Symposium, a philosophical work by Plato written between 385 and 370 BC, is about a friendly competition between speeches given by famous men at a banquet. During the talk, Socrates says that a priestess from Mantinea named Diotima taught him “the philosophy of love” when he was young. Socrates also says that Diotima slowed down the spread of the Plague of Athens, which destroyed the ancient Greek city-state of Athens in the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC). Aside from these few details, we don’t know much about Diotima as a person, until now.
As the bird is the symbol of the spirit of life, the serpent is the symbol of the sting of death. This was a very wide-spread ancient belief. The association of the bird and the serpent to life and death goes back to the last part of the stone age, later represented by ancient Greek’s Medusa, all the way to ancient China where the two animals are revered as embodiments of power and nobility.
Ancient cultures around the world saw the sea as a dangerous place, filled with beings who preyed upon people – especially men. The legatus of Gaul once wrote to Emperor Augustus claiming that he found a considerable number of nereids dead upon the sea-shore. Although most retelling of the Odyssey depict the sirens as little more than dangerous women leading men to their deaths, there have also been some studies that provide more depth.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. However, even the most optimistic among us will agree that marriages are challenging and takes a lot of work to maintain. It is so challenging that it takes two people to maintain a working marriage – the two people are, of course, the husband and wife who want to make it work. Some marriages maybe downright difficult, miserable and even unsalvageable at times. Even Hera, the ancient Greek goddess who were actually in charge of family and marriage, had to constantly battle the many infidelities of Zeus, her philandering husband.
So now we know that, at least in Macbeth, the witches are scary women. Great. The three scary women feature everywhere in history. Why are we so afraid of them?
Sortition by lot was a form of selecting public officials in some ancient Greek city-states. It has been used particularly in the democracy of ancient Athens from which most information … Continue reading Very Short Story about Voting in Ancient Greek and Rome
Out of all the millions of myths around the world today, I think we can agree that Greek mythology is arguably the most famous. A significant reason for this is … Continue reading The Men Behind the Gods and the Power of the Ancient Media
At the dark of the moon, an ancient goddess walked through the roads of ancient Greece, accompanied by sacred dogs and bearing a blazing torch. Occasionally she stopped to gather … Continue reading The Horse, the Snake and the Dog: The Three Heads of the Real Queen of the Night
“There was a time when divine Calypso kept me within her arching caverns and would have had me to be her husband, and another time subtle Circe confined me in her palace and would have had me for husband also. Yet neither of them could win the heart within me.” Odysseus says to King Alcinous.
From Calypso, the solitary enchantress of the Odyssey, we learn the power of creating a beautiful environment. Calypso was the goddess-nymph of the mythical island of Ogygia and a daughter … Continue reading Calypso, the Art of Owning Her Narrative and the Magic of Good Housekeeping