Goddesses and Heroes
Copyright 2002, Helen Marakis
|With the coming of the Olympic games once again, I am reminded
of the history behind the legends of the gods and goddesses and the
games themselves. In the history of my culture, truths were passed
down from one generation to another in the manner of tales, riddles,
and stories since time immemorial. Partly, this is because the
crucial truths of life served in this
for the children to learn, and children love and remember stories
better than lessons, and partly because riddles were considered the
wealth of the wise and good exercise for the mind.
Many of the historical facts of ancient Greece were incorporated into these stories, as well as basic truths and lessons of life, and then many of these were turned into various forms of art such as sculpture and paintings to last for millennia. These stories were most often told surrounding the Greek family of Gods, each with their own personality and positive and negative attributes. Originally worshipped, as well as popularized in the widely told stories and fables, the fall of the religions which had for so long held court in the region came over time, slowly and surely like a deep fog over the ocean as it slowly creeps up onto land.
Save More Money
on ANY type of Insurance
|One scholar puts it:
"The religions of ancient Greece and Rome are extinct. The so-called divinities of Olympus have not a single worshipper among living men. They belong now not to the department of theology, but to those of literature and taste. There they still hold their place, and will continue to hold it, for they are too closely connected with the finest productions of poetry and art, both ancient and modern, to pass into oblivion."
A thing of beauty truly is a joy forever, and so many of the lovely classic statues and artistic renditions of the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology are still revered in places like the Louvre today. Firstly, as memories from an earlier time when mankind in ancient Greece and Rome were at the cusp of creating what we now know as civilization, and secondly, as things of lasting beauty that bring joy to our daily lives in our museums, history books and homes. The word classic itself, derived from the Latin, Classicus, literally meaning "of the highest class" (of the five into which Romans were divided), had come to spell excellence in both person and sculpture, as well as the tradition that the making of a classic statue embraced.
And, even coming from the background of knowing these were my ancestors, I am still stunned sometimes at the amazing realization that this single point in time yielded so many of the arts and sciences we have today. Congress and most of our political theory, Theatre, the profession of the Physician, the position of the lawyer, the institutions that are our libraries, literature, and the court system in general, even the phrase "Classical education" and the concept of Psychoanalysis, all originated in that small time period among several hundred of the greatest thinkers, perhaps, that ever lived.
|Scholars tell us that Fifty percent of everyday English words
possess a Greek or Latin origin, and are expressed in a sequence of
symbols, our modern alphabet, that came to use and reached their
final form in the ancient Latin world of the same time period.
When we imagine the world today as it is without all of these advances it is hard to conceive the different place in which we would be, if, for instance Sophocles had not written his play Oedipus that went on to inspire Freud.
The history of the Olympic games began in Greece in antiquity as a way of bringing unity and competition to the region and as a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus, the Father of the Greek Gods and Goddesses. The games of antiquity are slightly different from our modern games, in that only adult, free men, who spoke Greek were allowed to enter. There were also fewer events and the contests came to be held each time in the same location, Olympia, rather than moving around as they do today.
Just like our current games, however, the young men who traveled to represent their hometowns to compete were heroes in their own right who helped to put their cities on the maps of the day and brought great honor to their families and regions.
Olympia itself was a rural sanctuary holding special meaning for the Greeks in the Western Peloponnesos region. It was named after Mt. Olympus, the highest mountain in the region, which in Greek mythology was the traditional home of the greatest of the Greek gods and goddesses.
In the hierarchy, the gods and goddesses represented all the ups and downs mankind could possibly experience, and so a mother could come up with a story at a moment's notice to tell her children should they misbehave about a god or goddess in the family that had made the same mistake and what had befallen them.
|Some of the names most people are familiar with include Aphrodite,
the goddess of beauty and sexual love, (from whom we get our modern
word "Aphrodisiac"). Apollo, the god of personified youthful
masculinity; Euros, the god of the east wind; Persephone, goddess of
the underworld; Poseidon, god of the sea; Demeter, goddess of corn
and grain, as well as earth, vegetation, and agriculture; Kronos,
god of time and father to Zeus and several of the goddesses. But
there are literally hundreds of lesser and greater gods, most of who
explained some form of the human condition, or of life as the Greeks
The story of Demeter illustrates this well in the story of her daughter being kidnapped by Hades of the underworld. When she disappeared, it is said that the whole earth started to brown and die since Demeter was in such grief that she was ignoring her duties as caretaker of the earth and vegetation. When her daughter was returned (by intervention of higher gods who were worried for the condition of the earth), a deal was struck whereby if the daughter had not eaten anything in her dwelling time in the underworld she could stay in the company of her mother. But it was found that the daughter had eaten a single pomegranate seed, and therefore she was required to return to Hades and the underworld for three months of every year. And it was, the story goes, because of this indiscretion that the earth browns in Greece in perpetual cycle for that same three months of every year to this day.
