Monday, November 26, 2018

TFBT: Loeb’s Homeric Hymns

I am reading the Homeric Hymns in Ancient Greek with help from Loeb

Homeric Hymn to Dionysus
·      The suggestion that Dionysus was born in the deep-whirling Alpheus, recalls the fated-birth of Apollo and Artemis in the Peleus River in the Valle of Tempe.
·      Line seven in the Greek; “Father of men and gods”.  In English “Father of gods and men”
·      Dionysus birth in hiding from Hera recalls Zeus’ from Cronus.  The Curetes and Orphic Titans playing different roles from one another.

Homeric Hymn to Demeter
·      Qeon” = goddess?
·      M.L. West often translates “Cronide” as Zeus.
·      Why the phrase “immortal gods and mortal men”?  Like we all don’t know that men die? M.L. West drops “men” sometimes when both mortal and men are in the Greek.  
More notes to come.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

TFBT: “Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece” by Lee E. Patterson

As a birthday present, my oldest son (with whom I am well pleased) and his wife bought me “Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece” by Lee E. Patterson.  These are the stories that Ancient Greek people and peoples told one another who they were in the world by remembering who they were related to.  Most famously in Book 6 during the bragging that preceded Iliadic duels the hero Glaucus in bragging up his lineage touched upon a story from the family saga of the hero Diomedes,

the heart of Diomedes of the great war cry was glad. He planted his spear in the ground, and spoke to him with friendly words. [215] “Then,” he said, “you are an old friend of my father’s house.”...With these words they sprang from their chariots, grasped one another’s hands, and plighted friendship.

The Dorians told how they were descended from the Heraclidea, grandsons of Heracles returning to their ancestral home, rather than the Johnny-come-lately barbarians, the neighbors thought of them.  Former colonies reminded their metropolis of their familial relationship.  Leagues of Nations were formed amongst the supposed descendants of Ion or Chyrsoar for purposes of trade and defense.  It was a big deal. The Megarians had a totally different account of King Sciron, foe of Theseus.  (Aeacus wed one of his daughters, so Sciron couldn’t have been that bad!)

In the first five chapters of the book, Patterson explains all this is the broadest terms.  He explains that such myths are “used to create ethnic, national and other cultural identities.”  He says we “often embraces (such) fictions, and thus deny them to be fictions, despite the evidence put forward by those who apply a more clinical skepticism. To traditions embraced by the majority.”  Adding phrases like; “myth gives shape to the ideas that bind a society”; “a community’s origins”, “sense of its identity” and “to give meaning to those who believe its doctrines.”  Apparently all genealogically and anthropological evidence that a clinical skepticism can bring to bear will not dislodge these myths of who we are because “boundaries of the group are determined by only that group.” A theory that might able to modern American politics just as well as Ancient Greeks.

Patterson purports on several occasions that “the vast majority of Greeks who had no interest in separating truth from falsehood were not shaken by fictions that contradicted no know science.  Thus they listened to the true myths and inventions in the same frame of mind.”  Which explains so much about the ending of the Oresteia.

This broader discussion goes on for the first 108 pages.  Sadly his constant criticism (and dismal) of his own sources, critiques of their implications and of his own inferences, “suggests” that a reader will lose Patterson’s line of logic as well as  the storyline of the myth under discussion.

Starting, at Chapter Six things really pick up with very specific local myths and specific groups of people, complete with explanatory genealogy tables.  (Love those.) Here we hear that people along the banks of the Meander married their founding fathers off to the river-gods daughters.  Making themselves sibling city-states and “autochthonous”.  (The latter being a big thing in the Ancient Greek world.  It means they were there before anyone else.  Lots of other good stories too.  As a mythologist I found all these local myths about minor heroes and their family sagas amazing.

The story of the city of “Heraclea at Latmus and the Aetolian League” (page 132-137) enlightened me greatly.  When reading West’s “The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women) I never understood the myths of Aethlius and Endymion and their role in the “Aetolian-Elean-Pylian Myth Cycle.” 

This is an incredible researched book.  Both in primary sources and regarding other scholars on the topic. (Pages 165-219 are the notes, appendices, bibliography and indexes in fine print.)  I loved it.



