Πέμπτη, 17 Φεβρουαρίου 2011

ΜΥΤΗ(ος) part 1

The three following posts supplement the texts we did in class on p.53 of your student book. The accompanying pictures are great and help you 'visualize' the myth. You can also visit the link given above where you can browse through games and other on-line activities. This is a page from the University of Melbourne's Centre of Classics and Archaeology and it has both a flash and a HTML version.

http://www.abc.net.au/arts/wingedsandals

Thor




Thor was the god of thunder and of the sky in Norse* and early Germanic mythology. Though Odin* held a higher rank, Thor seems to have been the best loved and most worshiped of the Norse deities. He belonged to the common people, while Odin appealed to the learned and noble classes. A patron of farmers, Thor was associated with weather and crops. Although he could be fearsome, many myths portray him in a comic and affectionate way.

Origins and Qualities. Thor appears throughout Norse mythology as a huge, strongly built, red-bearded fellow with a huge appetite. He grew out of Donar or Thunor, an ancient god of sky and thunder. Some myths say that Thor was the son of Odin and Fjorgyn, the earth goddess. His wife was the beautiful goddess Sif, who seldom appears in myths and remains a somewhat mysterious figure.
Generally good-natured, Thor had a hot temper, and his anger was dreadful to behold. He was a fierce enemy of the frost giants, the foes of the Norse gods. When people heard thunder and saw lightning in the sky, they knew that Thor was fighting these evil giants.
The thunder god's chief weapon was his mighty hammer Mjollnir, or Crusher, which the dwarfs had forged for him. When he threw Mjollnir, it returned magically to his hand like a boomerang. Among Mjollnir's other powers was the gift of restoring life to the dead. The connection of Thor's hammer with life and fertility gave rise to the old Norse customs of placing a hammer in a bride's lap at her wedding and of raising it over a newborn child.
deity god or goddess
patron special guardian, protector, or supporter
Thor's treasures also included a magical belt that doubled his strength whenever he wore it and a pair of goats, Tanngniost and Tanngrisni (both "Toothgnashers"), that pulled his chariot across the sky. Whenever he was overcome with hunger, Thor would devour his goats, only to return them to life with Mjollnir.
Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the sky, appears in the center of this tapestry holding his mighty hammer.
Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the sky, appears in the center of this tapestry holding his mighty hammer.
Myths About Thor. According to one well-known myth about Thor, Thrym, king of the giants, came into possession of Mjollnir and declared that he would give it back to Thor only if the beautiful goddess Freyja agreed to marry him. She angrily refused, and the trickster god Loki came up with a clever plan to recover Mjollnir. Using women's clothing and a bridal veil to disguise Thor as Freyja, Loki escorted "Freyja" to Jotunheim, the home of the giants. Thrym greeted his bride, though he was surprised at her appetite at the wedding feast. "Freyja" consumed an entire ox, three barrels of wine, and much more. Loki explained that she had been unable to eat for a week because of her excitement at marrying Thrym. The giant accepted this explanation, and the wedding proceeded. When the time came for a hammer to be placed in the bride's lap according to custom, Thor grabbed Mjollnir and threw off his disguise. Then he used the hammer to smash the giants and their hall.
During another visit to Jotunheim, Thor and Loki met Skrymir, an especially large giant. He was so big that when they wandered into one of his gloves, they thought they were in a mansion and slept in one of the fingers. In the morning they found Skrymir sleeping, and Thor tried to crush the giant's head with Mjollnir. Skrymir simply brushed away the blow as though it were no more than a falling leaf.
The gods traveled on to Utgard, a city of giants, where the giants challenged Thor to drain their drinking cup and lift their cat from the floor. He could not do either—the cup was connected to the sea, and the cat was really Jormungand, the serpent that encircles the world. Although Thor failed the tests, he came close to draining the ocean and removing the world serpent.
trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples
Several early Norse sources recount the myth of Thor's encounter with the giant Hymir. Thor disguised himself as a young man and went fishing with Hymir, first killing the giant's largest ox to use for bait. Thor then rowed their boat far out of sight of land and cast his hook. Something bit at the ox, and Thor drew up his line to discover that he had hooked Jormungand, the giant serpent. Placing his feet on the ocean floor, Thor pulled and pulled on the line, while the serpent spit out poison. Just as Thor was about to strike Jormungand with his hammer, Hymir cut the line and the serpent sank back down to the depths. Many myths say, however, that Thor and Jormungand remained bitter enemies, fated to fight again on the day called Ragnarok, the end of the world, when they will kill one another.




The metal band, Manowar have written and performed many songs based on both Greek and Norse mytrhology. Here ia a song for Thor, the god of lightning and the lyrics to go with it.




video




Thor Lyrics
Artist(Band):Manowar




Black clouds on the horizon
Great thunder and burning rain
His chariot pounding, I heard the heavens scream his name

I watched as he shouted
To the giants who died that day
He held up his hammer high and called to Odin for a sign

Thor the mighty, Thor the brave
Crush the infidels in your way
By your hammer let none be saved
Live to die on the final day
Gods, monsters and men
We'll die together in the end

God of thunder, God of rain
Earth shaker who feels no pain
The powerhead of the universe
Now send your never ending curse

I watched as he shouted
To the giants who died that day
He held up his hammer high and called to Odin for a sign

Thor the mighty, Thor the brave
Crush the infidels in your way
By your hammer let none be saved
Live to die on that final day
Gods, monsters and men
We'll die together in the end

Swing your hammer to crack the sky
Lift your cape so that you might fly
Back to Odin and the gods on high
And leave the mortal world

Thor the mighty, Thor the brave
Crush the infidels in your way
By your hammer let none be saved
Live to die on that final day
Gods, monsters and men
We'll die together in the end
Odin



Source: http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com



Myth of King Midas and the Gold

King Midas is one of the most known and controversial personas in the Greek Mythology. King of Phrygia, Midas, was known for his wisdom but also his greed. Although one of the most known kings of his time, a fanatic lover of the Arts and Culture, creator of a gorgeous rose garden, Midas was known to be extremely greedy, trying to accumulate the largest amount of money and wealth in the known world.

