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When I was a child and even now I thrill to some of the basic myths and legends from around the world.
I remember laughing about the plan to get Thor’s stolen hammer back by disguising him as a bride. The fact that he couldn’t keep his eyes from glowering behind his veil was funny.
Wiki tells the story about Thor:
In the comedic poem Þrymskviða, Thor again plays a central role. In the poem, Thor wakes and finds that his powerful hammer, Mjöllnir, is missing. Thor turns to Loki, and tells him that nobody knows that the hammer has been stolen. The two go to the dwelling of the goddess Freyja, and so that he may attempt to find Mjöllnir, Thor asks her if he may borrow her feather cloak. Freyja agrees, and says she would lend it to Thor even if it were made of silver or gold, and Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling.
In Jötunheimr, the jötunn Þrymr sits on a barrow, plaiting golden collars for his female dogs, and trimming the manes of his horses. Þrymr sees Loki, and asks what could be amiss among the Æsir and the elves; why is Loki alone in Jötunheimr? Loki responds that he has bad news for both the elves and the Æsir—that Thor's hammer, Mjöllnir, is gone. Þrymr says that he has hidden Mjöllnir eight leagues beneath the earth, from which it will be retrieved, but only if Freyja is brought to him as his wife.
Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling, away from Jötunheimr and back to the court of the gods. Thor asks Loki if his efforts were successful, and that Loki should tell him while he is still in the air as "tales often escape a sitting man, and the man lying down often barks out lies." Loki states that it was indeed an effort, and also a success, for he has discovered that Þrymr has the hammer, but that it cannot be retrieved unless Freyja is brought to Þrymr as his wife. The two return to Freyja and tell her to put on a bridal head dress, as they will drive her to Jötunheimr. Freyja, indignant and angry, goes into a rage, causing all of the halls of the Æsir to tremble in her anger, and her necklace, the famed Brísingamen, falls from her. Freyja pointedly refuses.
As a result, the gods and goddesses meet and hold a thing to discuss and debate the matter. At the thing, the god Heimdallr puts forth the suggestion that, in place of Freyja, Thor should be dressed as the bride, complete with jewels, women's clothing down to his knees, a bridal head-dress, and the necklace Brísingamen. Thor rejects the idea, yet Loki interjects that this will be the only way to get back Mjöllnir. Loki points out that, without Mjöllnir, the jötnar will be able to invade and settle in Asgard. The gods dress Thor as a bride, and Loki states that he will go with Thor as his maid, and that the two shall drive to Jötunheimr together.
After riding together in Thor's goat-driven chariot, the two, disguised, arrive in Jötunheimr. Þrymr commands the jötnar in his hall to spread straw on the benches, for Freyja has arrived to be his wife. Þrymr recounts his treasured animals and objects, stating that Freyja was all that he was missing in his wealth.
Early in the evening, the disguised Loki and Thor meet with Þrymr and the assembled jötnar. Thor eats and drinks ferociously, consuming entire animals and three casks of mead. Þrymr finds the behaviour at odds with his impression of Freyja, and Loki, sitting before Þrymr and appearing as a "very shrewd maid", makes the excuse that "Freyja's" behaviour is due to her having not consumed anything for eight entire days before arriving due to her eagerness to arrive. Þrymr then lifts "Freyja's" veil and wants to kiss "her". Terrifying eyes stare back at him, seemingly burning with fire. Loki says that this is because "Freyja" has not slept for eight nights in her eagerness.
The "wretched sister" of the jötnar appears, asks for a bridal gift from "Freyja", and the jötnar bring out Mjöllnir to "sanctify the bride", to lay it on her lap, and marry the two by "the hand" of the goddess Vár. Thor laughs internally when he sees the hammer, takes hold of it, strikes Þrymr, beats all of the jötnar, kills their "older sister", and so gets his hammer back.
Odin’s two ravens that represent thought and memory are rich symbols.