Thursday, November 8, 2018

TFBT: Seven Against Thebes

Recently I had the privilege of reading this heroized” edition of Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes” produced by my friends at the Kosmos Society and Center for Hellenic Studies.  Great job everyone your efforts add so much to my understanding of the nuisances of the play.
Here are my notes so far;

Zeus and Earth, and gods that guard our city, [70] and Curse,2 potent agent of my father’s vengeance, do not destroy my city [polis], ripping it up from its foundations, captive of the enemy, a city [polis] that speaks in Greece’s tongue, “.
The Thebaid makes the point over and over again, that the citizens and gods who guard the city are foreign; Tyrian as I recall. Similarly footnote 5 “Onca, the name of a Phoenician goddess, is identified with Athena (compare 1.487).”
Chorus 89-180 is praying and doing so inappropriately per Homeric protocols
Seems the King could spend more time marshalling his forces and less squabbling with the women
“Eteokles:Since the god hastens the deed so urgently, [690] let the whole race [genos] of Laios, hated by Phoebus, be swept on the wind to Cocytus’ destined flood!” What?
Surprised the Chorus supported Antigone.
lots of Ship of Stare references considering Thebes is at 705 feet above sea level.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

TFBT: Artemis by Sorita D’Este

I recently ran across a copy of “Artemis: Virgin Goddess of the Sun & Moon” by Sorita D’Este. It was a modest paperback with a cover that might lead one to think it was a “New Age” study of “The Goddess”. Rather it is a well written study of the Greek goddess Artemis and heavily referenced.  That is to say, every known reference.  Wow!  A great resource!

D’Este suggests that;

Artemis’ bow was created by the Cyclops; I never thought about that.  Atsma says “Her bow, quiver, and arrows, were made by Hephaestus”

Artemis temple at Brauron was flooded by the River Eurasinos in the 3rd century BB.  Gotta be a story there.

“Knageus was a Spartan hero who was taken prisoner in battle and sold as a slave to the Cretans. He lived in the sanctuary of Artemis there, but ran away with the maiden priestess who took the image of Artemis with her.  They subsequently set up a temple of Artemis Knagia in Sparta.  This tale corresponds closely to the theme of the story of Iphigenia and Orestes.”  She tells several versions of what happen to the siblings and the image of Artemis Tauric, but what came to my mind was Artemis at Nemi, the life’s work of Frazier and “The Golden Bough”; “According to one story the worship of Diana at Nemi was instituted by Orestes, who, after killing Thoas, King of the Tauric Chersonese (the Crimea), fled with his sister to Italy, bringing with him the image of the Tauric Diana hidden in a faggot of sticks. “

“A temple in Hyllos in Megara was dedicated to Artemis Agrotera and Apollo Agrios by Alkathoos after killing the Cithairion Lion.”  Interesting!  But even the source she quotes (Pausanias) says that Alkathoos did not kill the Cithairion Lion.  Most sources say Heracles.

“Four golden hinds pulled Artemis’ chariot. The fifth was captured by Heracles as one of his labors; the capture of the Ceritynaen Hind. The wounded the hind and had do some smooth talking to Artemis to save himself from her wrath.”  Who knew?

“Where has not Artemis danced?”

“A different version of the myth has Artemis killing Koronis as a reprisal for Apollo’s subterfuge in causing the death if Orion”

“After Artemis Apollo and Leto persuaded Zeus to release the Titan Prometheus from his bondage, Heracles was sent to free and bring Prometheus  back.” (Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 4. 60)

D’Este points out that when Artemis fled to her father after being slapped around by Hera on the battlefield before Troy, it was Leto that picked up her bow and quiver full of Arrows.  I recalled that in the HH to Apollo Leto, was handling his weapons too.

Also Artemis asked her father for twenty nymphs who were daughters of the Cretan river-god Amninos”. I can find no reference to Amninos.  According to Atsma “The stream was also known as the Kairatos (Caeratus). “. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Persephone’s Companions: An Ascending Scale of Honor

Below is Persephone’s first-person account of what took place with her and her companions moments before her uncle/husband abducted her; 

All we were playing in a lovely meadow, Leucippe and Phaeno and Electra and Ianthe, Melita also and Iache with Rhodea and Callirhoe [420] and Melobosis and Tyche and Ocyrhoe, fair as a flower, Chryseis, Ianeira, Acaste and Admete and Rhodope and Pluto and charming Calypso; Styx too was there and Urania and lovely Galaxaura with Pallas who rouses battles and Artemis delighting in arrows: [425] we were playing and gathering sweet flowers”. (HH to Demeter)

Generally her companions are described as “Oceanides” daughters of Ithe Great River Oceanus and his bride Tethys.  Which they are for the most part with the odd addition to the list of Athena and then Artemis. (Athena is the daughter of an Oceanide.)

