Topic for Discussion

Mothers and sons in epic | Part 1: Divine mothers

In these posts we are looking at the way the relationship between mothers and sons is portrayed in Homeric epic. In this first post we look at some divine mothers: Aphrodite, mother of Aeneas, and Thetis, mother of Achilles; Hera and Hephaistos, and the role Thetis played in caring for Hephaistos. Does their own immortality shape the care they have for their children? Is there a difference between mothers whose… Read more

Divine Deceiver: Hermes in the Homeric Hymns

"I will swear a great oath by my father’s head and vow that neither am I guilty [aitios] myself, neither have I seen any other thief [klopos] of your cows —whatever cows may be; for I know them only by hearsay [kleos].” Following the recent posts "Divine Doppelgänger: Hermes and Odysseus" and “The Divine Doublet: Odysseus and Hermes," I became intrigued to learn more about Hermes as deceiver, as portrayed… Read more

The Divine Doublet: Hermes and Odysseus

His story starts in a cave far from the company of the blessed gods in the care of a daughter of the Titan Atlas. His story often ends in a cave too. In between, he slays a giant shepherd with an unusual number of eyes, is connected with the slaughter of sacred cows, smells the aroma of broiling steak but does not partake, and is involved in meals with appropriate… Read more

Divine Doppelgänger: Hermes and Odysseus

"When she [= Kalypsō] had thus spoken she led the way rapidly before him, and Odysseus followed in her steps; so the pair, goddess and man, went on and on till they came to Kalypsō’s cave, where Odysseus took the seat that Hermes had just left." What is the significance of this line? After all, to sit in Hermes’ seat implies, to me, that Odysseus is taking Hermes’ place within… Read more

Spring for the ancient Greeks

"Winter made fun of Spring and mocked her... Spring replied, 'Indeed, that is exactly why mankind would be glad to get rid of you, whereas even the mere mention of my name is enough to bring them pleasure. By Zeus, there is no name more pleasant than mine! That is why they think fondly of me when I am gone and give thanks when I appear again.’" Following our previous… Read more