Ovid Metamorphoses
Third Chat Transcript
Books Four-Five
Perseus and Proserpina

123 lines of discussion for
Feb. 11, 1999

20:55 Torrey Philemon enters...
20:55 Torrey Philemon: Ovid Metamorphoses chat starting at 9pm est!
20:59 Morgana Flavius enters...
20:59 Morgana Flavius: Hello Torrey!
21:00 Torrey Philemon: Welcome, Morgana. I just noticed that Myrrhine just logged on. You must be invisible.
21:01 Torrey Philemon: Or should I say that you're wearing Perseus' cap of invisibility.
21:01 Torrey Philemon: Speaking of which I wonder if there's some connection between PERSeus and PERSephone...
21:01 Morgana Flavius: LOL!!! No, maybe the Comm.Panel is just too slow. I logged in this very minute.
21:03 Morgana Flavius: Hum... never thought of that... But what could possibly be the connection?
21:03 Myrrhine Philemon enters...
Torrey Philemon: Myrrhine was at school today and just telegrammed me to say she wants to finish up reading today's posts before arriving here....here she is! Welcome, Myrrhine!
21:03 Myrrhine Philemon: Hello!
21:04 Morgana Flavius: Hi Myrrhine! Good morning! *grin*
21:05 Myrrhine Philemon: Afternoon, just!  Thank you
21:05 Torrey Philemon: We're all over the place in all different time zones....Australia, Brazil and Boston, U.S.!
21:06 Torrey Philemon: Do either of you know if anyone else is planning to show up?
21:07 Myrrhine Philemon: I haven't heard from anyone but then, most people probably don't know me yet
21:07 Morgana Flavius: Which makes our meeting even more interesting, Torrrey!
21:07 Phya Artistides enters...
21:07 Morgana Flavius: Phya said she would come.
21:07 Phya Artistides: Hi everyone!
21:08 Torrey Philemon: How about that! Phya is here too! Welcome!
21:08 Phya Artistides: Speak of an angel, Morgana*s*
21:08 Myrrhine Philemon: Hello Phya
21:08 Morgana Flavius: Welcome, Phya!
21:08 Phya Artistides: My server's a little feaky tonight
21:09 Morgana Flavius: I guess that it is AncientSites server that's unstable tonight. I'm experiencing some delay too.
21:10 Torrey Philemon: One thing I want to say is that our bulletin board thread has been so stimulating the past few weeks that I don't know what's left to talk about....We've been having some  fascinating discussions and I feel honored to be involved with this subgroup of bright and avid learners and communicators.
21:11 Myrrhine Philemon: Oh agree - it's been a most interesting discussion
21:11 Phya Artistides: A guy brought up an interesting fact on my class board, that fertility was very respected by the greeks...and thus women had some dignity through that
21:11 Morgana Flavius: It's been very stimulating for me too, Torrey! BTW, that Areopagus board is really popular among the group boarders, isn't it?
21:12 Torrey Philemon: How would you like to do tonight....what about if we each take a turn presenting a topic for discussion (yes, Morgana, I think Areopagus is one of the most popular boards....but not one of the most harmonious)
21:13 Torrey Philemon: Phya, what exactly is the class you are taking? (and what are you all saying about Metamorphoses)?
21:14 Morgana Flavius: *interested in Phya's classes too*
21:16 Myrrhine Philemon enters...
21:16 Myrrhine Philemon: I'm sorry, my computer just had a minor melt down
21:17 Torrey Philemon: Anyone want to begin by raising a topic for discussion?
21:17 Morgana Flavius: I have not much to say about Perseus myth. But I have found many other ways of telling Proserpina's story. Mainly in a site called "The Greek Link".
21:18 Torrey Philemon: Is that the Greek Mythology Link site, Morgana, or another one? What's the url, and what other variations of the story did you find?
21:18 Myrrhine Philemon: I reread Perseus today because I got rather carried away with Proserpine but I'm happy to talk about either - I'm rather fascinated by the fight in Perseus' story
21:20 Morgana Flavius: Perseus myth is at the end of book 4. Maybe we could start with it, before talking about Proserpina's rape, which is in book 5.
21:21 Morgana Flavius: Yes, the Greek Mythology Link site, Torrey.
21:21 Torrey Philemon: What I noticed in the fight in the Perseus story is that Perseus like many Greek heroes goes out of his way to wreak vengeance, killing everybody as Odysseus did in Homer. Is this considered a virtue....to slaughter everyone and not express any leniency or compassion? I have trouble accepting these Greek and Roman ideas of male heroism.
21:23 Myrrhine Philemon: I was doing some more research - not as much as I would have liked- but it seems that Ovid is the only story to indulge in the blood and guts treatment of the story - in others he simply brings out Medusa's head
21:24 Morgana Flavius: And I found Phineus role very interesting. A guy who comes out of his hideaway when the monster is gone and claims the prize.