In “The Best of the Achaeans” Nagy introduced us to the notion of “an ascending scale of affection”

 6§15 “As the studies of J. T. Kakridis have shown, variations in the listing of a hero's affinities represent a relative ranking of these affinities in Homeric narrative and constitute a poetic convention in itself. “ 

As the catalogue stands “an ascending scale of affection” would indicate that her best gal-pals were Athena and Artemis.  There is no evidence in Greek Mythology to support these proposed friendships.l So instead I propose that the catalogue of Persephone’s Companions represents an ascending scale of honor.  Hera expounds on a very short scale

Iliad 24.56 “Then stirred to anger spake to him white-armed Hera: "Even this might be as thou sayest, Lord of the silver bow, if indeed ye gods will vouchsafe like honour to Achilles and to Hector. Hector is but mortal and was suckled at a woman's breast, but Achilles is the child of a goddess that I mine own self  fostered and reared. “ 

So Hera’s logic is that Achilles has greater honor, higher  rank, than Hector because his mother is a goddess and Hector’s a mere mortal. And more so because Thetis was fostered and reared by the Olympian Hera, daughter of Cronus.  Here is the Catalogue again with Oceanides know claims to honor;

Leucippe, the "White-Horse" per Atsma whose emthymology I  generally follow here, nymph of a frothy white spring or mountain stream. 

Phaeno "appearing" or "shining".  Makes me think of “sea to shining sea”

Electra, “the bright or brilliant one. “ the wife of Thaumas, son of Pontus, mother of Iris and the Harpies, Aëllo and Ocypete.   Not a high ranking goddess.  Though married to a Pontide, she is mother of the winged messenger of the Olympians 

Ianthe, “violet". According to Atsma goddess of the violet tinged clouds of dawn.
Melite, “ honey-sweet" “Was probably the Nymph of a sweet-water spring.”
 (Iache) “The Okeanis of the ritual cry of joy "iakhe". She was a goddess of the Eleusinian Mysteries”
Rhodeia, “the rose-tinged clouds of dawn.”
Callirhoe, “fair-flowing" A goddess of  Erythia on the shores of the Great River of Oceanus and mother of the three bodied Geryon.
 Melobosis, "food of fruit" or "sheep-feeder" 
Tyche was goddess of fortune or chance 
Ocyrrhoe is the “Swift-flowing.
Chryseis was a goddess   the golden-tinged clouds of sunset
Ianeira, perhaps the goddess of the Ionian tribe of Greeks.

Acaste “unstable" or "irregular". She may have been Nymphe of an erratically flowing spring or stream, 

 Admete, "the unbroken" or "unwedded". “Admete was perhaps a goddess of unwedded maidens, “ like Athena and Artemis.  “Her sister Zeuxo, representing the yoke of marriage.”

RHodope, goddess of the rose-coloured clouds of dawn.

Pluto, “The Okeanis goddess of wealth “ 

Calypso, lover of Odysseus and daughter of the Titan Atlas

Styx, goddess of the river of that name, Zeus’ first ally, her chidren were his henchmen and the gods swore by her name 

Urania, the "heavenly-one" also the name of Zeus ‘ daughter the Muse of Astronomy

Galaxaura,  "milky breeze" , like  γαλαξίας; Milky way

Pallas Athena an Olympian virginal daughter of Zeus and the Oceanide Metis
Artemis an Olympian virginal daughter of Zeus and the Titaness Leto
And finally, Persephone virginal daughter of Zeus and Demeter, daughter of Cronus
We may never fully understand the criteria in an ascending scale of honors, like why Hesiod granted such great honors to Hecate in the Theogony.  But in this case it appears that the further a nymph can disassociate with water and rise skyward, the more Titans and then Olympians she  can claim as parents, plus maintaining her virginity, the higher she rises on Persephone’s ascending scale of honor, culminating with herself with two Olympian parents. 

Two thoughts; 
If the catalogue is Persephone’s ascending scale of honor, what a blow to her self esteem to wed and leave Olympus 
If Persephone is the top of her ascending scale of honor, maybe we should put Achilles and Meleager at the top of their ascending scales of affection rather than Patroclus and Cleopatra.

TFBT: October Quotes

Moses appointed leaders to various groups "to decide their quarrels and assist them in every way.  I instructed them to be perfectly fair at all times, event o foreigners"  Deu 1:15-16

Pindar, Pythian Ode 4 ep 4 :
“Indeed Tityos (Tityus) by Artemis was hunted down with darts from her unconquerable quiver suddenly sped, so that a man may learn to touch only those loves that are within his power.”

