Posts Tagged ‘Pegasus’

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"Apollo and the Muses" by Baldassarre Peruzzi. 1523.

“Apollo and the Muses” by
Baldassarre Peruzzi. 1523.

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The Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts.

Before the Classical idea of the nine Muses, Pausanias tells us of three Muses, different altogether from the nine we know. They were: Melete, or Practice. Mneme, or Memory and Aeode, or Song

It was only later, with Hesiod that the idea of Nine Muses showed up.

According to it, they were the daughters of Zeus and MnemosyneZeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses.

Μnemosyne gave the babies to Nymph Eufime and Apollo (God of Light, Eloquence, Poetry and Fine Arts). When they grew up they showed their tendency to the arts, taught by God Apollo himself.
Apollo brought them to the big and beautiful Mount Elikonas, where the older Temple of Zeus used to be. Ever since, the Muses supported and encouraged creation, enhancing imagination and inspiration of the artists.

There were nine Muses according to Hesiod, protecting a different art and being symbolised with a different element; Calliope (epic poetry – symbol: writing tablet), Clio (history – symbol: scroll. The myth tells that she introduced the Phoenician alphabet to Greece), Erato (love poetry – symbol: cithara, a Greek type of lyre), Euterpe (lyric poetry – symbol: aulos, a Greek flute), Melpomene (tragedy – symbol: tragic mask), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry – symbol: veil), Terpsichore (dance – symbol: lyre), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry – symbol: comic mask), and Urania (astronomy – symbols: globe and compass). 

All the Hesiodic names are significant; thus Calliope means “She of the Beautiful Voice”, Clio the “Proclaimer”, Erato the “Lovely”, Euterpe the “Well Pleasing”, Melpomene the “Songstress”, Polymnia “She of the Many Hymns”,  Thalia the “Blooming”, Terpsichore “Delighting in the Dance”, and Urania the “Heavenly”.

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Hesiod also states that the Muses were created as an aid to forgetfulness and relief from troubles, perhaps as a balance to their mother, who personified memory.

Mnemosyne (Memory), who reigns over the hills of Eleuther, bear of union with the father, the son of Cronos, a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow. For nine nights did wise Zeus lie with her, entering her holy bed remote from the immortals. And when a year was passed and the seasons came round as the months waned, and many days were accomplished, she bare nine daughters, all of one mind, whose hearts are set upon song and their spirit free from care, a little way from the topmost peak of snowy Olympus”. Hesiod´s Theogony. (ll. 53-74).

The Muses probably were originally the patron goddesses of poets, although later their range was extended to include all liberal arts and sciences—hence, their connection with such institutions as the Museum.

Although bringers of festivity and joy, the Muses were not to be trifled with when it came to the superiority of their artistic talents. The nine daughters of Pierus foolishly tried to compete musically with the Muses on Mt. Helicon and were all turned into birds for their impertinence. The Thracian musician Thamyres (son of the Nymph Agriope) was another who challenged the Muses in music and after inevitably coming second best to the goddesses was punished with blindness, the loss of his musical talent, and his singing voice.


►Further appearances of certain Muses
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Calliope was called on by Zeus to arbitrate the dispute between Aphrodite, the goddess of Love and Beauty, and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, when both fell in love with the handsome AdonisAs a result of her decision, Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. Thus he decided to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.

When Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom rescued Pegasus, the winged horse, shortly after his birth, the goddess entrusted the Muses with his care.

The young colt, excited to meet the lovely Muses, kicked the side of the Mountain, causing springs to gush out of the side of the mountain. Springs and wells both became sacred symbols of the Muses, representing the fountains of inspiration that they provided.

 Urania took the major responsibility for caring for Pegasus, and prophesied his future heroism as well as his eventual place amongst the stars in the heavens.  She also suffered a lot when Bellerophontes, a mythical hero, took Pegasus away.

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►Gallery: “The Muses”:

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Eva Xanthopoulos

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►“Erato, the Greco-Muse of Love Poetry:

Human-seraph hybrid embodiment

of love poetry plucking your cithara

under Grecian golden globe.

