Thursday, February 11, 2010

This weeks Ovid question.......

I'd like you to comment on the Ovid episode you have read in English.


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Chrysanthe said...

Arachne Summary:
Arachne, a talented weaver, challenges the goddes Minerva to a contest of artistic skill. After unsuccessfully attempting to make Arachne change her boastful ways, Minerva agrees to the terms and they start to weave. Minerva's tapestry depicts her glory and the shameful transformations of many boastful people. Arachne weaves images of the many affairs of the gods; her skill earns Minerva's amazement, but the subject matter enrages her. The livid goddess transforms Arachne into a spider.
This story was first made as an explanation for the existence of those many-legged beasties, and as another example of why not to challenge the gods. I feel like Arachne deserved what she got, but I also feel like Minerva (who is usually one of the more levelheaded dieties)overreaacted. Like with Aphrodite and Psyche, goddesses do not like being challenged by mortal women. It fine if the gods poke fun at or best other gods, but when mortals interfere, they tend to suffer horribly. Meddling in the affairs of powerful people, whether mortal or divine, was a dangerous buisness in classical society.

Bryn said...

I read The Sun and Leucothoe (I also heard it called The Sun in Love)
Summary: Phoebus, the sun god, catches Venus and Mars having an affair and tells Venus' husband Vulcan. To get revenge on Phoebus, Venus makes him fall in love with Leucothoe (the daughter of Orchamus) and she returns his love. Clytie, Phoebus' wife, tells Orchamus of his daughters intentions and the father burs his daughter alive as a punishment. Phoebus, although he cannot save her, puts nectar on her so that she will turn into a Frankincense bush, and Clytie spends the rest of her days watching the sun god go across the sky, until he turns her into a heliotrope (violet).
Response: This is a story filled with revenge, and lets face it- that makes it pretty interesting. I like how Ovid shows the god as having "human emotions" when in some stories they can seem as though they are above everyone else. I think that many things led to the transformations including the revenge seeking goddess and overprotective father but ultimately it was Phoebus who brought it on himself.

Kelsey said...

I read Jason wins the Golden Fleece (Book 7, lines 100-158)
Jason basically has to prove himself by overcoming a bunch of obstacles put in front of him. His first task is to defeat huge metal fire-breathing bulls. He was on "magic drugs" so the fire didn't affect him and he yoked them together and he was able to plow the virgin field. Next, Dragon teeth were planted in the ground and "enemies" grew out of the soil. He dealt with these enemies by throwing a boulder in the middle of them, so instead of attacking Jason, they started attacking themselves, so they all died by civil war. He finally had to defeat the dragon that was guarding the Golden Fleece. He sprinkled juice of certain herbs and said the magic words three times, and that put the dragon to sleep. He got the Golden Fleece, he got the screaming fans, and he got the girl.

I am definitely starting to see Ovid's distinctive writing style, some examples are: Calling people "Son of Aeson" instead of their real name, avoiding the real name as long as possible (Haemonian Hero, Son of Aeson, Victorious man, etc.), the comparisons for stupid people (when it talks about the enemies growing out of the earth from the dragon teeth, "as an embryo takes on human form in the mother's womb, those shapes had been made in the bowels of the pregnant earth"). I'm not sure if trends like this are specific to Ovid, it might be a recurring theme amongst all Roman Poets, I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

No one read Achelous and Theseus it's my story, and I'm still reading it. :)


Gientsy said...

Okay I finished, woot.
As I said I read Book 9 lines 1-88

Achelous tells Theseus about the fight he does'nt want to recall but since he lost to a great contender he considered losing a consolation. Achelous asked Deianira's father, Oeneus for her hand in marriage but at the same time Hercules asked for hers too. His speech was unsuccessful to persuade Hercules. Hercules challenges Achelous in a wrestling match, in the midst of the fight Achelous changes into a snake but is no match for Hercules and then if I read correctly turned himself into a bull? Hercules pulled off one of his horns forcing the god Achelous surrender.

I find this an example of brains vs brawns kind of thing, except that brawns won this time. But it's Hercules we're talking about and for Achelous to be able to defend himself against Hercules, that's why he finds losing a consolation. I'm on Achelous' side 'cause he stood his ground and he didn't back away when Hercules challenged him and he survived against Hercules.

Whitney said...

