from page one of first chat
Flavius: The Romans taught youths in the schools to find the most suitable
examples to illustrate the points they sought to make in their speeches.
This skill was known in Latin as "inventio." Unlike our word "invention,"
"inventio" means "discovery," in the sense of finding from existing material
the best examples. Ovid must have excelled in this skill as a schoolboy;
he certainly used it with masterful art in his Metamorphoses. (Quoting
from material read in the net). Comments?
Philemon: I'm going to try to take a little bit of control here...Let's
get back to the myths themselves. One question is what are the different
crimes, sins, etc for which people are punished....being raped by Zeus
is one, but also: seeing a god exposed or vulnerable, seeing a god in all
his power, reaching beyond mortal limits....(i think we lost nimue). Does
this subject interest you all enough to talk about it? Crimes punishable
by the gods....
Horatius: Ovid probably thought that with the writing of the Fasti
and of the Metamorphoses that he would be accepted as having written a
poetic parallel to Livy's history and was offended, in my opinion, that
his creations were not accorded the public acclaim that was earned by Livy,
Varro, Horace and even Propertius [who was certainly far more guilty of
having a prurient interest!]
Philemon: We can refer to each "crime" and mention the myths that pertain
to it. Or another subject, raised by a few of us, is the meaning of METAMORPHOSIS,
on a variety of levels...these transformations into ANIMALS in particular.
Lupus: Torrey, sins it is. Here is one that takes a whole generation
to expiate: Cadmus kills the serpent.
Artistides: Well, birds that were reporting bad information (that displeased
the god's) were turned from white to black...even though their intentions
Flavius: Sorry, Torrey. Sometimes I post a comment right before seeing
one of your suggestions. It doesn't mean I don't care! I really would like
to talk about crime and punishment.
Horatius: I think instead of dissecting individual transformations
or deities or animals or plants as found in the Metamorphoses, it would
be far more productive to see what the cumulative and culminating point
of the various transformations are: what is Ovid's end goal, the
final transformation, the most important metamorphosis?
Philemon: Hmm. We seem to all be monologuing. I'm just groping to find
a way to bring us together around a common topic. Is crime and punishment
of interest of more of you (just saw your comment, Morgana. The time delay
makes the conversation even more schizophrenic)
Flavius: Yes, and another crime that was punished was the one of mocking
a god's ritual. (Case of Pentheus).
Lupus: Eventually Cadmus and his wife become serpents.
Flavius: flavius, your suggestion is a MUST at the end of this chat!
Philemon: Cadmus kills the serpent, birds that are telltales are say
what they souldn't say.... (flavius, maybe it would help keep us more grounded
to start with specific examples before we jump to generalities again and
speculate on abstract goals...?)
Artistides: The transformations that I don't understand are the ones
out of grief, in the case of phaeton's sisters and cousin. Was this punnishment?
Horatius: A simple rule for a productive chat is to have a well defined
thesis topic: one that has been publicly posted in advance and one which
clearly delineates the discussion parameters.
Flavius: The problem is that I read only books I, II and III... I don't
feel capable of making a wrapping up comment about the whole Metamorphoses
at this point...
Philemon: Phya, you're referring to Phaethon's grieving relatives being
turned into plants....Is there a purpose in that?
Artistides: *agrees with Morgana*
Horatius: And with Ovid, we have to remember, that he was tilling ground
that was alread well turned by many other authors: he was dealing with
familiar stories and not attempting to significantly change any of them:
he was trying to posit a connectivity between many stories.
Philemon: Maybe we want to stay closer to the text initially, and move
later into more abstract speculations on the book as a whole....
Artistides: Well, whywere they. The sisters didn't seem to want to
be turned into plants. i was wondering if it was some sort of punishment...but
what would be punnishable?
Lupus: OK, Torrey, but do we look at the myths for their psychological
22:13 Aurora Inca enters...
Flavius: Yes, Phya. I noticed that too. Phaeton did an awful thing
and his punishment is only to grieve on his sisters misfortunes...
Philemon: Well as I suggested in our first ten minutes, we'd take turns,
each posing a topic. We started with the topic of Zeus as rapist and discussed
it for about 45 minutes, then went off in a variety of directions. So perhaps
our second topic for tonight is crime and punishment.
Horatius: Ovid wants to dazzle us with his ability to merge so many
diverse stories into a homogenous whole: to present these varied and various
stories as though they did have a common source and style and as a result
he leaves a sense of style over substance: a desire to elicit a smirk of
admiration as opposed to a heartfelt sense of revelation into the human
Philemon: Lusinda, I think we can look at the myths from a number of
levels, even though it does unfocus us a bit. Literary, political,
psychological. The question is can we maintain that multiple perspective.
