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« June 3: Reading Notes | Main | Literary Postcards, Part 3 »

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Caroline

This brings back such a lot. I've always liked the story of Persephone. Or found it fascinating rather.
Dionysus is important in Nietzsche's book on music which i read years ago and found quite captivating.
We have abrand of whole food products here which is called Demeter. Does it exist in the US?

Stefanie

Two of my favorite Greek gods. I don't remember, does Hamilton talk about the Maenads, Dionysus' female followers and their frenzies and tendency to tear men to pieces? And I can't remember, did you read Donna Tart's Secret History? That has a Dionysian thing going on in it.

LauraC

I liked the fact that since Demeter was the goddess of the corn (grains), and women grew and harvested the corn, she was not worshiped like the other gods with violent sacrifices. (Men!)

It was also interesting that as representing the givers of corn and wine, they were worshiped together. Bread and wine, what more could you want? Well, maybe some cheese and olives. Who are the gods/godesses of dairy products and fruits? ;)

The Persephone story is so well known that I was surprised it was only found in one poem. This is definitely a story I learned in elementary school and remembered fairly well.

Question: What was meant by "What was done at his (Dionysus') great festival was open to all the world and IS A LIVING INFLUENCE TODAY?"

The part at the end about the belief in immortality by the followers of Bacchus interested me very much. I am going to try to look into this more, to see if/how it contrasts with most Greek thoughts about the afterlife. Many Christians accuse other Christians of having a view of heaven and hell/afterlife/eternity based on Greek philosophy (although not necessarily Greek mythology)instead of Biblical ideas of them.

See you next week!


Danielle

Caroline--It's interesting hearing about the myths from their origins as they do seem to pop up all over the place later. I don't think we have that brand of foods--interesting that it is Demeter--not surprising it is whole foods though! :)

Stefanie--Yes, she does talk about the Maenads, which I wanted to mention but I was afraid my post was getting too long. I'll have to fit them in later. And I still have not yet read The Secret History--I really must--more so now that the references will make more sense to me.

Laura--So glad you are reading this along with me. You are also reading the Hamilton edition? This is a good place to start with the gods--the very basics really. I'm glad she shares some excerpts, but I sort of want to read the originals now--I wonder if I can find them easily since she does make reference to them. I need to go back and find that reference to Dionysus--I know that his festival was enjoyed by all so there was no secrecy and hence it continuing, but now I'm not sure exactly what she meant by that. Maybe because people still continue to partake of wine, and in both good and bad ways? I was intrigued by the references to resurrection--not what I was expecting really. I thought the gods didn't have anything to do with religion, but some of them were still worshipped so they must have had an influence on things. I hope she writes more about the religious aspect--may have to look elsewhere for more on that! I'll have to think about these things for next weekend!

LauraC

Re: The Secret History

Read it! It's wonderful! I read it for the first time about 9 months ago. As soon as I forget enough of it, I'm reading it again. My favorite all time book! So far ;)

Danielle

Laura--Do you know I have owned it since it first came out. I did start reading it last year, but I didn't get far as it was a victim of having too many books on the go at once. Maybe it is one I can take on vacation with me. I did read her book The Little Friend. It being a favorite is high praise indeed.

litlove

It's funny how the story of Demeter and Persephone sticks, isn't it? I'm pretty sure that was the first myth I ever properly heard about. Your information on Dionysus is all new to me, though, as I know very little about him, except he is sort of the counterpart to Apollo (all lovely mind games and art). So that was very interesting, thank you!

Danielle

Litlove--I didn't know much about Dionysus either, though as Bacchus I know him from paintings--all that good living makes a man a little soft--is it Caravaggio who painted the famous painting? Poor Persephone to be relegated to the underworld, I guess that's an image that is easy to recall. I guess Apollo and Dionysus are just two sides of the same coin, aren't they? Once I have the basics down it'll be fun to read modern reinterpretations of the myths/gods.

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