#AtoZChallenge (2017): V is for Virgin Goddesses

Day Twenty-Two of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

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As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “V” post will parade some virginal goddesses. Three to be exact: Athena, Artemis and Hestia (my favorite!).

Can you tell I’m running out of ideas? “V” was a difficult letter, but I found a topic I was interested in. Considering there’s a lot of trouble surrounding gods getting jiggy with humans (or other species, *cough*nymphs*hack,cough*), it’s fascinating to see there are some gods taking a stand and going abstinent. Guess they don’t like their drama too much…or they found another outlet to take out their anger and add crazy tales to be immortalized through storytelling.

(I’m looking at you, Artemis and Athena.)

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So let’s dive in.

Athena:

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Goddess of reason, war craft and anything to do with intelligent activity. She was also the goddess protecting Athens, for which was named for her. (Or so they say.)

Athena is Zeus’s divine daughter, and supposedly her mother was Metis, the primordial goddess of wisdom. If you remember her, she helped Zeus and his brothers out in the war against the Titans/the Titanomachy.

In other cases, she has no mother. Zeus just got a really BIG headache – likely a migraine, and then Hephaestus was fetched for. The smithy god cracked open Zeus’s forehead with an axe and out popped a fully-formed Athena.

Image result for axing gif
Probably didn’t go down like this, but still funny to picture Zeus’s head being blown to bits.

Yeah. I want to say it doesn’t get weirder than that, but it probably does. We’re talking myths, folks. Things get dicey and axe-y.

In the other variant, Zeus swallows Metis while she’s pregnant with Zeus because he fears a prophecy that she would bear a son that would usurp Zeus (just like he did to his father, and just like Zeus’s father did to his father). A whole lot of daddy issues prompt these men to do some crazy things. Zeus pulls a Uranus and swallows Metis by tricking her to transform into a fly.

Then Zeus gets his headache and out pops Athena.

So whether an asexual product or not, Athena went on to become a well-known and well-respected goddess. She has no known consorts or offspring, and though she might not have been introduced a virgin at first, she was eventually thought to be one. Hence her epithets, Pallas and Parthenos, Greek words that mean “virgin” or “maiden”. So, she was Athena the Maiden/Virgin.

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Athena wears full-body armor, although sometimes she is depicted with the head-to-toe protection. But she’s usually also seen carrying a lance and shield, and she often also wears a helmet. Lady-god is always ready for battle.

Athena was once courted by Hephaestus, but since Greek gods don’t have an ounce of patience (or the gods’ equivalent of human milk of compassion), the smithy god tried to rape her. Athena was only in his workshop to get new weapons made (or something fixed), and then she fled his amorous (and seriously evil) intentions.

Apparently Hephaestus chased her, caught her and managed to smear semen on her thigh. She managed to get out of his hold and wipe the offending seed off her body, throwing the besmirched cloth to the floor. From there Erichthonius was born, an autochthonous (born of soil) baby who would go on to be a king.

Because in Greek mythology you can just grow your babies in the backyard, right between your seasonal vegetables.

Artemis:

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Goddess of the hunt, the moon, chastity, and archery. She was the twin sister of Apollo, and born to Zeus and his nymph lover, Leto. We heard Leto’s story, now let’s talk a bit about 1/2 of her progeny, Artemis.

She asked her father, Zeus, to grant her eternal chastity, rejecting marriage and love and baby-making activities.

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Soooooo, Zeus gave her a chastity belt with no lock.

Artemis was a bit loony. She was totally cool with ladies – heck, she had an entourage of nymphs, all skilled hunters, stalking through Grecian woods with her. Oddly, for a goddess against love, marriage and family (basically everything Hera stood for), wild Artemis was often a protector of pregnant women and their babies. She also, supposedly, helped ease with pregnancy pains.

So while she was a champion of women, she was not in a lot of male-friendly myths. Take, for instance, the tale of Artemis and Actaeon.

Now Actaeon was either Artemis’s hunting companion (really?! how old was he? I mean, he is a he) or he was a wandering hunter who came upon her party.

Either way, Actaeon ended up sighting Artemis in the buff while she was bathing in the woods. Now depending on what variant you’re reading, he’s 1) taken by her beauty and decides he HAS to have her, or 2) maybe he steps on a twig, and Artemis notices him…

Image result for kagome bathing sit boy gif
Sit boy!

Sadly, it doesn’t go down like this at all.

If only Artemis just gave him a wrist slap.

Instead she turns Actaeon into a stag who is then devoured by his own hounds. Such a brutal end – especially if it’s the version where he didn’t try to rape her.

Then there’s Orion.

Now he actually was loved by Artemis. Shocker, I know.

Orion was a handsome, mortal hunter, he had gone to train or live with Artemis (you know, as one of her retinue). Poor Orion dies too, and he might have been killed by 1) Artemis, for trying to rape the goddess, 2) Apollo, who get a little jelly that his sister was in love, or 3) a scorpion stung him and he died of the lethal poison.

He does have a forever home in the skies where he’s being chased by Scorpio.

