Thursday, August 24, 2017

TFBT: Friday’s ‘Tell-Tale Scars’ Cafe

(Maya, another mock up for the Kosmos Society Cafe)

     First observe this scar,” answered resourceful Odysseus, “which I got from a boar’s tusk when I was hunting on Mount Parnassus. You and my mother had sent me to Autolykos, my mother’s father,” Odyssey 24. [330-304] 

I think we all have theses childhood stories, like Odysseus’ tell-tale scar.  I recall vaguely a fall off a wall when little. 

 I heard a great story today about a friend and her little brother.  They were playing bean bag toss.  She explained that as little kids she and her brother were on the top bunk tossing bean bags into the toy box they'd cleaned out for the contest.  Her brother leaned out a little too far when aiming and ended up falling into the toy box.  Still had the bean bag in his hand so she gave him the point.  But the toy box was destroyed so game was over.  

How about your youthful misadventures?  What can you tell us about those faded scars on your body?

Odysseus and Euryclea by Christian Gottlob Heyne - Project Gutenberg eText 13725 - [] - {{PD}}

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

TFBT: Heavy-Clustered Autumn

(Maya, another mock up for the Kosmos Society)

The husbandman (farmer) has been cleaving the soil with crooked plough; hence comes his year’s work, hence comes sustenance for his country and his little grandsons, hence for his herds of cows and faithful bullocks…autumn sheds its varied produce, and high on the sunny rocks basks the mellow vintage. Meanwhile his dear children hang upon his kisses; his unstained home guards its purity; the cows droop milk-laden udders, and on the glad sward, horn to horn, the fat kids wrestle. The master himself keeps holiday, and stretched on the grass, with a fire in the midsts and his comrades”   [i]

Don’t know about where you live, but it is fall here.  For me it is a time of closing up and putting way. Our summer seasonal employees and the cannery workers are back to school or home.  The tourists are gone.  The loggers will soon be chased from the woods by “termination dust”.  Time to put the summer wardrobe away and settle in for the cold wet winter. 

How do you feel about the season?  What rituals do you perform or old familiar feelings do you feel?

PS.  The autumn colors last just minutes here.  Maybe you could share some of yours with us.

[i] (Virgil. Georgics 1.513,   Translated by Fairclough, H R. Loeb Classical Library Volumes 63 & 64. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. 1916)

Monday, August 21, 2017

TFBT: Pindar Paean 9, Comment 2

“I was consecrated in the shadow of the divine ambrosial resting place of Melia to carry forward with the arts of my heart, to the sound of my aulos, a noble concert, to advance your glory. I pray to you, farshooter Apollo, in the sanctuary you erected with the arts of the Muses, where Melia, the maiden daughter of Ocean, after sleeping with you, Pythian Apollo, gave birth to strong Teneros, the most excellent seer.  You, long haired father, handed to him the army of Kadmos and the city of Zeth╬┐s, with manliness for its spiritual salvation. The god of the sea, wielder of the trident, honored him above all mortals, and he stretched out to the region of Euripos.” (Pindar Paean 9”)

So why did Poseidon honor Apollo’s prophet at three-peaked Mount Ptous in Boeotia (Strabo 34 ) more than any other mortal ? What does that have to do with Poseidon rushing to the Euripus (Strait)? The strait could be “neighboring” since it separates Boeotia from the island of Euboea. Plus the nearby plain is named for Tenerus and there is a Precinct to Poseidon beyond that. (33)
I will have to think some more on this but what worries me first is that Poseidon honors Tenerus “more that any other mortal”.  Bad things happen when you are “honored” by the gods; the abduction of Gaymede, (HH5 to Aphrodite 203) the death of Kleobis and Biton (Herodotus, Histories 1. 31), the transformation of Lykaon (Pausanias 8. 2. 1-6) etc etc.  However the story ends, it probably won’t be good for Apollo and Melia’s son. 
"Verily wise Zeus carried off golden-haired Ganymedes (Ganymede) because of his beauty, to be amongst the Deathless Ones and pour drink for the gods in the house of Zeus--a wonder to see--, honoured by all the immortals as he draws the red nectar from the golden bowl . . . deathless and unageing, even as the gods." Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 203 ff

so she (their mother)stood before the image and prayed that the goddess might grant the best thing for man to her children Kleobis and Biton, who had given great honor to the goddess. After this prayer they sacrificed and feasted. The youths then lay down in the temple and went to sleep and never rose again; death held them ther e Herodotus, Histories 1. 31

Pausanias on the metamorphosis of Lykaon (Description of Greece 8. 2. 1 – 6)  "  I for my part believe this story; it has been a legend among the Arkadians from of old, and it has the additional merit of probability. For the men of those days, because of their righteousness and piety, were guests of the gods, eating at the same board; the good were openly honored by the gods, and sinners were openly visited with their wrath . . . So one might believe that Lykaon was turned into a beast . . .

I will have to ponder the rest. 

TFBT: Pindar Paean 9

Here, Pindar is lamenting an eclipse; 

 Sun’s brilliant beam, what are you thinking?—oh! Mother of all our world’s eyes (Nyx), preeminent star high above, stolen away during daytime?”  

Actually, I think it is just a tease to get the audience’s attention, sort of like the start of the evening news when they tell you they will be talking about something really important after the commerical break.  He continues; 

“Oh hallowed driver of swift horses (Helios), to steer this portentous sign shown everywhere, to happy, pain-free prosperity for Thebes.”

He is talking about when; 

"When spangled-robed night (Nyx) shall veil his brightness."  (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 23)

Pindar is a pretty upbeat positive kind of person, plus he isn’t going to disappoint his Theban patron with a bad prophecy.  Rather I suspect he will follow other poets in a positive impression of the coming of the Night; 

"Sable-vestured Nyx (Night) came floating up o'er the wide firmament, and brought her boon of sleep to sorrowing mortals."  (Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 3. 656)  bringing men release from toil." (10. 435) “dissolving anxious care, the friend of mirth…Be present, Goddess, to thy suppliant's prayer, desired by all, whom all alike revere, blessed, benevolent, with friendly aid dispel the fears of twilight's dreadful shade."  (Orphic Hymn 3 to Nyx) “and laid to rest the cares of men and the prowlings of wild beasts, and wrapped the heavens in her dusky shroud, coming to all with kindly influence." (Statius, Thebaid 3. 406)  
"O Nox (Night) who castest thy mantle over the toiling earth and heaven, and sendest the fiery stars on their divers roaming courses, gracious refresher of the mind, till the next sun shed blithe upspringing upon faint mortality, thou, kindly Nox . . . Ever shall this house throughout the circling periods of the year hold thee high in honour and in worship; black bulls of chosen beauty shall pay thee sacrifice, O goddess
” (Statius, Thebaid 1. 497 ff)

All the benefits of “thrice prayed for, most fair, best beloved Night” listed above seem to correlate with the hinted “pain-free prosperity for Thebes.”