YOLO for Apollo!

YOLO for Apollo!

It has almost been a year since I last posted about the juicy gossips of the ancient Greek Gods, their passions and adventures. As the title indicates, we will not focus on Zeus’ pants today but on Apollo’s adventures and the grace of his so-called perfection.

Apollo (Απόλλων) was not one of the first Olympic God and the mortals’ perspective of him was close to that of the ideal god, the one with the least human imperfections than the rest of the Gods. Besides, Apollo was what every Greek wished to be; Handsome, but with a manly stature but likeable all the while, strong, brave, artful, as well as prudent, equally experiences with science, beauty, pleasures and the arts, and just to his friendships, barely tender to his loved ones and so secluded to his personal freedom that he could never bare the marital burden.

He was the son of Zeus and Lito (Λητώ) (insert Zeus’ pants comment here) and was said to be born in the island of Dilos (Δήλος), which was protected by Poseidon as it was covered with waves and hidden from sunlight. Apollo’s mother gave birth to him there because of Hera’s curse, which was that the mortal mother not give birth but to a place with no sunlight. How ironic that Apollo is also the God of light, of sun and of knowledge though he was born under the waves and hidden from the sun and its warmth.

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To the point now, his love adventures and passions of pleasure.
Apollo was famous for his adventures with both Goddesses as well as mortals, all great figures of beauty. To begin with, the Goddess Estia (Εστία) refused his passions and swore to Zeus eternal virginity. There are myths that Apollo even went after his twin sister, Artemis, and that the attack was committed next to her own temple in Dilos (insert Lannister joke here). Then there was the muse Kalliopi (Καλλιόπη) and the list goes on and on….

The one I liked is that of Daphne, who rejected all men’s proposals and was very free-spirited in general. Leucippus though, driven by his pure love for the nymph let his hair grow long, wore women’s garments and earned her friendship. However, Apollo had already set his eyes on the woman so he tried to reveal Leucippus secret and draw him away from her. Soon, the God persuaded the woman to invite all her friends to go for a swim at the river Lathona. Leucippus, unable to explain his refusal to the invitation was forced to reveal himself and his sex. Of course, they instantly killed him.  His rival now gone, Apollo chased after Daphne who ran to save herself. Once Apollo caught up to her and embraced her, the nymph prayed and begged her mother, Gaia, to help her. The earth opened up and swallowed Daphne whole. In that same spot Apollo watched as a plant quickly grew and that was laurel or in Greek, daphne (Δάφνη).

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Another good story is that of mortal Marpessa (Μάρπησσα), to whom Apollo actually proposed believing the feeling of love to be mutual. However, witty Marpessa ad another one on the side, Idas (Ίδας), with whom she eloped on a flying horse. Apollo was enraged and chased after them. Thank Zeus, the father of the Gods actually intervened and ordered Marpessa choose one.  The woman worried that Apollo as an immortal and ageless would abandon her once she got older, chose Idas who was mortal. The god respected her choice and walked away. – May I just congratulate this beautiful immortal bachelor for at least knowing when to give up instead of cursing and killing mortals? Truly the most different of the rest of the Gods. May I also point out how wise Marpessa was? I mean, she really thought ahead and wasn’t driven by beauty, power or passions.
Well done to all of you, guys!
Modern Greeks approve!

 

Source: Ρίσπεν Ζ., Ελληνική Μυθολογία, Εκδόσεις Τριήρης, Τόμος 1ος, σ.127-142

Oedipus, the tragic mother fucker

Oedipus, the tragic mother fucker

Let’s see another example of Zeus actually keeping his pants on. This is considered tragic, probably because it is a mortal’s story. The beginning of the curse in the dynasty of Thebes (δυναστεία των Λαβδακιδών).

It all began when Oedipus’ (Οιδίποδας) father, Laius (Λάιος) fell in love with young prince Chrysippus (Χρύσιππος) who taught him how to ride the chariot. The rapped prince rejected Laius’ “feelings” and killed himself so his father, king Pelopas (Πέλοπας) cursed Laius. The curse was granted by Apollo who was enraged by Laius crime and for ignoring the prophecy of prophet Pythia (Πυθία) on this matter.

Lauis then went on to marry Jocasta (Ιοκάστη). As they could not conceive, they asked for the help of Delphus (Δελφοί), the prophets of Apollo, who told them that Laius should not have a child because he will be the cause of his doom. This child would kill him and marry Jocasta, drowning his family in blood and disgrace. However, when night came, orgies were held in the palace and in the burning of their passions they conceived a boy. The parents, aware that the child should not have been born, decided to leave it up the mountain. Therefore, they pierced his feet with metal sticks, which cause them to swell and hung him over a tree. The abandoned child was found by sheppards who named him Oedipus because of his swollen feet (οίδημα=swelling, πόδας=foot).

He was taken to the king of Corinthus (Κόρινθος), Polivus (Πόλυβος) and his wife Meropi (Μερόπη) who took him in and raised him as their own since they were childless. The years passed and Oedipus grew up to be a sturdy and clever young man. However, when the matter of his origin came up, his foster parents refused to answer him clearly so he went to the oracle of Delphus where they told him that he should not return home as he would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus though still thought that Polivus and Meropi were his natural parents so he decided against going back to Corinthus.

He headed towards Thebes (Θήβα), the kingdom of Laius, and on his way there met the king himself who he did not recognize. There was a misunderstanding between the two men who quarreled and finally fought. As predicted by the prophets, Oedipus killed his father then and there and headed again towards Thebes. There a hero was in need to kill the beast of the Sphinx (σφίγγα), who would ask passengers a riddle and would kill them if their answer was wrong. Witty Oedipus solved the riddle of “What creature first has four legs, then two and finally three” with his answer “Man, who first crawls, then walks and finally needs a staff as a support to move”. When the Sphinx heard the correct answer, she fell off the cliff she was standing on.

Creon who was now king of Thebes, gave his widow sister as a reward to Oedipus for he had defeated the beast that consumed the citizens of Thebes. So the prophesy was once again fulfilled as Oedipus married his mother, Jocasta. Together they had four children, Polynices (Πολυνίκης) , Eteocles (Ετεοκλής), Ismene (Ισμήνη) and Antigone (Αντιγόνη). However, big famine fell upon the kingdom and the prophet Teireseus (Τειρεσίας) was the one to explain its cause. He revealed that as long as the killer of the previous King was left unpunished the kingdom would suffer. Lastly he unveiled the truth about Oedipus crimes of killing his father and marrying his mother. Oedipus then cursed his children that were seeds of such hideous crimes and blinded and cast himself to exile.  Once Jocasta found out about her dishonorable marriage she hung herself.

What? Do you think that was it for Oedipus? Of course not! While Jocasta hung herself for her shame, our Oedipus found himself a nice virgin in the mountain he “exiled” himself, who bared many children for him… ο κάφρος.
I know what you’re thinking: didn’t Zeus do the same? Didn’t he kill his father, Cronos (who also knew a son would be a threat to him) and marry his sister Hera? Why do we see Oedipus story as tragic but Zeus is the great God and father of all?

I feel that if I don’t mention Zeus’s pants in every post I’m losing the essence of Greek mythology haha…

Source: Ρίσπεν Ζ., Ελληνική Μυθολογία, Εκδόσεις Τριήρης, Τόμος 5ος, σ.739-744