Do only birds fly?

There is nothing sweeter than to fly [petesthai]. Aristophanes Birds 1343 Flying has often been one of our challenges as humans. We like to watch birds fly and we have been trying to copy them. And in myth gods and other entities are able to fly. Here are some passages from the ancient world about flight that is not by birds. Actors representing birds. Black-figured wine-jug, c 510–490BCE. © The… Read more

Book Club | March 2022: Homeric Hymns to Apollo and Hermes

How, then, shall I sing of you who in all ways are a worthy theme of song? For everywhere, O Phoebus, the whole range of song is fallen to you, both over the mainland that rears heifers and over the isles. All mountain-peaks and high headlands of lofty hills and rivers flowing out to the deep and beaches sloping seawards and havens of the sea are your delight. Homeric Hymn… Read more

Divine Deceiver: Hermes in the Homeric Hymns

I read with great interest and enjoyment the recent posts by Jacqui Donlon “Divine Doppelgänger: Hermes and Odysseus” and by Bill Moulton: “The Divine Doublet: Odysseus and Hermes“, and became intrigued to learn more about Hermes as deceiver, as portrayed in the Homeric Hymns. Although the longer hymn is number 4, there is another, much shorter, hymn dedicated to Hermes, number 18. So I’ll start with that one: …He [=… Read more

The Divine Doublet: Hermes and Odysseus

His story starts in a cave far from the company of the blessed gods in the care of a daughter of the Titan Atlas. His story often ends in a cave too. In between, he slays a giant shepherd with an unusual number of eyes, is connected with the slaughter of sacred cows, smells the aroma of broiling steak but does not partake, and is involved in meals with appropriate shares for each honored… Read more

Divine Doppelgänger: Hermes and Odysseus

When she [= Kalypsō] had thus spoken she led the way rapidly before him, and Odysseus followed in her steps; so the pair, goddess and man, went on and on till they came to Kalypsō’s cave, [195] where Odysseus took the seat that Hermes had just left. [καί ῥ᾽ὁ μὲν ἔνθα καθέζετ᾽ ἐπὶ θρόνου ἔνθεν ἀνέστη Ἑρμείας] Kalypsō set meat and drink before him all kinds of food to eat… Read more