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).  


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