Hestia:

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Miss Goddess of the Hearth and all things domestic, and she remains a “miss”, although supposedly the wallflower of Olympian goddesses had her offers for her hand in marriage. PFFT. Like the Greek gods actually believed in upholding their marital vows. Seriously though…

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RIP Alan Rickman.

Anyways, Hestia had intrigued both Poseidon and Apollo (yippee! a choice between her brother and her nephew, the joy!), which led to her requesting eternal chastity from her brother, Zeus. Much like Artemis, she signed up for the permanent chastity belt. Maybe they get a 2-for-1 deal?

Now she was purported almost rapped by Priapus, a minor deity who had a major phallus. After a party of debauchery up in Olympus, everyone was passed out. Or, in one other variant, Hestia herself hosted a forest party.

However it went down, Hestia wasn’t drunk, but she went to rest herself at the end of the party. Then a drunk, horny Priapus came across her. He decided he’d like some action with the virgin-goddess, but she was saved by the braying of a donkey. She startled awake by the noise from the donkey and found Priapus trying to lower himself onto her. “She screamed.[…] And Priapus got scared and skittered away so Hestia’s virginity was retained.” (source)

FUN FACT: Supposedly Hestia was the eldest of the six original Olympians (i.e. Zeus being the youngest). But then her father, Cronus swallowed her and Poseidon, Hades, Hera and Demeter. When Cronus vomited his offspring out, Hestia was the last to be regurgitated. Thus, she earned the title of being both the oldest and the youngest of the six siblings.

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I can see the logic, but I’m like “that’s SO craaaaaaaaazy”.

Now Hestia was all about the hearth. So even after she stepped down for Dionysus and allowed him to take her seat at the big, adult Olympian table, she still had a job to do – and she was important to ancient Grecian life.

No family was allowed to extinguish the hearth, not unless a proper ritual decreed it. The hearth protected the family. When a child was born, it was introduced to its home by being carried near the ever-burning hearth. Her name was invoked at the start and end of a meal. She was the one who transferred sacrifices from humans to the gods, and making sure the peaceful connection remained. As one source puts it, she “represented communal security and personal happiness.”

So retired life for Hestia wasn’t much of a walk in the park. She had her duties, and she happily sought to them.

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She was like the Cinderella who wanted to be Cinderella…

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So, what did we learn?

MORAL: Wining and dining go a long way, gentleman. Also, it could help you avoid the wrath of mercurial goddesses. Or at least the shame of making history as rapists.

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Sources that helped me with this post:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Athena-Greek-mythology

http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Athena/athena.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Erichthonius/erichthonius.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Artemis/artemis.html

http://www.shmoop.com/artemis-actaeon/

https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/artemis/

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Orion-Greek-mythology

https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/hestia/

http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Hestia.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Hestia/hestia.html

https://www.paleothea.com/SortaSingles/Hestia.html

http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Priapos.html

Check them out when you have time!

 

#AtoZChallenge (2017): U is for Uranus and Urns

Day Twenty-One of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

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As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “U” post features Uranus, the father (or grandfather) of the Olympian gods, and because there isn’t much to say about the primeval guy, I also added urns (or Greek pottery) to this quick post.

First up, Uranus:

Image result for uranus god
Look at me, looking down my nose at you.

A primeval god, like Nyx, Erebus, and his “wife”, Gaia, Uranus doesn’t actually have a father or mother. He. Just. Is.

Uranus was the god of the sky, just as Gaia was goddess of Earth. In some variants, Gaia actually ‘produced’ Uranus (she’s his mama, y’all).

With Gaia, Uranus had quite a few children: the Titans (as we know, with Cronus being their leader later), the Cyclopes, and the Hecatonchires. The latter two were locked up in Tartarus, or “away inside the belly of Earth” (source).

Supposedly Gaia watched on as her first children, the Hecatonchires, and the Cyclopes were locked up by their cruel father for no misdeeds (other than being alive…and maybe being more powerful than daddy) and when she had her Titans, she persuaded them to rebel against the Sky itself.

I can’t find an explanation as to why Uranus hated his children so much. Maybe he liked sex, but he didn’t like the consequences of unprotected sex?

Cronus Takes A Stand:

So Cronus, either alone, or backed by most Titans except Oceanus, waited to descend upon Uranus when he came to visit Gaia for some fun times in the sack. Grabbing him unawares, the Titans held him back while Cronus, armed with an adamantine (or diamond) sickle from Gaia, castrated Uranus.

Cronus supposedly tossed the bloodied testicles over his shoulder into the sea where the blood drops formed three new species, the Erinyes (the Furies), the Meliads (ash-tree nymphs) and the Giants. The sea foam around the testicles then formed beautiful, divine Aphrodite.

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Without his testicles, Uranus is supposedly unfit to battle.

Uranus disappears at this point from most Greek mythology, which suggests his tale was passed from a pre-Greek period. One source even theorizes that the sickle used by Cronus to “un-man” his father is of Asian origin (source) and this tale bears a resemblance to that of a Hittite myth. The Hittite Empire was an ancient Anatolian empire. Unfortunately, there’s a lot about the Hittites out there, and so little room in this post for them. But do research if you’re fascinated!

