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Posts Tagged ‘Virgil’s “Aeneiad”’

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"Arachne or Dialectics" by Paolo Veronese. 1520.

“Arachne or Dialectics” by Paolo Veronese. 1520.

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In Greek Mythology, Arachne was a Lydian woman, the daughter of a famous Tyrian purple wool dyer, who was highly gifted in the art of weaving.

Soon news of Arachne’s artistry spread far and wide and it is said that nymphs from the forests left their frolicking and gathered around Arachne to watch her weave.

All this adulation was more than Arachne could handle and being an ordinary mortal who was quite vulnerable to human failings, she became quite arrogant about her superior skills. She was annoyed at being regarded as a pupil of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, and began bragging about her skills, proclaiming herself to be far more superior to even Athena.

"Athena and Arachne" by Antonio Tempesta. 1599.

“Athena and Arachne” by Antonio Tempesta. 1599.

Athena took offense and set up a contest between them. Presenting herself as an old woman. 

When they finally met, Athena cast aside her disguise and revealed her true identity to the prideful maiden. “Now we shall see who is the better craftsman, for I challenge you to a contest of skill. The winner shall be honored, while the loser concurs to weave no more”, the goddess declared and took her place before the loom.

Athena gracefully entwined the colorful threads into a prophetic scene depicting mortals being duly punished for their defamatory actions against the gods.

For her offering, Arachne chose to create a tapestry detailing some of the more scandalous moments in the lives of the Olympians. Arachne’s work of art, according to the Latin narrative, featured twenty-one scenes of the various misdemeanors of the mighty gods, including ZeusPoseidon, Apollo, Dionysus and others.

Although Arachne had shown little respect for the gods by choosing a subject that made a mockery of the supreme deities of the Olympus, even Athena had to admit that her work was brilliant and flawless.

Athena was infuriated by the mortal’s pride. In a final moment of anger, she destroyed Arachne’s tapestry.

Image from Giovanni Boccaccio's "De mulieribus claris". 1474.

Image from Giovanni Boccaccio’s “De mulieribus claris”. 1474.

Unable to cope with her feelings, Arachne decided to hang herself. 

Athena stepped in and saved her from that death; but, angry still, pronounced another doom: “Although I grant you life, most wicked one, your fate shall be to dangle on a cord, and your posterity forever shall take your example, that your punishment may last forever!”.

Even as she spoke, before withdrawing from her victim’s sight, she sprinkled her with extract of herbs of Hecate.

Ovid tells us in his book “Metamorphoses, that at once all hair fell off, her nose and ears remained not, and her head shrunk rapidly in size, as well as all her body, leaving her diminutive. Her slender fingers gathered to her sides as long thin legs; and all her other parts were fast absorbed in her abdomen, whence she vented a fine thread; and ever since, Arachne, as a spider, weaves her web. After her transformation, Arachne hid from Athena by weaving the rope on which she hanged herself into an intricate web.

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⇒Background and Interpretation of the Myth:

Arachne depicted as a half-spider half-human in Gustave Doré's illustration for an 1861 edition of Dante's Purgatorio.

Arachne depicted as a half-spider half-human in Gustave Doré’s illustration for an 1861 edition of Dante’s Purgatorio.

There are many version of this myth. It may have originated in Lydian mythology; but the myth, briefly mentioned by Virgil in 29 BC, is known from the later Greek mythos after Ovid wrote the poem “Metamorphoses”, between the years AD 2 and 8.

This was retold in Dante Alighieri´s depiction as the half-spider Arachne in the 2nd book of his “Divine Comedy”, Purgatorio. 

In Ovid’s version, it is clear that Arachne’s problem was one of pride or hubris, an exaggerated belief in one’s own abilities.

Yet, in other versions the theme is more one of Athena’s envy of a mortal whose skills are at least comparable with her own.

Last, but not least, this myth can be interpreted in the light of economic rivalry between the city of Athens and the region of Lydia. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that, in the second millennium BCE, Lydia was the largest exporter of dyed woolen cloth in the Mediterranean. In this reading of the story, Athena is Athens, while Arachne symbolizes her native Lydia.

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⇒Different Cultural and Philosophical Depictions of Spiders:

In many cultures spiders stand as the creators of our universe and world, and also serve as agents of destruction.The spider has symbolized patience and persistence due to its hunting technique of setting webs and waiting for its prey to become ensnared. It is also a symbol of mischief and malice for its toxic venom and the slow death it causes, which is often seen as a curse.

For example, in ancient India, it is written that a large spider wove the web that is our universe. She sits at the centre of the web, controlling things via the strings. It is said she will one day devour the web/universe, and spin another in its place.

