Daily Archives: September 9, 2011

Atalanta

Atalanta

by Mia Gibson
Atalanta is the female athlete in Greek myth. It is unclear exactly where Atalanta comes from, some sources say that she came from Arcadia and was the daughter of Iasus and Clymene, but Hesiod and other sources attributes Atalanta’s origin to Boeotia where her father is Schoeneus. The contradiction over Atalanta’s birth contributes to the assumption that there were two maythic women that were merged into one person. 

Whoever Atalanta’s father was, he wanted a boy so bad that when Atalanta was born, he exposed her on a hill were she was suckled by a she bear, sent by Artemis, until a group of hunters found her and raised her to womanhood. Atalanta, like Artemis, loved to hunt.

Atalanta is best known for participation in male activities while at the same time having an aura of sexuality surrounding her. For example, some sources say that Atalanta was one of the Argonauts. Atalanta was even wounded in a battle with the Colchians and was healed by Medea, who was also on the voyage. But at the same time, other sources say that Jason refused to let Atalanta go on the voyage because she was a woman.

One male activity Atalanta definitely participated in was the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Other male members of the hunt objected to her presence, but consumed with lust, Meleagerinsisted that Atalanta be allowed to join. During the hunt, centaurs Hylaeus and Rhaecus tried to rape Atalanta. Atalanta killed both of them, thus the first bloodshed of the Calydonian Boar Hunt was human.

Atalanta shot the first arrow to pierce the boar. Because of this, Meleager gave Atalanta the boar’s pelt. This resulted in even more human bloodshed, Meleager’s two uncles protested to Atalanta receiving the pelt, so Meleager killed them. When Meleager’s mother heard that Meleager had killed her brothers, she threw an enchanted log on the fire, once the log finished burning Meleager would die.

After Atalanta’s success at the boar hunt, Atalanta’s father, Iasus or Schoeneus, was proud and claimed her as his daughter. Atalanta was reconciled with her father. Since Atalanta was now a princess, Iasus wanted Atalanta to marry. Atalanta had been warned not to marry by the Oracle. Atalanta came up with a witty plan that would stop her from having to marry. She would race the suitors, the one who beat her in the foot race would be the lucky man to marry her, but if she won, she could kill the man. Atalanta made the bargain knowing that no one could beat her. One day a racer, Melanion or to some sources Hippomenes, fell in love with Atalanta and wanted to marry her, but he knew he could not beat her so he called on Aphrodite, the love goddess, for assistance. Aphroditeprovided Melanion with three golden apples to entice Atalanta. During the race, whenever Atalanta would get ahead of Melanion, he would roll one of the golden apples forward, forcing a curious Atalanta to stop and pick the apple up. Atalanta’s frequent stops gave Melanion the advantage he needed and he won the race and Atalanta’s hand in marriage.

Once married, it seems that Atalanta could not contain her inhibitions any longer, for one day she allowed Melanion to seduce her in the temple of Zeus. Zeus was so angered that he turned them into lions. This was a fitting punishment because lions can not mate with each other.

Atalanta has a son named Parthenopaeus (son of a pierced maidenhead). Once again, there is a dispute as to who the father is. Some sources say that Atalanta had an affair with Meleagar, other sources attribute Parthenopaues to Ares or Melanion. Parthenpaoues was active in the war known as the Seven Against Thebes.

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Argonauts

Argonauts

by James Hunter

The Argonauts were the heroes who sailed with Jason on the Argo, in quest of the Golden Fleece. They are often called the “Minyans,” because of the tribe and region from which Jason came, but many of them came from other parts of the Greek world.

According to Apollonius of Rhodes, 55 men accompanied Jason; Apollodorus lists 43 men and one woman, and various numbers can be derived from other sources. The lists do not correspond very well, but the following are some of the more famous names mentioned: Orpheus (the greatest musician of the ancient world); Heracles (the son of Zeus, famous for his Twelve Labors); Hylas (Heracles’ companion); Telamon (the father of Ajax); Peleus (the father of Achilles and the brother of Telamon); Argos (the builder of the Argo); Polydeuces and Castor (or Pollux and Castor — known as the Dioscuri, they were the sons of Leda and Zeus, and the brothers of Helen of Troy); Meleager (who killed the Calydonian boar); Zetes and Calais (the Boreads); Theseus (who killed the Minotaur and the hero of a number of other legends); Laertes (father of Odysseus); Autolycus (son of Hermes and a master thief); Atalanta (a great huntress who was the first to wound the Calydonian boar and was beloved by Meleager).

