Oedipus and Antigone (1825) – Aleksander Kokular

In Greek mythology, Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus by his own mother, Jocasta, and the sister of Eteocles, Polyneices, and Ismene.

When her father went into exile she accompanied the blind man as his guide.

Two versions exist of Antigone’s fate after she defied King Creon. In the first, the subject of the tragedy Antigone by Sophocles, Creon ordered that she be immured as a punishment, but rather than face burial while alive she hanged herself; Haemon, the son of Creon to whom she was betrothed, committed suicide alongside her. In the second version, Creon turned Antigone over to Haemon for punishment, but he smuggled her away, and she later bore him a son. When Creon refused to forgive them, Haemon killed both himself and Antigone.

Atlas Holding Up the Celestial Globe (1646) – Guercino

Atlas was the son of Iapetus and Clymene. He was the leader of the Titans in their battle against the Olympian Gods. The Titans were defeated and all but Atlas were confined to Tartarus, a section of the Underworld. Atlas’s punishment was to carry the sky upon his shoulders throughout eternity. During one of his 12 famous labors, the great hero Heracles took the burden from the shoulders of Atlas so that the Titan could fetch for him the golden apples of the Hesperides. When Atlas returned, Heracles tricked him into taking back the weight of the heavens.

Prometheus as Counterculture Archetype

Everyone knows Prometheus stole fire from the gods on behalf of mankind. That’s all some people, especially youths, today need know to inspire them to adapt Prometheus as their icon, and to adapt the Greek deity’s name for their online monikers.

The actual Greek myth is a bit more complex. In a reductionist nutshell: Prometheus is a Greek god of Olympus, ruled by Zeus. He initiates animal sacrifices. One day during a sacrifice he sasses Zeus. He cuts up a bull and divides it into two parts: one containing the flesh and intestines wrapped up in the skin; and the other consisting of only bones and fat. Prometheus asks Zeus to choose his share; the rest is to be given to man. Zeus picks the bones and fat, making him bitter against Prometheus and against humankind. Zeus punishes the mortals by withholding from them the gift of fire. Prometheus steals it back. Then Prometheus—who is known to have the gift of foresight—further sasses the great god Zeus by predicting that one of Zeus’ children would one day dethrone him, but refusing to say which one. The enraged Zeus punishes Prometheus by binding him in steel chains to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains. There, every day for eternity, an eagle is sent to tear and eat Prometheus’ liver. Every night, the god Prometheus’ immortal liver renews itself so that he can be tortured again in the next day’s light.

Sources: Counterculture Through the Ages by Ken Goffman & Dan Joy

Antigone’s Fate

Antigone and Oedipus

In Greek mythology, Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus by his own mother, Jocasta, and the sister of Eteocles, Polyneices, and Ismene. When her father went into exile she accompanied the blind man as his guide.

Two versions exist of Antigone’s fate after she defied King Creon. In the first, the subject of the tragedy Antigone by Sophocles, Creon ordered that she be immured as a punishment, but rather than face burial while alive she hanged herself; Haemon, the son of Creon to whom she was betrothed, committed suicide alongside her. In the second version, Creon turned Antigone over to Haemon for punishment, but he smuggled her away, and she later bore him a son. When Creon refused to forgive them, Haemon killed both himself and Antigone.  

The Satyrs

Satyrs were male hybrid creatures who were part horse and part human. They stood and walked upright, unlike the quadruped, half-horse Centaurs to whom they were akin, and in their original, traditional form, they had horses’ tails, long hair and beards, horses’ ears, bulbous foreheads, and snub noses. Artistic representations also showed them sometimes with the legs and hooves of a horse as well as with enlarged, erect penises. It was only in the Hellenistic Period (after 323 BCE, the death of Alexander the Great) that Satyrs, in an assimilation to the rustic god Pan, took on a goatlike appearance, having shorter tails and sprouting horns.

Satyrs, who in earliest times were indistinguishable from Silens, were woodland spirits or daemons that lived in the wild, being found in mountains, forests, and caves alongside Nymphs with whom they cavorted and whom these lusty creatures amorously pursued. Lustfulness, enthusiasm for wine, and a propensity for mischief were characteristic of them. Silens, on the other hand, came to be viewed as elderly Satyrs.

Alongside Nymphs, both Satyrs and Silens formed the typical entourage of the shape-shifting god Dionysus. The best-known Satyr in Classical mythology was also the most tragic of them. This was Marsyas, who had found the flute cast aside by the goddess Athena, and, when he discovered that he had a talent for playing the instrument, he made the terrible mistake of challenging Apollo to a music contest. As a consequence of his pridefulness, he was flayed alive. Another Satyr, his name unknown, pursued the Danaid Amymone, but was driven off by Poseidon, who then took up in the pursuit of the maiden himself.

Source: Classical Mythology A – Z

Plato: from “The Symposium”

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves… and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other’s sight, as I may say, even for a moment.”

~ Plato (The Symposium)

#GreekMythology #Plato #Symposium

The Hydra of Lerna

The Hydra was an enormous serpent with nine heads—or as many as fifty or one hundred—one of which was immortal. Its parents were the giant Typhon and Echidna, half maiden and half serpent, the so-called “mother of all monsters.” The Hydra’s haunts were the marshes of Lerna, near the city of Argos.

The second of Hercules’s Labors was the slaying of the Hydra. But each time that Hercules would cut off one of its heads, two would grow in its place. Not only this, but a giant crab that kept the Hydra company appeared and joined the fray. Hercules’s clever nephew and companion Iolaus proposed a remedy: the moment Hercules severed a head, Iolaus would cauterize the stump with a firebrand. This the two did until only the Hydra’s immortal head remained. Hercules then cut off this head, and after burying it beneath a boulder, dipped his arrows in the Hydra’s lethal venom. Both the Hydra and the crab, which Hercules had also slain, were placed in the heavens by the goddess Hera as constellations.