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Posts Tagged ‘King Minos of Crete’

Mythology: “Dogs in Several Myths”🐕:

“Collaboration with Brenda Davis Harsham💫”

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

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Introduction:

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

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

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

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

Cartonnage Anubis mask.

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

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

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

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

Argos and Odysseus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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💫“Laelaps, Hound of Magic”💫:

Sun-lit fur, storm-wind swift,

star-bright eyes, she

adores the olden air

of Mount Olympus,

dwelling of gods.

She finds scents at Zeus’s hand,

pounding clouds, chasing prey,

She never misses.

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Yet Zeus sends her away,

tail drooping, eyes sad,

to serve Europa,

hunting kri-kri,

dodging their wild-goat horns,

nosing out badgers, martens,

hedgehogs and hare, circling Crete

on fleet feet. But dreaming everlong

of Olympus, cast out, cast down.

~~~

She’s bewildered,

passed on, passed over,

given next to King Minos,

then to cross-dressing Procris

and on to Kephalos, the errant husband.

The long-lived hound hunts, chases,

drinks deep, finds new hands and

new scents, until the very last.

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The monstrous Teumessian fox

mocks a hundred hounds,

slips the nets of a hundred men,

devours a hundred boys.

Paradox.

 ~~~

The dog

always catches her prey.

The fox

cannot be caught.

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Storm-wind hound hurls herself

into the chase, pants,

outpaces Kephalos,

fleeter than a spear,

fleeter than an arrow,

fleet as time itself.

But they never near Olympus.

Always, the hound needs the red-earth

scent of fox in her nose.

Always, the fox slips away.

Lungs burns. Feet bleed, but

never a whisker nearer that bushy tail.

Children grow gray and stooped,

watching them pass.

Hillsides wear away

from their pounding feet.

Deadlocked,

bones like rock,

hills aflame,

snapping, howling.

Bound to chase,

but never to catch.

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Until blood-scent reaches

Olympus. Zeus watches,

remembers the velvet nose,

the twilight hunts, the sun-lit fur,

the starry eyes. His tears

fall on them both.

The salty splash

turns dog and fox to

sun-shot marble, mid-pounce.

~~~

Young boys in awe;

young girls in tears.

Never-resting, frozen in

not-escaping, not-capturing,

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

~~~

Zeus tosses them

into the stars.

Canis Major.

Canis Minor.