In Norse mythology, Huginn (from Old Norse "thought") and Muninn (Old Norse "memory" or "mind") are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring the god Odin information. Huginn and Muninn are attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; in the Third Grammatical Treatise, compiled in the 13th century by Óláfr Þórðarson; and in the poetry of skalds.I have long been intrigued by the story of Penelope making sure it was really her husband who had come home after tricking the suitors for so long.
The names of the ravens are sometimes modernly anglicized as Hugin and Munin.
In the Poetic Edda, a disguised Odin expresses that he fears that they may not return from their daily flights. The Prose Edda explains that Odin is referred to as "raven-god" due to his association with Huginn and Muninn. In the Prose Edda and the Third Grammatical Treatise, the two ravens are described as perching on Odin's shoulders. Heimskringla details that Odin gave Huginn and Muninn the ability to speak.
Odysseus has now revealed himself in all his glory (with a little makeover by Athena); yet Penelope cannot believe that her husband has really returned—she fears that it is perhaps some god in disguise, as in the story of Alcmene—and tests him by ordering her servant Euryclea to move the bed in their wedding-chamber. Odysseus protests that this cannot be done since he made the bed himself and knows that one of its legs is a living olive tree.
Before the cheesy Hercules animated movie, Hercules was a mighty hero. Tricking Atlas into taking his mountains back on his shoulder after he got the golden apples was very interesting. In fact, trickery was a big factor in a lot of the tales.
First Labour: Nemean lionPoor Paris was certainly tricked. He chose Aphrodite and Troy paid for it in blood and destruction.
Second Labour: Lernaen hydra
Third Labour: Ceryneian Hind
Fourth Labour: Erymanthian Boar
Fifth Labour: Augean stables
Sixth Labour: Stymphalian Birds
Seventh Labour: Cretan Bull
Eighth Labour: Mares of Diomedes
Ninth Labour: Belt of Hippolyta
Tenth Labour: Cattle of Geryon
Eleventh Labour: Apples of the Hesperides
Finally making his way to the Garden of the Hesperides, Hercules tricked Atlas into retrieving some of the golden apples for him, by offering to hold up the heavens for a little while (Atlas was able to take them as, in this version, he was the father or otherwise related to the Hesperides). This would have made this task – like the Hydra and Augean stables – void because he had received help. Upon his return, Atlas decided that he did not want to take the heavens back, and instead offered to deliver the apples himself, but Hercules tricked him again by agreeing to take his place on condition that Atlas relieve him temporarily so that Hercules could make his cloak more comfortable. Atlas agreed, but Hercules reneged and walked away, carrying the apples. According to an alternative version, Hercules slew Ladon, the dragon-like guardian of the apples, instead. Furious that Hercules had accomplished something that Eurystheus thought could not possibly be done, he sent Hercules off to his final task, the capture of Cerberus, the three-headed guardian hound of the gates of the Underworld.
Twelfth Labour: Cerberus
The goddesses thought to be the most beautiful were Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, and each one claimed the apple. They started a quarrel so they asked Zeus to choose one of them. Knowing that choosing any of them would bring him the hatred of the other two, Zeus did not want to take part in the decision. He thus appointed Paris to select the most beautiful. Escorted by Hermes, the three goddesses bathed in the spring of Mount Ida and approached Paris as he herded his cattle. Paris, having been given permission by Zeus to set any conditions he saw fit, required that the goddesses disrobe and allow him to see them naked. (Another version of the myth says that the goddesses themselves chose to undress to show all their beauty.)Apollo the driver of the chariot of the sun and the healer and oracle stands out in my mind.
Still, Paris could not decide, as all three were ideally beautiful, so the goddesses attempted to bribe him to choose among them - Hera offered ownership of all of Europe and Asia; Athena offered skill in battle, wisdom and the abilities of the greatest warriors; and Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helen of Sparta. Paris chose Aphrodite— and, therefore, Helen.
