It's been a sad week. My little dog Breeya had to be put down. Unlike Odie, she was not completely incapacitated, but she was so anxious and unhappy. All night long she would run in and out of her doggy door and howl. It wasn't typical howling. It was a hoarse rasping. She could not see or hear and was confused. I finally had to decide if this ghost of the beautiful dog I once knew was worth preserving.
|Derek, Breeya, Odie and me. When we were young.|
A couple of days later, I went to feed my guinea pigs to find Little Bear dead. No sign of trauma, nothing. He was only two years old. I don't know why he died.
I have actually been more shocked over Little Bear than Breeya who had been sliding down the hill for the past year. Little Bear was fine that morning when I was holding and cuddling him. When I went out to his pen in the afternoon he was lying very still in the tall grass. We looked him over thoroughly. There is nothing to indicate why he died.
|Josh with Little Bear and Percy|
Sorry to turn this into a lamentation for my pets. It's been a rough year on that front. At least there's still Percy and Hercaloo.
|Hercaloo looking down at the piggies. Trying to decide which one to nip, no doubt.|
I find Paul Hindemith's Harp Sonata reflective and peaceful. You can listen here.
The Greek Myths by Robert Graves
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Robert Graves is quite thorough in writing about the myths and at the end of each story, he provides foot notes that can be as long as the story itself.
Some of the footnotes are speculative. "This god replaced an earlier pagan god etc.". It is difficult to know these things or the origins of any of these stories. But Graves gives his educated guesses and they are worth pondering.
In Graves' version the myths are not child friendly and a lot more graphic than I remember Edith Hamilton's version. I have not read Hamilton's version in many years, so I suppose I could be wrong. She also includes stories that Graves leaves out.
Graves seems to lean heavily on saga, which I appreciated since I recently read the Iliad and the Odyssey. He also fills in the gaps those two poems leave, letting us know how the Trojan War began and what happened to some of the key players such as Achilles, who is alive in the Iliad, but already dead in the Odyssey.
Another asset to Graves' collection is that he provides a cohesive chronology which seamlessly ties the gods and their origins, and also the heroes and their adventures together. This allows the reader to gain a greater understanding of how all the stories fit inside of each other's story. For example Heracles and his labors overlap Jason and the Argonauts. In Graves' version we can see each myth separately, but also how they are a part of each other's story line.
I do not know if Robert Graves has a certain predilection towards the salacious (his books, I, Claudius and Claudius the God were pretty lewd) or if he is simply preserving a faithful translation of the stories. He has been criticized for relying too heavily on Suetonius' histories, who is also known for creating scandals that are not as historically reliable as they should be.
Simply put, The Greek Myths Volume One and Two , are filled with violence and perversion. Every single story contains murder and rape. No Greek hero is exempt from practicing treachery, adultery, and, in one instance, necrophilia. Leaving children out for exposure was common. Many of the heroes were spared from an early death by compassionate shepherds, or even female animals who nursed them.
Women are treated savagely by men, and especially Zeus who ravaged the countryside without mercy.
These women were not only the victims of this heinous crime but they also got to be punished for it by the ever jealous Hera.
The female goddesses were not much better than the gods. Both male and female gods' sense of justice was based largely on caprice and selfish ambition. There seemed to be very little reason other than a cruel nature behind any of their actions.
Ancient Greece is known for being the intellectual epicenter of the B.C. epoch, but I have to conclude that these myths, as Robert Graves tells them, were formed during a much earlier time when the Greeks were no more than tribal barbarians steeped in pagan practice that by today's standards of morality seem demonic.
It certainly gives me a greater appreciation for our concepts of justice, mercy and humanity that we take can take for granted in our country. These values did not always exist and sadly, do not exist in many parts of the world.
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|Hand feeding Little Bear grated carrot.|