly, I believe that women are more gracious and gorgeous, and our sexuality is an endless driving loop … Plus we don´t have to shave our faces each morning.

4.Who’s that one person, (could be your regular boy/girl next door or a celebrity crush or a pet or even a stuffed toy) you’d really fancy being marooned with for three whole days and nights on a deserted island and why?... I won´t put down details here regarding my personal life… To avoid awkwardness, I´ll carry the stuffed toy… *Successful deterrent maneuver*. 

5.What would you say was the craziest, nuttiest thing you’ve ever found yourself doing?… Any of the stuff I might do if I ever get more than I can take… *Free interpretation*.

My seven nominees for the Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award are:  1. Brittney Sahin 2. People Forward 3. Claudia Moss 4. Course of Mirrors 5. Tails Around the Ranch 6. Souldier Girl  7. The Genealogy of Style

♠Rules for the Bloguera con Buen Rollo Award: 

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present at least 6 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Answer to the following questions below.

1.How frequently do you post on your blog?. Once in three weeks or once a month… 

2. Was it hard for you to choose the name of your blog?. Not that much… I knew I wanted to include Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and then the hero Achilles popped up… Aquileana is a sort of Hybrid resulting of their juxtaposition.

3. Please, recommend me a book to read and review. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. 

4. Please, recommend me a song. This Is The Life –and many others- by Amy Macdonald.

5. Which would be your recommendation regarding your blog?. Read it slowly and click on the red links, i.e trackbacks.

6. Do you share your posts on Social Media?. Yes, I do. On Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest.

7. Which one would you say is your favorite character whether from movies, series or books… I would say that Lady Mary Crawley from the series Downtown Abbey. At least, lately…

My six nominees for the Bloguera con Buen Rollo Award are: 1. My Space in the Immense Universe 2. Postcards from Kerry 3. Travels with Choppy 4. Fatima Saysell 5. Sherrie Miranda 6. Lorna´s Voice.

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Merry Christmas from Aquileana

Merry Christmas, for all those who celebrate them, and Happy New Year, everyone 💛☀️. My next post will be exclusively a Guest Post… 

See you Soon, in 2016 💛. Much Joy and Love. Aquileana ☺️

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Perseus and Andromeda by Gustave Moreau. 1869.

“Perseus and Andromeda” by Gustave Moreau. 1869.

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Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of  Joppa in Palestine (called Ethiopia).

Cassiopeia had offended the Nereids by boasting that Andromeda was more beautiful than they, so in revenge Poseidon sent a sea monster called Cetus to ravage Cepheus’ kingdom as divine punishment.

Since only Andromeda’s sacrifice would appease the gods, she was chained to a rock and left to be devoured by the monster.

Meanwhile, Perseus had already killed the fearsome Gorgon Medusa .

As he was riding the winged horse, Pegasus over Africa in his return home, he encountered the Titan Atlas, who challenged him. 

In their confrontation, Perseus used Medusa’s head to turn the Titan into stone. 

Later on, he came across the beautiful chained Andromeda, and as he did, he approached Cetus while being invisible (because he was wearing Hades’s helm, which had that power).

He promptly killed the sea monster Cetus. 

Perseus took Andromeda to her father Cepheus and asked for her hand in marriage. That infuriated Andromeda’s uncle Phineus, to whom the maiden was already promised.

During the ensuing quarrel, Perseus turned Phineus into a stone by showing him the head of the Gorgon Medusa.

Grateful for all his victories, Perseus gave his flying sandal, mirror and magical cap to god Hermes.

He also gave his great trophy, the head of Medusa, to goddess Athena

Perseus and Andromeda finally married and had seven sons, as well as two daughters.

After the death of King Acrisius, the Kingdom of Argos naturally passed on to Perseus, who thought himself unworthy of it, since he had caused his grandfather’s death, even by accident, while throwing the discus in a sport competition. 

As to Andromeda, when she died, Athena placed her on the sky as a constellation, nearby her beloved husband Perseus and her mother Cassiopeia.

Located north of the celestial equator, the Andromeda constellation is most prominent during autumn evenings in the Northern Hemisphere, along with several other constellations named for characters in the Perseus myth. Because of its northern declination, Andromeda is visible only north of 40° south latitude. Its brightest star, Alpha Andromedae, is a binary star that has also been counted as a part of Pegasus.

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On the Right, Johannes Hevelius's depiction of Andromeda, from the 1690 edition of his Uranographia. On the Left, Andromeda as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London. in 1825.

On the Left: Johannes Hevelius’s depiction of Andromeda, from the 1690 edition of his Uranographia. On the Right: Andromeda as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London, in 1825.

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►Gallery: “Andromeda and Perseus”:

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 Perseus and Andromeda by Charles Napier Kennedy. 1890.

“Perseus and Andromeda” by Charles Napier Kennedy. 1890.

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►Poetry: “The confinement of Andromeda as an analogy of Sonnet Structure:

►“On The Sonnet”, by John Keats: 

(written in 1819, published in 1848)

If by dull rhymes our English must be chain’d,
   And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
Fetter’d, in spite of pained loveliness;
Let us find out, if we must be constrain’d,
   Sandals more interwoven and complete
To fit the naked foot of poesy;
Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gain’d
   By ear industrious, and attention meet:
Misers of sound and syllable, no less
   Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
   Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
   She will be bound with garlands of her own.
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 ►Analysis:“On The Sonnet”, by John Keats: 

The poet begins by positing the necessity of “dull rhymes,” which he feels chain “our English” and “fetter” the sonnet. He offers next the image of Andromeda, or “pained loveliness” . Here Keats compares the confinement of the Andromeda with the sweet beauty of poetry being fettered by the demands of rhyme. The poet seems, however, resigned to rhyme’s fetters but insists that rhyme, like an intricate sandal, be more “interwoven and complete/ To fit the naked foot of poesy.”