Jupiter's Abduction of Europa: Book 2 lines 833-875:
Mercury the son of Jupiter has just returned from a mission his father had sent him on. Shortly after returning to the heavens he is ordered by Jupiter to fulfill another request for him, a request that is fueled by his amorous endeavors. The request consists of Mercury herding royal cattle from a grazing mountain top towards the sea. Mercury immediately accomplished his fathers command and then Jupiter sets to work on his tasks. Hoping to allure the king Agenor's daughter Europa, the god transforms himself into a kind, gentle bull. Although frightened at first Europa soon comes to like the bull and begins to give it love and acknowledgment. Soon Europa is deceived by the friendly bulls intentions when she is allowed to sit on his back. Taking his advantage the bull moves towards the sea with Europa whisking her away as his own.
Hm well the transformation in this story is rather simple, Jupiter the almighty god turns into a bull in order to gain and capture his current infatuation, Europa. In this story the similar pattern of a god's lust a desire is show. Although this story is different from Phoebus and Daphne, the two carry similar aspects when it comes to a powerful god pursueing an unwilling virgin. Same general plot, but different variation on the story. Name changes, new transformations etc... This one is kind of short and sweet compared to others, but it does not lack the gullible nature of the female characters, nor does it lack the domination of the males.

Emily said...

I read about the Flood in book 1, lines 274-312. With the help of Neptune, Jupiter floods the entire earth. The waters destroy everything, or at least covered everything with water. Some people survive: one rows in his boat over the field he had just ploughed, another fishes from the branches of a tree. Some animals survive the initial flooding: dolphins swim among the trees, tigers struggle to stay afloat, birds fly above everything, looking for a place to rest. Eventually though starvation kills those that did not get swept away.
I choose this myth because I had read a summary of it in self-knowledge. I am curious though as to why Jupiter decided to flood earth. Neither the self knowledge packet nor these lines explained why he was presumably angry with man. I liked that it created imagery so that I could see the flooding of the earth and the animals struggling to suvive and the man fishing from a tree in my mind. I also like that it demonstrates to the listener/reader the mortality of man and the divinity of the gods.

Chris said...

Ok, so I read about Perseus and Andromeda (Book 4, Lines 663-752)
Summary: Because of the Queen of Ethiopia's (Cassiope) arrogance, the gods have sent a monster to wreak havoc in Ethiopia. To get rid of the monster, the king of Ethiopia was told to sacrifice his daughter (Andromeda), so he chained her to a rock on the coast of Ethiopia. Perseus flies by, having slain the Gorgon Medusa, sees Andromeda and commits himself to save her. He kills the creature and releases Andromeda. He then puts the Gorgon's head down on a bed of weeds from the sea, so he can wash his hands, and the weeds harden. The sea nymphs do this same thing to other weeds, and thus coral is created.
Response: This is a really great story, a classic myth, although the ending was new to me. I get the whole change thing but it seems kind of random that after killing this beast the "metamorphosis" in the story is that underwater plants become coral. I mean that's a great change but it's just not really related. Although it is cool because I had never heard that part of the story before. Also though, it could be I'm misinterpreting something, but the way it's written it sounds as if everyone is just waiting and watching Andromeda be fed to this monster. Specifically Andromeda's parents are just sitting there weeping. And I understand that they have no choice but it sounds like the whole town is there to just watch her die, don't the Ethiopians have better things to do?

Caroline David said...

I read Ulysses and Circe from Book XIV, lines 223-319.

Summary: Ulysses, a Dulichian leader, had received an amazing gift from Aeolus, the ruler of the "Tuscan Deep", hidden in a bag. Ulysses and his crew had a favorable wind as they sailed for nine days toward home. But when the tenth morning came, his crew became overwhelmed with the possibilities of the bag that they opened it. A strong wind had be harnessed by the bag, and when releases the ship was blown to King Aeolus’s harbor. From there,Ulysses and his crew landed the ancient city of Lamus, land of the Laestrygonians, where Ulysses was sent to the King Antiphates with two companions. The Laestrygonians ate one of the companions, and Ulysses and the other sailor escaped weith their lives. They landed thereafter on the island of Circe, home to Antiphates, a savage cyclops. Ulysses and twenty-one of his men set out on Circe, one being Elpenor: a man very fond of wine...
As soon as they arrived they encountered hordes of wild animals, who did not harm them in any way but did lead the men to their mistress. She received them warmly, and ordered her surrounding nymphs to mix Ulysses and his crew drinks. Immediately after consuming the concoctions, all of the men were transformed into pigs and shut into a sty. But one man, Eurylochus, had refused the drink and remained human. He in turn won over Circe by becoming her husband and desired his friends to be set free as a wedding gift. Ulysses and his men were sprinkled with a magical herb and reverted to their original state.
Response: Ovid's tale of Ulysses and his men encountering Circe greatly reminded me of a chapter in The Odyssey by Homer. I enjoyed the verse as it portrayed the gullible and vulnerable side of humans in the hands of the Gods, and it seemed as if Ovid was also teasing at teaching the reader to never mess with the Gods and be able to conquer greed and desire. However, I did not understand Circe's motives behind transforming a group of men into pigs. Regardless though, if I had the power to transform men into pigs, I would use it just for fun.