“Whenever a message elevates receiving over giving, hoarding over helping, self over service, beware! “ Christ in our Home October 31, 2019

HHto Demeter:347 "Dark-haired Hades, ruler over the departed, father Zeus bids me bring noble Persephone forth from Erebus unto the gods, that her mother may see her with her eyes and cease from her dread anger with the immortals; for now she plans an awful deed, to destroy the weakly tribes of earthborn men “.  Earthborn men!  Only earth-born?

“Hades, King of the Dead, smiled knowingly “ (HH to Demeter 357)

“Cool!  We get to go on a train.”  Toddler boarding the train for aother concourse at SeaTac

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

VftSW; Emperors

I noticed a couple of black guys waiting to get their hair cut.  I did not think much about it.  No saying who will come to Emperors barbershop at a Southcenter Mall.  The place was busy!  The first chair was a big black guy with a black customer. 

“Need a haircut? “ He asks loudly and cheerfully as he waves me in.

There is a black guy and dark-skinned Asian lounging at the end of a busy line of chairs.  The black guy, named Ethan, waved me back.  I asked for it short but still touching the top of my ears.  Usual chit-chat and then to business.  I relaxed and finally got a chance to look around.  The walls were hand painted with massive street art, which was then covered by the usual mirrors and equipment needed for a barbershop.  (First actual barbershop For me in twenty-five years.  Back home they are all hair salons.)  Ethan was entertaining the whole place with good natured jabs at the barber in the first chair.  Asian guy was glaring at me which is when I noticed the equipment.  Rather than the usual folksy dresser drawer to hold the barber’s equipment, it was a mechanic tool box.  That explained the compressed air hoses coming  down from the ceiling and the Checkered Flag black and white tiled floor. 

Ethan chatted away as he bounced the shears off my head, sort of like jabbing at my  hair instead of the normal long smooth sweep I am use to.  Even though he had a customer in his chair the Asian guy was still glaring at me.  I glared back for a while then glanced around for something else to look at.  They had one of those posters showing the different styles they could do.  You know, so you can just point at the one you want.  Like sixty photos.  All the models were black.  I am a little slow, I was in a Black Barbershop!  

I recalled a short article I read once about “White Privilege”. Yeah, it is a racial slur by the authoress didn’t mean it that way.  Her examples were things like, if I went to the drugstore for bandaids I could probably find one that matched my skin tone.  Not always the case for her.  She also pointed out that is she went to get her hair cut there was no promise that they would know how to  cut her curly tight hair. Apparently Ethan habitually cut hair her way.  

It was a great hair cut; shears, scissors,  razor and gel.  Then he trimmed my mustache and eyebrows something the women at the hair salon, never think to do.  He ended the haircut with a handshake and senior discount.

Best haircut in two and half decades at Emporers at Southcenter in Seattle

Monday, October 29, 2018

TFBT: The Rape of Leucippus’ Daughters

I like Ruben’s painting “The Rape of Leucippus’ Daughters”.  I always have, but today I wondered why.

Thought I would try a little analysis.

Basic story is two big beautiful women out skinny-dipping get snatched up by two guys on horseback. The girls look distressed

Symbolically voluptuous women represent the fertility and abundance of the land.  And these babes are wearing expensive jewelry and carrying beach towels of rich material. One man is dressed in armor the other looks like a working man.  Aristocrat and commoner?  Metis and Bia? And horses, they are stealing the wealth of the land and  carrying it away rapidly.  Until my twenties I had a nightmare-inducing fear of poverty.

Hilaeira and Phoebe are distressed about leaving what they know; home and some really annoying fiancees.  But they will be accompanied by Metis and Bia, become the Queens of Sparta and ascend to Olympus as goddesses.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

TFBT: Proposal Letter

                                                                                                Petersburg, AK

                                                                                                October 28, 2018

To; Peterburg Arts Council

Re; A Greek Mythology Walking-Tour of Petersburg”.

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

 I am Bill Moulton,  I will be asking for your support on my research into Homeric reception. It is called “A Greek Mythology Walking-Tour of Petersburg”.

I think you all know me.  Maybe you don’t know that I am a student of Dr. Gregory Nagy of Harvard .  He is the Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies.  I attended his first massive on-line open classroom (MOOC) for “The Ancient Hero in 24 Hours”, twice a TA and now an active participant in the follow up project, “The Kosmos Society”.

In the 4th grade we studied Greek Mythology for a couple of weeks.  I fell in love with the subject. My enthusiasm improved my reading, writing, researching, and composition to such a degree that I skewed the grading curve.