Now Uranus, or some random oracle, tell(s) Cronus that he, too, will grow to be a tyrant ousted by his son (or some foreign, new power). That’s why Cronus starts swallowing his and his sister-wife, Rhea’s children.

And that’s how Uranus’s power transferred to Cronus, which, now we know, is then forcefully inherited by Zeus, Uranus’s grandson and Gaia’s grandson AND great-grandson – remember, she very well probably is Uranus’s mother. Talk about convoluted family incestual couplings!

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MORAL: Avoid closer family ties than necessary. It could save yourself.

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Onto Greek pottery (which includes urns – that starts with a U!):

So the Greeks were all about the pottery. And why not, they were masters at creating some of the finest!

As “artists and scientists” (source), Greek potters had created many different kinds of pottery for specific purposes. The piece of pottery was tailored to its use, which was the fun part of my college intro to Greek history course (or what I remember of it anyways).

Painters and potters were usually separate people working as a team, no matter the surface of the pottery they were crafting and designing. So be it a plate or cup or a wine-storing amphorae, they made their professional relationship work to bring to life beautiful (and useful) pieces.

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So there were four types of Greek pottery, which makes it easier to classify considering there were a whole bunch of different styles of pottery out there.

The types are 1) the storage and transportation vessels, 2) mixing vessels, 3) jugs and cups, and 4) vases for oil (source). Typically #1 were larger, heavier pottery, like the amphorae you see above there. And the vases in category #4 were smaller, like an alabastron, which “were often carried by a string looped around the neck of the vessel.” (source)

Corinthian Alabastron Vase
Store your perfume in me!

As far as designs go, the pottery was used to tell stories. The same stories we’re told today – about Hercules’s Labors, and Dionysus’s tribunals to win his seat on Mt. Olympus, and so on. Stories that I’ve been sharing with you through this A-to-Z Challenge.

Now to the urns.

Cremation was common in ancient Greece. These funeral pots holding the ashes of loved ones were then buried, but the pottery remained beautiful.

The burial itself was three steps: first, the body was laid out, and then a funeral procession led the body to its final resting place, and then cremation.

During the laying out of the washed and cleaned body, people stopped by to mourn, much like a modern-day wake. This was followed by the funeral procession to the cemetery or final resting place. And finally when the deceased was cremated and buried, they were often buried with very little material treasures, even though the afterlife was very much a living concept in the minds of the, well, living.

And since we’re talking Grecian urns, one of my favorite poems is John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn”. As an artistic medium itself, it forever captures the immortality that the eponymous Grecian urn has captured in its body. The poem speaks of both the power and weakness of art in its scope to pierce our imaginations and shape our actions.

Now that I’m reading the poem again, it’s getting me all broody.

Ha. That’s my way of saying let’s cut this post off.

MORAL: Try to stay focused when writing a post. I got pretty flustered right now.

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Sources that helped me with this post:

http://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Uranus/uranus.html

http://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Ouranos.html

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Uranus-mythology

http://www.maicar.com/GML/Castration.html

http://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Pottery/

http://www.ancient.eu/article/489/

http://greece.mrdonn.org/vases.html

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/dbag/hd_dbag.htm

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44477

Check them out whenever you’re free!

#AtoZChallenge (2017): T is for Titanomachy

Day Twenty of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

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As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “T” post details the Titanomachy, or the Titan War.

Image result for titanomachy greek mythology
Some of these deities aren’t even properly armored.

There isn’t much detail on the Titan War, other than that it may have lasted ten years, and the two opposing sides were the titans (of course!) and the Olympians.

The Beginnings:

It started with Uranus, the primordial grandfather of Zeus who wasn’t a really great father. Uranus was ousted by Cronus, his son. But Cronus was a tyrant too. He ruled with an iron fist, I suppose. But the most evil of his deeds was surely swallowing his own children, for fear of an oracle’s reading that told him that a son of his would end his tyranny (just as Cronus had ended his father’s). It’s the cycle of “love” that keeps giving, this family…

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So Cronus kept up his craziness until his wife, Rhea, decided that she had enough of giving birth to children, and then still remaining childless. She finally used her brain and hid the son she just had – but Cronus was expecting another child to devour, so Rhea passed him a stone she wrapped up.

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Cronus ate the stone, thinking he got away with it again.

Rhea raised her son, Zeus, up from the eyes of his monstrous father, and when he was old enough, Zeus stood up to Daddy Dearest.

I know I keep mentioning Maury, but I swear this stuff is straight-up scandalous drama.

Image result for jerry springer gif
Here’s some Jerry for you.

I wonder if Cronus was like “Oh shoot” or if he was like “Rhea, did you cheat on me – cause I KNOW I swallowed my babies?! Mhmm-hmm.”

However it went down, Cronus and Zeus did not have a happy father-son reunion. They decided to take their beef to the trenches…

It’s War Time:

Before that, Zeus would need an army. He remembered his swallowed siblings. Zeus was the sixth child, and the youngest of those unfortunate, innocent souls before him. So he had either Gaia, his grandmother (Uranus’s wife) or Metis, goddess of wisdom and later the mother of Athena by Zeus, help him concoct a potion for Cronus to imbibe.

