Thursday, August 30, 2007


Come on, who doesn't feel like this some of the time? Or most of the time?... All the time? I know I feel like this at least about once a month. Screaming with snaky hair and a gaze that can turn living things to stone, yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel before my period.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yeah, I'm a Simpson.

You can "Simpson-ize" yourself at this Simpsons-Burger-King movie promotional website called Simpsonizeme - as in Simpson-ize me. You'll have to Google it because I just can't work out how to make things turn into Html on this bloggy here thingamajiggy. No wonder people have secretaries....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aphrodite Ourania

In Hesiod's "Theogony" (c. 700 BCE) which tells the stories of the origins of the Greek gods, Aphrodite is said to be born from the testicles of the sky god, Ouranos, and the sea. This archaic terracotta from the sanctury of Hera Limenaia at Perachora has been interpreted as an image of Aphrodite emerging out of the scrotum of Ouranos. Fascinating, no? Do you think it is a scrotum? Seems feasible to me, although we can't prove it.
Here's Aphrodite's birth myth from "Theogony" lines 188-206. (Setting the scene: Kronos has just castrated his father, Ouranos, with a sickle and thrown the testicles/genitals away. The blood from the wound fell on Earth and generated the Erinyes/Furies, the Giants and the Ash-tree Nymphs) while...

“The genitals, cut off with admant
And thrown from land into the stormy sea,
‘Were carried for a long time on the waves.
White foam surrounded the immortal flesh,
And in it grew a girl. At first it touched
On holy Cythera, from there it came
To Cyprus, circled by the waves. And there
The goddess came forth, lovely, much revered,
And grass grew up beneath her delicate feet.
Her name is Aphrodite among men
And gods, because she grew up in the foam,
And Cytherea, for she reached that land,
And Cyprogenes from the stormy place
Where she was born, and Philommedes from
The genitals, by which she was conceived.
Eros is her companion; fair Desire
Followed her from the first, both at her birth
And when she joined the company of the gods.
From the beginning, both among gods and men,
She had this honour and received this power:
Fond murmuring of girls, and smiles, and tricks,
And sweet delight, and friendliness and charm.”

Breasts or testicles - or eggs?

Artemis of Ephesus has been interpreted as being "many-breasted" and there are a lot of later statues that do interpret these globules as "breasts". However some people think she may have been adorned with many scrotal sacs from sacrifical animals. Or many eggs. I personally think that the original statue was probably adorned with seasonal offerings which most likely included token parts of sacrificial animals as well as seeds, fruits and flowers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Post-Minoan Minoanism

You know you can get these Minoan Snake Goddess figurines now. Check out the Snake Goddess Votary without her head here - you can see how she was restored (scroll down for that). Also, here's an example of Minoan costume in the opening ceremony for the Athens Olympic games.

Minoan Style Costume

I'm writing an essay on Minoan style costume and how I believe that they *did not* wear corsets - many people believe they did. It started off with an interest in the exposed-breast aspect of the Minoan-style women's garments, and then lead into an interest in the whole costume. I must say however, that although I tried to "out-Minoan" the Minoans with a focus on prominent breasts, this lady from Thera really beats me, even with my three breasts!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mighty Aphrodite

Children, the Kyprian is not the Kyprian alone, but she is called by many names. She is Hades, she is immortal life, she is raving madness, she is unmixed desire, she is lamentation; in her is all activity, all tranquility, all that leads to violence. For she sinks into the vitals of all that have life; who is not greedy for that goddess? She enters into the swimming race of fishes, she is within the four legged brood upon dry-land, and her wing ranges among birds… among beasts, among mortals, among the race of gods above. Which among the gods does she not wrestle and throw three times? If I may speak out – and I may speak out – to tell the truth, she rules over the heart of Zeus, without spear, without iron. All the plans of mortals and of gods are cut short by the Kyprian.

~Fragment attributed to Sophocles.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Snake Goddess, Fake Goddess

Now you know this gorgeous ivory thing (directly above) is a fake, don't you? Yep, it is. Read all about it in Kenneth Lapatin's book "Mysteries of the Snake Goddess" (DeCapo Press, 2002). It is based on the larger faience "Snake Handler/Goddess" (at top) from the Temple repositories excavated by Arthur Evans at Knossos. Evans thought that one of his workmen must have snaffled this exceptionally fabulous chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statuette out of the site before he'd seen it, but in fact it is a clever forgery mixing exotic imported materials with the shape of the bare-breasted faience version - a highly desirable combination, if it was authentic. The faience Snake Goddesses (above and below in the previous post) are also not entirely authentic. Both are restored, particularly the smaller one, below. So what you see isn't necessarily what the Minoans saw. It is even questionable whether the smaller one *is* holding snakes, as one "snake" had a head added to it and the other was entirely added. In addition, no snakes have candy-cane stripes. One author suggested the smaller figure held twine, rather than snakes, which reminds me of Ariadne's thread.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

At Work on the Past

Well, my "Long Service Leave" isn't restful or anything like that. I'm doing two quite difficult university subjects - 'Homeric Hymns and the Epic Cycle' in which I'm currently focussing on Aphrodite, and 'Current Issues in Aegean Archaeology' for which I am absolutely cramming in information on the Minoans and Mycenaeans to my brain. I really like reading... but this really has a lot of it. That's fine, its just a matter of actually getting the time to do it all. The archaeology subject is actually harder than the literature subject, but for both I have to produce fantastic essays, so its all hard really. But hey, I wanted to be mentally stimulated, and I am. I'm focussing on the faience "Snake Goddess" for my Minoan essay - perhaps that seems like a cliche, but there are lots of interesting things one can investigate regarding her. Plus we also have to do two more essays at the end of semester. Plus I've gotta tidy up my Wiccan Conference Presentations. So much to do, I'm glad I don't actually have to go to work as well. I'm really quite exhausted!