Flavius: flavius, are you saying that there was not a purpose as to
the myths he chose? He was only showing his abilities to stich them together
in a nice patchwork?
Philemon: So taking the transformation of the grieving sisters/cousins
into plants, a question here is if this is even a punishment? Or is
it a blessing? Or neither? What meaning does it have?
Flavius: Torrey, I was expecting some answers from YOU, as you chose
to focus on Phaeton's story... :-)
Philemon: I don't know about the rest of you, but I do experience in
a heartfelt way the substance. There are some passages that reach deep
into the core of my feelings and experience. I don't sense any coherent
whole, but I do sense that the Ovid portrayed SOME but not ALL of the original
Philemon: Yes, Morgana, I did study Phaethon's story but didn't address
that particular question. Much of the material I found about Phaethon focused
on how the story reflects times of cosmic devasation around 1150 B.C. reflected
in most cultures of the world...and how after Christ, Phaethon was equated
Lupus: I suggest that a sin is a transgression against a god:
i.e. pride, or presumption of equality, or accidental assault. Phaeton
in this case sins for having presumed to be able to step into his father's
Philemon: We see a lot of warnings in myth and in the Bible about daring
to trespass on the realms of the God, of reaching too high, and beling
leveled as a result (right, Lusinda)
Artistides: All the other transformations are willed ('help me get
out of this') or punishment.
Flavius: *agree with Lusinda too*
22:21 Phya Artistides enters...
Philemon: On a personal note, relating to the theme of insight for
us today, I find the Phaethon myth relevant to those of us who spent too
much time soaring in cyberspace, then "crash" back to the chaos of our
physical realities, that are coming undone as a result of our lack of balance
Flavius: And adding to that, let's not forget that Greek/Roman religious
piety consisted mostly on performing the rites of the gods, with no concerns
about individual behavior.
Philemon: So one thing that's becoming clear here is that not all transformations
into animals etc are punishment....although a lot or perhaps most are....
Lupus: But he is not the only one to sin: Clymene sins by letting
anger and pride guide her to send her son to Pheobus - a kind of presumption.
I am interested in sins that are compounded from parent to child, and result
in others' suffering, as in this case Phaeton's sisters.
Flavius: You see riding in cyberspace like a ride on the chariot of
the sun, Torrey?
Flavius: As someone pointed out here, some people chose to be metamorphosed
just to get rid of an unbearable threat (Ex. Apollo & Dafne)
Philemon: (phya got disconnected and is trying to get back in).....When
or if we get out of balance in our life as a result of spending too much
time soaring in cyberspace, Morgana, I think it can be a bit like Phaethon's
ride! One can not fully escape here from what we're neglecting on earth.
They tend to appear in cyberspace as well and send us crashing back to
22:27 Phya Artistides enters...
Artistides: I back. Finally!
Philemon: Right, Morgana. A metamorphoses can be a saving grace, as
in Daphne. Come to think of it, that's another exmple of a metamorphoses
into a plant as an escape from pain or violation, as Phaethon's sisters.
Plant transformations do not appear to be punishment.
Flavius: Hum... I'll have to think about that Torrey...
Lupus: Sorry to have to exit - I will check in again in 1/2 hour to
see where you are.
Philemon: Welcome back, Phya (I hope we haven't lost Flavius too, as
a result of not wanting to head into the book as a whole quite yet)
Flavius: Another comment about crime and punishment: is it only a biased
perception, or men get punished by seeing their children or other relatives
suffering, while women get punished more directly?
Philemon: So some transformations are punishments - punishments to
victims, punishments to violators and trespassers; some are means of rescue....
Philemon: That would be interesting, Morgana, to compare the punishments
of men to the punishments of women....
Flavius: I does seem more quiet here... I guess flavius left us. But
I must say that I like his comments, always keeping in mind the whole context.
Philemon: (hope you can return, Lusinda....transcript will be here)
Philemon: (Aurora, have you lost contact with us? Are you here?)
Inca: I'm here, and things seem to be getting better. The words are
staying long enough for me to read most of them now!
Flavius: The only exception I can see -- up to book III -- is Europa.
Her punishment (if there is really one) was probably even not felt during
her lifetime... there seems to be a disagreement as to Acteon being Cadmus'
son or grandson...