Emilia said...

I'm not sure if you understood my comment in my native language so I'll comment again in English.
I read the Rape of Europa...or if that's too racy for high school the Abduction of Europa.
Basically Jupiter falls in love with Europa, but since gods can't fall in love he takes the form of a beautiful white bull and gets attention from her in that form. She is fascinated with him, and adorns him with flowers. He gives kisses to her hands. Then she gets comfortable and climbs on his back, clueless that he's a god, and he takes her across the ocean to Crete. (And she assumes a pose perfect for paintings- one hand on the horn, one hand on the back of the bull)
Response: I also read Arachne, but I chose to do this one because I like the imagery better (though it was pretty cool to read Europa's tale and have it mentioned in Arachne's). The description of the bull is really neat- white like snow untrammeled by rough feet and unmelted by the rains carried by south winds. I guess the point of the story is that gods get what they want...even if they aren't supposed to want it. I'd say Jupiter was pretty smooth, if not a little creepy. But then again, who doesn't like big sloppy cow tongue kisses?

Kristin said...

I read Boreas and Orithyia Book 6, lines 675-721
Summary: Pandion had four sons and four daughters, but one of his sons, Boreas the god of the North Wind , was denied his true love, Orithyia. Boreas decided to woo her instead of being violent, which he usually was, but she still was unable to marry him. Boreas then flew into the air, with his wings, and swept up his lover and flew her to Attica where they married. After they were married, Orithyia gave birth to twin boys who did not have wings when they were born, but developed them, as well as facial hair, as they grew older.
Response: I feel like this is a bit of a forbidden love being overcome. Boreas wanted to marry Orithyia, but was not allowed. However, unlike Romeo and Juliet, or Pyramus and Thisbe, the ending to this story is happier. The two of them get married and have children. Like Kelsey, I am starting to realize Ovid’s writing style of identifying people based on who their father was.

Fil "all the ladies know I like to get ill" said...

From: "The Transformation of Picus" from Book XIV lines 320-396.

Picus, the king, the son of Saturn, was the modern Brad Pitt, but with a hero-like persona, and without a beautiful wife such as the lovely Angelina Jolie. His spirit equalled his looks. He was a heart-throb, and subsequently caused every woman that saw him to fall head over heels.
Despite the attraction of every girl that he crossed paths with, Picus chose the nymph Canens, who was of rare beauty and had the most eloquent gift of song. Her music "move the rocks and trees with her singing, make wild beasts gentle, halt wide rivers, and detain the wandering birds." One day, while Canens was singing outside, Picus left with his brothas to go hunt some wild board.
At the same time, a most unsuspected visitor, Circe, daughter of Sol, was in the same woods. She was there to gather herbs. She caught a sight of the youth, and just like all other "huneys" became enflamed with passion, which rocked her down to the very marrow. After she recovered from her Passion Party, she wished to chase after him, but could not because of the speed of his horse and close companions. Ever determined, Circe called swore that she would have him, and with her herbs, conjured a beautiful boar and sent him to the thickest part of the forest, an area impenetrable by horses.

As soon as Picus saw the boar, he instinctively rushed into the forest, leaving his companions and horse behind. As he enters, Circe welcomes him and offers herself to be taken by him. She warns him to not despise the daughter of Titan. He declines, saying that another lover has captured his heart, that is Canens. He believes that fate has lined them together and that it may never be separated. Despite her effortless pleas, Picus declines, and asserts some well needed male dominance. Way to be committed to your girl, Pico!
Despite his answer, Circe cries out and warns him that he will not go unpunished, for he has wounded a lover. She begins to do some voodoo dance and Picus instinctively runs away. As he runs, he notices that he is running faster than before, and notices wings appear on his body. Enraged at the transformation, he goes and pecks away at the rough oak, wounding its branches with his hard beak. The story ends with saying that nothing remains of the old king, but his name.

