Friday, June 21, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes from Hour Seventeen of “The Ancient Greek Hero”

“Daughter of Zeus, you will hear it all in brief. We are the eternal children of Night. We are called Curses at home beneath the earth.” (Eumenides 415) The "Curses" are called Erinnyes on earth.  Is "Curses" another example of a divine name? Like Scamander on earth is called Xanthus in Olympus.

And I will aid the suppliant and rescue him! For the mēnis of the suppliant would be awesome to mortals and gods, if I intentionally abandoned him” Apollo in Eumenides. I thought menis was limited to gods and Achilles. Is the suggestion here that Apollo failing to save Orestes will have cosmic consequences? Orestes is certainly no demi-god. So is menis attached to the results rather than victim?

“I establish this law court, which is untouched by desire for profit. It is fully deserving of reverence and is quick to anger. Watching over those who sleep, it is a wakeful guardian of the land.” Eumenides 704-706 Good writing!

“ the transformation of the Erinyes into the Eumenides represents their acculturation within the framework of Athenian society, where they are also known as the Semnai or 'Revered Ones' (there is a most revealing report about them in Pausanias 1.28.6-7). Conversely, such acculturation represents the transformation of the dead heroes of the past into the cult heroes of the immediate present.” The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours 17:17

“Be gone, quit my sanctuary of the seer’s art, or else you might be struck by a flying, winged, glistening snake shot forth from a golden bow-string, and then you would spit out black foam from your lungs in pain, vomiting the clotted blood.” Eumenides 180

“For one must nurse that little thing, which doesn’t yet have any thoughts, as if it were a grazing animal, of course one must, by following its twists and turns that lead toward a thought.” Agamemnon 755


  1. Apollo failing to save Orestes would mean dominance of women, which is no small thing.
    I do not know what to think about the dubious happy ending of the Orestheia. It is achieved using bad ethics (the life of a man is more valuable than that of a woman) and bad biology (the child carries the heredity of the father alone, the mother is just an incubator). We justify Orestes for killing his mother because it was, we think, impossible to bring her to trial. On the other hand, had it been possible for her to bring Agamemnon to trial for the ritual killing of Iphigenia? Shouldn't we justify her by the same logic? And isn't it suspicious that, after Orestes resorts to killing allegedly for not having a better option, a lenient court is arranged for him at the moment when he needs it?

  2. Maya,

    I have to agree; the whole "deux de machine" literally ending is rather lame. The whole thing can only be explained as the will of Zeus and bad writing of Aeschylus.