When Cronus did, he regurgitated his swallowed children. Out popped Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Hades and Poseidon, the original five Olympian gods – not including Hades, he doesn’t count.

Apollo, Artemis, Dionysus, Hermes, Athena, Hephaestus, and Ares being the products of the original Olympians, but Olympians in their own right. Hestia steps down for Dionysus, and Aphrodite, also an Olympian, sprung from Uranus’s blood (more on that here, in my “U” post for Uranus).

Back to the story of Cronus and the Titanomachy:

So, Cronus spat out his children, and Zeus now had his army. Not all Titans went to war, and those that remained (neutral) were later not punished by Zeus. Some Titans joined the Olympian cause, like Styx (as in the river Styx). She was the first of the second-generation Titans, a daughter of Oceanus, who joined Zeus and brought her sons and daughters to fight on his side as well.

Both opposing factions had their mountain tops to rule from: Zeus and the Olympians on Mt. Olympus, and Cronus and his Titan-goons from Mt. Othrys.

Image result for drawing line in the sand gif

They were evenly matched though, and it was Gaia who arrived to inform Zeus that he had hope of winning if he could go down into the Underworld and free the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes.

How the War Came to an End:

The Hecatonchires were weakened, so Zeus had them revived with ambrosia, the drink of the gods, and nectar, the fruit of the gods, and once recharged, these hundred-handed giants could throw mountains as missiles.

Mountains?! Is it too early to call this one, because I think the war is won.

Now the Cyclopes played a major role too. Indebted to having been freed from Tartarus, the bad/wrong side of the Underworld, the Cyclopes used their master artisan skills to craft Olympian weapons for the three Olympian brothers, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades (at this time Hades had no rule over the Underworld yet).

So Zeus got his lightning bolts…

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And Poseidon was gifted his trident…

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Hades received a helmet/helm of invisibility.

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Now you see me, now you don’t.

The war ended eventually. As foretold, Zeus and the Olympians won. Zeus imprisoned the male Titans in Tartarus by new, supposedly sturdy bronze gates built by the Cyclopes. In some versions, the female Titans are free – for they didn’t battle.

Funny enough, the female Olympians, Hera, Hestia and Demeter didn’t fight as well. Guess Zeus, Hades and Poseidon didn’t like the idea of seeing their sisters battle…who knows?

The Aftermath

In some cases, though, all Titans, male and female, were imprisoned eternally, except for Themis and Prometheus. They battled for Zeus, like Styx.

Prometheus would later earn Zeus’s ire for stealing fire for the humans. For years he’d suffer from being chained and having an eagle (or vulture) peck out his liver, bit by bit, for the day, only to return with the light of dawn to find Prometheus’s liver re-grown. Hercules would free him on his quest of Labors.

Zeus’s allies were rewarded as well. “Styx, was made a power river goddess whose name was invoked for unbreakable oaths, whilst her children would be given privileged positions upon Mount Olympus. Metis would become the first wife of Zeus.” (source)

Then, as the new rulers of the universe, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades divided its rule among themselves. Zeus taking the skies and Earth, Poseidon the seas, and Hades keeping the Underworld in tip-top shape (of course, he wasn’t counted among the 12 Olympian gods, and he held no seat in Mt. Olympus – oh well, all that space to himself).

MORAL: Try to be a kind ruler…and if you can’t lead, do good to follow, or teach future leaders. And if you’re placing bets, make sure it doesn’t bite you in the arse later.

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Sources that helped me with this post:

http://www.greekmythology.com/Titans/Cronus/cronus.html

http://www.maicar.com/GML/Titanomachy.html

http://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/titanomachy.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/Titanomachy/titanomachy.html

Check them out when you can!

#AtoZChallenge (2017): S is for Satyrs and Silenus

Day Nineteen of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

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As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “S” post is all about Satyrs (and, yes, Silenus is one of them…sorta).

Image result for satyrs
Hey…this guy has regularly feet. Creepy tail though.

So let’s start with the satyrs.

Who were they? What did they look like? And what do they do?

Satyrs were an all-male woodland race. As “rustic fertility spirits” (source), they peacefully coexisted with nature, and later, on his birth and maturation, Dionysus took them in as his companions alongside the all-female, wild group of Maenads.

The satyrs had a distinct appearance, so they could easily be picked apart from other Greek mythical creatures. They had the legs of goats or rams, and “asinine ears, pug noses, reclining hair-lines, the tails of horses and erect members” (source).

Image result for pan greek god
Think Pan.

They were also looked upon unfavorably for their lascivious nature. Hesiod “describes them as a race good for nothing and unfit for work” (source).

Understandable, considering the main goal of satyrs seemed to be to have fun. They enjoyed their wine, their music and merrymaking, and they loved their women. Especially the poor nymphs… I can’t imagine being a beautiful woman and being accosted by a satyr.