Inca: (it's been hard trying to keep up when everything disappears
when I've only read half! )
Philemon: (Aurora, you might want to click on the left on change your
20 second refresh rate and make it about 45 seconds)
Flavius: And also... I felt quite disappointed to see Europa's story
told in such a brief way! I didn't know Ovid made so brief till I read
it by the end of book II!
Philemon: One thing nobody's mentioned is how strong the sense of family
ties are in regard to identity. A sin of a family member affects everyone
else in the family. Part of one's identity, burdens, and gifts is one's
family...much moreso than today (at least in the western world)....
Artistides: I was wonderting if there was even more to it in chapter
4 or 5...but i don't think there is
Philemon: Yes, the Europa story is brief...but some stories, such as
Pentheus are very long....I wonder what influenced Ovid's choice in regard
to how much he wrote about each story.
Philemon: What meaning do you see in so many of the transformations
being transformations into ANIMALS?
Flavius: Yes, Phya, another interesting thing about Ovid is that sometimes
he resumes on a story several books after he has started it. Maybe he will
mention Europa later on... I'll have to read on!
Inca: What I found most interesting about the animal transformations
were that they kept their human minds. The images of them thinking but
not able to communicate was pitiful!
Philemon: It is odd where his chapters end too. A chapter ends in the
middle of a story, which then continues in the next chapter.
Flavius: Yes, Torrey... and bulls and cows/heifers are the winners
in the score so far... :-)
Inca: (Thanks Torrey, the much longer refresh rate worked-----I can
Philemon: Was it Io who communicated by writing in the sand? Very resourceful.
Artistides: The animal thing is interesting, because animals wouuld
be seen as a digression of the chain of being (was that Aristotal?)
Artistides: plants even more so....
Inca: Yes, at least she didn't have a long name to write! *L*
Philemon: bulls, cows, heifers, mares, fish.....plants....
Flavius: Yes, Torrey. So, I guess the myths were there, Ovid could
not change them... so he chose to emphasize some, to cut others... I wonder
Flavius: LOL Aurora!
Philemon: Hmm, Phya. Digression in the chain of being. Regression also
in the psyche. Very interesting. I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
and know very well that experiences of intense trauma and violation can
lead to regression. Very interesting.
Philemon: Yes, LOL Aurora!
Philemon: Maybe what she was writing was IO for I Object!
Artistides: My screen is doing the Aurora blank thing now
Philemon: Phya - two choices. Change your refresh rate on the left,
or exit and come back.
Flavius: I think that the transformations are into plants and animals
(and not furniture, or stones) because the punished person had to remain
alive to suffer...
Inca: I hadn't thought of that, but after a violation, one response
can be to retreat, not communicate.
Philemon: Someone was changed into a statue. Do you remember who?
Flavius: But Aglaurus was transformed into a statue... apparently she
"died" when that happened... there's a dramatic description of her getting
cold... up to her heart during the transformation....
Inca: and there IS the feeling that nobody understands....kind of the
same as being unable to talk with others.
Also being an animal. Attending mostly to one's physical needs, on a survival
level. Not very able to think. Operating at a lower level of consciousness
Philemon: Right, Aglaurus. That was the most confusing part of Ovid
for me. The bird stories also. Very hard to tell what was going on here,
and who was telling the story.
Artistides: I was thinking that, Aurora, before, that isolation and
blame is something suffered by rape victims in modern times
Philemon: Right, Aurora. The isolation that results, being pent up
in one's own suffering, not able to connect...
Flavius: Right Aurora.
Artistides: how does one change the refreash rate?
Inca: That's the feeling I got from Io, nobody understands, and I can't
make them understand. I really felt for her.
Philemon: (Phya, look to bottom left of screen, click on change your
20 second refresh rate)
Artistides: The sister of herse, who was poisoned by Envy changed into
black stone. The description of how Envy 'worked' was my favorite section
that we read. i thought it very apropriate
Flavius: Sorry to keep hitting on the same key... but again, in the
story of Europa, the transformation into an animal is desired... and is
motivated by love alone... Ovid doesn't tell (too short his Europa &
Jove version), but when Jove & Europa arrived in Crete, he came back
to his human form and only then they made love. (Different from the Pasiphae
Philemon: Aurora really felt for Io. Here's a question for all of you...Which
myth most spoke to you personally and why (yes, Phya, that Envy section
was really brilliantly done, wasn't it! Marvelous description of how envy
can eat up the psyche)
Flavius: Phya, sometimes the link "refresh rate" is hidden at the bottom
of the screen. You may have to scroll your left frame.
