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Titanophobia

O Mighty Titans, who from heav’n and earth Derive your noble and illustrious birth… Avert your rage, if from th’ infernal seats One of your tribe should visit our retreats.[1] Zeus is the king of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus, but “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”[2] In the first book of the Iliad the hero Achilles tells the tale of his mother the goddess Thetis rescuing… Read more

Women and Goddesses in the Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh is a Babylonian epic, recorded in Akkadian on a number of ancient tablets. Gilgamesh is thought to have lived around 2,800 – 2,500 BCE[1], and most of the tablets, telling the standard version of the story, are thought to date from the seventh century BCE. Stephanie Dalley also gives an earlier version in her book, called the Old Babylonian Version, dating to around the early second millennium[2]. There are… Read more

Book Club | April 2024: Juvenal Satires

“Yet what state did Xerxes return in, on relinquishing Salamis? He vented his savage rage by lashing the winds, Caurus, Eurus, Who’d never experienced the like even in their Aeolian prison, He bound Poseidon, the Earthshaker himself, with chains, (That was lenient. What? Didn’t he think him worth branding Too? What god would have chosen to be that man’s slave?) What state was he in? In a single ship, of course, sailing the Bloodstained waves, his prow slowly pushing… Read more

Open House | Thebes, with Paul Cartledge

We are delighted to welcome Paul Cartledge, of Clare College, University of Cambridge, to join members of the Kosmos Society for an Open House discussion on ‘Thebes: the lost city of ancient Greece’ Thebes, the third largest city in ancient Greece, is often considered a backwater, lacking culture and art. In fact, Thebes was the site of many important Greek myths, including Oedipus and The Seven Against Thebes, as well… Read more

Athena, Protector of Cities

Following the exploration of Aphrodite and Artemis in the shorter Homeric Hymns, it’s Athena’s turn. There are two hymns: 11 and 28. I start with the shorter one: Homeric Hymn (11) to Athena [1] Of Pallas Athene, city-protector [erusi-ptolis], I begin to sing. Terrible [deinos] is she, and with Ares she loves deeds of war [polemēios], the sacking [perthesthai] of cities [polis] and the shouting [aütē] and wars [ptolemos]. It… Read more

Nerites: Father of Love

Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born of the severed genitals of the primordial sky-god Uranus when his son Cronus tossed them into the barren sea. Foam-born Aphrodite came to life among the gentle sea deities of the Aegean. Being born without a mother is not such an odd occurrence in Greek mythology. Athena sprang forth from Zeus’ brow fully-grown and fully-armed. Dionysus was born of his father… Read more

Book Club | March 2024: Aeschylus Agamemnon

Chorus of the Old Men of Argos: I still can hear the older warlord saying, ‘Obey, obey, or a heavy doom will crush me – Oh but doom will crush me once I rend my child, the glory of my house – a father’s hands are stained, blood of a young girl streaks the altar. Pain both ways and what is worse? Desert the fleets, fail the alliance? No, but… Read more

The Saved Ship

The wine-transporting ships of Portus The third century marble plaque of the Collezione Torlonia—as represented in Figure 1— is a votive dedicated to the wine god Liber—Bacchus.[1] The relief represents a ship arriving at Rome’s imperial seaport Portus. A line of waves frames the lower side of the decoration on the relief. On the left the waves are high and on the right the waves are low. The left of… Read more

Herodotus in Egypt

Eugen Bracht: Memory of Gizeh, 1883 In a recent post, Claudie Cox shared her impressions and photos from a tour in Egypt. And a couple of years ago, the Herodotus Study Group was reading Book 2 of Herodotus’ Histories, which included his observations of Egypt and accounts of its history and customs. So this brought to mind a few of the passages from Book 2 that stood out for us.… Read more

Women in Diodorus Siculus | part 4: More Women, and Conclusions

Diodorus Siculus This is the final blogpost that was inspired by my reading of Diodorus’s Library[1] for the Kosmos Society Book Club in 2023. Diodorus wrote about the actions of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE, and about the wars of succession that took place after the death of Alexander. Earlier blogposts looked at the general social and religious contexts at the time,… Read more

Upcoming Events

Apr
17
Wed
11:00 am Herodotus Translation Study Group
Herodotus Translation Study Group
Apr 17 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Herodotus Translation Study Group
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Apr
18
Thu
9:30 am Thucydides Book One
Thucydides Book One
Apr 18 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Thucydides Book One
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Apr
19
Fri
4:00 pm Plato Meno
Plato Meno
Apr 19 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
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Apr
22
Mon
9:00 am Odyssey Study Group (Phaeacians)
Odyssey Study Group (Phaeacians)
Apr 22 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
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11:30 am Poetry Study Group (Mnēmai)
Poetry Study Group (Mnēmai)
Apr 22 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Poetry Study Group (Mnēmai)
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1:00 pm Iliad Study Group (Scamandrians)
Iliad Study Group (Scamandrians)
Apr 22 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
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Apr
23
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10:00 am Latin
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Apr 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
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3:00 pm Euripides Medea (Thespians)
Euripides Medea (Thespians)
Apr 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
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Apr
24
Wed
11:00 am Herodotus Translation Study Group
Herodotus Translation Study Group
Apr 24 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Herodotus Translation Study Group
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Apr
26
Fri
4:00 pm Plato Meno
Plato Meno
Apr 26 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
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