Neith, wears sometimes a shuttle on her head; sometimes a crown.

Neith, wears sometimes a shuttle on her head; sometimes a crown.

Egyptian mythology tells of the goddess Neith – a spinner and weaver of destiny – and associates her with the spider.She is often depicted with a weaving shuttle in her hand, or a bow and arrows, demonstrating her hunting abilities.  

Neith shared same attributes than Athena. She was worshiped as a virgin. She was considered the guardian of marriage and women, and was believed to have created the world and humanity on her loom. The symbol depicted often above her head is argued to either be a weaver’s shuttle or crossed arrows. Before being connected to this means of creation, she was believed to have worked with the primordial waters as the source.

Egyptian goddess Neith reminds of the Greek Moirae

The Three Greek Moirae.

The Three Greek Moirae.

The Moirae were the three white-robed personifications of Destiny: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. These three Goddesses work successively. Clotho spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle. Lachesis measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod. And Atropos was the cutter of the thread of life. 

In Celtic tradition, the spider has strong associations with the Druids. This nature-based religion sees the spider as having three distinct characteristics – the Bard, the Ovate and the Druid. The bard is the artist and weaver of webs. The Ovate is a seer that provides perspective, and the Druid is the teacher of Spider medicine. We are told that Spider created the Ogham, an early Irish alphabet that is often seen on sacred stones in Ireland.

Spider Woman, the "Great Weaver" of Native American myth.

Spider Woman, the “Great Weaver” of Native American myth.

Spider Woman appears in the mythology of several Native North American tribes, including the Navajo, Keresan, and Hopi. In most cases, she is associated with the emergence of life on earth. She helps humans by teaching them survival skills.

Spider Woman also teaches the Navajos the art of weaving.

Before weavers sit down at the loom, they often rub their hands in spider webs to absorb the wisdom and skill of Spider Woman.

Similar to other traditions in the Americas, the Mayan Ixchel was the weaving goddess whose whirling drop spindle controlled the movement of the universe. 

Ixchel, the mayan weaver-goddesses.

Ixchel, the mayan weaver-goddesses.

In some imagery she is shown holding a spindle and distaff, and in some she is kneeling with a small back strap loom tied to a tree, like other weaver-goddesses, weaving the destiny of the world.

Furthermore, an ancient Aztec mural painting of The Great Goddess of Teotihuacan was discovered in the 1940s in Tepantitla, at the site of the pyramids of the Sun and Moon in Mexico. 

Ancient Aztec mural painting of The Great Goddess of Teotihuacan, discovered in the 1940s in Tepantitla. The Goddess seem to be related to The Great Spider mythology.

Ancient Aztec mural painting of The Great Goddess of Teotihuacan. The Goddess seem to be related to The Great Spider mythology.

Until the 1980s, the painting was thought to be of Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain and water. The details of the painting suggested a feminine form and there were enough similarities to the North American Spider Woman that it was decided that she was another version of the myth.

In the Vedic philosophy of India, the spider is depicted as hiding the ultimate reality with the veils of illusion. The Vedic god Indra is referred to as Śakra in Buddhism, or with the title Devānām Indra. Indra’s net is used as a metaphor for the Buddhist concept of interpenetration, which holds that all phenomena are intimately connected.

In a different and yet resembling level, Information technology terms such as the “web spider” and the World Wide Web imply the spider-like connection of information accessed on the Internet.

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Links Post:
https://goo.gl/WiwbB4
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awards

This is a special section in which I will display all the awards I have received during 2016. To simplify, I will follow the same rules for all the awards as otherwise I wouldn´t be able to do it … 😉 Meaning: 1. Thank the blogger who have nominated you. 2. Display the logo on your blog. 3. Nominate at least 7 bloggers for each award and tell them about the nomination. As I often do, I will nominate bloggers who nominated me for other awards, new followers and bloggers who have recently liked my posts. As to my nominees, I will link back to one of their newest posts as an easier way to inform them about the nomination. If you have been nominated and want to follow along the nomination process, you´ll find your respective award in the gallery below, as the slideshare goes, click on it and save it (see award, per number). If you are a Free Award Blog, all is fine: just take this mention as a shout-out. 😀

1♦Thank you very much Loli Lopesino and Quimoji Blog for bestowing me with the Best Blog Awards.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Settle in El Paso 2. Doar Verde 3. The Dragon Coach 4. Comically Quirky 5. Wystarczyspojrzec 6. Nail a Post 7. Priyadarshinilovelife.

2♦Thank you very much Arohii from Joie de Vivre and Leire from Leire´s Room for the Versatile Blogger Award. 