Lighting Olympus,

turning the heavens

with the wind of their pursuit.

~~~

©Copyright 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham.

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►About Brenda Davis Harsham:

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

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

 

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

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PS: ►Special Features & Mentions from other Bloggers:

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

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⇒About This Post. Abstract:

The following article is composed of two sections, each one of them including murals from Argentina and Canada, respectively. This post aims to analyze with a with a free, but still judiciously, well-founded criteria how certain mythological greek themes and characters might be recurrent, despite time and even against it.

As Resa and I found some graffitis which seemed to have mythological and even philosophical equivalents we decided we wanted to try to show those connections. Resa´s mural is from the University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) whilst mine are from The Planetarium (Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina). With that being said, we just wanted to say that, after finding many similarities, we are quite pleased with the outcome. Both of, Resa and I believe the convergences are striking. And being so, they broaden and deepen the value of the immortal Ancient Greek Legacy.

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⇒Section I. Murals: The Planetarium:🇦🇷

The Galileo Galilei planetarium, commonly known as Planetario, is located in Parque Tres de Febrero in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The building was officially opened to the public on April 5, 1968. It consists of a cylindrical framework with independent projectors for the Moon, the Sun and the visible planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) and two spheres in the extremes that project 8,900 stars, constellations and nebulas.
Nowadays the Planetarium is surrounded by a thin sheet metal with many murals on it. We´ll present here some of them, aiming to find mythological  and philosophical corollaries.
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⇒Eros and Psyche… And the Planetarium above them!:

 
This graffiti is quite the finding. It is based on an original painting “The abduction of Psyche” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1894). 
The artist included a Planetarium above the couple.
 
According to the greek myth Aphrodite was jealous due to men’s admiration for Psyche, so she asked her son, Eros, to poison men’ souls in order to kill off their desire for Psyche. But Eros fell in love with Psyche. Thus, against his mother´s wishes, he asked the west wind, Zephyr, to waft her to his palace.
They consummated their love that same night. But for that Eros had to make Psyche believe that he was an ugly beast, as the Oracle had told her parents that Psyche would marry an ugly beast whose face she would never be able to see. And apparently she firmly believed so!…
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⇒The Horned goat with human hands:

 
This mural with goat head and human hands might remind us of the constellation Capricornus .
Its name is Latin for “horned goat” or “goat horn” or “having horns like a goat’s”.
This constellation protected by Hestia, represents Pan, the god of the wild and shepherds. The myth tells us that, in order to escape Typhon, Pan cast himself into the river, making the lower part of his body look like a fish, and the rest a goat: Zeus, admiring his shrewdness, put this shape among the constellations .
However, in this mural, we lack of the sea elements… But the resemblance between hands and fins couldn´t go unnoticed, either way.
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⇒The Bull Surrounded by Snakes:


This mural seem to evoke the Great Greek Bull. It could be linked to the Minotaur.
 
According to the respective myth, after Pasiphae (the daughter of Helios, the Sun, by the eldest of the Oceanids Perse) become impregnated by a white bull, she gave birth to a sort of hybrid child, the bull-headed Minotaur.
 
Angered with his wife, Minos imprisoned the minotaur in the labyrinth of Crete in Knossos. Presumably, Minos was one of the three sons from the union of Europa and Zeus; when Zeus was in the form of a bull.

As to snakes, let´s remember the rod of Asclepius, God of Medicine and Apollo´s son. It symbolizes the healing arts by combining the serpent, which in shedding its skin is a symbol of rebirth and fertility. The Asclepius Wand, often confused with the Caduceus wand of Hermes, is the symbol of the medical profession.

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⇒Tiempo- Time:

 
The words on this mural mean: Time.
But what is exactly time. St Augustine of Hippo says in his “Confessions”: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know”… Time is such an elusive concept, indeed!.
In Greek mythology, Chronos was the personification of time, not to be confused with Cronus, the Titan and father of Zeus.
The Greeks had two different words for time: Chronos refers to numeric or chronological time, while another word kairos refers to the more qualitative concept of the right or opportune moment. The figure of Chronos was typically portrayed as a wise old man with a long grey beard: Father Time.
Furthermore, the Horae or Hours were the goddesses of the seasons and the natural flow of time, generally portrayed as personifications of nature in its different seasonal aspects, and with the cycle of the seasons themselves symbolically described as the dance of the Horae.
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⇒Number 8. Toward Infinity… and beyond!:

This mural is certainly esoteric. The eyes, placed in circular shape, surround the central number eight (8).

Eight (8) is the Number of the perfection, the infinity. In mathematics the symbol of the infinity is represented by a 8 laid down.

The Pythagoreans believed that number 8 was the symbol of love and friendship, prudence and rational thinking. . It was the Pythagoreans who held that there are in man eight organs of knowledge; sense, fantasy, art, opinion, prudence, science, wisdom, and mind.

The person who actually introduced the infinity symbol was John Wallis, in 1655. This symbol is sometimes called the Lemniscate. It presumably evolved from the Etruscan numeral for 1000, which looked like this: CIƆ. There is another theory that he actually derived the infinity symbol from omega (ω), the last letter of the Greek alphabet. 

Ouroboros.

The ouroboros symbol, showing a a snake twisted into a horizontal figure eight (8) and biting its own tail, is also said to be a most plausible basis for the infinity symbol because it is a fitting depiction of endlessness.

As to the eyes in this mural, we could think of the Eye of Providence Symbol (which appears in the USA dollar bill). It represents the eye of God, the singular divine power that has created the entire universe. The eye is most times enclosed in a triangle. At times, the Eye is also depicted as surrounded by clouds or bursts of light. Both of these images are representative of holiness and divine glory and so, here too, the symbol signifies that the Almighty is keeping a watchful eye on His creation.

The Eye of Providence Symbol.

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⇒Section II. Murals: University of Toronto: 🇨🇦

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The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the grounds that surround Queen’s Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King’s College. It comprises twelve colleges, each with substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs.
The mural in question is in an underpass that runs from Hart House Circle under Queen’s Park Crescent West to Wellesley Street. Resa came across this mural as she walked under Queen’s Park Crescent. She went by Hart House and exited using the King’s Park Circle. In the slide show below you can see some photographs of the location and buildings. The mural comes soon after!. 
About Resa Mc Conaghy:
Resa is a canadian artist, costume designer and author. 
She hosts two blogs: Graffiti Lux and Murals and Art Gowns.
You can find her version of this post here. Furthermore, Resa has written a book, “Nine Black Lives, available on Amazon. Find Resa on Twitter, too!.
(Disclaimer: All murals photographs and photographs from University of Toronto were taken by Resa and featured on her blog Graffiti Lux and Murals. © Resa McConaghy. 2017). Please check out Resa´s post regarding this collaboration here.
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⇒Damarchus / Lycanthropeis or Werewolf Man-Wolf:

This graffiti could be linked to the Werewolf Man-wolf, or Lycanthropeis. Meaning, a mythological human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf, either purposely or after being placed under a curse or affliction.
A few references to men changing into wolves are found in Ancient Greek literature and mythology.
For instance, Herodotus, wrote that the Neuri, a tribe he places to the north-east of Scythia, were all transformed into wolves once every year for several days, and then changed back to their human shape. 
Furthermore, we have the story of Damarchus. He was a victorious Olympic boxer from Parrhasia (Arcadia) who is said to have changed his shape into that of a wolf at the festival of Lycaea, only to become a man again after ten years. The festival of Lycaea involved human sacrifice to Zeus. A young boy was killed and then consumed by one of the participants, in this case by Damarchus, and as a result Zeus would transform the cannibal into a wolf.
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On the Left: A man wearing a wolf-skin. Attic red-figure vase, c. 460 BC. On the Right: Zeus turning Lycaon into a wolf, engraving by Hendrik Goltzius. 16th century.

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⇒The Woman With an Extra Hand:

Following the hindu mythology pattern, according to which goddesses have many hands, we could conclude that having more than two hands is a mark of Divinity. Humans have two arms, so someone with multiple becomes special and out of the league. More hands at times also represents more strength.The multiplicity of hands also emphasizes the power and ability to perform several acts at the same time. 

As to number three, it represents the Holy Trinity. From a philosophical perspective, number  three is symbolic of the reconciliation of opposites, as with Hegel‘s dialectic: “thesis + antithesis = synthesis”.
Besides, it is both a lunar and a solar number.
The moon has three major phases – the two crescents and the full moon, while the sun has three primary points in its existence: the low winter solstice; the high summer solstice, and the two equinoxes of March and September.

⇒The Kholkikos Drakon or Colchian Dragon:


 
The Kholkikos Drakon or (Colchian Dragon) was the ever awake serpent that guarded the Golden Fleece in a grove sacred to Ares in Kolkhis. When the Argonauts came to aquire the Fleece, they had to get past it. There are two theories as towards how they past the Drakon, either Medea put the monster to sleep so Jason could grab the fleece while it slumbered or Jason slew it. There is also a belief that the monster swallowed Jason and then regurgitated him thanks to the power of Medea, so that Jason could then slay the beast. Different cultural traditions have portrayed dragons with reptilian or serpentine traits so that it may seem to resemble cobras, crocodiles or lizards. The word ‘dragon’ traces its origin in the Greek word ‘drakon’ that means a huge serpent or a giant sea fish.