Supposedly, as they enter different stages of life, the satyrs are classed differently:

Older satyrs might (or might not be) grouped as the Sileni. Although, sometimes the Sileni are another mythological race as a whole, with horse ears and tails, etc. But let’s go with their being older satyrs. And child satyrs were called satyriskoi.

Sileni “were depicted as fat, elderly, white-haired men, with snub noses, balding heads, and the ears and tails of asses. They were sometimes covered in fluffy white hair and occasionally sported a pair of ox horns.” (source)

Image result for silenus and dionysus
Silenus with Dionysus.

Anyways, one of the more well-known, aged, balding Sileni is the satyr, Silenus.

Who is Silenus?

This old satyr raised an infant Dionysus and nursed by the trio of nymphs on Mt. Nysa (supposedly his three maternal aunts).

Silenus might have been the older god of wine-making and drunkard rowdiness, but Dionysus would inherit that title when he came to his power. But Silenus continued to raise the baby god into a young man in a constant drunken state. He remained a companion and follower of Dionysus.

Silenus would often be seen riding on a donkey. Now though he might look a fool, he was never seen that way. In fact, Silenus was seen as having “homely wisdom”. Think the jester, minus the merry cap (Silenus’s ears would have trouble fitting in it). At least one source mentions Silenus having the ability to see the future. That he’d somehow gain this ability through his copious drinking.

As the young god’s foster father and teacher, Silenus was favored by Dionysus. Such that King Midas was granted such divine favor through his kindness to Silenus.

And if you don’t know who the Greek mythological Midas was…

Image result for trust the midas touch
Hint! (Not really, but really.)

As the tale goes, King Midas was the ruler of Phrygia and a drunk Silenus had wondered into the kingdom. Sighting him, and knowing him to be Silenus, King Midas took him in or captured him in some variants, but if he was a captor, the king took good care of his guest/captive. And King Midas delivered Silenus back to 

Once Dionysus got word of how well Silenus was treated by good King Midas, he granted Midas a wish. Idiot asked for everything he touched to become gold. And it wasn’t like he said “I’m ambidextrous, so I could use any hand, but I want my left hand to be making me gold”.

Midas quickly realized his folly though.

He couldn’t eat any food, for whatever he touched turned to gold. And as a king, it didn’t occur for him to ask for people to feed him. >.>

At least he’s not totally pompous. He has hope.

Midas’s problem crescendos and crashes when his daughter comes to greet him and he hugs her, turning her into a gold, life-like statue.

He prayed to Dionysus to reverse his newfound powers, and Dionysus instructs him to wash his hands in a river, so that he may be rid of the gold-transforming touch. Luckily Midas didn’t think to take a shower at any point…or he’d be a statue too.

MORAL: For Silenus, sharing is caring. For Midas, don’t be greedy.

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Sources that helped me with this post:

http://www.mythindex.com/greek-mythology/S/Satyri.html

http://www.mythography.com/myth/welcome-to-mythography/greek-chimerae/hybrids/satyr/

http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Satyroi.html

http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Seilenoi.html

http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Seilenos.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/King_Midas/king_midas.html

http://www.greeka.com/greece-myths/king-midas.htm

https://lordsofthedrinks.com/2015/05/26/silenus-the-happy-drunk-from-ancient-greece-that-taught-dionysus-how-to-party/

Check them out if you have the time; they don’t disappoint!

#AtoZChallenge (2017): R is for the Ring of Gyges

Day Eighteen of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

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As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “R” post will talk the Ring of Gyges in Plato’s Republic.

As Shmoop will tell you, there’s nothing LOTR here…although there is the same madness circling the ring. For the same reason Frodo hesitates to destroy the ring, I imagine some people wouldn’t be rushing to vanquish the Ring of Gyges (if the jewelry and its powers existed).

Image result for frodo destroys the ring
Basically sums LOTR up from Frodo’s standpoint. Lol.

The same reason the Gem of Amara is so important to vampires in Buffy. Or the invisibility cloak comes in handy in the Harry Potter series, or that same cloak is super handy with the soldier in the Grimm fairy tale, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”.

And there are a multitude of other references I’m sure…not the first time a powerful item has swayed our human minds.

Back to the Ring of Gyges. It’s referenced in Plato’s The Republic because the character, Glaucon, wonders if humans can be morally good outside the laws of civilization. Glaucon uses a “thought-experiment” to pose his question to Socrates.

Glaucon’s example is the tale of King Gyges, a historical Lydian king believed to have been ruling from the late 700s BCE to mid-600s BCE.

Which makes this story interesting…

Did this guy actually have this powerful ring?

Oh, yeah, and what IS this ring?

The Ring of Gyges supposedly granted invisibility to its wearer. Though I’m not sure if Sauron’s eye followed you, or if the worst you had to fear was your finger turning green…

None of which Gyges worried about, because he took the ring off a corpse.

Yeah, you read that right. Dude was a grave robber.