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Prakharbansal 2. Lola´s Garden 3. Anabarwriter 4. Misty Books 5. Motivepentrucondei 6. Picture this by Frank 7. Versatile Laraib.

3♦Thanks so much Pintowski for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. New Pathways 2. Spirit in Politics 3. Your vacation gurus 4. Charly Karl 5. Snapshots233 6. Marswords  7. Mahdheebah.

4♦Thank you very much Claudia Moss for the One Lovely Blog Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Life Less Ordinary 2. The Green Fashion Cafe 3. Claudia Moss 4. Jen Gary New Adventures 5. Breath Math 6. Fotografischewelten 7. Benolsamblog.

5♦Thanks so much Amanpan Blog and Luna Quebrada for thinking of me and bestowing me with the Versatile Blogger Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Der komoediant 2. The Mordant Scribe 3. Elle Jase 4. Len Moriarty 5. West Clare Writes 6. Goingplaces2gether 7. Make-up louca por maquiagem.

6♦Thank you very much Inese from Making Memories for the Creative Blogger Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Loli Lopesino 2. Quimoji Blog 3. Luna Quebrada 4. Amanpan Blog 5. Juggling Writing a Book 6. Heena Rathore 7. Nerdy Teacher Extraordinaire.

7♦Thanks so much Juggling Writing a Book for the Liebster Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Aewnian 2. Scripted Sheet 3. Sometimes Intereseting 4. Simouncino 5. Blog Mexique Rotary 6. Gabriella´s design 7. Mosaic 89.

7´♦ (same logo that ♦4) Thank you very much Tina Frisco for the One Lovely Blog Award. 

My Nominees for this award are: 1. World Of Truths 2. A Voice Reclaimed 3. Carolina Amundsen 4. Dish Dessert 5. Facets of a Muse 6. Whitney Ibe 7. Rdaignault

8♦Thanks so much Micheline Walker and Robert Goldstein for the Blogger Recognition Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Meiji Zapico 2. Il Motivatore 3. Water Wise Baker 4. Boss in the Middle 5. Shell Ochsner 6. Kreakhaos 7. Cocinaitaly

9♦Thank you very much Lazy Haze for the Mystery Blogger Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1.Micheline Walker 2. Tina Frisco 3. Robert Goldstein 4. Danicapiche 5. Kentuchy Angel 6. Dainty Joyce 7. 924 Collective

10♦Thanks so much Danicapiche for the Treasure Trove Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Arohii  2. Leire 3. Inese 4. Healing Grief 5. Justified Ectasy 6. Lazy Haze 7. Oaktreelife.

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11♦ Quote Challenge: Thanks so much to Inese from Making Memories and Heena Rathore for inviting me to join her in the Three Quotes Challenge. The rules of this challenge are: a. Thank the person who nominated you. b. Post one fresh quotation on three consecutive days. c. On each of the three days, nominate at least one  folk to continue the challenge.

Hope you don’t mind that I wrote only one blog post instead of three. Feel free to do the same if you were nominated. I will add the six Quotes (three per each nomination) below photographs I have recently taken in Brazil and Argentina. Click on the photographs to read the respective quote…

I nominate for the Three Quote Challenge: 1. Words from a Little Person 2. Rainefairy 3. Moonlight Psychology 4. Devisecreateconcoct 5. Mararomaro 6. Wutherornot.

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►Greek Mythology: “Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty”:

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"Venus Verticordia" ("Venus the Changer of Hearts") by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868).-

“Venus Verticordia” (“Venus the Changer of Hearts”) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868).-

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Aphrodite (In ancient greek Ἀφροδίτη”arisen from the foam”. Roman equivalent: Venus) was the goddess of Love, Beauty and Eternal Youth, arousing desire to gods and humans. In addition, she was connected to the death/rebirth of nature and was also considered a protectress of sailors.

Aphrodite’s symbols were the girdle. the seashell and the mirror. Her sacred animal was the dove.

According to Hesiod’s “Theogony”, she was created from the foam of the waters of the sea, in the fragrant island of Cyprus, when the Titan Cronos  slew his father, the major Titan Ouranos, and threw then his genitals into the sea.

Hesiod’s reference to Aphrodite’s having been born from the sea inspired the Renaissance artist Botticelli’s famous painting of the goddess on a giant scallop shell. 

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"The Birt of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli (1486).-

“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1486).-

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Homer, on the other hand, said that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

When the Trojan prince Paris was asked to judge which of three Olympian goddesses was the most beautiful, he chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena and gave her the Golden Apple which was labeled “To the Fairest”.

The latter two had hoped to bribe him with power and victory in battle, but Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world.