My project is inspired by a similar project in the seaside town of Brighton, England. The point of this project is to raise awareness about English Literature and Classical Studies by the example right here in our home town.  Here in banner-hung Petersburg we have a harbor full of boats named for maritime deities.  We also have the beautiful wings at the Petersburg Public Library to start telling the story of Icarus, the boy that flew too close to the sun.  Probable sites to visit will include the library, the fishermen’s memorial, Bruno the Bear, Eagle Roost Park and a finger “C” of the South Harbor.

I hope you can assist me with advice, recruitment of an audience, and advertising .  


Bill Moulton

      PS.  My lecture notes and potential handouts can be found at;

Friday, October 19, 2018

TFBT: Hubris; The Walking Tour

 I recently read an inspiring paper on classical reception by Dr. Amanda Potter (Visiting Research Fellow with the Open University.)  From a Cow in Walking Boots to Queen Victoria: A Greek mythology tour of Brighton

I wondered if I could do something at home in Petersburg, Alaska.   I touched bases with a local tour company just for logistical details.  No real plan to do the tour.  The title would be; “Hubris, the Difference between Them and Us: A Greek Mythology Tour of Petersburg”.

The tour would start at the beautiful Petersburg Public Library where currently on display, is a beauty pair of colorful wings.(1)  These will represent the Wings of Icarus of course. 
The story is that the inventor Daedalus and his young son Icarus were imprisoned in the Labyrinth by King Minos.  Minos was the son of the sky-god Zeus. He was married to the daughter of the Sun-god Helios, Queen Pasiphae.  Daedalus had done a favor for Queen Pasiphae that the king did not appreciate!  Hence the imprisonment of the inventor.  Of course, being an inventor, he easily invented a way out.  That is wings of wax and feathers for him and his boy.  Of course dad, told the boy that when they flew away from Crete for Asia Minor they would flew not fly too low over the Aegean Sea for fear of gathering moisture in their pinions or too high for fear of being scorched by the sun. But like a teenager with his dad’s car keys, once young Icarus got his wings he took off for the sky. Like monster-slaying Bellephron upon the winged horse Pegasus, Icarus thought he could fly to Olympus and join the gods.  In Bellephron’s case Zeus sent a gadfly to sting the horse. Bellephron was thrown from the saddle.  In Icarus’ case the sun-god Helios melted his wings.  The boy fell to his death in the Aegean while his helpless father could do nothing for his child but watch.  Heracles found Icarus’ body near the island of Samos. The teenager was buried with heroic honors and the neighboring waters named the Icarian Sea in his honor. 

Stop two; Viking Travel and Bruno the Bear. (2) 
(insert picture).  Bruno reminds us of the sad story about a mortal girl named Callisto. She thought she could be a friend of the goddess Artemis.  Friendship with the ancient gods and goddesses was sort of fragile and fickle thing.  Artemis was the virginal goddess of the hunt.  She and her posse of beauties roamed the hills looking for game to shot and hot springs for  skinny-dip;in.  (Greek goddesses were really into skinny-dipping.)  Of course, Artemis expected all her “girlfriends” to be virgins like she.  One day when they were all hot and sweaty from the chase they found a cool pool and quickly stripped off their short dresses.  Just as quickly Callisto’s baby-bump was revealed to the quick-tempered Artemis.  When the goddess demanded to know who the father was, Callisto said it was Artemis’ father Zeus King of the Gods.  That did not over well!  Callisto fled into the woods and Artemis flew off to Olympus to tell Zeu’s wife Hera.  Then both goddess went hunting for her. The Greek gods had some strange rule about how they couldn’t interfere with one another’s divine privileges.  The best Zeus could do for his mistress was turn her into a bear, to better hide her. The angry goddesses found her anyway and Artemis of the silver bow slew her with an arrow and they returned to Olympus.  Zeus arranged for their love child to be rescued and to be secretly raised by a nymph in a cave.  Little Arcas grew up to found the kingdom of Arcadia. “The haunted, land of song; and by the wells where most the gods frequent.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)  Zeus threw Callisto’s shaggy body into the heavens and it because the constellation called by the Romans Ursa Major, the Great Bear.  But in Alaska we call her the Big Dipper and placed her on our state flag. (3) 

