Posts Tagged ‘The Myth of Icarus’

►Greek Mythology: “Phaeton, Helios’ Son”:

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"Phaeton" by Gustave Moreau (1878).

“Phaeton” by Gustave Moreau (1878).

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Phaeton (derived from the greek verb phaethô, “to shine: “the shining” or “radiant one”)  was the young son of Helios and Clymene

According to the roman poet, Ovid, Phaethon was the son of Helios, the god of the Sun, and Clymene, an Oceanid Nymph,who was also mother of the Seven Heliad Nymphs (Paethon’ sisters) .

It was not until Phaethon reached a certain age, however, that he learned that his father was indeed the Sun-god. When he realized who  his father was, Phaethon decided to meet Helios. He therefore went on a journey to the East, where he found his father’s grand palace.

Phaeton begged his father to let him drive the chariot of the sun. 

Helios tried to talk him out of it by telling him that not even Zeus would dare to drive it, as the chariot was fiery hot and the horses breathed out flames.

But Phaeton insisted and at the end Helios reluctantly conceded to his son’s wishes.

When the day came, the fierce horses that drew the chariot felt that it was empty because of the lack of the sun-god’s weight, and went out of control, setting the earth aflame

Zeus quickly realized that this was a dangerous situation. So the ruler of the Greek gods threw a thunderbolt directly at Phaethon, hurling his flaming body into the waters of the river Eridanos.

His sisters, the Heliades, gathered on the banks, and in their mourning with transformed into amber-teared poplar trees.

After his death, Phaethon was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Auriga (“The Charioteer”).

Plato used a similar analogy to the one of Phaeton’s myth in his dialogue “Phaedrus”There, Plato presents the Analogy of the Chariot to explain the tripartite nature of the human soul.

In Plato’s Phaedrus, the charioteer joins a procession of gods, led by Zeus, on this trip into the heavens and have to try to successfully pilot the chariot, controllin and balancing the black and white horse.

When the chariot plummets to earth, the horses lose their wings, and the soul becomes embodied in human flesh. The degree to which the soul falls, and the “rank” of the mortal being it must then be embodied in is based on the amount of Truth it beheld while in the heavens.

As stated by this analogy, the  rational part of the soul is represented by the charioteer. The spirited part (Thymos) is represented by the white horse while the black horse symbolizes the appetitive part of the soul.

Besides, Phaeton’s myth has similarities with Icarus’ myth, which tells the tragic story of  Dedalus’ son, a young man who is driven to prove himself by reaching the Sun with waxed wings, regardless of the consequences. 

As in Icarus’ myth, Phaeton´s moral is to “take the middle way” by warning against heedless pursuit of instant gratification (represented in both myths by the horses. And, strictly following Plato’s definition in the “Phaedrus”, by the black horse, which represents man’s appetites ). 

The implicit aristotelian idea in these myths is that virtue is “a kind of moderation as it aims at the mean or moderate amount” (Aristotle’s Golden Mean). In this last sense both myths highlight the greek idea of Sophrosyne, which etymologically means healthy-mindedness and from there moderation guided by knowledge and balance. 

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"The Fall of Phaeton" by Peter Paul Rubens  (1605).

“The Fall of Phaeton” by Peter Paul Rubens (1605).

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Onthe Riht: . On the Left: “The Sun, or the Fall of Icarus” by Merry-Joseph Blondel (1819).

On the Right: “The Fall of Phaeton” by Peter Paul Rubens (1605). On the Left: “The Sun, or the Fall of Icarus” by Merry-Joseph Blondel (1819).

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"Phaeton driving the sun-chariot"  by Nicolas Bertin (1720).

“Phaeton driving the sun-chariot” by Nicolas Bertin (1720).

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 ►Gallery: “Phaeton, Helios’ Son”:

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"The fall of Phaeton" : From the series "The Metamorphoses" (Ovid) by Hendrik Goltzius (1588).

“The fall of Phaeton” : From the series “The Metamorphoses” (Ovid) by Hendrik Goltzius (1588).

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"The Fall of Paethon" by Michelangelo (1533).

“The Fall of Paethon” by Michelangelo (1533).

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►Michelangelo Buonarotti, “The Fall of Phaeton”, a drawing based on Phaeton’s Myth (Last drawing above):

Description: At the top of the sheet, Jupiter sits on his eagle and hurls a thunderbolt at Phaethon, son of Apollo, who plunges from a horse-drawn chariot. Phaethon had asked to drive the chariot of the sun, but he lost control and to save the earth Jupiter destroyed him. Underneath, his sisters, the weeping Heliades, are changed into poplar trees while another relation, Cycnus, has become a swan. The reclining male figure is the river god, Eridanus into whose river (the River Po in Italy) Phaethon fell.

