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Monday, 13-Sep-2010 01:54 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Stand on the door-sill of Zeus


Homer, The Iliad 24. 527 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"There are two urns (pithoi) that stand on the door-sill of Zeus. They are unlike for the gifts they bestow : an urn of evils (kakoi), an urn of blessings (dôroi). If Zeus who delights in thunder mingles these and pandora beadsbestows them on man, he shifts, and moves now in evil, again in good fortune. But when Zeus bestows from the urn of sorrows, he makes a failure of man, and hte evil hunger drives him over the shining earth, and he wanders resepected neither of gods nor mortals."
[N.B. Later writers describe Zeus giving one of these two jars to Pandora. The poets were at odds as to which jar she received--Hesiod says the jar of evils (kakoi), but Theognis and Aesop claim it was the jar of blessings (dôroi). The name Pan-dôra ("all-gifts") naturally suggests the latter.]

Hesiod, Works & Days 54 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"The gods keep hidden from men the means of life . . . Zeus in the anger of his heart hid it, because Prometheus the crafty deceived him; therefore he planned sorrow and mischief against men. He hid fire; but that the noble son of Iapetus stole again for men from Zeus the counsellor in a hollow fennel-stalk, so that Zeus who delights in thunder did not see it. But afterwards Zeus who gathers the clouds said to him in anger : `Son of Iapetos, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire--a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.'
So said the father of men and gods, and laughed aloud. And he bade famous Hephaistos make haste and mix earth with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind, and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal goddesses in face; and Athene to teach her needlework and the weaving of the varied web; and golden Aphrodite to shed grace upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs. And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argus, to put in her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature. So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son of Kronos. Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Kronos purposed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the divine Kharites (Graces) and queenly Peitho (Persuasion) put necklaces of gold upon her, and thepandora jewelry charms rich-haired Horai (Seasons) crowned her head with spring flowers. And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of finery. Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus [Hermes], contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in her. And he called this woman Pandora (All-Gifts), because all they who dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.
But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare, the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer [Hermes], the swift messenger of the gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimetheus did not think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood. For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills (kakoi) and hard toil (ponoi) and heavy sickness (nosoi) which bring the Keres (Fates) upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar (pithos) with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Elpis (Hope) remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aigis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest, countless plagues (lugra), wanderpandora charms amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases (nosoi) come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus."


Monday, 6-Sep-2010 01:29 Email | Share | | Bookmark
beautiful style

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Tuesday, 22-Dec-2009 03:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
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Thursday, 17-Dec-2009 02:47 Email | Share | | Bookmark
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