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⇒Apollo (AKA previously Helios) and his Chariot:

Before Artemis became goddess of the moon, the Titaness Selene owned the Moon chariot, which she drove across the sky at night. Soon after, Artemis was the legatee of the carriage. In the same way, Apollo received the Chariot of the Sun, once Helios became identified with him.
Helios (Apollo), the Sun god, drives his chariot across the sky each day while Selene (Artemis) is also said to drive across the heavens. And, while the sun chariot has four horses, Selene´s (Artemis´) usually has two, described as “snow-white” by Ovid. 

As to the horse symbolism, it is often known as a solar symbol. Sometimes, horses are related to the sun, moon, and water. It acts as the mediator between Earth and Heaven. Horse symbolizes power, grace, beauty, nobility, strength, and freedom.

The woman looking at Apollo (former Helios) could be his twin sister, Artemis (Former Selene). Artemis was the Goddess of Hunting and of  Goddess of the Moon. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Both Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as Lunar Goddesses, although only Selene was considered a personification of the moon itself.

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►Links Post:
https://goo.gl/9M3yb1
https://goo.gl/25jrss
https://goo.gl/BN7KEA
https://goo.gl/N0hD0x
https://goo.gl/z0y3Mr
https://goo.gl/rhZkZj
https://goo.gl/As9dYy

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►Greek Mythology:

“The Labyrinth of Crete, Theseus and The Minotaur”:

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"Theseus and Ariadne at the Entrance of the Labyrinth" by Richard Westall (1810).-

“Theseus and Ariadne at the Entrance of the Labyrinth” by Richard Westall.-

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PASFAE1Minos was the king of Crete and Pasipahe´s husband. As we already know, Pasiphae was the Mother of the Minotaur.

After Pasiphae become impregnated by a white bull, she then gave birth to an hybrid child, the bull-headed Minotaur.

Angered with his wife, Minos imprisoned the minotaur in the labyrinth of Crete in Knossos.

Some modern mythologists regard the Minotaur as a solar personification and a Minoan adaptation of the Baal- Moloch of the Phoenicians. The slaying of the Minotaur by Theseus in that case indicates the breaking of Athenian tributary relations with Minoan Crete.

My blogger friend María, from The Tropical Flowering Zone held in one of her comments in my previous post that “the Minotaur was spawned from the liaison of a woman and a bull, and symbolizes this ‘coincidentia oppositorum’ (meeting of opposites) of feminine and masculine, creature and human, rational and irrational, spiritual and instinctual, deity and demon, good and evil”…  As to Pasipahe´s pregnancy she believes it could be understood as a “symbol of a mother’s unconditional love, as well as her ability to conceive entrains a assumption and materialization of Poseidon’s punishment”.

Doda, from My space in the Inmense Universe, said that  “it is unfair to pay the price for faults we have never committed”. By highlighting then that: “Pasiphae, was the expiatory victim for Minos’ inconsistency and hybris”

min2In the ancient Greek language, the word Labyrinth means “the house of lavrys.” The lavrys is the double-edged axe – one of the basic sacred symbols of the Minoan religion. Usually interpreted as an astro-solar symbol, the lavrys is etched on many sculptured stones in Minoan palaces and other buildings, as well as on vases, pots, and various other works.

There are clear and straight connections between Minoan Crete and Greece. In this sense, my blogger friend, Aisha from Aisha´s Oasis has highlighted in one of her latest comments that Agamemnon’s father, Atreus (Greek), got married Princess Aerope, who was the daughter of King Catreus of Crete. Being therefore Aerope the mother of Agamemnon and his twin brother Menelaus (the famous husband of Helen).

Aisha also found an analogy worth noting. Which applies to the two respective myths, as Atreus also came into the possession of a lamb with a golden fleece. He had promised to sacrifice it to Artemis, but reneged on his vow and kept the lamb (or its fleece) hidden away. Minos, by his part, owned a white bull, which was supposed to be sacrificed to Apollo, he also reneged on his words and keep it to himself in the gardens of the Palace of Knossos.

Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete, had several children before the Minotaur. The eldest of these, Androgeus  set sail for Athens to take part in the Pan-Athenian games. Being strong, he did very well, winning some events outright. He soon became a crowd favorite, much to the resentment of the Pallantides, and they assassinated him, incurring the wrath of Minos.

When King Minos heard of what befell his son, he ordered the Cretan fleet to set sail for Athens. Minos asked Aegeus for his son’s assassins, and if they were to be handed to him, the town would be spared. However, not knowing who the assassins were, King Aegeus surrendered the whole town to Minos’ mercy. His retribution was that, at the end of every Great Year  (seven solar years), the seven most courageous youths and the seven most beautiful maidens were to board a boat and be sent as tribute to Crete, never to be seen again.

In another version, Minos had waged war with the Athenians and was successful. He then demanded that, at nine-year intervals, seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls were to be sent to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, who was also Pasiphae´s son and lived in the Labyrinth built by Daedalus

On the third occasion, Theseus,  the son of the King of Athens. volunteered to slay the Minotaur.

