Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TFBT: Nemesis as Helen's Mom

Vase #Malibu 86.AE.680

Sarah mentioned the goddess Nemesis carrying an apple bough . I recalled something similar on a vase

‘Detail of Hypnos from a painting depicting the story of Leda and the swan. The god appears as a naked, long-haired youth with winged boots and brow holding a branch dripping with the somnolent waters of the Lethe.” Getty Museum #Malibu 86.AE.680

Aaron Atsma says, "Her name was derived from the Greek words nemêsis and nemô, meaning "dispenser of dues."  Which follows along with Nagy's definition: "nemesis indicates the process whereby everyone gets what he or she deserves.” Nemesis (‘due enactment’) according to Graves.
Sarah mentioned Nemesis as a possible mother of Helen. Here is one version of how that happen;
“Nemesis, as she fled from Zeus’ embrace, took the form of a goose; whereupon Zeus as a swan had intercourse with her.
Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 127 
I find this interesting in that in the description of the vase above he is disguised as a swan when he had intercourse with Helen’s alternative mother; Leda

Golden) Apple Bough 

                     "Nemesis, Eros and Elpis"
Bibliotheca 3. 10)  Tells us that three golden apples used to trick the maiden Atlanta into marriage.  To be among the unwed dead was considered a tragedy in ancient Greek culture. Unwed girls who passed away were buried in wedding gowns and referred to as "brides of Hades."  ( I saw a future set productin of the Antigone where the main character wore a wedding dress from the beginning.  I am sure I was the only one in the Fairbanks alaska audience that got it.  By the way I believe it was Ruth Scodel who referenced an inscription  for  a "groom of Persephone" ). So what Atlanta deserved and was dispensed by the apples was marriage.

Graves, commenting on Apollodorus 1.6.3) says;  "Typhon’s ‘ephemeral fruits’, given him by the Three Fates, appear to be the usual death-apples. " If you don't know Typhon, his shaggy red-eyed monstrous head scraped the stars, his snakish massive arms stretched out over the horizon.  He was too big for the universe.  He had to go.
Finally, it was a golden apple tossed amid the goddesses gathered to attend Peleus and Thetis' wedding. Inscribed on it was the phrase, "for the fairest"  It involved Nemesis' daughter Helen and rectified the over abundance of the tribes of men upon the shaggy earth.  (Cypria).  


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

TFBT: Wuotes for July 2017

"Without Homer there would be no Virgil."  JO

"Aeneas' arrival on the banks of the Tiber is the beginning of bis Iliad and end of his Odyssey."  JO

αὐτοῦ κινηθέντος δ᾽ ἤϊε νυκτὶ ἐοικώς.
 his coming was like the night.   Iliad 1.47

 “Telemachus did not see her (Athena) before him, or notice her; for in no wise do the gods appear in manifest presence to all. But Odysseus saw her, and the hounds, and they barked not, but with whining slunk in fear to the further side of the farmstead.”  Odysseus 16.160
“She (Athena) stood behind him, and seized the son of Peleus by his fair hair, appearing to him alone. No one of the others saw her.”  ( Iliad 1.196)
I offer a general formulation: for a mortal to appear like an immortal to other mortals is to become a divinity in a ritual moment of epiphany [[GN 2017.07.06 via MoM 2§17.]]
“I climbed a Kumquat tree to reach the top a high wall at the end of the school garden and went for coffee with friends. The best part was the climbing.”  Cecilia

"He smiles, time passing, lost in a dream." Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis

"for the safety of all is the need of all.” Xenophon, Anabasis 3.2.32

"He is one god or else he is two old men walking, leaning on the sticks, conspiring." Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis. An organization  in town asked me to give a presentation.  I stood at the back of the room with my materials waiting to be called to the stage. A finely dressed, professional looking woman at the front of the room lead the meeting.  Well, if you were in the audience it looked like se was leading the meeting.  From my perspective it was clear she was not.  Rather two old crones in the last row were running the show.  When the president asked for volunteers it was these two grandmothers that decided with a nudge who would volunteer.  Calls for discussion were met with root recitals of the grandmothers' instruction.  A show of hands was met with a surprisingly unanimous every time. I felt sorry for the woman up on the stage

