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