Gyges the Grave Robber:

But he was really a shepherd before that, governed by the then ruler of Lydia when an earthquake and a ferocious thunderstorm ripped open the Earth near where Gyges was tending his flock. Curious, Gyges the shepherd went to investigate. Inside the hole he found many “wonderful things” and also a large, hollow horse with “windows in the side”. Gyges peered in and saw a “larger than human” corpse with “nothing on but a gold ring on the hand”.

And I’m sure you pieced this together, but he takes the ring.

Now there’s a monthly meeting that all the shepherds of Lydia attend with each other, gathering reports to present to the king about the kingdom’s flocks. Guess wool was important here…

Anyways, while at this meeting, Gyges was twisting the ring around his finger. Whenever the collet was grasped in his palm, or turned inward, he became invisible to the party of shepherd as they wondered aloud where Gyges had went so suddenly. When he turned it outward, he was visible to them once again.

Suffice to say, Gyges spent the rest of the meeting not talking sheep and confirming what he came to suspect – the true power of the strange, gold ring.

The Power of the Ring:

With this new power, Gyges aimed for a loftier position than He Who Roamed With Sheep All Day. Eventually rising to become one of the King’s messengers (whatever that meant), Gyges seduced the King’s wife and together they plotted to kill the King. Doing that, Gyges seized the throne and Lydian empire.

The story ends there, but Glaucon goes on to ponder that “no one is just willingly but only under compulsion”. If there were “two such rings” and one was given to a just man and the other gifted to an unjust man, then the just man would become unjust as well. And even if he remained just, he would be “thought a miserable fool by any who perceived it”. A miserable fool because he would be dumb not to steal, is what he means.

And if this extremely just man got praise for not acting on his baser instincts, Glaucon surmises, then his neighbors would be deluding themselves by praising him – really fearing that they would be robbed themselves (so it’s the fear of karma that shuts their mouths).

It’s a bleak painting of humanity, but Plato’s argument is focused on “power gained without accountability” (source). No one challenged Gyges, and that’s the problem.*

Remember how Donald Trump boasted about the loyalty of his voters. He says, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay – it’s like incredible!” (That video is here.) Well, it’s that kind of power that’s dangerous.

What if our leaders, our bosses, our principals or deans, our law enforcement – heck, our parents, could gun us down without any fear of retaliation?

Funny thing, I’d usually answer the “what one superpower would you want to have?” question with invisibility, until I realized I could be shot – and it would be my crappy luck that a stray bullet hit me while I tried escaping with my invisibility cloak.

MORAL: Check yourself, every day.

Image result for trust nobody meme

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My sources for this post:

*All quotes during my summary of Glaucon’s tale is taken from Great Dialogues of Plato: Complete Texts of The Republic… from publisher, Mentor (1956, 1984).

https://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl201/modules/Philosophers/Plato/plato_dialogue_the_ring_of_gyges.html

http://www.shmoop.com/the-republic/ring-of-invisibility-symbol.html

Check them out when you can.

#AtoZChallenge (2017): Q is for Queens of Myth

Day Seventeen of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

*

As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “Q” post is all about the Queen Bees of Greek Mythology. Where are all my fierce ladies at?

Image result for single ladies gif

For this one, I’m going to bench the goddess-queens (i.e. Persephone, Hera), but one thing I’m learning through this quick research journey is that it’s hard to separate the Greek gods from mortal play.

But let’s go with it:

First up, there’s Queen Rhodope.

Not much on her out there. She was a nymph (or sometimes a mountain goddess) who might have been a playmate of Persephone’s. Anyways, Rhodope and her husband, Haemus (not much on him either, though he might have been a mountain deity as well) were very boastful. They compared themselves to the King and Queen of Mt. Olympus, Zeus and Hera.

And that’s always a no-no with the gods.

Zeus and Hera punished them for the grave transgression – nothing worse than hubris in Greek mythology, folks. Well, murder was pretty bad too, especially murdering one’s family members.

Anyways, Zeus and Hera transformed Queen Rhodope and her husband, King Haemus into a Balkan mountain with the same name.

MORAL: Be boastful…quietly. Preferably in your mind, or maybe your journal (just make sure to burn or eat those pages after).

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Moving onto Queen Hippolyta, queen of many names (i.e. Orithyia & Antiope, who may have been her sisters – depending on who your source is).

More well-known in Greek mythology, this Queen was one of many leading the powerful Amazons.

First, a bit about the Amazons: as a warrior tribe of women, they were said to descend from the Greek god of war, Ares. They shun men, and they went as far as slicing off their right breasts – their left breasts were used to raise their infant females (baby males were killed, or so sources say).

Hippolyta was part of Hercules’s ninth Labor. But before Hercules, there was Theseus. He had spare time, so he parked his ship near the Amazons and he lured Hippolyta off land with treasure-gifts abroad. Then he claimed her as his wife and sailed off to Athens. In some versions, Theseus is with Hercules when this bride kidnapping goes down.

However it happens, Theseus’s action causes a war between Athenians and the Amazonians. Hippolyta supposedly fights on Theseus’s side, eventually bearing him a son. And either Theseus leaves Hippolyta for another woman, Phaedra, or Hippolyta passes before Theseus moves on. If she’s living, Hippolyta supposedly heads back to her sister-Amazonians, and her old home, leaving behind her son to be reared by his father and stepmother, Phaedra.

