Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Greco-Roman Movement

Okay, so having delved into a bit of tangential reading on Ancient Greek and Roman history, religion and mythology, I have some thoughts and feelings I need to share.

First, you should understand that this entire line of thinking was stimulated by Percy & the lightning thief (which is my shortened title) and the wonders of Wikipedia.

So, I needed to know who all the tall gods were in Olympus and why they were tall. Did Wiki know? Hells yes, and a whole bunch more.

I spent the weekend learning about: the geography and the many people (roman and Greek, mortal, mythical and godly) of the times, how there were cognates between the regions for their gods, the original gods, the connections between various religious origins, the goddesses most closely connected to me and their festivals, and the people wanting to reignite the ancient ways.

I also detoured to look at UNESCO world heritage sites, the seven wonders of the world, the eighth wonder of the world and the various times and techniques behind these creations/phenomena. Plus the tallest, widest and most powerful waterfalls in the world.

But the ancient history stuff got me thinking. In Greek writing they often describe features of people as resembling particular gods and goddesses, did there exist a general, agreed understanding of what these gods/goddesses looked like? Would one look at a person and see that the brow, nose, hair line, height, or chin resembled a particular deity? Could you describe someone's to appearance and have your audience picture the person? If I said a man looked like Danny De Vito, you'd think short, rotund, drools a bit when he speaks, fiery, American, balding with dark hair. If I said a man looked like Uma Thurman, you'd think tall, thin, blonde, athletic, sharp facial features, piercing eyes, clipped speech. Could those in ancient times assimilate in their collective mind's eye an image of their deities? I think if one was described as resembling Cleopatra, you'd think brunette, if Helen of Troy, then blonde, if Samson, with lovely locks and if Hercules then brute strength but that is as far as I can go. However, Odysseus says that Nausicaa resembles a goddess, particularly Artemis. How is it that he can pick which goddess she most closely resembles?

Also, was there a familiar link with deities and the conception of value, ethics and goodness?
"This honor bestowed upon the children was later used by Solon, as a proof while trying to convince Croesus that it is impossible to judge a person's happiness until they have died a fruitful death after a joyous life." (Herodotus' History, Book I)

Also, does Eos relate to those that are tempted by others whilst in a relationship?
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 27 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) : "Eos, whom Aphrodite tormented with constant passion as punishment for sleeping with Ares."

If you must watch one of these: Percy, Valentine's Day, Leap Year, The Secret Lives of Pippa Lee make it Percy or Pippa. The others are a waste of your time and intelligence. Also, I tried Spartacus: Blood and Sand; just make sure you don't.

If you accidentally did watch some/all of these, you need to be cheered up. Check out Steve Martin in P, T, A or the other Ron Burgundy movie.

On a slight related topic, if you are looking for advice on movies to watch, then seriously check out Brandy and Julie (of LOGO's Big Gay Sketch Show) who have collaborated with Autostraddle to produce fortnightly reviews - the first one for James Cameron's Avatar was hilarious! Check them out here. Hmm, 2nd installment, not so funny, disappointing... :(

I shall be checking out another fantastical, semi-religiously toned film: The Golden Compass. I'll let you know about my feelings later on... After a quick session of Facebook Mafia Wars!

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