"May I be given a god's duty a burden that matters." Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis

"With one foot always forward a  man reaches Heaven". Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis

"I...sail my boat upstream" Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis

I do not beat the donkey and called myself beloved of the gods.  Truly, I strive to carry the load without noticing the burden, to be on this hot earth a cool jug of water, to stand in the wind like sturdy sycamore branches, a place where birds rest, where cattle gather, where sap rises, wherein earth and sky are home." Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis

"With one foot always forward; a man reaches heaven." Awakening Osiris, Normandi Ellis

Sent from my iPad

Monday, July 17, 2017

MftNE; If your Husband asks you to Sleep with is Best Friend

 I read a book by an advise columnist once.  At the end was a chapter called "Questions No Asked". This is sort of the same.  I have been around the block a few times, got some things
 to share, so here goes.

First, note the title; "If your husband asks...". If in fact it is your boyfriend who asks, say you will have to think about it, excuse yourself, leave quietly and never speak to him again!

1.  Assuming your husband's best friend is a horny bachelor; is this going to be a regular thing?  How about his second best friend?  If he does this nice thing for his buddies they will be obliged to do him nice things.  In other words he is whoring you out.  Finally if it is a one time thing for the best of reasons, be assured that some day your husband in a moment of anger will point out that you slept with his best friend.

2.  If the best friend is in such dire straits, your response could be why doesn't your husband take care of his needs.  If he things the suggestion is outrageous, remind him that his request is outrageous.  Besides, this is a good way to test the waters for consideration three.

3.  If it is a; one time thing for the best of reasons, the only way you should agree is if your husband is in bed with the two of you.  That way he can never throw it in your face that the two of you slept together.  Make sure you are respected during the festivities and note whether you or the best friend gets the bulk of your husband's attention.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TFBT: Theomachy, Old, Bold and Ring Compostion

In Iliad, Book 20, Zeus allows the gods to enter the fray on the plain before Troy.

 "Such was the uproar as the gods came together in battle;
·      Apollo with his arrows took his stand to face King Poseidon,
·      Athena took hers against the god of war
·      Artemis with her golden arrows…stood to face Hera;
·      Hermes…faced Leto”
·      Xanthos, matched himself against Hephaistos

"Zeus heard as he was sitting on Olympus, and laughed for joy when he saw the gods coming to blows among themselves." (21.389) 

How will the close reading of this text and multiple others predict the outcome of each duel?

 Apollo with his arrows took his stand to face King Poseidon

Earlier in the Iliad Poseidon was very angry and said, “Great heavens—strong as Zeus may be, he has said more than he can do if he has threatened violence against me,"  (15.185). Iris does not try to dissuade him but rather Iris points out the Erinyes will take Zeus side.  (15.200)

Earlier in the Iliad Apollo covered himself in a great cloud of mist in order to attack Patroclus from behind. (16.790) In other texts the god of lyre appears manlier; "As he goes through the house of Zeus, the gods tremble before him and all spring up from their seats." (HH to Apollo).   Of course Poseidon doesn't live on Olympus.  

During the preamble of their duel King Apollo quibs that we "miserable mortals, come out like leaves in summer and eat the fruit of the field, and presently fall lifeless to the ground.”  At which point he refuses to fight his uncle over us.  Was he afraid of Poseidon?  His sister Artemis certainly thought so (21.470)

Athena took hers against the god of war

"Here did man-slaughtering Arēs strike her with his great spear. She drew back and with her strong hand seized a stone that was lying on the plain—great and rugged and black— [21.405] which men of old had set for the boundary of a field. With this she struck Arēs on the neck, and brought him down."  

Strictly brains over brawn here; (the daughter of) metis versus bia.  No other text can dissuade us of the obviousness of the outcome. But maybe we are seeing a trend that suggest another reason for her victory.  Based on Hesoid list of Zeus’ wives (Theogony 886) it is possible to assume that Athena was the eldest of her siblings. Maybe her greater age is what guarantees her victory as did her uncle’s previously. 