Third Eagle Roost Park (4) There was a great battle in the heavens once; the sons of Iapetus and the Titans against the sons of Cronus and the Olympian gods.  They battled across the mountaintops for ten years.  When the Titans’ herald Prometheus saw from which side the winds of war were blowing, he betrayed his brothers and threw in his lot with the Olympian gods.
When the war ended and the male Titans had been thrown into the Pit of Tartarus, there was a big party.  Everyone that had helped Zeus and the Olympians was invited; gods, titans, demi-gods, people and even animals.  Gifts and privileges from the spoils of war distributed to all.  Prometheus, being a herald, cut up the great oxen that had been cooking for some time. For you see up to this point in the Golden Age men and gods ate together.  Rather than distributing the cuts of meat appropriately, Prometheus made two piles, one for the gods and one for people. Then the Titan asks Zeus to decide who group got which pile. But there was a trick in all this.  Like the gifts and privileges already passed out, this decision was forever.  One pile looked delicious but beneath a fine layer it was all nasty skin and dog-chewed bones.  The other pile was the good meat hidden beneath a layer of slimy innards.  But Zeus saw through the trick.  If he chose the apparent pile of innards the gods would get the good meat and fledgling humanity would starve.  If he took the apparently good meat, humanity would survive, but the gods would have nothing to eat.  Did I mention the Titan Prometheus originally fought for the other side?  Olympian Zeus, King of the Gods, was angry at the deception, but made the decision that save humankind.  What Prometheus didn’t know was that the gods of Olympus had gone vegan.  During the war they had discovered ambrosia and nectar, food and drink much better suited to the gods than the meat and wine their Titan foes ate. After the party, Zeus had his henchmen chain Prometheus to the Caucasian Mountain Range in Russia.   Hence forth, after big feasts, people burned the dog-gnawed bones on the altar in remembrance of Zeus’ kind decision.  As to the innards, Zeus gave them to his pet-eagle, who went to Russia and tore at Prometheus innards.  They grew back every night and the eagle had fresh food the next day.   (pause)  Too much of a bummer ending?  To quote the poet Pindar (Pythian 4.519)

For even immortal Zeus released the Titans  \

And even now Prometheus and the rest of the Titans “live untouched by sorrow in the Islands of the Blessed along the shore of deep swirling Oceanus, feasting with the happy fallen heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year.”  “There indeed men live unlaborious days. Snow and tempest and thunderstorms never enter there, but for their refreshment Zeus sends out continually the high-singing zephyrs of the west” .  Oh, and Prometheus got a shrine built for him at Rockefeller Center

Fourth, a raven somewhere on main street; or Bojer Wikan Fishermen's Memorial Park (5) and the Viking ship Vahalla with her double headed raven on the sails. .  Did you know that ravens were originally white? 

Zeus’ favorite son Apollo didn’t have much luck with the ladies.  He once made love to a mortal maiden named Coronis.  We aren’t told how she felt about this tryst with the god, but she definitely did not want him as a husband.  Neither did Hestia, Marpessa, Daphne Cassandra, Bolina, Melia, Ocyrrhoe…  Coronis chose a mortal man as her husband to be.  A raven spotted the couple making love and told Apollo.  When Apollo whined about this outrage, Zeus killed the man with a thunderbolt; mortal men sleeping with immortal goddess was a big no-no.  Apollo’s twin-sister Artemis of the silver bow slew Coronis with an arrow. Apollo and Coronis’ love-child was rescued and secretly raised in a cave.  Oh, the Raven?  When it gave Apollo the news about Coronis’ adultery Apollo blasted it, turning ravens black for all time.

M/V Zeus - Rob Schwarz,   
(If not there) Where is the Zeus?  That’s what his father should have been asking.  Zeus’ father, previous King of the Gods, heard that one of his children would hurl him from his throne as he had done to his own father.  So, he swallowed all his children upon their birth.  Zeus was the sixth and last child in the family.  When he was born, his mother wrapped a rock in a baby blanket and handed it over to Zeus’s father who swallowed it whole.  Meanwhile, Zeus’ grandmother, who was mid-wife, smuggled the child to Crete where he was secretly raised by a nymph in a cave.  (Are we seeing a pattern here?)  His cradle was hung from the ceiling so he could not be found on earth or in the sky.  He lived on honey and goat’s milk.  When he started to cry as infants will, his bodyguards the Curetes began banging their swords against their shields and began circling the divine child.  That’s where he is today
(if the boat is there)  Don’t mistake this for the god Zeus, that would be a mistake.  King Salmoneus, built a city near the source of the river Enipeus.  He thought himself better than King Zeus of Olympus.  He transfered Zeus’s sacrifices to his own altars. He drove the streets of his city, dragging bronze pots behind his chariot.  It kind of looked like he was “just married”, but he told everyone it was the sound of Zeus’s thunder, and he threw burning brands at his subjects, who pretended they were lightning. Gods don’t take kindly to this sort of thing and one day Zeus hurled a real thunderbolt, which not only destroyed Salmoneus, his chariot and all, but burned down the entire city.  