For Hercules’s ninth Labor, he had to retrieve a magical girdle from Hippolyta – gifted to her by Ares. Hercules lands with his ship, and he’s bearing gifts for the Queen. If this is the version where Theseus acted without Hercules’s company, then Hippolyta has just returned from the heartache of leaving her son behind with Theseus and the Amazonians are more easily roused to suspicion.

Nevertheless, they’re friendly to Hercules until Hera – angry that Hippolyta is willing to pass off the girdle very easily – climbs down from her throne in Mt. Olympus to disguise herself as an Amazonian warrior. She runs around crying that Hercules means to kidnap Hippolyta like Theseus. That sets the Amazonians into a frenzy, and they surround Hercules’s ship meaning to save their queen from the demigod hero.

Believing that Hippolyta staged the ambush, Hercules kills her and flees with the girdle; thus he accomplishes his ninth Labor.

MORAL: Try not to jump to conclusions.

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Now it’s Queen Cassiopeia and her daughter, Andromeda‘s turn.

Queen Cassiopeia was the wife of King Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. She was both beautiful and very vain.

She angered Poseidon by commenting that the Nereids, sea nymphs, did not compare to her beauty (and that of her daughter’s). So Poseidon either sent a serpent, sea monster, Cetus, or he sent a flood to show his ire to the prideful queen.

Afraid for his kingdom, King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia consult an oracle that tells them how to appease Poseidon. They are told that their daughter, Andromeda, can be a fair form of payment. So she’s sacrificed…

Chained to a rock, Andromeda is left by her parents until Cetus finds and devours her. Not sure why Cassiopeia isn’t chained to that rock, but it is what it is: a Greek myth full of randomness.

Anyways, before Cetus arrives, in all his monstrous glory, Perseus is flying by with Hermes’s magical sandals, and having just avoided being killed by Medusa’s angry, Gorgon sisters, you’d think he wouldn’t stop.

But he does, and he rescues Andromeda from Cetus, taking her as his bride. He either slays Cetus with a knife, or he turns the monster to stone with Medusa’s head. After her death, it is said Andromeda was made a constellation near her husband, Perseus, and her mother, Cassiopeia.

A happy ending as they go on to have many children.

MORAL: If you know a loved one’s sinking your happiness, sit them down for a heart-to-heart chat, and if they’re not willing to listen, cut them loose. They’re not worth it.

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Sources that helped me with this post:

http://www.mythindex.com/greek-mythology/R/Rhodope.html

http://pantheon.org/articles/r/rhodope.html

http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NympheRhodope.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Hippolyta/hippolyta.html

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/hippolyta.html

http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/greek-mythology.php?deity=HIPPOLYTA

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Cassiopeia/cassiopeia.html

http://www.mythography.com/myth/welcome-to-mythography/greek-heroes/greek-heroes-1/cassiopeia/

http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Andromeda/andromeda.html

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Andromeda-Greek-mythology

Check them out whenever you can!

#AtoZChallenge (2017): P is for Persephone and Psyche

*Belated post for the A to Z. I was out of town for an emergency, and now I’m catching up. Hello, world!

Day Sixteen of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.

This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.

Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!

Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂

*

As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “P” post highlights the pretty Persephone and Psyche.

I haven’t seen the Beauty & the Beast live-action movie yet, but it’s on my to-do list. I’ve been itching to watch the movie since Cinderella in 2015. Anyways, the reason I’m bringing up Belle and her Beast is that there are ties from that fairy tale to the tales of Persephone and Psyche and their husbands, Hades and Eros.

So, let’s dive in with Persephone and Hades…

Image result for persephone and hades
Wasn’t Hades supposed to be an old, bearded guy?

Type in “Persephone and Hades” into Google images and you’ll be inundated with a bunch of romanticized, but very well-drawn images of the Lord of the Underworld and his goddess-consort. My response is always the same:

HE’S HER UNCLE (TWICE-OVER), people!

And if the incest is fine for you, remember the part of the tale where he KIDNAPPED her? But if you need a refresher, here’s their “love” story:

Born to Zeus and Demeter, Persephone – like most deities – was an incest product. Not her fault, and moving on…

Spring goddess, Persephone was most beloved by her mother. Unlike Zeus, who had many mistresses/lovers and children, Persephone was Demeter’s only child.

Persephone was very beautiful, and she was very in tune with nature. She often frolicked with her Naiad (water-loving) nymph companions. Persephone attracted a lot of suitors for her beauty, none of whom enticed her to settle down.

Hades had gained his throne in the Underworld, and he set his eyes on Persephone as his Queen. So, depending on how the tale goes, he either asked Zeus for permission to take Persephone (which Hades was given) or Hades acted on his own.

The result is the same: when Persephone strayed from her nymph companions, Hades seized the opportunity to abduct her.

Demeter couldn’t challenge her brother, Hades in his realm, so she grieved and took her anger out on the Earth. Winter robbed the trees of their color and their fruit, and Demeter lay barren whole lands, starving the humans living off of them.

