Olympos: Athena, Goddess of Wisdom

269px-Athena_Giustiniani_Musei_Capitolini_MC278Studio Tablinum: Athena was not only the Goddess of Wisdom but anche a patron of the war who did not hesitate for a moment to fight her enemies. She overseeing the noblest part of the defense to war in order to “good causes.” The bloodiest aspects of the war were, indeed, assigned to the god Ares, as we write some months in August. Athena was the daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Metis, the story of her birth is very special. Zeus received from his divine grandparents Uranus and Gaia a sinister prophecy:

if he have generated another son, he, when he grew up he would kill him.

So the Father of the Gods, who he did not want losing his status, decided to make the insane act of swallowing his newborn.

And so, nine months later, Zeus began to suffer a massive migraine that threatened to drive him madso for last resort, persuaded Hephaestus to hit him a blow on the head of the ax. From the wound caused came out Athena, already fully armed.

Athena’s holy objects were the lance, the aegis and helmet. The olive tree and little owl was sacred to the goddess. The Goddess of Wisdom was also called “Glaukopis” for her blue-eyes.

nike_di_samotraciaHis wisdom in peace time was devoted to agriculture, handicraft, weaving and metallurgy. Attributable to Athena was the construction of the largest ship of that time: the ship Argo, which is used by Argonauts heroes . Her is also the invention of olive oil, even today excellent product from Greece.

In war, her wisdom was the prerogative of the warriors with cunning and shrewdness. sometimes she decide to make a gift of his powers to her protected mortals, one of them The most famous was the wily Odysseus.

Athena is Frequently accompanied by Nike, goddess of victory, which symbolically is brought in the right palm of the Goddess, how to assimilate the wisdom during the battle with the victory itself.

poseidone e ateneThe Goddess Athena fight with the God Poseidon for the sovereignty of Attica and Athens. Poseidon with a blow of his trident made to gush out una sorgente di acqua marina from the ground of the city while Athena made appear an Olive Tree. The dispute was resolved in favor of the Goddess of Wisdom thanks to athenians women determined the victory of Athena.

partenoneAthena was sculpted by Phidias in a famous chryselephantine statue, now lost, Athena Parthenos that was in the Athenian temple dedicated to her: the Parthenon. Frequently, resting on his shoulder is the little owl, its symbol “par excellence”.

The cult of Athena was spread in all of Greece, from Sparta, to Megara and Argos; Also into Troy she received a special honors, identified with a very old idol called Palladio, the same one that was stolen during the night from the heroes Odysseus and Diomedes, this act was mentioned as one of the causes of the defeat of Troy during the ten-year war.

Pallas_AtheneThe Trojan prince Paris was one of the heroes less loved by the Goddess of Wisdom. He was the cause of the Trojan war itself with the rape of Helen, but there was anche through more personal reason, as we saw some months ago dealing with the vicissitudes of Aphrodite. Paris During the famous “Judgment” chose Aphrodite, instead of Athena or Hera. During the Trojan War she sided with the Achaeans. She especially protected Odysseus and Menelaus and, under the walls of the besieged city, she crushed and defeated Ares.

Athena is known as one of the three virgin goddesses, she never marries and shows no sexual interest in males, referred to as virgin because she was able to remain independent. Despite this reputation, Hephaestus want to couple with her.

 

One day the God of Fire, tried to rape her in his forge, but the goddess was able to escape from him and Hephaestus reached the apex bathing Athena’s leg.

From the ground, so fertilized, was born Erichthonius, the Goddess Athena, anyway had gone, considered him a legitimate child. When he grew up, unbeknownst by the Olympians, lo rende immortale, she put him under the custody of the king of Athens, Cecrops. When Erichthonius grew up dethroned the king of Athens Amphictyon and became a king.

aracneOne of the most cruel tales was the story about Arachne *: the young women Arachne boasted of being a good weaver, Also better than Athena, who was the owner of That female art. Furious, the Goddess of Wisdom defy Arachne to a weaving race. In effect Arachne wove very well but the theme was derisively towards Zeus. Transformed Athena Arachne into a spider, forcing her to weave her spun for eternity.

medusaAthena, however, was more benevolent with the semi-divine hero Perseus by helping him in the killing of the Gorgon Medusa. She gave him her shield, the aegis, and the hero was protected during the fight with the Gorgon.

Perseus chopped off the head of Medusa and gave it to Athena and she decorate the aegis like with that terrible trophy.