Fifth M/V Orion,   (C-605) The Giant Orion was the black sheep of the Olympian family of gods.  He was related to them.  There were various versions of his birth, which no one wanted to talk about.  He might have been Zeus’ bastard, but… well he was mortal, like us.   In short he was not from the right family, not from the right place  and definitely not one of them.  That said,  several goddesses threw themselves at him include the Goddess of the Hunt Artemis.  This didn’t go over too well with Artemis’ brother Apollo.  Apollo strongly believed in the separation of the divine race and the mortal one.  On the wall of the forecourt of his most temple, the one at Delphi he had inscribed;
γνῶθι σεαυτόν
know your place

Apollo was indignant that Orion was courting his sister, but he blew up one morning when he saw the giant taking a morning swim in the Aegean.  He was headed for the island of Chios where rumor had it he was two-timing Apollo’s sister with another goddess.  Apollo casually mentioned to his twin sister Artemis that if she was a really good shot, she’d be able to hit that dark spot bobbing in the water at some great distance.  Artemis rapidly strung her bow and let fly.  She was exuberant when her arrow hit home.  She never realized it was her mortal lover slipping beneath the waves. (If the boats not there. Look down to see if it is there.)  Of course, the goddess who loved him, saved him, and tossed him (and his favorite hunting dog ) into the starry where the jealous gods could not touch him.  You can still seem him on clear night, the constellation Orion. 

Sixth, M/V Siren - (Mike File, C-615) The Sirens were getting a little uppity.  They  were the daughters of a mere river-god, but thought themselves better than Zeus’ daughters the Muses, goddesses of the arts and sciences.  Some unkind soul suggested the nymphs challenge the goddesses to a singing contest.  The Olympian gods would be the judges of the contest.  Both choruses sang.  The gods voted for their nieces the Muses.  The Sirens were stripped of their wings and imprisoned on a deserted island.  They ended up using their divine voice to lure passing fisherman into stepping ashore and never leaving again.  (They had the same tastes as Zeus’ father.) 

Finally, Mermaid at Java Hus This will be our last visit here together in the grotto of this Nereid.  The Nereids were daughters of the Old Man of the Sea; Nereus.  He had fifty daugters.  Among them ; Light-footed Amphitrite, the nurturer of sea monsters, Fair-cheeked Ceto “The Kraken”, Oreithyia; goddess of the raging sea, Psamathe of the graceful form, who sent a wolf against Achilles’ people of Phthia.  In distance Aethopia, Queen Cassiopea had a beautiful daughter named Andromeda.  The girl was so beautiful that she would brag that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids.  Goddesses don’t take kindly to this sort of thing, Amphitrite’s husband sent a tsunami into the country and in its wake the goddesses sent sea monsters.  These “gifts” from the gods are forever right?  So regularly there would be floods from the sea carrying in monster to poison the soil and eat up all the livestock.  Andromache’s father asked an oracle how to stop this ongoing catastrophe.  The reply was he had to sacrifice Andromeda to the Nereids. So there she was chained to the rock, when the hero Perseus happen to fly by.  It was love at first sight for both.  He killed the sea-monster and sacrificed it to the Nereids.    He was working for some other gods at the time, so the Nereids couldn’t interfere with his rescue of the princess.  Of course, her cowardly father and fiancée felt free to interfere with the happy couple’s bright future.  Things got really ugly after that.  But Perseus and Andromeda survived and lived happily ever after, becoming the ancestors of most of the royal family in Ancient Greece.

Other sites of mythical interest;

M/V Galatea, C-658  Galatea was called glorious and “the beautiful”. She was a 
Nereid and goddess of calm seas.  A roman poet said once,   "May Galatea be not unfriendly to your voyage." (Propertius, Elegies 1. 8A)  She was the lover of the Cyclops Polyphemus “Polyphemos built a shrine to Galatea near Mount Etna in gratitude for the rich pasturage for his flocks and the abundant supply of milk." (Douris, historian C3rd B.C.]  