Helen was already married to King Menelaus of Sparta (a fact Aphrodite neglected to mention), so Paris had to raid Menelaus's house to steal Helen from him (according to some accounts, she fell in love with Paris and left willingly). The Greeks' expedition to retrieve Helen from Paris in Troy is the mythological basis of the Trojan War. This triggered the war because Helen was famous for her beauty throughout Achaea (ancient Greece), and had many suitors of extraordinary ability. Therefore, following Odysseus's advice, her father Tyndareus made all suitors promise to defend Helen's marriage to the man he chose for her. When she disappeared to Troy, Menelaus invoked this oath. Helen's other suitors—who between them represented the lion's share of Achaea's strength, wealth and military prowess—were obligated to help bring her back. Thus, the whole of Greece moved against Troy in force. The Trojan War had begun.
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in ancient Greek and Roman religion, Greek and Roman mythology, and Greco–Roman Neopaganism. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.The one whose story hurts my heart the most is Cassandra who is cursed by Apollo to tell the truth about the future and to not be believed.
As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Amongst the god's custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musegetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans.
Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba and the twin sister of Helenus. She was said to have had red hair kept in curls, blue eyes, and fair skin and she was very beautiful, intelligent, charming, desirable, elegant, friendly, and gentle, but she was considered to be insane. Cassandra was described as the "second most beautiful woman in the world." Her beauty was even compared to that of Aphrodite and Helen of Troy.Gods and goddesses were deadly, too, when mortals collided with them through love or pride and paid the price.
Apollo's cursed gift to Cassandra became a source of endless pain and frustration to her. In some versions of the myth, this is symbolized by the god spitting into her mouth; in other Greek versions, this act was sufficient to remove the gift so recently given by Apollo, but Cassandra's case varies. From Aeschylus' Agamemnon, it appears that she has made a promise to Apollo to become his consort, but broke it, thus incurring his wrath: though she has retained the power of foresight, no one will believe her predictions.
While Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy (she warned the Trojans about the Trojan Horse, the death of Agamemnon, and her own demise), she was unable to do anything to forestall these tragedies since no one believed her. Coroebus and Othronus came to the aid of Troy out of love for Cassandra. Cassandra was also the first to see the body of her brother Hector being brought back to the city.
Prometheus paid for sharing fire and creativity with humans until he was rescued later.
Prometheus is a Titan, culture hero, and trickster figure who in Greek mythology is credited with the creation of man from clay and the theft of fire for human use, an act that enabled progress and civilization. He is known for his intelligence, and as a champion of mankind.Monsters are fascinating...The Medusa, the Minotaur, Centaurs, and Cerberus.
The punishment of Prometheus as a consequence of the theft is a major theme of his mythology, and is a popular subject of both ancient and modern art. Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, sentenced the Titan to eternal torment for his transgression. The immortal Prometheus was bound to a rock, where each day an eagle, the emblem of Zeus, was sent to feed on his liver, only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. In some stories, Prometheus is freed at last by the hero Heracles (Hercules).
A list is here:
Something deep inside is stirred up when I read the stories about dolphins sacred to both Aphrodite and Apollo. I especially like the story of Arion.
According to Herodotus' account of the Lydian empire under the Mermnads, Arion attended a musical competition in Sicily, which he won. On his return trip from Tarentum, avaricious sailors plotted to kill Arion and steal the rich prizes he carried home. Arion was given the choice of suicide with a proper burial on land, or being thrown in the sea to perish. Neither prospect appealed to Arion: as Robin Lane Fox observes, "No Greek would swim out into the deep from a boat for pleasure." He asked for permission to sing a last song to win time.I am not the only one fascinated by this story…wiki tells of recent uses:
Playing his kithara, Arion sang a praise to Apollo, the god of poetry, and his song attracted a number of dolphins around the ship. At the end of the song, Arion threw himself into the sea rather than be killed, but one of the dolphins saved his life and carried him to safety at the sanctuary of Poseidon at Cape Tainaron. …Arion, according to Herodotus' brief excursus, then continued to Corinth by other means and arrived before the sailors that tried to kill him. On his return to Corinth, the king didn't quite believe Arion's story. The sailors believed Arion was dead in the sea, and on arrival in Corinth they told the king that Arion had decided to remain in Italy. After Arion presented himself, they could no longer deny the truth.