Originally, Medusa was the most beautiful of the three Gorgons sisters. She was seduced by the God Poseidon into the temple of the Goddess of Wisdom. Athena punished Medusa for the profanation, changing her handsome face into a monstrous sembiance.

Athena became also benefactor of Heracle. During the fight with the Nemean lion she explain to the hero how to cut off the skin of the lion by using its claws. The skin of the lion with the cudgel used during the fight, became one most distinguishing attributes for him.

atena e odisseoWith Odysseus was almost maternal. Athena help his protégé to return to his beloved Ithaca, changing its appearance from time to time. Interceded on with the witch Circe, and the Oceanid Calypso and feace with the feace princess Nausicaa, helping considerably the hero and in such a way for resumption the way back to its own island.

Athena help her “protégé” to return to his beloved Ithaca, changing its appearance from time to time. Interceded with Circe, and the Oceanid Calypso and the Feces princess Nausicaa, helping considerably the hero to come back in Itaca.

Athena was famous for her wisdom and intellectual strength, a landmark for greek men and women that ask her protection during disputes of all kinds: legal, family and life daily.

Athena had the last word in the event of an equal right of both parties to the dispute. During the Panathenaic party the athenians girls donated the statue of the Goddess am headmade peplos,a propitiatory gift. Next month we will discover the vicissitudes of Dionysus, God of Transgression and Delirium.

Alessandro Cerioli

* Even today, the term Arachne stands for spider

Olympos: Hera, the jealous mother

358px-Hera_Campana_Louvre_Ma2283Studio Tablinum: this month I want to tell the fascinating story of another greek godness of the Pantheon: Hera.

Who exactly was this deity? Why she suffered so much  because of her husband Zeus? Something you may have guessed by the previous article dedicated to the father of gods.

Hera , as well as the bride of the divine father of the gods , she was alsohis sister, daughter of the divine Cronus and Rhea . Unanimously considered the greatest female deity .

Like her brother Zeus she also had the misfortune of having as father Cronus that swallowed his children. Era was saved thanks to the rebellion of his younger brother, who freed  her from the belly of his father. She grew up in harmony with the two gods of second generation of Titans, Oceanus and Tethys,   famous for being the ancestors of the Homeric hero Achilles.

matrimonioLater, she  lived into the garden of the Hesperides, where she married her brother Zeus.  The marriage  was ratified by all the gods and, for the happy event, the goddess Gaea had grow a tree from the beautiful golden apples, which later Heracles and Odysseus in their pilgrimages were able to appreciate.

The love between these two deities was at the center of gossip divine , between betrayals, deceptions and revenge, even brutal.

Being Hera the goddess of marital fidelity, as well as the wedding, you ‘ll understand that something does not right. Probably, since Zeus fallen in love with her even at the time when Cronus ruled over the Titans, he wanted to make her pay for waiting  so long his love, by making betrayals against her everywhere.

The mother of the gods that comes from the ancient texts was described as austere and icy-She was sitting on the divine throne wearing the crown, holding one of His favorite symbols, the pomegranate and enjoyed the company of a “royal” animal: a beautiful peacock. It was was defined by the Homer: the cow-eyed goddess, Because Of her famous sweet gaze.

era disinibitaReally I like to imagine Hera not so “passive”:  we will discover  soon the cause of that.

The relationship between Hera and Zeus begins with a ‘ deception: The Father of gods  saw the beautiful woman walking alone and pensive in Esperides Garden. Immediatly he fell in love with her, and he decided to rape her . He decided to turn into a bird, a cuckoo,he was affixed to the top of a mountain, and  was triggering a violent storm. Under the guise of that animal he took refuge into the arms of the goddess that trying to warm up the poor animal. Suddenly the villain appeared in its real forms, raped Hera.

We can draw a moral, maybe is old as the world, but always present: never trust in men who presented Himself under Certain pretenses, may conceal other.

Era disinibita IIHera, choleric wife, does not fail to take revenge on her faithless husband. At the expense  was the  beautiful girl Io,  seduced by the Father of the gods, by a stratagem: to avoid being caught by his wife, the god turned the young girl into a cow and turned him into a bull. Hera discovered the stratagem and she  instructed a gadfy to  chase the beautiful Io until her arrival in Egypt, where Zeus allowed her to regain his human form.