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Sea salted air beckons all who catch

a wisp, a glimpse of your grand

pulchritude pulsating with scents

of slight oregano and plentiful jasmine.

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The lightly brisked

breezes tease your deep

mahogany tresses making

them dance a slow motion susta.

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Your irises possess

emeralds—the green this land

lacks. A black ink-tipped quill

rests behind your left ear.

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With a sharp-edged stone

you carve into a tablet

in archaic Greek:

“A love star-crossed is merely a love

out of this world, of outer space,

blessed by the Gods,

that society is envious of”.

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Urania tends to disagree

for the stars and planets see all.

Both seize the fates of all.

©Eva Xanthopoulos (Eva PoeteX). 2016 .-

*Previously published in Harbinger Asylum Poetry Magazine.

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"Erato" (Muse of History). Detail, "Apollo and his muses" by Charles Meynier. 1800.

“Erato”. Detail, “Apollo and his muses” by Charles Meynier. 1800.

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About Eva Xanthopoulos (Eva PoeteX):

Eva Xanthopoulos (pen-name Eva PoeteX) is a prolific Greco-American Author, Poet, and Artist who creates and dwells in the Greater Cleveland area. To date, hundreds of her writings have been featured in various publications, including The Golden Lantern, Mystic Living Today, Journey of the Heart, The Journey Magazine, and more. Eva has also collaborated with a multitude of musicians worldwide like Grant Wish, Audiosapian, Electrosurrogate, and Replicant Core.

Currently, Eva is the Founding Editor of Poehemian Press and the Co-Creator of the self-development website Etheric Archives.  Additionally, she is the author of several books, including Esoterra and the Sought After Blood Lines Fantasy Series. Eva has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Cleveland State University.

When she’s not writing, Eva loves to read her weight in books (while sipping rooibos chai tea), go on epic adventures with her bike, and practice Yoga Nidra. To find out more, visit her website.

You can also  follow Eva on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

~~Thanks so much for being here as a guest author/ poet, dear Eva~~

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Eva Xanthopoulos (pen-name Eva PoeteX).

Eva Xanthopoulos ( Eva PoeteX).

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 The Escapist (Sought After Blood Lines Book 1). Click on the cover to purchase it.

“The Escapist” (“Sought After Blood Lines” Book 1). Click on the cover to purchase it.

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Blurb:”The Escapist” (“Sought After Blood Lines”).Book by Eva Xanthopoulos:

“While the town´s people of Eternicca find Vyvianna’s heart of gold to be both endearing and noble, she deems it to be her ultimate curse and is determined to rid herself of it no matter what the cost. Hailing from a lineage touched by a rare form of magick in a barricaded kingdom where all-things magickal are met with torment and wrath, she must keep her secret tucked away forevermore. Will she be able to mask her inner glisten or will it inevitably shine through and expose her to the cunning, ever-ruthless King Zollamedes? And no matter how many challenges transpire, will Vyvianna’s heart keep its golden reputation or will her ribcage soon become the home of an obsidian core, succumbing to a ruthlessness only tyrants should wield?”…

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Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muse
http://goodlucksymbols.com/nine-muses/
http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Mousai.html
http://www.paleothea.com/SortaSingles/Muses.html

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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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PEGASUSHEADER

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Bellerophon, Pegasus and Khimaira. Kylix Laconian Black Figure. Ca 570 - 565 BC.

Bellerophon, Pegasus and Khimaira. Kylix Laconian Black Figure. Ca 570 – 565 BC.

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Pegasus was a Hippoi Athanatoi, meaning an immortal horse of the Gods. he was a winged horse which sprang forth from the neck of the Gorgon Medusa when she was beheaded by the hero Perseus. 

When Perseus struck off the head of Medusa, with whom Poseidon had once had intercourse in the form of a horse or a bird, there sprang forth from her Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus.

Chrysaor (meaning “Golden Sword”) was usually represented as giant, but may also have been conceived of as a winged boar.

As to Pegasus, he obtained that because he was believed to have made his appearance near the sources (pêgai) of Oceanus.

Liz Greene calls the winged horse the bridge between opposites: “An earthy creature which has the power to ascend into the spiritual realm”[Source: Symbol Reader].

