Posts Tagged by Theseus
|February 1, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.02.01 | By Gregory Nagy
I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.01.25. I focus here on another Athenian myth, as mentioned by Pausanias at 1.20.3, about the abandonment of Ariadne by her lover Theseus and about her seduction or—in terms of the mention made by Pausanias—her abduction by the god Dionysus. Pausanias at 1.20.3 mentions the myth as he sees it represented on a wall painting located inside the sacred precinct of the god Dionysus. According to the myth, Ariadne had slept with Theseus and is still asleep as Theseus quietly leaves her and sails off to Athens. Now Dionysus approaches from afar, preparing to seduce or abduct Ariadne. In the close-up from a modern painting of this myth, we see Ariadne asleep in the foreground, while Theseus is already sailing off in the background.
|January 18, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.01.18 | By Gregory Nagy
I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.01.11. I focus here on the details given by Pausanias at 1.17.3 describing a monumental wall painting in the sanctuary of Theseus. Depicted on this wall painting is the hero Theseus, who has just emerged from a deep-dive to the bottom of the sea. He is triumphantly holding in one hand the Ring of Minos and, in the other, the Garland of the sea-goddess Amphitrite, bride of Poseidon. The ring had been thrown into the sea by Minos, who challenged Theseus to recover it, while the garland was given to Theseus by Amphitrite, who had saved the hero from drowning and had thus made it possible for him to recover the ring. For the cover illustration, I have chosen a comparable mythological scene that was carved into a gem. It is a modern work of art. At the center is the hero Theseus, who is being carried along the sea-waves on the back of a dolphin and who is holding triumphantly a ring in one hand and a garland in the other—a garland of stars, it seems. This miniaturized scene as carved into a gem is comparable to the monumentalized scene that Pausanias saw painted on a wall in the sanctuary of Theseus.
|January 4, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.01.04 | By Gregory Nagy
I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2017.12.28. I now focus on what Pausanias says at 1.15.3 about a monumental painting that he saw adorning a side wall in the ‘painted portico’, that is, in the Stoā Poikilē. The painting represented the Battle of Marathon, and I show in the lead illustration here a zoom-in view of that painting as reconstructed by Carl Robert in 1895.
|September 24, 2015||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
In the posting for 2015.09.17, I showed what can be reconstructed as a Minoan-Mycenaean version of Ariadne. Here in the posting for 2015.09.24, I now turn to later versions, as reflected especially in the visual arts of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. In these later versions, we can see more clearly the connectedness of Ariadne with idea of thalassocracy—an idea inherited from Minoan-Mycenaean civilization.
|September 3, 2015||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
After Theseus dives into the depths of the sea, the sea-goddess Amphitrite welcomes him, enveloping the hero in a purple robe (line 112) and crowning his head of hair with a garland made of roses (line 116: ῥόδοις)—a garland that she herself as a bride of Poseidon the sea-god had received as a wedding present from Aphrodite (lines 113–116). When Theseus finally comes up for air, emerging from the depths of the sea, he is wearing the purple robe and the garland of roses, ready to confront Minos. From here on, it will be Theseus and not Minos who will have dominion over the Aegean Sea, and this dominion is expressed by the symbolism of the purple robe and the garland of roses. I will now argue further that this kind of symbolism can be traced back genealogically to rituals that existed already in the era of the Minoan Empire. One such ritual, as we will see, is depicted in the “flotilla scene” of the Theran fresco that I had mentioned in the previous posting, 2015.08.26.