This was Helen of Sparta, who became infamous as Helen of Troy when Paris subsequently eloped with her. In the ensuing Trojan War, Hera and Athena were implacable enemies of Troy while Aphrodite was loyal to Paris and the Trojans.

In Homer’s “Iliad”, Aphrodite saves Paris when he is about to be killed in single combat by Menelaus. The goddess wraps him in a mist and spirits him away, setting him down in his own bedroom in Troy. She then appears to Helen in the guise of an elderly handmaiden and tells her that Paris is waiting for her.

Helen recognizes the goddess in disguise and asks if she is being led once more to ruin. For Aphrodite had bewitched her into leaving her husband Menelaus to run off with Paris. She dares to suggest that Aphrodite go to Paris herself.

Suddenly furious, the goddess warns Helen not to go too far, lest she be abandoned to the hatred of Greeks and Trojans alike.

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"Venus convinces Helen to go with Paris" by Angelica Kauffman (1790).-

“Venus induces Helen to fall in love with Paris” (detail)  by Angelica Kauffman (1790).-

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“The Judgment of Paris” by Luca Giordano (1681-1683).-

“The Judgment of Paris” by Luca Giordano (1681-1683).-

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”Golden Apple of Discord” by Jacob Jordaens (1633).-

”Golden Apple of Discord” by Jacob Jordaens (1633).-

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Another case in which Aphrodite came to the aid of a mortal hero also happened to involve golden apples. When the heroine Atalanta agreed to wed who beat her in a foot race, Aphrodite favored Hippomenes with a peck of golden fruit.

By strewing these apples on the race course, Hippomenes caused Atalanta to become distracted, reason why she lost the race.

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“Atlanta and Hippomenes” by Willem van Herp (1632).-

“Atlanta and Hippomenes” by Willem van Herp (1632).-

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In a different ocassion, Zeus punished Aphrodite for beguiling her fellow gods into inappropriate romances.

He caused her to become infatuated with the mortal Anchises. That’s how she came to be the mother of Aeneas. She protected this hero during the Trojan War and its aftermath, when Aeneas quested to Italy and became the mythological founder of a line of Roman emperors.

A minor Italic goddess named Venus became identified with Aphrodite, and that’s how she got her Roman name. It is as Venus that she appears in the “Aeneiad”, Virgil’s epic of the founding of Rome.

In the “Iliad”, Homer tells how Aphrodite intervened in battle to save her son Aeneas, who was obviously,  a Trojan ally. 

The Greek hero Diomedes, who had been on the verge of killing Aeneas, attacked the goddess herself, wounding her on the wrist. Aphrodite promptly dropped Aeneas, who was rescued by Apollo, another Olympian sponsor of the Trojan.

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"Venus with Iapis Tending the Wounded Aeneas" by Francesco Solimena (1695).-

“Venus with Iapis Tending the Wounded Aeneas” by Francesco Solimena (1695).-

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"Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas" by Nicolas Poussin (1639_.-

“Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas” by Nicolas Poussin (1639_.-

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"Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage" by  Angelica Kauffmann (1768).-

“Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage” by Angelica Kauffmann. (1768).-

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►”The Aphrodite of Cnidos” by Praxiteles and Other Sculptures of Aphrodite based on it:

 Engraving of a coin from Knidos showing the Aphrodite of Cnidus, by Praxiteles.


Coin from Cnidos showing the Aphrodite of Cnidus, by Praxiteles.

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“The Aphrodite of Cnidos” or “Cnidian Aphrodite” was one of the most famous works of the ancient greek sculptor Praxiteles (4th century BC, Classic Period). 

The statue  became famous for its beauty, meant to be appreciated from every angle, and for being the first life-size representation of the nude female form.  

Praxiteles probably used the courtesan Phryne as a model.

The Cnidian Aphrodite has not survived. Possibly the statue was removed to Constantinople and was lost in a fire.

The original statue supposedly depicted Aphrodite as she prepared for the ritual bath that restored her purity (not virginity), discarding her drapery in her left hand, while modestly shielding herself with her right hand.

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►Slideshare: Most Well Known Variations on “The Aphrodite of Cnidos”:

(Note: Click on any sculpture for further technical details on it)

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►Links Post:
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/aphrodite.html
https://ladysighs.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/greek-9-aphrodite/
http://gogreece.about.com/cs/mythology/a/mythaphrodite.htm
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/grecoromanmyth1/p/Aphrodite.htm
http://www.greek-gods.info/greek-gods/aphrodite/aphrodite-paintings.php
https://micromythos.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/the-weirdest-births-of-mythology/
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodite_of_Cnidus
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