Zeus intervened by sending word to Hades to have Persephone returned to her grief-stricken mother.

But before she leaves, Persephone eats anywhere from three to six pomegranate seeds from the Underworld. Those seeds damn her to return every three-six months to the side of Hades as his bride and queen. And, in those months, Demeter begins anew her winter-like mourning.

Image result for persephone and hades

I’m not sure WHY this story is so popular, but I’d argue it’s one of the most re-told Greek myths about lovers. It’s not a favorite of mine at all.

MORAL: Another good reason to hate the Hades & Persephone myth, it brought us winter. Good news though, now it’s spring, Persephone must have been released by Hades to spring/summer (maybe autumn?) with her mother.

Now let’s move on to the better of the two over-the-top romances:

Image result for psyche and eros
Um, so, like, where are we going?

The love story of Psyche, goddess of the soul, and Eros, god of sexual attraction (sometimes also called the god of love).

Before she was a goddess, though, Psyche was a mortal woman. A princess, actually. And a terribly beautiful one.

The story of Eros and Psyche, actually Cupid and Psyche comes from 2nd century Numidian (present-day Algeria and parts of present-day Tunis) writer Lucius Apuleius in his magnum opus, The Golden Ass. Also called the Metamorphoses, that’s where this tale is first documented.

Psyche was very beautiful, and she had many suitors, unlike her two older sisters. But she didn’t want to get married, or had very little interest in it. Still, as it is with the gods, Psyche earned the ire of Aphrodite. Why? Because the goddess of sexual beauty was losing her male worshipers as they poured from her temple and altar to that of Psyche’s.

Image result for jealous gif

So Aphrodite conspired, and she sent her son, Eros, to strike Psyche with his arrow and have her fall in love with the first man (or thing) she laid eyes on. Eros stumbles at Psyche’s mortal beauty and pricks himself with his arrow, thus cursing himself with an obsessive love/need to possess Psyche for himself.

Meanwhile, Psyche’s parents are beside themselves because Psyche isn’t choosing among any of her decent suitors. Psyche wants to marry for love, and so her parents decide to consult an oracle of Apollo. The oracle tells them that Psyche is destined to marry an ugly beast and that she be delivered to the top of the mountain.

Psyche’s wedding (or is it a funeral?) procession guide her up the mountain, she’s left there until she’s whisked up by Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, to a beautiful, palatial home. Psyche understands her beast-husband dwells there, but he will only visit her at night. Then she’s truly enraptured by her invisible (maybe beastly?) husband’s loving attention.

In the day, she’s alone. She’s served by invisible staff, and she’s taken care of, so she doesn’t see why she must insist on asking for more – like asking for a glimpse of her husband’s face.

But when her sisters, now married too, come to visit her with the help of Zephyrus, they grow jealous of the luxury Psyche is living with, a luxury that far exceeds their own. When they hear she hasn’t seen her husband’s face, they fill her head with the desire to unmask the “beast”.

So when her sisters leave, and night falls, Psyche sneaks to her husband with a candle and a knife. The knife was to kill her monstrous husband.

Psyche peers into his face and she’s stunned to see his youthful beauty, recognizing him to be the god, Eros. But her candle drips hot wax onto Eros’s shoulder and he wakes to find she’s disobeyed his order never to gaze upon his face.

Image result for don't look at me gif

Leaving her, Eros flees back to his mother…to whine and complain about Psyche. Aphrodite is all “I told you so” and she keeps him under lock and key afterwards.

Psyche hates herself, but she’s strong and she wants to fight to apologize to Eros and regain his trust and love again. So she searches the world and finally comes before Aphrodite. The goddess will let her see Eros if Psyche can accomplish three difficult tasks.

  1. She sorts grain with the help of an army of ants.
  2. She brings back Golden Fleece while the fierce magical ram guarding its fleece slept at night.
  3. Descend into Hades and retrieve a box of beautifying elixir from Persephone to bring to Aphrodite.

When Psyche is on her way home with this box, she decides to open it up and beautify herself for the much-anticipated reunion with Eros. Instead, sleeping dust puffs out and puts her to sleep – in some variants it’s the god, Morpheus, who leaps out of the box, putting Psyche into a death-like sleep.

Eros finds Psyche, clearing the sleeping dust from her eyes and returning it to the box. And realizing that he wants to be with Psyche forever, he brings her up to Zeus and Mt. Olympus where Psyche is granted the very elusive god-card of immortality and a title of her own, Goddess of the Soul. For she was very spirited in her adventure to reunite with Eros.

There is a marriage ceremony on Mt. Olympus, and even Aphrodite concedes she was wrong, giving the couple her blessing.

MORAL: You can’t save others from trying to gift you misery, but you can refuse to accept it. Let them know you can live without that kind of drama, thank you very much.

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Sources that helped with this post:

http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Persephone.html

http://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/persephone.html

http://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Persephone/persephone.html

http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/greek_goddess_psyche.htm

http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Psykhe.html

https://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/psyche-and-eros-myth/

Check them out when you can!