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Ajax

Ajax

by James Hunter
Ajax was the son of Telamon, king of Salamis. After Achilles, he was the mightiest of the Greek heroes in the Trojan War. 

Ajax was a huge man, head and shoulders larger than the other Greeks, enormously strong but somewhat slow of speech. In the Iliad, he is often called the “wall” or “bulwark” (herkos) of the Greeks. When Achilles had withdrawn from the fighting at Troy, it was Ajax who went forth to meet Hectorin single combat; by the time darkness fell the fight was still a stalemate, but Ajax had wounded Hector without sustaining injury himself

After Achilles’ death, Ajax competed with Odysseusfor the ownership of Achilles’ armor. Both men delivered speeches explaining their own merits, but Odysseus was by far the more eloquent and won the prize. Ajax was driven mad by his disappointment. According to one account, he vowed vengeance on the Greeks and began slaughtering cattle, mistaking them for his former comrades-in-arms. He finally committed suicide.

Ajax is often called “Telemonian Ajax” or “the greater Ajax,” to distinguish him from Ajax the Lesser the son of Oileus, who also fought for the Greeks at Troy.

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Agamemnon

Agamemnon

by James Hunter
Agamemnon was the son of Atreus and the brother of Menelaus. He was the king of either Mycenae (in Homer) or of Argos (in some later accounts), and was the leader of the Greek forces during the Trojan War. He married Clytemnestra and had several children by her, including Orestes, Electra, and Iphigenia. 

When the Greeks sailed for Troy, their fleet was trapped by unfavorable winds at Aulis. The seer Calchas revealed that their misfortune was due to Agamemnon, who had boasted that he equalled Artemisin hunting; the winds would only change if Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia was sacrificed. Agamemnon reluctantly agreed to the sacrifice, but Artemis herself whisked Iphigenia away from the altar and substituted a deer in her place.

During the seige of Troy, Agamemnon offended the greatest of the Greek warriors, Achilles, when he took the girl Briseis from him. Achilles’ anger with Agamemnon furnished the mainspring of the plot in the Iliad. After the sack of Troy, Agamemnon acquired Cassandra, the daughter of King Priam, as his concubine, and took her home with him to Greece.

Agamemnon had an unhappy homecoming. He was either blown off course and landed in the country of Aegisthos, or he came home to his own land to find Aegisthus waiting for him. In either case, Aegisthus had become the lover of Clytemnestra, and the two together murdered Agamemnon and Cassandra shortly after their arrival. Aegisthus and Clytemnestra then ruled Agamemnon’s kingdom, but were eventually killed by Agamemnon’s son, Orestes (or by Orestes and Electra in some accounts). The homecoming of Agamemnon and its aftermath were favorite subjects for Greek tragedy.

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Actaeon

Actaeon

by Micha F. Lindemans
The legendary huntsman of Greek myth, a grandson of Cadmus. During a hunt, he left the party and wandered alone through the forest when he suddenly came upon a clearing. There he saw the goddess Artemisbathing in a large pool, surrounded by her nymphs. When they noticed the hunter they flew themselves before the goddess, but he had already seen her splendid nakedness. Angered, she turned him into a stag for she refused to let any mortal say that he had seen Artemis naked. 

Actaeon moved away from the clearing feeling different and confused, not yet realizing what had happened to him. The truth hit him when he saw his own reflection in a river and he knew he was no longer human. In the distance he heard the sound of his own hounds. A brief moment of joy quickly turned into fear when he realized they were hunting him now, not recognizing their former master. He fled but was eventually overrun and torn to pieces.