The story as Herodotus tells it was taken up in other literature. Lucian of Samosata wittily imagined the dialogue between Poseidon and the very dolphin who bore Arion.
Augustine of Hippo asserted that pagans "believed in what they read in their own books" and took Arion to be a historical individual. "there is no historicity in this tale",also according to Eunice Burr Stebbins, and Arion and the dolphins is given as an example of "a folkloristic motif especially associated with Apollo" by Irad Malkin. Yet there are many more or less reliable historical accounts from many periods of people being saved by dolphins. Erasmus instanced Arion as one of the traditional poet's topics that sound like historia rather than fabulae, though he misremembered that Augustine had taken the Arion story to be historia.
Other variations of the story exist. In 1994, it was adapted by Vikram Seth and Alec Roth for the opera Arion and the Dolphin (aka "The Dolphin Opera"), commissioned by the English National Opera for professional performers with community chorus and children's chorus. It premiered at Plymouth in 1994 under conductor Nicholas Kok and director Rebecca Meitlis.The trickster, Coyote, appears in modern stories by Charles De Lint and others.
Arion is alluded to in Plato's "Republic" at 453d, where Socrates says: “Then we, too, must swim and try to escape out of the sea of argument in the hope that either some dolphin will take us on its back . . ."
Arion is mentioned in Act 1, scene ii of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, where the Captain reassures Viola that her brother may still be alive after the shipwreck, for "like Arion on the dolphin's back, I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves."
Arion is mentioned in the first stanza of Luis de Góngora's Soledades.
Arion is a poem by Alexander Pushkin.
Arion is a journal of humanities and the classics published at Boston University.
The Jimmy Buffett song Jolly Mon is based on this fable.
There is a cantata by the French Baroque composer André Campra telling the story of Arion.
Arion on the dolphin is the imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publishers based in Boston and New York; the figure was used previously by the sixteenth-century Basel printer Johannes Oporinus as his device.
Since November 2009 the Icelandic bank Nýja Kaupþing ("New Kaupthing") since being taken over by the Icelandic state has been rebranded as Arion banki.
A cantata for children's choir & piano, 'Arion and the Dolphin', by the English composer Philip Godfrey, was first performed in 2003.
Coyote is a figure in the following cultural areas of the Americas, as commonly defined by ethnographers:Ireland has many legendary heroes to enjoy, Cuchulain, Finn, and real ones like Brian Boru.
Coyote is featured in the culture of the following groups who live in the area covered by the state of California: the Karuk, the Maidu of Northern California, the Tongva of Southern California, the Ohlone mythology of Northern California, the Miwok mythology of Northern California, and the Pomo mythology of Northern California.
Coyote is seen in the cultural heritage of these people of the Great Plains area: the Crow mythology (Crow Nation), the Ho-Chunk mythology (Ho-Chunk, Winnebago), and the Menominee.
Myths and stories of Coyote are also found in the cultures of the Plateau area: the Chinookan (including the Wishram people and the Multnomah), the Flathead, the Nez Perce, the Nlaka'pamux, the Syilx (Okanagan), the St'at'imc, the Tsilhqot'in, and the Yakama.
Coyote has been compared to both the Scandinavian Loki, and also Prometheus, who shared with Coyote the trick of having stolen fire from the gods as a gift for mankind, and Anansi, a mythological culture hero from Western African mythology. In Eurasia, rather than a coyote, a fox is often featured as a trickster hero, ranging from kitsune (fox) tales in Japan to the Reynard cycle in Western Europe. Similarities can also be drawn with another trickster, the Polynesian demigod Māui, who also stole fire for mankind and introduced death to the world.
The Ulster Cycle is traditionally set around the time of Christ, and most of the action takes place in the provinces of Ulster and Connacht. It consists of a group of heroic tales dealing with the lives of Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster, the great hero Cú Chulainn, the son of Lug, and of their friends, lovers, and enemies.These are the Ulaid, or people of the North-Eastern corner of Ireland and the action of the stories centres round the royal court at Emain Macha (known in English as Navan Fort), close to the modern town of Armagh. The Ulaid had close links with the Irish colony in Scotland, and part of Cú Chulainn's training takes place in that colony.