This betrayal caused the beautiful color of the peacock’s tail: the god Hermes, under orders from Zeus, killed the guardian Argus with a hundred eyes, put by Hera as a guard over the girl  Io,

In order to prevent further betrayal by Zeus. When  Argo  was killed, its eyes were placed on the tail of the peacock consecrated to Hera. Even the name of the strait between Europe and Asia , the Bosphorus , is to be attributed to this mythical story : Even the name of the strait that separates Europe and Asia, that today we call the Bosphorus, is to be attributed to this mythical event: in the attempt to escape the persecution of the the gadfly, the poor girl went through that strait that from that moment took the name of Bos-foros, ” that mena in greek  “passage of the cow”.

It also assigns a similarity between the Egyptian goddess Isis and the girl, because, from the union between Zeus and Io  was born Epaphus, king of Egypt, which has been attributed to the construction of the city of Thebes.

It is thought that the mother Io became a godess of the city: is concealed behind the figure of Isis, the Egyptian goddess indeed wearing two horns of beef on the head in which is placed a sparkling sun.

Hypnos_Sonno_2Between Zeus and his wife, there was a sort of constant competition based on mutual teasing and tricks. One of the most famous is handed down from the pages of the most well-known poem of Greek literature, the Iliad. It is told that that when Zeus from his throne, ruling that none of the gods had to influence the outcome of the Trojan War, remaining neutral, leaving the men to the things of men, Hera and her brother,  Poseidon showed to have different ideas: their will was in fact to take an active part in the battle between the Achaeans and Trojans.

So Hera decided to disobey the orders of Zeus, playing the weapon of seduction.

tre grazieShe borrowed the belt from the goddess Aphrodite, which contained all the love in the world. The goddess began one of his most beautiful clothes and, to complete the cunning, she went to the god Hypnos * which asked the favor of your husband to fall asleep immediately after lying with her, to convince Hypnos, he promised grant the hand of one of the three Graces *, the beautiful Pasitea.

So the loving combat ready, she showed up to Zeus that he could not resist some of her and fell asleep.

Since that time the gods were free to side with one or the other hand, influencing the outcome of the battles between Trojans and Achaeans. We have this mythological episode drowsiness male performance post? Who knows how to give an answer to these mysteries?

One of these deceptions however cost Hera treatment really humiliating revenge for Zeus, hung a cloud and put her ankles two anvils that prevented her movements completely. We can try to imagine the screams and laughter of derision from others, not merciful, Olympians.

IssioneEven Hera was seduced by other suitors. Unlike Zeus was always too austere and modest life and never yielded to their advances. In one episode was sardonic. The unfortunate Ixion, king of Thessaly, fell in love with her, but Hera he was bothered by rough nature of the same. To punish him for such a daring, she created a cloud in his likeness. Ixion not realizing the deception, the father of the cloud of fabulous creatures: centaurs, half man and half horse. After the man mocked for his great folly, Hera ordered Hermes to punish him tying him to a wheel. Since then, the poor Ixion wheel forever without finding peace.

TiresiaAlways indisposed to accept defeat, the mother of the gods, became capricious when it was contradicted. The poor diviner Tiresias Theban * was the victim of these tantrums. Convened in the presence of Zeus and Hera, he was asked to determine who of the two had more pleasure in their bed. Tiresias replied that, because of his personal vicissitudes, the woman was to derive greater benefit. Hera angered because of the unseemly response, the soothsayer touched on the face, making it blind.

Hera took vengeance with the illegitimate children of Zeus:

Eracle nella cullaThe most famous victim of Hera is the demigod hero Heracles, who carries in his name as a joke “conducive to Hera”, we say that only during the apotheosis of the hero, Hera, made ​​peace with him really. Before he made ​​his earthly life difficult, from the cradle, when he sent two snakes. Then she brought upon him the very famous twelve labors, and finally with the madness that led Heracles to kill their children. Not being able to damage Zeus, had to pay a high price for his son. Provvedette the father of the gods on Olympus to reward Heracles making it rise, after his own death.

Semele ZeusOther events shed a light  mysterious and cruel on Hera, as the punishment inflicted on the mother of Dionysus, Semele. With a trick Zeus, Hera did appear in all its majesty in Semele who, unable to bear the sight of the divine father, died instantly incinerated.

Even tried, for the usual jealousy, to prevent the birth of Apollo and Artemis.

He went so far as to advise you to kill Callisto, a beautiful nymph of the woods and hunting companion of Artemis, because of the son of Zeus who was carrying. To protect her from the wrath of Hera, Zeus turned Callisto into a bear.