Keats compares poetry to a foot and the sonnet form to a sandal. A sandal is a shoe that does not fully cover the foot. By suggesting that the sandals should be more interwoven, it is as if he is saying the sonnet form does not fully cover what poetry is.

The poet offers this interweaving as a solution to what Keats in his letters calls “pounding rhymes”.

He wants rhyme to be more subtle and intricate, complementing the content of the poem as a whole and not drawing attention to itself.

Keats believes that if poets follow the specific rhyme scheme of a sonnet, they will be “chained” and not express themselves fully.

He says that poets be “Misers” of “syllable” like King Midas was of gold… he states that they should be “jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown” (as laurel crowns were an emblem of poetic achievement).

Recognition as a traditional value is not what fuly matters, but probably the most important thing is to be original and not to stick to old patterns and formal constrictions

Nevertheless, in the last two verses, Keats says: “if we may not let the Muse be free,/She will be bound with garlands of her own”. And by that he seems to have resigned himself to the fact that for poets are constrained, at least to some extent, by conventional forms. (Source:Brian Register).

Within this rhyme scheme the lines are still written in Iambic Pentameter (*), and the type of sonnet he chose here is known as Petrarchan Sonnet (**)With these means, Keats indicates that he remains within conventions even if he questions them. 

Maybe the ending verses are not just a way to ease up his critique, or just a withdrawal but maybe an opportunity to validate and recognize the merits of the classic poetic form he had chosen to criticize.

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(*) Iambic Pentameter is closely associated with Blank Verse, Iambic is an adjective. Iamb is the noun and is short for Iambus. Iambus is from the Greek and refers to two. Therefore, Iamb refers to a foot, or any two syllable“unit”, referred to as a foot by metrists, consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (or ictus).
(**) The Petrarchan Sonnet is named after Petrarch, a 14th century Italian poet who made the form popular throughout Europe. Like all sonnets, the Petrarchan sonnet has 14 lines.

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John Keats (1795 / 1821).-

John Keats (1795 / 1821).-

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Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_(mythology)
http://www.britannica.com/topic/Andromeda-Greek-mythology
http://www.greeka.com/greece-myths/perseus-andromeda.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_(constellation)
https://brianregister.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/meaning-and-form-in-john-keatss-on-the-sonnet/
http://allpoetry.com/Sonnet.-If-By-Dull-Rhymes-Our-English-Must-Be-Chain’d

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►Last but not Least: Blogger Interview Tag: 
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Holly from House of Heart has invited me to join her on an interview, about (drum roll ): Blogging. 🌠🎇🎆
I thought it would be fun to do so… Thus, here I am … 
Do you follow Holly´s blog?… Make sure to check it out… ‼️😽 She is a wonderful poet and great, active blogger.
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♠Here we go…
•How did you get into blogging?. 🔛It was many years ago… I usually posted reviews on books, films, philosophical subjects, as main topics… I wrote in Spanish by then…
I think I lacked of technical skills… I am not sure if WordPress was so easy to manage or if It was just me… But anyhow, the main purposes were accomplished by then.
•Which advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?.🔛Try to think of your blog as a sort of diary or compilation of archives of your interest…. write, in first place, for yourself. That way the beginning of your journey as a blogger would be loaded with positive expectations, instead of whatever kind of pressures …
Follow along a good amount of blogs… Create an email list with the URLS of the blogs you follow. Leave likes and comments, and you will soon identify bloggers who are reciprocal with you… Cut down your list of bloggers, using the previous criteria. Repeat the same steps for new lists, as many times as you want.
If you are systematic and a quite good blogger… You´ll easily reach a good amount of committed followers who will like your posts and comment in return if you have previously done so…
The number of posts you publish is not directly related to the level of engagement of your followers. It is up to you to find your Golden Mean, so to speak… And that would depend in many circumstances, which might vary according to each one of us. •What would be your dream campaign?.  🔛I will tie in this question to my blogging motto. Which would be this aphorism by Hippocrates: Ars longa vita brevis, i.e Art is long, life is shortLife is rather ephemeral… and there are many things to learn. My aim is to try to approach the classics and particularly Greek Mythology in a quite cohesive way as I believe that many cultural legacies remain there.

•Do you have a plan for your blog?.🔛I plan to keep it up and also would love to dig more deeply into symbolisms of certain myths. And even to consider psychoanalytic, sociological and cultural approaches from a diachronic point of view.

•What do you think about rankings?. 🔛I think there might be valuable if you are planning to upgrade your blog or already did so… Otherwise, numbers of visitors could be considered, not only as a reflection of your level of commitment, but also as a sample of the most appealing topics among your readers.

💥I ´d love to invite these bloggers for The Blogger Interview. Join only if you want or have time: 1. Shehanne Moore 2. The Mockingbird in Me 3. Scattered Thoughts 4. Inesemjphotography 5. Faraday´s Candle 6. Johanna Massey 7. Travels with Choppy.

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So called Wild Orchids blooming at home. Photographs taken on October 23rd, 2015. ©Amalia Pedemonte.

So called Wild Orchids blooming. Photographs taken on October 23rd, 2015. ©Amalia Pedemonte.

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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.

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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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