Philemon: Say more, Morgana, the difference between Europa and Pasiphae
Artistides: i think ovid mentions that he changes to human form,
but not that they make love.
Flavius: Pasiphae had sexual intercourse with a bull...
Artistides: I felt most sorry for Echo. I think sometimes rejection
has made me feel that way.
Flavius: My favorite myth -- so far -- was the story of Deucalion and
Pyrra... that scene of them throwing back the stones really spoke to my
Philemon: Yes, Echo truly lost her voice.....her sense of self. All
she could was mirror others, she was invalidated in her own right.
Flavius: Oh, yes, you're right Phya. Ovid stops exactly when Jove is
resuming his "glowing god features".
Artistides: I think what struck me most was the eliment of faith in
the D and P myth...it was similar to the judeo/christian God in that they
had to do something that defies their own wisdom in order to be rewarded
Philemon: Phya, what would you say that D&P did that defied their
Flavius: Judith Hamilton describes what happens next. And she based
her story on a certain Moschus (never heard about him), a poet of the III
Artistides: They mention that 'neither of the had any confidence in
heaven's counsel' but they did it anyway
Philemon: (BTW, I wrote an article once on the Daphne and Apollo story,
which means the most to me and has been a theme in my dreams. I will write
about it in future...am looking for my article and notes!)
Philemon: Interesting, Phya. They followed the guidance of the gods,
even without must trust...
Flavius: Phya: they did it only when they thought it was safe... at
least Pyrra was not willing to do anything against her own common sense
(like violating her mother's tomb).
Philemon: (On a more mundane level, feels like my compulsive filling
out of the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes every week, not really
trusting it's going to lead to any windfall <-: )
Flavius: ...and she stated that very firmly. I mean... throwing stones
could not harm anybody... could it?
Philemon: BTW there's a marvelous play on the the story of Genesis
going around the theater circuit in the U.S. now, after having been in
Europe. It's called Children of Eden, and is marvelous. The first half
is Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel and the second half is the Flood story. Interesting
parallels here, these flood stories....
Philemon: Morgana, what is it about throwing the stones of mother earth
that most spoke to you?
Flavius: I saw in that myth -- or particularly in that part of the
D&P myth -- the evidence of a change from feminine to masculine way
of thinking in the world... Goodbye, Gaia, welcome Gaius sort of thing.
Artistides: In Christianity, faith always seems to go against common
sense, and what is safe...i found it cool that the elements of faith were
similar in these myths
Philemon: Throwing behind the mother, the FEMININE....as the world
becomes more patriarchal.
Artistides: 'Goodbye Gaia, welcome Gaius' sounds like a good title
for a play!
Philemon: Yes it does! But even better: Goodbye Gauis, welcome again
Flavius: And again... the D&P myth doesn't imply any punishment
as a consequence of transformation. It means an implicit "approval" by
Artistides: Torrey, that could be the sequel *s*
Philemon: Yes, not all the myths are transformation or punishment,
but many are.
Artistides: Did you guys read my post about the possibility of flood
myths simplifing geneologies, and enforcing ethnocentric ideals?
Flavius: I hope Gaia can still be here when human race as a whole will
welcome her again!
Philemon: Did you just post that Phya? If so, didn't see it....can
you explain further?
Artistides: Well, i have to go...I promised my housemate the phone
after 11. I'll drop in after she's done to see if you guys are still
Inca: Yes, that they do. But don't also creation stories?
Flavius: I read that Phya. I agree with that. The creation myths that
usually precede the flood myths get pretty hectic and need some "clean".
Nothing like a good flood to achieve that, heh? (LOL)
Philemon: Phya, hold on 2 minutes ok....Let's just plan about next
chat real quickly.
Philemon: This is what I suggest. That we meet every week and just
add one book a week or meet every two weeks and two books every two weeks.
Trouble is I work most nights till 10pm so evening are tough for me. Can
only do Thursday next week.
Flavius: BTW, who's still with us? I see Phya (who's leaving), Torrey
and Aurora. Anyone else?
Artistides: Oh, that different cultures saying there was a flood, and
that members of their culture were the only people to survive it, they
could trace all man kind to their race (ethnocentric) and it also makes
it easier to trace geneologies (look how important the 'begots' are in
the Bible...knowing roots is an important part of myth). I'm holding!
Inca: I just wonder why in many cultures the creation itself wasn't
OK as it was.......why the need to re-do things?
Artistides: Thursday is good for me!
Philemon: (Lusinda said she'd be coming back)
Philemon: Want to continue next Thursday 9pm and just add book 4 to
Flavius: Thursday is good. Actually, any day, if we keep the 9pm time.
