Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Tragic Women of the Greco-Roman world...

I hate the term Greco-Roman, but alas, that pretty much describes what we have here. Tonight, Nemesis and I were talking about Dido's lament (aka her suicide speech). I remarked about that being the moment opera was born. We waxed poetic once again about Medea and Jason and how Medea has been much maligned over the years. This lead to a chat about Jeff Mach's play, Seeds, a bdsm take on the relationship between Hades and Persephone. I think fans of Ann Rice's The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty‎ will like it. It's slated to premiere at The Geeky Kink event in NJ, Nov 4th - 6th. This got me to thinking about all of the "wronged women" in Greek and Roman lore:

Ariadne: Abandoned by Theseus, "rescued" by Dionysus.
Demeter: Daughter stolen, gets to see her for half the year..
Hera: Cheated on left n right by Zeus.
Diana: Tricked into killing her lover, Orion!
Medussa: Get's it on with Neptune on Aphrodite's altar and is turned into a stone-turning, snake headed monster. And what happens to Neptune? Jack and shit. Nice.
Khione: Date-raped by two Gods, gives birth to their twins.
Helen: The face that launched a thousand ships. Nevermind that it was her husband who went after her when he could have just given her a divorce. Sheesh.
Pasiphaë: Minos' wife who winds up mating with a bull because Minos wouldn't sacrifice the best one to Neptune. That's where we got the minataur! She was an innocent bystander, yet she's the one who's blamed for doing it with a bull! And check out Neptune's involvement in yet another debasing of a Goddess... how did he come to be associated with these stories?
Athena: Hephaestus tries to rape her and his spunk lands on the earth which impregnates Gaia who then gives birth to Erichthonius!

I'm writing the Wronged Goddess version of the Vagina Monologues. What should I call it?

I don't take these stories literally, but I, and I'm sure many of you who bother to read this blog have looked beyond the surface of the stories and into the deeper themes. There is some evidence that Hephaestus and Athena were considered a divine pair and that Erichthonius is their son (Shhh! Don't tell Marguerite Rigoglioso!)

Likewise, Pasiphaë, Europa and Ariadne are linked with the Moon Goddess in ancient Crete, the theory being that "Ariadne" is a Greek epithet for the Goddess the same way "Lucina" is in Italy. I also like to note that Pasiphaë is the sister of Circe, Aunt of Medea and both are from Thessaly. I don't always appreciate wiki articles, but this one is a wonderful starting place. Note the mention of Pasiphaë as an oracular Goddess!

That's all for tonight. Tomorrow, something practical!

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