But in that occasion he also  fell in love with Minos’ daughter Ariadne, who would on no account let her beloved become food for the Minotaur.

theseus_minos1Daedalus’ aid was requested once more, and he gave Ariadne a clue or ball of strong thread. Theseus, following Daedalus’ advice, tied one end of the string to the Labyrinth entrance, and walked through the maze unwinding it until he found the Minotaur. Once he had killed the monster, he followed the thread back out.

Theseus managed to escape with all of the young Athenians and Ariadne as well as her younger sister Phaedra. Then he and the rest of the crew fell asleep on the beach.

Goddess Athena woke up Theseus and told him to leave early that morning, leaving Ariadne and Phaedra on the beach.

Stricken with distress, in hre trip back home, Theseus forgot to put up the white sails instead of the black ones, so the king assumed Theseus had failed and committed suicide.In some versions throwing himself off a cliff and into the sea, thus causing this body of water to be named the Aegean.

Theseus then became King of Athens.  His “mistake” when he sailed home implied tha the  became King as a result of it.

So, as Aisha has commented: “that was an ironic twist at the end… And one wonders if it was really a mistake”.

In the meanwhile, Dionysus later saw Ariadne  of Crete, crying out for Theseus and took pity on her and decided to marry her.

During Minos’ reigning years, Daedalus, from Athens , took up residence in Knossos, after he was exiled to Crete for committing a crime in his own country. In Crete he eventually became the official architect and sculptor for Minos. In Knossos he built the Palace, the Labyrinth, the wooden likeness of a cow for Pasiphae, and even as said before, helped Ariadne and Theseus kill the horrible Minotaur.

However, when Minos became disillusioned with Deadalus because he had betrayed him, he jailed him together with his son in the labyrinth.

Daedalus wanted to scape, so made a pair of wings for himself and Icarus and they flew away.

The wings were made of feathers held together with wax. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, as it would melt his wings, and not too close to the sea, as it would dampen them and make it hard to fly. 

They successfully flew from Crete, but Icarus grew exhilarated by the thrill of flying and began getting careless. Flying too close to the sun, the wax holding together his wings melted from the heat and he fell to his death, drowning in the sea. The Icarian Sea, where he fell, was named after him. 

You can check out more on this last topic in this post: Icarus´Fall: “The Myth. Symbolism and Interpretation”.-

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"Les sept athéniennes livrées au Minotaure" par Jean-Baptiste Peytavin.-

“Les sept athéniennes livrées au Minotaure” par Jean-Baptiste Peytavin.-

"Athenians being Delivered to the Minotaur in the Cretan Laby" by Gustave Moreau.-

“Athenians being Delivered to the Minotaur in the Cretan Laby” by Gustave Moreau.-

"Ariadne and Theseus" by Jean-Baptiste Regnault.-

“Ariadne and Theseus” by Jean-Baptiste Regnault.-

" Ariadne in Naxos, from the Story of Theseus" by Master of the Campana Cassoni.-

” Ariadne in Naxos, from the Story of Theseus” by Master of the Campana Cassoni.-

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►Literary and Philosophical Notes:

minotaur•The Minotaur, appears briefly in Dante´s “Divine Comedy”, Inferno, (Canto XII). In these lines, Virgil taunts the Minotaur in order to distract him, and reminds the Minotaur that he was killed by Theseus (“the Duke of Athens”) with the help of the monster’s half-sister Ariadne. The Minotaur seems to represent the entire zone of Violence, and serves a similar role as gatekeeper for the entire seventh Circle.

•I suggest you to check out this post The Labyrinth of The Soul at E-Tinkerbel´s blog. There, Stefy relates the classic elements of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur´s myth to James Joyce´ book “Ulysses” . Worth reading.

•If you want to read a beautiful brief story about the labyrinth and the Minotaur, check out: “The House of Asterion” / “La Casa de Asterión” (English/Spanish) by argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.-

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"Dante´s  Hell XII", by William Blake.-

“Dante´s Hell XII”, by William Blake.-

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Danke schön: Thanks to Aisha, María and Doda for their collaboration and notes on this post. Thanks also to Stefy for posting such an interesting article on the labyrint and Joyce’s “Ulysses”.

 Visit their blogs, they are Brilliant!.  Cheers, Aquileana 😛

►Updates: Mario Cornejo Cuevas has written a remarkable post, inspired by this one. Its title is “Socrates y el Minotauro” (“Socrates and the Minotaur”).

In his post, he analyzed Plato’s dialogue “Phaedo” (which main topics are Socrates´death and the Immortality of the Soul) linking it to the myth of the Minotaur and his further death by Theseus. I truly recommend it.

Rubén García suggested me to read this exceptional brief  story by Antonio Tabucchi: “Sueño de Dédalo, arquitecto y aviador” (“Dream of Daedalus, Architect and Aviator” ).  Worth reading.

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Credit photo: Inesemjphotography. Thank you very much 😀

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aquileana

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Links Post:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theseus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretan_bull
http://homepage.usask.ca/~jrp638/CourseNotes/AgBckgnd.html
http://www.explorecrete.com/mythology/icarus.html 
http://www.explorecrete.com/history/labyrinth-myth.htm

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