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►Suggested Poem “The Key to Unity” By Uncle Tree:

Click on the Image above to read Keith's Poem.

Click on the Image above to read Uncle Tree’s Poem.

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Phaethon.html
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/AsterPhaethon.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaethon
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Phaethon
http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pd/m/michelangelo,_fall_of_phaeton.aspx

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►Last but not Least: Three Awards: 

►Here are the Award Rules, which are the same for all the awards:

1) The nominee shall display the respective logo on her/his blog.

•Note: To get the logo just click on the one which corresponds among the ones appearing in the Gallery below.

This time I will nominate new followers and/or bloggers I have recently met or that I haven’ t nominated before.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

►Aquí están las reglas comunes a todos los Premios:

1) Ubicar el logo del Premio que le corresponda en su blog.

2) Nominar a otros diez (10) bloggers, enlazando a sus respectivos blogs e informándolos de la nominación.

•Nota: Para obtener el logo, hacer click en la imagen que corresponda al mismo, de entre todas las que aparecen debajo.

En esta oportunidad nominaré a nuevos seguidores y/ a bloggers que conocí recientemente o que aún no he nominado.

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Premio Dardos.

Premio Dardos.

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I) Black Blogger Award: I have received this award from Gorrión de Asfalto and Profecías Mayas del Fin del Mundo.Both Blogs worth checking out. The first blog features Cultural events, Poetry, Guests Posts, among the main categories. The second one has as its most important topics: Anthropology, Archeology and Mexico’s Ancient Civilizations Culture.

►My nominees for the Black Wolf Blogger Award are/Mis nominados para el Black Wolf Blogger Award son:

1.Ensayos y Poemas  2. Aquí no sobran las Palabras 3. Té, Chocolate, Café 4. Tintero y Pincel 5. Ser un Ser de Luz 6. Reescrituras 7. Ya Baki Entel Baki 8. Indahs 9. Toritto 10. Lens and Pens by Sally.

II) The Versatile Blogger Award: Micheline Walker nominated me for this award. Her blog truly stands out and it includes posts related with Art, Middle Age Literature, symbolism in art and texts and their interpretation.

I was also nominated for this award from the poetry blog Condena, Mis Poemas. If you like spanish you’d better check out poems over there (You can also use the translator!). Last but not least, I also got this one from the blog called Ritual de las Palabras, with interesting contents that include mainly brief stories and Literature in general.

►My nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award are/Mis nominados para el Versatile Blogger Award son:

1. 21 Shades of Blue 2. Lady Sighs 3. Anna: Prostor 4. Feline Alchemy 5. ABC of Spirit Talk 6. Word Dreams 7. Valentina Expressions 8. Les Rêves d’ Eugenie 9. Ramo di Parole 10. Geiko Usume.

III) Wonderful Team Member Readership Award: I got this nomination from the blog Ensayos y Poemas, which includes posts on Writing, reviews of books, Poetry and Sociology.

►My nominees for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award are/Mis nominados para el Wonderful Team Member Readership Award son:

1. Micheline Walker  2. Gorrión de Asfalto 3. Profecías Mayas del Fin del Mundo 4.Condena, Mis Poemas 5. Sonu Duggal 6. Espace Perso de Georges 7. Family Life is More 8. Ruka de Colores 9. Le Bon Côté des Choses 10. Willowdot21

IV) Premio Dardos: He sido nominada para este Premio desde los blogs amigos en Castellano, Ser un Ser de Luz, Aquí no sobran las Palabras, Reescrituras, Tintero y Pincel y Té, Chocolate, Café. Todos estos son excelentes espacios, mayormente de Literatura, pero también de Arte, Meditación y cuestiones relacionadas con el Universo.

►Mis nominados para el Premio Dardos son:

1. Compartimos 2. De Partida 3. Postales del Futuro 4. Natan Vue 5. Corriendo en la Niebla 6. Clínica Creativa 7. Blog de Jack Moreno 8. Nascaranda 9. Debe de Haber 10. Personajes y Leyendas.

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Thanks a lot for dropping by. Best wishes to everyone, Aquileana 😀

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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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►Icarus´Fall: “The Myth. Symbolism and Interpretation”:

"Icarus and Daedalus", by Charles Paul Landon

“Icarus and Daedalus”, by Charles Paul Landon.-

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Icarus´Fall: “The Myth”: 

Icarus’s father Daedalus, an athenian  craftsman, built the Labyrinth for King Minos  of Crete near his palace at Knossos  to imprison the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull monster born of his wife and the Cretan bull. Minos imprisoned Daedalus himself in the labyrinth because he gave Minos’ daughter, Ariadne, a or ball of string in order to help  Theseus , the enemy of Minos, to survive the Labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur.

Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son. Daedalus 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.

If he were to do so, Daedalus explained, the wax that held his wings together would melt, rendering them useless, and Icarus would fall from the sky to his death.

Icarus, however, was overcome by the incredible feeling of flight. He was so taken by the experience, that he flew higher and higher. He flew so high that he got perilously close to the sun. Just as his father warned him would happen, the wax on his wings melted into a useless liquid. The wings fell to pieces and Icarus fell from the sky. The water into which Icarus is said to have fallen is near Icaria, a Grecian Island in the Aegean Sea. The island is named for the legendary flying man. Icaria is southwest of the island of Samos.

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SlideShare: “Daedalus and Icarus”:

Click on the image above to watch the SlideShare.-

Click on the image above to watch the SlideShare.-

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Icarus´Fall: “Symbolism and Interpretation”:

Symbols are insightful expressions of human nature.They are the external, lower expressions of higher truths and represent deep intuitive wisdom impossible by direct terms.

Joseph Campbell defined symbols as “giving expression to what is absolutely “unknowable” by  intellect”.

In the psychiatric mind features of disease were perceived in the shape of the pendulous emotional ecstatic-high and depressive-low of bipolar disorder. 

Henry Murray  having proposed the term Icarus complex, apparently found symptoms particularly in mania where a person is fond of heights, fascinated by both fire and water, narcissistic and observed with fantastical cognitio.

The myth of Icarus´moral is to “take the middle way” by warning against heedless pursuit of instant gratification.

In this sense it highlights the greek idea of  Sophrosyne (Greek: σωφροσύνη), which etymologically means healthy-mindedness and from there self-control or moderation guided by knowledge and balance. 

As Aristotle held, as shown in the post , “Aristotle´s Ethical Theory: On The Concept of Virtue and Golden Mean”, virtue is  a kind of moderation as it aims at the mean or moderate amount.

The flight of Icarus could be interpreted as a lesson in the value of moderation. The danger in flying “too high” (i.e. melting of the wax wings) or in flying “too low” (i.e. weighting down the wings by sea-water spray) were advocations for one to respect one’s limits and to act accordingly.

The moral of this myth could be also linked to Plato´s analogy of the divided line, in which the Sun symbolizes the highest Form (Idea of God). Therefore according to this perspective, Icarus has flown too high . He tried to become wiser than Gods whilst achieving Knowledge and, as he defied the godess,  he was punished for that reason.

A similar interpretation is found in Plato´s myth of Phaethon, as it appears in his elderly dialogue “Timaeus”.

Moreover and going further, considering Plato´s allegory of the cave, Icarus could be linked to the  escaped prisoner, who represents the Philosopher, who seeks knowledge outside of the cave (labyrinth).

Icarus´s myth may also be related to Plato´s analogy of the chariot. When flying high with his waxed wings, Icarus´ chariot  was driven by the obstinated black horse, which represents man’s appetites. The fact of disobeying Daedalus´advice proves that his rational part of the soul which should rule over appetites wasn´t strong  and determined enough to do so. In other words, the black horse beats the rational charioteer .

Icarus’ age is an aspect of the myth that deserves a mention here, for it is a characteristic of the period of adolescence to impulsively follow the appetite for life, to rush into the unknown adventure, to chase dreams, to follow temptation and not to heed warnings of danger.-

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"The Sun, or the Fall of Icarus" by Merry-Joseph Blondel

“The Sun, or the Fall of Icarus” by Merry-Joseph Blondel

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"The Lament for Icarus" by H. J. Draper.-

“The Lament for Icarus” by H. J. Draper.-

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Icarus´Fall: Paintings:

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 Links Post:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icarus
http://www.shmoop.com/daedalus-icarus/myth-text.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophrosyne
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaethon
https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2007/08/05/icaro/
https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/aristotles-ethical-theory-on-the-concepts-of-virtue-and-golden-mean/
https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/platos-phaedrus-the-allegory-of-the-chariot-and-the-tripartite-nature-of-the-soul/
https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/platos-republic-the-allegory-of-the-cave-and-the-analogy-of-the-divided-line/
https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/andre-comte-sponville-el-mito-de-icaro-tratado-de-la-deseperanza-y-de-la-felicidad/

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►”Happy Easter 2014″:

Best Wishes, Aquileana 😛

Happy-Easter

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