By Helen Morales
From Zeus and Europa, to Diana, Pan, and Prometheus, the myths of historical Greece and Rome appear to exert a undying energy over us. yet what do these myths characterize, and why are they so enduringly interesting? Why do they appear to be the sort of effective means of speaking approximately our selves, our origins, and our wants? This ingenious and stimulating Very brief creation is going past an easy retelling of the tales to discover the wealthy historical past and numerous interpretations of classical mythology. it's a wide-ranging account, studying how classical myths are used and understood in either excessive artwork and pop culture, taking the reader from the temples of Crete to skyscrapers in big apple, and discovering classical myths in quite a few unforeseen areas: from Arabic poetry and Hollywood movies, to psychoanalysis, the Bible, and New Age spiritualism.
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Extra info for Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Its dialogue with the modern world is far more widespread. A history of the full extent of classical mythology’s impact upon non-Western cultures has yet to be written. I’m going to end this chapter with just one example. Classical myths, especially Greek myths, have consciously and deliberately been used by modern Arabic poets, most notably the important avant-garde poets Nazik al Mala’ika, ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayati, and Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, who were inﬂuential in the 1950s. The title of al-Bayati’s poem ‘Greetings, Athens’ wryly announces its dialogue with the past.
Europa gave birth to three: Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon. In Aeschylus’ play Europa (of which only fragments survive), he presents Europa as a mother who misses and worries about her adult sons, especially Sarpedon, who is ﬁghting in the Trojan War: It is for Sarpedon that I fear, that rampaging with his spear He might go too far and suffer hideously. For this hope of mine is slim and balanced upon a razor’s edge – I might see everything slip away at the bloody death of my son. Her worries are likely to have been well founded.
But central to his thesis – and to his critics’ rejection of it – is the question of how to read classical myth. The Europa myth is of particular importance to him, but he is less interested in Europa’s abduction than in what happened afterwards. In various accounts, when Agenor, Europa’s father and king of the Phoenician city of Tyre, heard about his daughter’s abduction, he sent her brothers, Cadmus and Phoenix, in pursuit of her. The brothers were unsuccessful and became distracted from their mission, ultimately settling down and founding cities on the Greek mainland.
Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Helen Morales