The cycle consists of stories of the births, early lives and training, wooings, battles, feastings, and deaths of the heroes and reflects a warrior society in which warfare consists mainly of single combats and wealth is measured mainly in cattle. These stories are written mainly in prose. The centrepiece of the Ulster Cycle is the Táin Bó Cúailnge. Other important Ulster Cycle tales include The Tragic Death of Aife's only Son, Bricriu's Feast, and The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel.
The Exile of the Sons of Usnach, better known as the tragedy of Deirdre and the source of plays by John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats, and Vincent Woods, is also part of this cycle.
This cycle is, in some respects, close to the mythological cycle. Some of the characters from the latter reappear, and the same sort of shape-shifting magic is much in evidence, side by side with a grim, almost callous realism. While we may suspect a few characters, such as Medb or Cú Roí, of once being deities, and Cú Chulainn in particular displays superhuman prowess, the characters are mortal and associated with a specific time and place. If the Mythological Cycle represents a Golden Age, the Ulster Cycle is Ireland's Heroic Age.
Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig (c. 941–23 April 1014) (English: Brian Boru, Middle Irish: Brian Bóruma, Irish: Brian Bóroimhe), was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Building on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, and especially his elder brother, Mathgamain, Brian first made himself King of Munster, then subjugated Leinster, making himself ruler of the south of Ireland. He is the founder of the O'Brien dynasty.Favorite books about Ireland are by Morgan Llywelyn:
The Uí Néill king Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, abandoned by his northern kinsmen of the Cenél nEógain and Cenél Conaill, acknowledged Brian as High King at Athlone in 1002. In the decade that followed, Brian campaigned against the northern Uí Néill, who refused to accept his claims, against Leinster, where resistance was frequent, and against the Norse Gaelic Kingdom of Dublin. Brian's hard-won authority was seriously challenged in 1013 when his ally Máel Sechnaill was attacked by the Cenél nEógain king Flaithbertach Ua Néill, with the Ulstermen as his allies.
This was followed by further attacks on Máel Sechnaill by the Dubliners under their king Sihtric Silkbeard and the Leinstermen led by Máel Mórda mac Murchada. Brian campaigned against these enemies in 1013. In 1014, Brian's armies confronted the armies of Leinster and Dublin at Clontarf near Dublin on Good Friday. The resulting Battle of Clontarf was a bloody affair, with Brian, his son Murchad, and Máel Mórda among those killed. The list of the noble dead in the Annals of Ulster includes Irish kings, Norse Gaels, Scotsmen, and Scandinavians. The immediate beneficiary of the slaughter was Máel Sechnaill who resumed his interrupted reign.
Lion of Ireland
A fun set of books with many Greek and Norse characters is by Kelly McCullough:
The hero of the stories is so good at programming that his many times great aunt wishes him to do a job for her. That she is a Fate is only one part of the problem because what she wants is so terrible, he must refuse.
Refusing a Fate is not good. One should also not believe that Zeus is just a wino who loves to party. It can be tough to know that Pluto is waiting impatiently to get his hands on you. And the Furies? I leave it to your imagination. When I read the books, I spent my time either laughing or cowering under the couch.
There are many tales around the world which I hope you will share.
Which stories are your favorites?
Diaries of the Week
Write On! The question is more important than the answer.
Thursday Classical Music, Opus 93: Hector Berlioz, Harold en Italie
by Dave in Northridge
August 23, 1942 - Stalingrad
Speaking of myths and legends, my dear friend jeanette0605 is doing her first diary at DKos, a genealogy diary for GFHC: Family Legends, Fact or Fiction, on Friday, the 31rst at 9:00 AM about family legends that may or not be true.
I have some of those tales myself to tell about. I hope you will all drop in and share.
NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early