21:25 Myrrhine Philemon: yes - that seems to be Perseus' justification for showing no mercy also
21:25 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Myrrhine, this is the first time I hear about that fight at Perseus & Andromeda's wedding feast.
21:26 Torrey Philemon: Phineus does sound like many people who exist today...wanting the prize but without taking on the challenge that would entitle them to it.
21:26 Myrrhine Philemon: The notes to my copy of the text indicate that it helps to parody the epic style of Virgil  - the references to the alter and such for example
21:28 Torrey Philemon: One thing that bothers me...that we see again and again in mythology - is how the children suffer for the sins of the parent. I want to know why Andromeda was punished directly INSTEAD of her mother.
21:29 Myrrhine Philemon: yes - that has always bothered me - is it a throwback to archaic greek religion and the notion of hereditary curses and Ate?
21:30 Morgana Flavius: Judith Hamilton tells that it was when Perseus came back to rescue his mother from Polydectes that the fight happened. And that Polydectes and all his servants were turned into stone by Medusa's head, held by Perseus.
21:30 Myrrhine Philemon: I know this is a tenuous link at best but I can't find any other explanation
21:31 Torrey Philemon: The curses passed on through the generations of a family, Myrrhine?.....Yes, and in Ovid, we see Perseus turning everyone to stone, including those who beg for mercy. He makes sure no one is spared. (I wonder how Andromeda felt about that?)
21:33 Myrrhine Philemon: Yes - curses only came to an end with the intervention of a sympathetic god or the ultimate revenge of the furies.   About Andromeda's feelings - Perseus seems to think it will be gratifying for her to be able to look on the statue but he immediately takes her away with him - just a small inconsistency that made me wonder...
21:33 Morgana Flavius: Apparently, fathers having to sacrifice their children to a deity is not prerrogative of pagan and/or politheist religions. Abraham also was put to the point where he was about to slaughter his son and "offer" him to Yaweh.
21:34 Torrey Philemon: Hmm. I don't remember the aftermath. Where does he take her?
21:37 Torrey Philemon: Argos.....I found it.
21:37 Myrrhine Philemon: Yes - curses only came to an end with the intervention of a sympathetic god or the ultimate revenge of the furies.   About Andromeda's feelings - Perseus seems to think it will be gratifying for her to be able to look on the statue but he immediately takes her away with him - just a small inconsistency that made me wonder...
21:38 Myrrhine Philemon enters...
21:39 Torrey Philemon: (I think some of us myself included are having server problems)
21:40 Torrey Philemon: Morgana, Phya....are you with us?
21:41 Morgana Flavius: And after re-instating the legitimate king of Argus, he then goes to Seriphus (where his mother was) and turns the evil king of that island into stone too. But this time he is more carful and tells his friends to close their eyes.
21:42 Torrey Philemon: I wonder how he carries Medusa with him day and night and never manages to look at her directly himself. Does he live with the shield in front of his eyes. That takes extraordinary vigilance.
21:43 Morgana Flavius: I am here. It took me a while to post because I was also looking at what happened to Perseus after that fight at the wedding party.
21:46 Morgana Flavius: Plus, let's not forget that Perseus also kills - accidentally - Acrisius, Danae's father. So that the prophecy is accomplished.
21:47 Myrrhine Philemon enters...
21:48 Myrrhine Philemon: ooh - i'm sorry again something very peculiar is happening
21:50 Morgana Flavius: Perseus carries Medusa's head in the magic bag he received, among other gifts, from the Nymphs of the North. Apparently, the bag magic is to prevent Perseus from turning into stone while carrying Medusa's head...
21:52 Torrey Philemon: (I just got a server error covering up the chat screen)...I forgot about the prophecy.....You know, there is more fairy tale symbology in this story...magic bags and magic caps. We don't see this often in myths, moreso in fairy tales.
21:53 Torrey Philemon: What most interests me in this story is actually the creative symbolism....
21:53 Myrrhine Philemon: ( I just got the same thing Torrey) Yes, Perseus does have an element of the fairy tale about it
21:54 Torrey Philemon: What most interests me in this story is actually the creative symbolism....
21:55 Morgana Flavius: Same server problem here, folks. - Please tell us more about the creative symbolism, Torrey.
21:55 Torrey Philemon: (Major server problems)....From the Medusa, the decapitated head springs the flying horse Pegasus, symbol of creativity, who then goes and creates the fountain of the Muses....What this says to me is how for many of us creativity, inspiration, the flights of the imagination spring from wound, the decapitation of Medusa.
21:56 Torrey Philemon: What fascinates me is the connection between Medusa and creativity....or the Muses....
21:59 Morgana Flavius: Very interesting, Torrey! And apparently, Medusa was one of the most terrible monsters in ancient Greece. (Appart from being associated to the earlier Mother Goddess  religions, but that's another story...) So, by killing what frightens us, and USE it against our own enemies (or personal obstacles) brings  a lot of creative outcomes!
