Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review of Greek Myths Vol II by Robert Graves Part 2.6

General Information:

Name of Book: The Greek Myths 2

ISBN: 0-14-001027-0

Publisher: Penguin

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

"My method has been to assemble in harmonious narrative all the scattered elements of each myth, supported by little-known variants which may help to determine the meaning, and to answer all questions that arise, as best I can, in anthropological or historical terms. " (Vol. I 22)

116 Iphigeneia among the Taurians

Issue: The Erinnyes continue to pursue Orestes, thus he is ordered to steal a wooden image of Artemis and bring it to either Athens or Argolis. Details about Taurians follow. It turned out that Iphigeneia was rescued by Artemis and was brought there to be a main priestess. The brother and sister find out each other identities, she helps them steal the image and they sail away where they discover a half brother named Chryses who helps them kill the king by name of Thoas. An alternative version of events is presented.

117. The Reign of Orestes

Issue: Aletes usurps Mycenae and there is mention of Orestes arriving and Pylades as well as some others arriving back and taking the kingdom back. Electra marries Pylades, and Orestes marries Hermione. At Menelaus' death, Orestes is invited to become a king of Sparta, which he accepts. At age of 70 he dies from a snakebite. Mention of Lichas, in the future Sparta, seeking Orestes' bones and finding them. Mention of things that Orestes wielded or possessed as well as their powers over people, and an alternative version is given.

118. The Birth of Heracles

Issue: Electryon is son of Perseus and husband of Anaxo. He had eight sons and a daughter named Alcmene. His eight sons were killed, while Alcmene was given to Amphitryon who was King of Troezen and acted as a Regent King during Electryon's absence. A story of how Electryon was killed follows, and Alcmene and Amphitryon flee to Thebes where Amphitryon takes Perimede, a sister of King Creon. While Amphitryon is gone to avenge Alcmene's brothers' deaths because she refused to lie with him, Zeus impersonates Amphitryon and sleeps with Alcmene. Amphitryon, learning of deception, refuses to touch Alcmene. Zeus boasts about fathering Heracles, whereupon Hera tricks Zeus into an unbreakable oath. Heracles and a twin named Iphicles arrive. Alcmene was the last mortal woman that Zeus lay with. Mention of twelve labors of Heracles, afterwards he would become god. Alternative versions are mentioned too.

119. The Youth of Heracles

Issue: Different alternative versions of Heracles becoming immortal follow, one of having Hera being tricked by Athene and suckle Heracles and making him immortal, while another either Zeus or Hermes placed him at her breast. In all accounts, Hera is his foster-mother. An account of Heracles and how he killed the serpents follow as well as purification of the house, and then lessons of Heracles by great heroes and immortals, as well as sons of other gods. Physical description and personal habits of Heracles are also mentioned.

120. The Daughters of Thespius

Issue: At eighteen, Heracles left the place he was banished to and goes to King Thespius who has fifty daughters by his wife Megamede due to a lion destroying the cattle herds. While there, King Thespius worries that his daughters might make unsuitable matches, thus he makes all his daughters bed Heracles. They bear him fifty one sons.

121. Erginus

Issue: An incident occured where Erginus's father, Clymenus, dies and asks his sons to avenge him, which they promise to do. Thebans have to pay a tribute to Erginus. Heracles harms the Minyan heralds and sends them back to Orchomenus. A war started where Heracles defeated armies single-handedly. An alternative versions is given.

122. The Madness of Heracles

Issue: Heracles defeats Minyans and marries King Creon's daughter Megara. Together they have a lot of sons. Due to his excesses, Hera drives him wherefore he kills some of his nephews as well as his own sons. While trying to find out what to do, he is told to go to Eurystheus and perform whatever labors he is assigned, and to serve him for twelve years. Various alternative accounts are also presented.

123. The First Labour: The Nemean Lion

Issue: First labor is to kill a lion that has immunity against iron, bronze and stone. Various mentions of origin and history of the lion follows. Molorchus's son is killed, thus Heracles tells him to wait thirty days before sacrificing a ram. He goes on, finds out that weapons have no powers, and chokes the lion to death. He returns and together with Molorchus they sacrifice to Zeus.

124. The Second Labour: The Lernaean Hydra

Issue: Description of the Hydra as well as the place where it inhabited follows. Heracles had help from Athene as well as his nephew Iolaus. Whenever he cut off the head, two more sprouted, until Iolaus used firebrands to burn off the roots, thus helping Heracles achieve the goal, although Eurystheus doesn't count that as being accomplished because of the help from Iolaus.

125. The Third Labour: The Ceryneian Hind

Issue: Two different accounts of the Hind are given, one that it ran away from Artemis who was supposed to be its master, another account is that it was without a master and Heracles sacrificed it to Artemis. He hunted the hind for a year and with least bit force managed to capture it successfully. More alternative versions are given when it relates to capture or origins of the hind.

126. The Fourth Labour: The Erymathian Boar

Issue: Heracles kills a bandit named Saurus and is being entertained by some centaurs when he asks them to open sacred wine. Other centaurs attack and he kills some. Heracles injures Cheiron, his friend, as well as accidentally killing another Centaur friend named Pholus. He sets out and captures the boar but then decides to join the Argonaut expedition. Its unknown how the boar was dispatched.

To Be continued...

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