Myth of Midas’ Gold

According to the Greek myth, God Dionysus found himself in Phrygia once, followed by a group of Satyrs and other creatures that were always celebrating and feasting with him. Silenus, one of the Satyrs, entered the sacred Rose garden of Midas and the guards brought the intruder to the King.
Midas recognized the follower of Dionysus and decided not to punish him, especially since Silenus decided to stay at the court entertaining Midas with frantic stories about the pleasures of life. God Dionysus was pleased with Midas and his decision not to punish Silenus, thus asked Midas what he wanted the most from his life – in order to return the favor.
Midas said that he wished everything he touched could turn to gold. Although Dionysus warned Midas about the potential dangers of such a wish, Midas insisted on it and Dionysus granted him with the infamous Midas Touch.

The curse of Midas’ touch

midas touch turned everything to gold
Midas touch by Chris Canga
Midas was thrilled with the gift because he could turn everything to gold, soon though, he realized that he was unable to eat, drink or do anything normally, since everything he touched would turn to Gold. Midas started understanding the warnings of Dionysus and the depth of his mistake and greed.
Midas went to Dionysus, desperate, and begged him to free him from this “curse”. Dionysus told Midas that he had to go and bathe in the River Paktolos (Pactolus) in order to wash away this ability.
Midas indeed went to Paktolos river and washed himself; according to the myth the gold settled in the sand of the river and was carried to another country of the East, Lydia, that became one of the richest countries of the antiquity.

Meaning of Midas’ myth

This myth gives an explanation why River Pactolus is rich with gold, but mostly refers to one of the most known beliefs of the Greeks, the short-sighted wish, and the punishment for greed.
The phrase Midas Touch is used till today to describe the ability of a person to make lots of money or create successful events, build a career and wealth. It has lost its negative meaning, although it is still associated with greed.
Midas is used as a personification of greed, which is considered one of the seven deadly sins.

Source: http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com



Perseus and Medusa

The myth of Perseus and Medusa

The myth of Perseus and Medusa is one of the best thriller-like tales in Greek Mythology.
With a promising plot that gets more complicated as the story progresses, this myth has a typical Hollywood-like scenario with the main character not being born yet at the moment when his destiny was determined.
Here, we will present just a short version of the myth of Perseus and Medusa – until the moment when Perseus beheaded Medusa.
perseus-medusa

Perseus and the Oracle

Acrisius, the king of Argos, was told by the oracle of Delphi that his own grandson would kill him one day. This grandson would be the child of his daughter Danae. Scared of the upcoming future and his destiny, King Acrisius decided to deprive his daughter of any possible intercourse, mating and child bearing, so he built a room beneath the earth and imprisoned Danae there.
However, as the legend says, Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain, pierced through the walls of chamber, and Danae’s body. Hence, Perseus was born. Hearing the news but not believing that Zeus was the father of the newborn, Acrisius let his daughter and grandchild out to the open sea on an ark. They eventually came to the shores of Serifos island, where they were saved and adopted by a local couple, the man being the brother of the king of the island, Polydectes.
When Perseus grew up to a handsome and strong young man, one more time he found himself in the way of one king, this time King Polydectes, who wanted Danae to become his wife. Knowing that he wouldn’t have the woman for himself as long as Perseus was there to protect her, the king made a plan to send Perseus not only far away but also to a dangerous mission. Polydectes told Perseus to bring him the head of the gorgon Medusa.

Perseus and Medusa

Medusa was one of three sisters, the gorgons, but she was the only mortal one. Some versions say all three were born as monsters, but the predominant myths had them as gorgeous maidens. Medusa was so beautiful that Poseidon was crazy about her, but she didn’t care about him; Poseidon turned her and her sisters into monsters with live snakes covering their heads. Medusa kept her beautiful face but everything else was so monstrous. And whoever dared to look into her face ended up being turned into stone.
Perseus thus had a hard task. He asked Athena and Hermes for help and two of them, together with the nymphs, provided winged sandals to fly him to the end of the world where gorgons lived, a cap that made him invisible, a sword and a mirrored shield. The latter was the most important tool Perseus had, since it allowed him to see a reflection of Medusa’s face and to avoid being turned into stone.
medusa-headWhen he cut Medusa’s head off, from the drops of her blood suddenly appeared two offspring: Pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a giant or a winged boar. It’s believed that those two were Medusa’s children with Poseidon.
In any case, once he accomplished his task Perseus flew back and escaped Medusa’s sisters who tried to reach him. Later, Perseus used Medusa’s head as a weapon in many occasions until he gave the head to Athena to place it on her shield.
The myth of Perseus and Medusa was one the most powerful inspiration for many artists in the ancient times, but it hasn’t lost its artistic significance to the present day either. Paintings and sculptures of the moment of beheading or Medusa’s portrait itself are famous all over the world. One of the most known art work is the Medusa shield by Caravaggio, painted at the end of the 16th century. It is exposed in the Uffizi museum in Florence. Close by the museum, in the main plaza of Firenze (Florence) there is a sculpture of Perseus.

You can find an animated version of the myth here.

Source: http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com