Artemis with her golden arrows…stood to face Hera

"She caught both Artemis’ wrists with her left hand as she spoke, [21.490] and with her right she took the bow from her shoulders, and laughed as she beat her with it about the ears while Artemis wriggled and writhed under her blows."

Even now after after all the readings of this text, Hera's success and brutality in this duel surprises me.   Multiple other text make Artemis seem equally as brutal; the deaths of Niobe’s daughters (Homer, Iliad 24. 602) her hunting down of the Giant Tityus (Pindar, Pythian Ode 4) and murder of Orion (Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 25).  But her older step-mother easily abuses her.  It might be noted that Artemis like her brother was the aggressor in the dual  according to  Book 20 because “Artemis with her golden arrows…stood to face Hera

Hermes…faced Leto

"Then the slayer of Argos, guide and guardian, said to Leto, “Leto, I shall not fight you; it is ill to come to blows with any of Zeus’ wives. [500] Therefore boast as you will among the immortals that you worsted me in fair fight. ".  

Hermes the dog-slayer, I mean, slayer of a hundred eyed giant isn't famous for too many other combats.  So is he afraid of Zeus?  Leto's son, Apollo?  Afraid of ending up like Peleus, "second-rate hero who lost a wrestling match to a girl"?  Or afraid of Leto.  

Our image of Leto is based on Hesiod; "Leto, always mild, kind to men and to the deathless gods, mild from the beginning, gentlest in all Olympus. (Theogony 404 ff).  In other text she isn't so kind, turning peasants into frogs (Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 313 ff) and orderingthe death of Niobe's children (Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 46 ). In the beginning of the HH to Apollo she confidently disarms here own son.  Still maybe the dog-killer, I mean Hermes has another cause to fear a conflict with Leto.  She is older than he and hence/possibly more powerful then he.  Maybe he feared her “great might”.   Plus he was the aggressor according to Book 20.  

Xanthos, matched himself against Hephaistos. 

The implication of the above title is that Xanthus is the aggressor, not a good omen for victory in this list.  You would think in this elemental spirits’ version of rock-paper-scissors that water would quench fire but instead Hephaestus sets the river aboil until his mother says “Son Hephaistos, hold now your flames; [21.380] we ought not to use such violence against a god for the sake of mortals.”  An attitude similar to where we started the list.  Hey! Ring composition.  

Ring Composition!

Ring composition is a technique that layers meaning and literary tension on an event. Sort of; "Tell 'em what you are going to tell 'em; tell 'em; tell 'em what you told 'em." 

According to Book Twenty the list of duels starts with one, which never actually happen because one of them didn’t wish to fight over miserable mortals and the last duel on list ends because gods ought not to fight over mortals.  
“And King Apollo answered, “Lord of the earthquake, you would not think me moderate [sōphrōn] if I were to fight you about a pack of miserable mortals, (   βροτῶν ἕνεκα πτολεμίξω ) who come out like leaves in summer [21.465] and eat the fruit of the field, and presently fall lifeless to the ground. Let us stay this fighting at once and let them settle it among themselves.”

As soon as goddess of the white arms, Hera heard this she said to her son Hephaistos, “Son Hephaistos, hold now your flames; [21.380] we ought not to use such violence against a god for the sake of mortals.” (βροτῶν ἕνεκα στυφελίζειν)

Actual sequence of duels

Of course, the sequence of duels on the list in Book 21, doesn't match the sequence as listed in Book 20 (see above)
  • Hephaestus vs Xanthus ends around 21.380
  • Athena and Ares ends around 410 with her invoking the Erinnyes
  • Apollo vs Poseidon 435-440
  • Artemis vs Hera 490-495
  • Hermes vs Leto 496-501
The lists don’t match because; 
  • the Hephaestus versus Xanthus duel got started early when the river god tried to drown Achilles .
  • Apollo (and Poseidon) skipped out early.  
  • Leto stayed on the battle field until her daughter was defeated.