My ancestors have left behind for all of us a rich history of literature, of stories such as these, of statues and gods and muses, mythological beasts and simple pleasures, all that we may more fully understand the natural and everyday world in which they lived that we still live in today. And one of the finest and longest running of their traditions was the Olympic games that all countries, all colors, all races, and all nations, Greek or not, enjoy in this century. It is a rich history they have imparted, and it is yours and mine for the keeping.
About the author: Helen Marakis owns Portara, Inc. (http://www.portara.com/?5), a company that combines Ancient Greek history and art through its unique sculptures, dolls and semiprecious stones that are hand-crafted and hand-finished. Portara, Inc's products are being sold for the first time in the United States and come with a 60-day money back guarantee.
And then, we have these essays in the GENERAL ESSAYS category which don't seem to fit anywhere in particular:
By Reason Alone.. That Roosevelt can do no wrong is Burroughs’s opinion; and that Burroughs is always right is Roosevelt’s opinion. Both are agreed that animals do not reason. They assert that all animals below man are automatons and perform actions only of two sorts—mechanical and reflex—and that in such actions no reasoning enters at all. They believe that man is the only animal capable of reasoning and that ever does reason.
No man is an island, is an old saying that was meant to say that no man stood alone, but needed help from others, and gave strength to others. But, here is the story of an island that was a man. In the short history of time, there was one island that was a monument to a single man. It starts out like a fairy tale.. Once upon a time there was a barren island. This almost insignificant little man was sent off to this barren island and turned it into a mirror of his soul and the fulfillment of his vision. One stick at a time he turned his barren island into a work of lasting, world-renowned beauty and peace, an island where the nightingales sang songs of singular wonder ne'er found elsewhere since this little man set down roots on a barren island, and bloomed.
Most of man's dreams are based on false assumptions. We dream of loping free with the wolves, but really don't like fleas. We dream of the security that lambs must feel, but don't want to be sheared. We dream of being lions, but gag at eating raw meat. We dream of being loved, but can't see the way or take the time to make ourselves lovable.
Was There EVER A Man On The Moon? How far can reason alone take us from the beaten path of acknowledged history?
RIGHT CLICK on this one. LIVES ON THE LINE, Americans can be proud of today's soldiers.
A Definition Of History by Leo Tolstoy gives us yet another peg to hang our ratiocinations upon.
Charity never faileth, especially when our hearts fill to overflowing with charity.
Man, the Meanie of the Planet. This is a high resolution pdf document so you can print it out and hang it on the wall. Be sure to RIGHT Click the link, and save it to your computer.
Are we forever Doomed? An essayic poem by Rudyard Kipling
I see Grandpa. He's calling out for me.
God Does Not Fit -- by Lance Nalley
SOCIALISM, Slavery and Tyranny by R. J. Harris
Deliberate Fraud: Evolutionists resort to the lowest forms of fraud in order to gain more believers.
When Theories fail.. Petty science teachers can rage until doomsday that no two snowflakes are identical, but until every snowflake that has ever fallen or ever shall fall is matched against every other snowflake that has already fallen or ever shall try to fall -- the identical snowflake theory remains just a theory resting in lolly-gagging land.
A Break From Boredom -- by Lance Nalley
INVICTUS... Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit, from pole to pole
Staunch, steadfast, loyal and true. What better friend can a man have?
Friendship, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. A ruddy drop of manly blood The surging sea outweighs, The world uncertain comes and goes, The lover rooted stays. I fancied he was fled, And, after many a year, Glowed unexhausted kindliness Like daily sunrise there. My careful heart was free again, -- O friend, my bosom said, Through thee alone the sky is arched, Through thee the rose is red, All things through thee take nobler form, And look beyond the earth, And is the mill-round of our fate A sun-path in thy worth. Me too thy nobleness has taught To master my despair; The fountains of my hidden life Are through thy friendship fair.
A thing of beauty
is a joy forever:
The Moon on Six Pence Uncle Bob was an unforgettable character who traveled the world on bargain rates and golden smiles!
The Almost Good Housekeeping monograph is a good excuse for the harried homemaker to put off until tomorrow all those burdens of yesteryear, and quit trying so hard.
Sex before the Sax: The first thing I learned about Lois was she had a label for being froward. Kids at school said she had had sex with Alfred. Not long after I arrived, another boy came forward to admit he had made a score at her door.
Old Rattler, and the King Snake.
Down and Dirty with Darwin Evolutionists are now feeling so battered that university professors advise their students not to discuss this theory with non-believers. "Sounds like a religious cult to me," say some.
Pleasures of the open fire: The Fireplace Revisited.
Don't Make Us