In this episode we saw how regal and majestic god as Hera suffers the influence of jealousy and sometimes become cruel.

The only excuse for a husband difficult to “control” … The next month will discover the most charming and fascinating deity of the Pantheon: Aphrodite.

 Alessandro Cerioli


NOTES:

* God of sleep, the son of Erebus and brother of Thanatos.

* Goddess of beauty and nature, live in Olympus with the Muses.

* The fortune-teller  of Theban lived ambe two conditions for women and men , Zeus gave him the gift of foresight and long life.

Olympos: Zeus the King of the Heaven

288px-Jupiter_Smyrna_Louvre_Ma13

Studio Tablinum: In the coming months I will keep you company with a series of articles on classical Greek Mythology.

Each month will be dedicated to a god of the Pantheon. For timing reasons I’m focused on the twelve main gods, that we could considerer the most important, as the months of the year. Some have tickled me, asking me to write about all three generations, and I will not deny that I was attracted to the idea of starting from the union between Uranus and Gaea and the creation of the first deity, from the overthrow of father Uranus by his son the Titan Cronus, the emasculation of Uranus and the birth of a new divine order: the famous golden age for men. Cronus and his sister-wife Rea generated the third generation, the best knowned among the people and the one that I’m discussing in these articles, the Olympians, until the overthrow of father Cronus by the youngest son Zeus, who freed the Cyclopes, imprisoned at birth by father Uranus in the center of the earth;Zeus receveid from Cyclopes the thunder and lightning, symbols of power and domination.

We don’t need to transform these article in an encyclopedia page but only in a pleasant discussion on classical myth, for further information I suggest you to read the “Dictionnaire de la Mythologie”, by Prof. Pierre Grimal, an unparalleled opera.

I would rather offer the items that put the classic myth amazing: so I’m writing about the emotions they felt the gods, their disputes, the love values and betrayal, all stories will be in a key understandable and sometimes ironic.

Are you ready?

So we begin.

The deity treated this month of January is the figure of the father of the gods, Zeus.

You should know that when Zeus was not on Olympus, to postpone the ongoing and sometimes violent disputes among the other gods, he was on the earth intent on his favorite pastime: adultery. The mother of the gods, Hera, knew all about “weakness” of her husband and sometimes she tryied to put a drag to Zeus intemperance and, most of the time, she getted so terribly angry.

The father of the gods was usually take the form of animals, humans, or even natural elements in order to achieve “the purpose” fixed.

 –

zeus-europaIn the case of the attempted seduction of Europe *, a beautiful girl, she was happily basking in the sun of the East when a white bull, nice and mild, which made her climb on his back and suddenly, he running through the waves of the sea and kidnapped her. As you have guess, it was Zeus in disguise. Zeus brought Europe in the island of Crete and there abused her. From this union was born the future King Minos of Crete.

 –

ledaOther times, Zeus chose a more regal animal, as in the case of Leda, Queen of Sparta. To deceive her, he turned into a white swan. From this bizarre union Leda layed two eggs from which the divine twins Castor and Pollux and the most beautiful woman in the world, Elena where born.

danae

The culmination of Zeus seductive cunning was reached in the case of the daughter of King Acrisius, the beautiful Danae. Danae was imprisoned at the behest of his father, alarmed by a prophecy that he wanted killed at the hands of his nephew, in a secret room, built entirely in bronze, the father of the gods, turned into a golden rain that penetrated into the room and “bath” Danae, from this union we will have the well-knowed hero Perseus, Medusa’s winner.

alcmenaThis is the funniest story: Zeus dressed the role of King Amphitryon and abused of queen Alcmene. Her husband, unaware of all, had left her wife in order to avenge the death of her brothers; during his absensence, the servant of the king, named Sosia, ran back to announce to the queen that the king had obtained justice for her borthers. But when he arrived in front of the queen’s bedrooms, he found, in his own likeness, the messenger of the gods Hermes, guarding outside; We could imagine the astonishment of the servant. The confusion was all for the king when his queen swored to be lain with him for three nights. From this union was born the best-known demigod of classical mythology, Hercules.

ganimedeWe can not leave out the only homosexual seduction of the father of the gods, fall in love with a shepherd, from the perfect features, Zeus transformed himself into an eagle and abducted him, leading him to Olympus, this young man, called Ganymede, became the official cupbearer of the gods.