A different version of the myth tells that Artemis turned him into a stag because he boasted of excelling her in hunting. (Ovid III, 193)

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Achilles

Achilles

by James Hunter
Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus and the Nereid Thetis. He was the mightiest of the Greeks who fought in the Trojan War, and was the hero of Homer’s Iliad.Thetis attempted unsuccessfully to make her son immortal. There are two versions of the story. In the earlier version, Thetis anointed the infant with ambrosia and then placed him upon a fire to burn away his mortal portions; she was interrupted by Peleus, whereupon she abandoned both father and son in a rage. Peleus placed the child in the care of the Centaur Chiron, who raised and educated the boy. In the later version, she held the young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the river Styx; everything the sacred waters touched became invulnerable, but the heel remained dry and therefore unprotected.

When Achilles was a boy, the seer Calchas prophesied that the city of Troy could not be taken without his help. Thetis knew that, if her son went to Troy, he would die an early death, so she sent him to the court of Lycomedes, in Scyros; there he was hidden, disguised as a young girl. During his stay he had an affair with Lycomedes’ daughter, Deidameia, and she had a son, Pyrrhus (or Neoptolemus), by him. Achilles’ disguise was finally penetrated by Odysseus, who placed arms and armor amidst a display of women’s finery and seized upon Achilles when he was the only “maiden” to be fascinated by the swords and shields. Achilles then went willingly with Odysseus to Troy, leading a host of his father’s Myrmidons and accompanied by his tutor Phoenix and his close friend Patroclus. At Troy, Achilles distinguished himself as an undefeatable warrior. Among his other exploits, he captured twenty-three towns in Trojan territory, including the town of Lyrnessos, where he took the woman Briseis as a war-prize. Later on Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks, was forced by an oracle of Apollo to give up his own war-prize, the woman Chryseis, and took Briseis away from Achilles as compensation for his loss. This action sparked the central plot of the Iliad, for Achilles became enraged and refused to fight for the Greeks any further. The war went badly, and the Greeks offered handsome reparations to their greatest warrior; Achilles still refused to fight in person, but he agreed to allow his friend Patroclus to fight in his place, wearing his armor. The next day Patroclus was killed and stripped of the armor by the Trojan hero Hector, who mistook him for Achilles.

Achilles was overwhelmed with grief for his friend and rage at Hector. His mother obtained magnificent new armor for him from Hephaestus, and he returned to the fighting and killed Hector. He desecrated the body, dragging it behind his chariot before the walls of Troy, and refused to allow it to receive funeral rites. When Priam, the king of Troy and Hector’s father, came secretly into the Greek camp to plead for the body, Achilles finally relented; in one of the most moving scenes of the Iliad, he received Priam graciously and allowed him to take the body away.

After the death of Hector, Achilles’ days were numbered. He continued fighting heroically, killing many of the Trojans and their allies, including Memnon and the Amazon warrior Penthesilia. Finally Priam’s son Paris (or Alexander), aided by Apollo, wounded Achilles in the heel with an arrow; Achilles died of the wound. After his death, it was decided to award Achilles’ divinely-wrought armor to the bravest of the Greeks. Odysseus and Ajaxcompeted for the prize, with each man making a speech explaining why he deserved the honor; Odysseus won, and Ajax then went mad and committed suicide.

During his lifetime, Achilles is also said to have had a number of romantic episodes. He reportedly fell in love with Penthesilia, the Amazon maiden whom he killed in battle, and it is claimed that he married Medea.

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“THINK on THESE THINGS”

“THINK on THESE THINGS”
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Don’t allow life to mean too much. Keep it light and shallow; spend as much time as possible scoffing at those things meaningful to others; forget the decency and patience in their attitudes.

And look with overbearing revenge to make them pay for what they believe….laugh at their efforts…..call attention to their imperfections…..and don’t forget to learn how to live alone…..if not in body, then in spirit. And then don’t take the blame for a desert-island soul. It is of one’s own making. But remember, oh so well, that life does not stand still while we search for someone to blame for our isolation.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 9

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 9

“…[W]isdom comes only when you stop looking for it and start truly living the life the Creator intended for you.”

–Lelia Fisher, HOH

There are many things that block us from wisdom such as selfishness, secrets, hate, anger, jealousy and judgments. Another thing that can block us from wisdom is trying too hard or wishing something would happen. Wishing implies doubt and trying implies control. We need to let go of these things. We need to abandon ourselves to the Creator. As soon as we surrender everything, the wisdom starts to flow. The Elders know how to help us with this. Just ask them.

My Great Spirit, today I surrender my life and my will to Your care.

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