M/V Lady Helen, B-736 Lady Helen, if Apollo’s maximum was “Know your place.”  Helen of Troy failed miserable; she didn’t know she was a goddess.  She should have noticed that her beauty was supernatural.  Surely she heard people say that she was the most beautiful woman of all time.  When she came of marrying age, every prince in Greece vied for her hand.   
She was the sole mortal daughter of Zeus, but of course she wasn’t mortal.  She was the Trojan War made manifest.  She was the epic itself.  She as an abstraction and a force of nature.  She was the Queen of Sparta.  When she left her home and husband civilization began to collapse. 
An entire generation of men would disappear from Greece and Asia Minor for her sake.  Troy and the neighboring cities would burn.  Most of the surviving Greek victors would drown on the way home.  In Greece there will be civil wars and the Dorian invasion.  She would be the cause of the Bronze Age collapse of 1179 BC. 
She did what no doom-bearing mortal could do; she was adored by King Priam, beloved by her sisters-in-law and special friend to Crown Prince Hector.  She gave the eulogy at his funeral.  On the dreadful night that Troy fell her husband Menelaus rescued her and lovingly took her home to Sparta.  It took them ten-years to get home.  When they arrived back in Sparta the Dark Ages had descended.  She was in her forties.  Her subjects line the shores waiting stones in hand.  They were going revenge themselves and all their departed loved ones. She stepped ashore and lifted her eyes to meet her greeters.  The stones fell from their hands and they welcomed her home. 


(1) "Wings of the Phoenix" Using water color and oil pastels kids created 200 feathers.  This project was a collaborative effort between the Summer Stream Kids, Andrea Weathers and Josef Quitslund.
(2) Bruno the Bear was created by local artist Eric Larsen.  Bruno uses to have a salmon in his jaws, but it and several others go away.(3) Benny Benson a 13 year-old Alaskan Native. The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The North Star is for the future state of Alaska, the most northerly in the union. The Dipper is for the Great Bear—symbolizing strength.
(4)  During the summer dozens of eagles will roost in the trees above this spot hoping to snatch fish in the eddies of the Wrangell Narrows below.
(5) Supported by Sons of Norway Lodge #23 and the Borough of Petersburg.  Her we acknowledge those community members who have been lost at seas or spent much of their lives working directly in the fishing industry. 


TFBT: A Jealous God

I participated in an excellent presentation by Dr. Keith Stone on Deuteronomy.  Keith made the point that Yahweh is a jealous god (Exodus 34:14) and that the Hebrew people were His portion. (Deu. 32:9) 

The Greek gods were notorious for not trespassing on one another's allotted honors and privileges. As the goddess Artemis tell us at the end of Euripides’ Hippolytus.  But were any of the Greek gods jealous?  I read recently that no god denies another and I cannot think of an example.  But, I have been thinking of Salmoneus lately, for another piece;  

"Salmoneus at first dwelt in Thessaly, but afterwards he came to Elis and there founded a city. And being arrogant and wishful to put himself on an equality with Zeus, he was punished for his impiety; for he said that he was himself Zeus, and he took away the sacrifices of the god and ordered them to be offered to himself; and by dragging dried hides, with bronze kettles, at his chariot, he said that he thundered, and by flinging lighted torches at the sky he said that he lightened. But Zeus struck him with a thunderbolt, and wiped out the city he had founded with all its inhabitants.” (Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.9. 7-8)

Now Salmoneus was an idiot and his story was probably just a cautionary tale.  But it reminded me of another mortal jealous of sacrifices to another god.  The mortal Niobe and her childhood friend the goddess Leto. A seeress foreseeing troubles advices Niobe’s people to sacrifice to Leto, which they do.  Niobe comes upon the scene.

Madness has prevailed on you to worship some imagined Gods of Heaven, which you have only heard of; but the Gods that truly are on earth, and can be seen, are all neglected! Come, explain to me, why is Latona worshiped and adored, and frankincense not offered unto me? (Ovid Metamorphoses 6)

That is both denying other gods and obviously jealous. The end result is that Niobe’s children are slain and her subjects turned to stone (Homer, Iliad 24.602). What I find interesting about Niobe's claim to divine honors is her genealogy.  She is a grand-daughter of Zeus via her infamous father Tantalus and claims Zeus a father-in-law.  She is a queen of Thebes a royal family that produced Olympian Dionysus, Thyone, Leukothea, Olympian Heracles and several other gods. 

There is an old theory in classical studies that "heroes" are simply local gods with fading stars unable to compete with the shining pan-Hellenic Olympian.  I don't think I believe that, but is it possible the Salmoneous and Niobe were local monotheistic gods in conflict with the polytheistic Olympians who lost the battle for supremacy and were literally tossed into the pit of Tartarus?[i]

[i] Salmoneus (Virgil, Aeneid 6.548)  & Tantalus  (Odyssey 11.582)