Fil "all the ladies know I like to get ill" said...

My thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I mean come on, when do you see two ladies fighting over their man? Most stories we hear are about two men fighting for the heart of their lover, and both dying in the process, and then leaving her to swear to never marry, or kill herself. No, this story is quite the contrary. The character of the nymph is so contrary to Canens. She is obviously daddy's little girl, and always gets what she wants. Heck, if I was the sun's daughter than I would too. But anyways, being denied by such a hunc, she is enraged, and acts the same way any pithy, hormone-fueled,immature adolescent girl would, she goes and does something to him. Instead of being a nice girl and honoring his wishes for saving himself, she destroys his chance. Unless Picus can go visit the fairy god mother and reverse the spell, I doubt he will have much to say to Canens other than a few squaks.

I greatly admire Picus' character. Despite being the desire of all the ladies in the land, he stood his ground and picked one that he truly loved. I think it is safe to say that Circe was not an ugly girl, and that is not why Picus rejected her. I am sure that with being the daughter of the sun, you get some pretty nice blonde hair and cute freckles. Anyways, Picus does not fall into lust with the sun daughter, and acts the way a noble man should. I can see Picus being a role model for young men. He was faithful in his relationship. How unfortunate his circumstances were. He must have crossed paths with Circe when it was "mother nature's" time to deliver her monthly gift.

Now im off to read what happens when Mr Eagle flies to his lovely Canen. Let us hope and pray that her beautiful voice can restore his previous form.

Adam said...

I read about Perseus and Andromeda in Book 4.
The story starts out with Perseus flying over the Earth with his hands holding Medusa's head. Great drops of blood fall into Libya where the blood transforms into snakes that still roam the desert. To rest, Perseus lands in the land of Atlas and takes off his winged sandals that he borrowed from the nymphs and Mercury. Atlas, the giant who is the king over the farthest parts of the land and sea, mistakes Perseus as the person who was going to steal the Golden Fleece from his orchard. Atlas tries to get rid of Perseus but he stands his ground.Perseus reveals the head of Medusa and Atlas is changed into a mountain. Perseus then continues his flight. He sees a beautiful women named Andromeda who is the daughter of Cepheus. He falls in love at once and goes down to see that she is chained to a rock. Long story short, she tells him that she is a sacrifice to the sea monster. He strikes a deal with her parents that if he kills the sea monster, he will be able to marry Andromeda. Her parents agree and he kills the sea monster. Next, Perseus wraps Medusa's head in seaweed to shield it from any harm. This is what we now call coral. I thought that was pretty cool. Later, Perseus made three sacrifices: one to Mercury, one to Jove, and one to Athene for their help in his battles against Medusa, Atlas, and the sea monster. When they reach the palace, they have a happy wedding.
I love this story because its so classic. A guy is on a quest, he has some trials along the way but at the end he gets the girl and they live happily ever after. What I really like about this story is that after he defeats all of the monsters, he gives thanks to the respective Gods for their help in his battles. I really admire his for that. Ovid is a really good poet and this is defiantly one of his better stories.

Robin said...

Phaethon summary:
Epaphus, son of Clymene, told Phaethon that his father was Apollo but Phaethon didn't believe him. Phaethon travels to the sun god to find the truth. Phoebus vowed to the river Styx that he would grant Phaethon his heart's desire, but Phaethon just wanted to drive Apollo's (now his father) chariot around. Wild horses carried Phoebus and Phaethon across the sky from east to west, and that is what provides sunlight to the earth each day. Although Phoebus warned Phaethon of the danger of taking the reigns by himself, Phaethon does not listen and loses control of the horses. They weaved through constellations and the horses left trails of fire that dried rivers of the earth and evaporated the oceans.The earth cracked in pain and Mother Earth cried out to Juppiter for help, so he threw a lightening bolt to knock Phaethon/chariot out of the sky. The bolt extinguished the fire and killed Phaethon. Phaethon's mother and three sisters mourned his death so long that they turned into poplar trees and their tears turned to amber.
This story brings out a very important moral: listen to your elders. Phaethon is juvenile and doesn't understand that he is not ready to "take the reigns" of his father. It's interesting to note that Phoebus did not do anything to stop Phaethon's actions. It could be because he didn't want to ruin the father/son bond they just developed or maybe he wanted Phaethon to learn his lesson. As Crysanthe said, messing with powerful people, in this story Apollo, is a dangerous affair.

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