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“The Birth of Pegasus and Chrysaor” by Edward Burne-Jones (1885).

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Pegasus was tamed by Bellerophon, a corinthian hero, who rode him into battle against the Chimera.

On a side note, the Chimera was a creature of Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. 

Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat  arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake´s head. The Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Hydra.

After Pegasus had conquered the Chimera, he endeavoured to rise up to heaven with his winged horse, but fell down upon the earth, either from fear or from giddiness, or being thrown off by Pegasus, who was rendered furious by a gad-fly which Zeus had sent. But Pegasus continued his flight.

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“Bellerophon Rides to Kill the Chimera” by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov 1829.

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The winged horse was also placed amongst the stars as a constellation whose rising marked the arrival of the warmer weather of spring and seasonal rainstorms.

Hence, Pegasus became a constellation in the northern sky, which brightest star is the orange supergiant Epsilon Pegasi

Both Hesiod and Plato made reference to this emplacement:

“Pegasus, soaring, left the earth, the mother of sheep flocks, and came to the immortals, and there he lives in the household of Zeus, and carries the thunder and lightning for Zeus of the counsels”. (Hesiod, Theogony).

“A pair of winged horses and a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the charioteers of the gods are all of them noble and of noble descent… Zeus, the mighty lord, holding the reins of a winged chariot, leads the way in heaven, ordering all and taking care of all; and there follows him the array of gods and demigods, marshalled in eleven bands [the twelve Olympians]”.  (Plato, Phaedrus, 246).

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Pegasus with the foal Equuleus next to it, as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London in 1825. The horses appear upside-down in relation to the constellations around them.

Pegasus with the foal Equuleus next to it, as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London in 1825. The horses appear upside-down in relation to the constellations around them.

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From a symbolic point, Pegasoi or winged horses occur in ancient art drawing the chariots of various gods and goddesses, including Helios, the sun and Selene, the moon.

The hero Pelops was also given a chariot drawn by winged horses by the god Poseidon.

Furthermore, Pegasus is a Pterippus (pteros in Greek means “winged” and hippos means “horse”).

The symbolic meaning of the horse is pretty intense with themes of power and mobility.

The horse alone also carries archetypal themes of unifying grounded stability (four feet on the ground) with higher ideals (from speed and mobility).

This theme really comes to life when the horse is winged. The Pterippus, or winged horse, is a symbol of aspiring to the greatest heights of accomplishment.

Grounded by the stability of its body, yet in flight by the ephemeral power of its wings, Pegasus offers a great analogy because of the dichotomy it offers. 

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“Perseus on Pegasus Slaying Medusa “by John Singer Sargent. 20th century.

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Perseus and Andromeda, detail of

Perseus and Andromeda, detail of “Pegasus”, by Peter Paul Rubens. 1622.

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►Gallery: “Creatures, Characters and Gods featured in this post”:

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►Gallery: “Pegasus, The Winged Horse”:

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►Anex: A List of More Types of Horses in Greek Mythology (Gallery Below):

The Centaur, a creature with the head and torso of a man and the lower body of a horse. 

•The Hippocampus, a creature with an upper body that resembles a horse and a dolphin-like lower body.

•The Hippogriff, a beast with a head and front legs of an eagle whilst the rest of its body is that of a horse.

•The Ichthyocentaur, a creature which supposedly was one-third horse, one-third fish, and one-third human. Also known as Sea Centaur.

•The Ipotanes, a being that looked overall human, but had the legs, hindquarters, tail, and ears of a horse.

•The Sileni, bipedal beings that appear human form the waist up and horse the waist down. They were  were rustic spirits in the train of the God of Wine, Dionysus.

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Ther/HipposPegasos.html
http://www.theoi.com/Ther/Hippoi.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(mythology)
http://www.space.com/16743-constellation-pegasus.html
http://rabirius.me/2016/01/03/feeding-pegasus/
http://www.whats-your-sign.com/meaning-of-wings.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_and_Andromeda_(Rubens)
http://symbolreader.net/2013/08/11/light-and-matter-the-perseid-meteor-shower/

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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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