Artistides: maybe as a warning to future generations to behave? My
prof belives that this genre of myth could have resulted from many small
floods, and the stories explain how the people survive. Who knows
Flavius: One book per week is the fastest I can go.
Philemon: Ok....unless there are major objections, we'll continue next
Thursday 9pm...don't have to end quite yet though. I agree Morgana. One
book a week maximum.
Inca: Sounds good, Torrey. Looks like we don't want to go in big chunks
- too much to digest.
Artistides: I'll let the people on my class Bulletin e-mail know.
A bunch said they'd come today...maybe my directions were confusing
Artistides: see you guys next Thursday (my housemate just called down
Philemon: (Phya, non-A.S. members can't get into a chat room here.
They have to join first.)
Flavius: I didn't realize that Metamorphoses encompasses SO MANY myths!
It is incredibly rich!
Philemon: great Phya. see you on the bulletin board before then.....
Flavius: Bye Phya, it was great to have you here!
Philemon: On the Phaethon page I put up, there's a link to an article
about Phaethon and comets. But it's all about myths of catastrophes in
many cultures related to the scorching of the earth, earthquakes, floods....Apparently
many cultures had a difficult period around 1150 B.C. Know anything about
that archaeologically, Aurora?
Flavius: Let me just mention one thing about the 9pm time. It is good
for me and for most people in the Americas, but none of our friends in
Europe can make it. Olodum Flaminius would like to participate, but not
at this time! 9pm is 3 am for him. I am not saying that we need to change
because of him, but if more people from Europe get interested, we will
have to think about that.
Inca: No, Torrey, but I found the article interesting. Since I mainly
have done North American arch. (no written records) I don't really know
much about it.
Philemon: Morgana, maybe we can do a weekend time, if it doesn't conflict
with other meetings like Fab Bib. We could do a a Saturday or Sunday in
the future. But let's let the Europeans know that they can read the transcript
and respond on the forum borad.
Philemon: ...the forum board...
Flavius: 1150 BC... Egypt was at its hieghts with Ramses... Troy was
shining as a fine city too... no records of catastrophes on that side...
Flavius: Fine, Torrey. Maybe they are not interested at all... it was
just a thought that occurred to me...
Philemon: I'd say if people start posting on our board and show genuine
interest and that they're reading the material, then we can all do our
best to set up a time to accommodate them....But they have to earn our
accommodation by showing their involvement first GRIN!
Inca: I have to go chase my child back into bed. Good night everyone!
Philemon: Good night Aurora....I guess we're ending! Only Morgana and
Flavius: Anyhow, I must say that I found this a wonderful oportunity
to revive my "mythlogical asset" and refresh my memory about all the myths
I learned to love since I was a child. I am really enjoying reading Ovid's
Metamorphoses and having an oportunity to discuss it is even greater!
Philemon: One thing I really like is hearing your personal perspective.
What speaks to everyone individually....and the psychological insight we
gain today reading themyths.
Flavius: I agree 100% with you on that, Torrey!
Philemon: I agree Morgana. It's a wonderful book, isn't it? What translation
are you reading? Mandelbaum's is beautiful.
Flavius: Yes, goodbye Aurora!
Inca: Spoken like an Olympian deity, Torrey! Very good!
Philemon: Another thing I'd like to do...is for each of us to post
our favorite passage in the translation we have. Then we can compare translations.
There are three more passages I want to post. The envy one is one of them....
23:25 Aurora Inca exits...
Philemon: Glad you came, Aurora and stuck with it despite tech problems...
Flavius: I am reading Garth's, which I downloaded from one of the links
you posted. It is a bit difficult, specially because English is not my
native language... but I am enjoying it anyway!
Philemon: Do you have a translation available in Portuguese, Morgana?
Flavius: Yes, I like to compare translations too.
Philemon: Oh another translation you can get online is the one through
the Perseus link. It's MORE, whoever that is....If you can ever afford
Mandelbaum, it's sheer poetry at times.
Philemon: Or does your library have it?
Flavius: Yes, there are Portuguse translations, but I have already
completed my financial budget for books for the next two months!
Philemon: Understood about book budgets! I think I've spent my way
into the year 2000 at Amazon.com and Abebooks for out of print books.
Flavius: Public libraries don't let you check out books here... and
I can't go there when I want to read...
Philemon: Oh how terrible. You can't check out books from libraries.....
Flavius: If you are a student, you can checkout books... but that's
not my case anymore... :o)
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