The most surprising thing about Zeus, despite his supreme godhead, is the proximity to the man with the same vices and the same weaknesses: it was not uncommon for the father of the gods be turned into a poor beggar or a youth and by those conditions observe the human being, his outbursts and its miseries. We have to consider that for the greek period, Zeus was the supreme deity and from him depended not only happiness, but also the very existence of every creature. This fact was very importantwas something important for faithful of men in him. Yet it was not always easy for the father of the gods, the world was totally different before and he had to fight with cunning and courage to get the power.

 –

zeus cronoZeus since childhood had a stormy life and how not to understand it? Can you guess what it’s mean to have as primary experience of your existence to the parent who seeks to “devour” you?

You have to know that the father of Zeus, Cronos, was obsessed with being overthrown by one of his sons, as he did the same against the father Uranus, and in order to avoid his destiny, he devored his Newborn children. to eliminate any possible threat in the bud.

Rhea, the mother who, angered by the behavior of her husband Cronos, decided to grow his last child on the island of Crete, on Mount Ida, nurtured by the goat Amalthea, by bees and Curetes, goblins who took care of him. Fortunately the mother Rhea, the child, after losing so many children in such a hideous way, decided to cheat her husband and made eat a stone to him, covered with a cloth, instead of his son.

When Zeus had full knowledge of their means defy his father Cronus, made him throw up his own brothers and imprisoned him in Tartarus. Cronus, so degenerate father, was later forgiven by Zeus and was transferred in the Isle of the Blessed, intent to welcome the heroes, sons of Zeus.


titanomachiaAt that point, it would seem that everything is decided in favor of the new lord of the sky, but instead it was not so wright: Zeus faced a revolt led by the Titans, the brothers of Cronus, who did not take well the “nephew” in charge of “all things, “then conquered a peak as high as Mount Olympus, Mount Othrys and from there the parts counter. Zeus stood firm in Olympus chief to call and if the gods, gigantic and monstrous, also brothers of Cronus, The Centimani, creatures with a hundred arms and fifty heads and freed from Tartarus the Cyclopes, creatures with one eye, previously imprigionatevi by Kronos, who donated it to Zesu lightning and lightning. Defeated, the Titans were imprisoned in the depths of the earth.

gigantomachiaAfter a short time there was another similar situation that Zeus had to face, the revolt of the Giants. The Giants were the children of Gaea, the wife of Uranus, who decided to side with the children, but with various tricks, Zeus managed to limit her aid to Giants. But, determined to conquer the Olympus, the Giants, began a climb that end with their fall * ruinous.

etnaTired, probably of a similar overcrowding reign, Tartarus with the goddess Gaea, mother of the Titans and Giants, dediced to sent against the father of the gods a terrifying monster, Typhon. The monster with his arms encircled all the globe, Zeus lost his first collision and was taken prisoner by Typhon, but soon managed to escape and start a counterattack, Typhon was hitting with lightning and thunderbolts. Finally, Zeus in order to kill Typhon hurled against him a mountain. The mountain, even today, gives us the spectacle of the wrath of Typhon. That mountain is the volcano Etna, in Italy. We could say that Zeus was not stable on the throne of the gods, but always in danger.

PROMETEOThe Titans, You might at this point tell me: “them … yet? …” Well, let me say that these creatures was very stubborn: almost all of them accepted the power of the father of the gods, but not one of them, Prometheus. The Titan Prometheus, against the will of Zeus, made as a gift the fire to the human people. The “rioter” was imprisoned for this on a large rock in the Caucasus, with the burden of an eagle that was flying all day and pecked the liver and the organ that grew back every night to the delight of the prey. Really, Prometheus had also an accomplice, his brother Epimetheus, less clever than him, and as a punishment for this “revolt” Zeus send a punishment that went against the human beings rather than Epimetheus himself, Pandora, universally known for having opened the infamous jar and have released all the evils of the world, only the hope, less quick to ensue, remained in the jar. From this moment, men is subject to all the ills of the world.

L'olimpo

But the father of the gods had to remember to the other gods of the Pantheon who was the most powerful in the Olympus. The other divinities attempted several times, to defeat him and get rid of him.

We could say that the only one deity who really held the head to Zeus and to which, sometimes, the father of the gods had to submit to her whims, was his wife Hera, who will know the next month.

Alessandro Cerioli

Notes

* Her name will become the name of european continent.

* I invite the followers to visit the pictures in the “Room of the Giants” by Giulio Romano, Palazzo Tè, in Mantova, Italy.