22:00 Torrey Philemon: "When Perseus cut off Medusa's head, the blood sinking into the earth produced the winged horse Pegasus. After his birth he flew off to Mt. Helicon where the nine Muses lived. Upon striking the ground one of its hooves opened up a spring of gushing water. The spring became known as the Hippocrene, The Horse's Fountain. It was said of the Hippocrene that drinking its water conferred on one the gift of poetry."
22:02 Torrey Philemon: That's interesting, Morgana, you're interpreting this from the standpoint of Perseus, killing Medusa. I'm thinking personally of being in touch with one's own Medusa....how often creativity stems from one's own pain, anguish, victimization. One way or another facing the Medusa precedes creativity.....
22:02 Morgana Flavius: Plus, Medusa's head is worn by Minerva in her aegis and is supposed to symbolize power.
22:03 Myrrhine Philemon: On Ovid's part it is also a particularly good transitional device -
22:04 Morgana Flavius: But that depends a lot on your personal qualities, because facing Medusa may also mean to be frozen in horror, like turned into stone...
22:05 Morgana Flavius: What's the transitional device, Myrrhine?
22:05 Torrey Philemon: Transitional to the Prosperina story, Myrrhine?.....Morgana, I think when we first face our own Medusa we may be frozen in horror, turned to stone.....
22:06 Myrrhine Philemon: oh, moving from one myth to the next seemlessly - introducing Pegasus in order to bring about the introduction of the Muses
22:06 Torrey Philemon: (BTW, have we lost Phya? She's not on the comm panel. Phya?)
22:07 Morgana Flavius: One things for sure: you can never face your own inner Medusa or the one being held by someone else and stay the same...
22:09 Myrrhine Philemon: but does Perseus grow from his encounter with Medusa?  I didn't get of sense of that as I read.
22:09 Torrey Philemon: In a way reading myths, like looking at our dreams, is sort of holding up the shield to Medusa. Rather than look directly at the powerful archetypes of the psyche, we look at them through the mirror of symbols...(That's for sure, Morgana).
22:11 Torrey Philemon: Hmm, Myrrhine. Maybe his marriage to Andromeda is a sign of growth - he has to kill the "negative mother" in order to take a wife and bond with a woman (granted this is a psychoanalytic interpretation)
22:12 Myrrhine Philemon: No, you are right - I had forgotten the psychoanalytical interpretation.  In that context he has indeed grown
22:12 Torrey Philemon: But from the psychological standpoint, women possess the power of the frightening/devouring mother over a boy until he claims his manhood. The womb/uterus is the place of regression....the woman's genitals is where he was a helpless newborn. He has to find his own power in relation to the all-powerful mother before he can be a man and relate to a woman as a partner.....
22:13 Torrey Philemon: Granted, Myrrhine, this is  symbolic interpretation. The story doesn't reveal growth, but then again I don' t know about the adventures of Perseus after Andromeda. Were there any?
22:15 Myrrhine Philemon: I don't know - clearly a subject for further research *g*
22:15 Torrey Philemon: Here it is....for more on Perseus later, check out http://www.hsa.brown.edu/~maicar//Perseus1.html
22:16 Torrey Philemon: BTW do you all want to switch to Proserpina? I think both of you indicated that you want to talk more about her rape etc.
22:17 Myrrhine Philemon: I think I am more familiar with Proserpina but I'm not sure where to start
22:18 Morgana Flavius enters...
22:19 Morgana Flavius: Wow! Had a major crash! Trying to catch up now.
22:22 Myrrhine Philemon: Ooh - ok - I'm back now too - Morgana - we were about to move onto Proserpina
22:23 Morgana Flavius: Ok, Proserpina.
22:24 Myrrhine Philemon: I wonder just how innocent she was+
22:25 Morgana Flavius: I think that she represented innocence... All her concerns are very naive... the lost flowers... trying to hide the fact she had eaten the pomegranate...
22:28 Morgana Flavius: It is getting too long to see the postings now... Maybe we should postpone the chat. AS server is not ok tonight...
22:28 Myrrhine Philemon: I have read so many version of her story now that I can't remember exactly which one it came from but she seems to defy all the instruction her mother has given her with regards picking the flowers and such - I think this is from the Homeric Hymn - there is an element of the naughty child caught out in a lie -but I guess this is a kind of innocence in itself
22:29 Torrey Philemon enters...
22:31 Torrey Philemon: Wheww. I lost the screen for about 10 minutes there. What do you want to do, folks. The server is awful!
22:32 Myrrhine Philemon: Yes, maybe you're right
22:32 Myrrhine Philemon: ooh -that took 5 mins to post!
22:32 Morgana Flavius: I can be here tomorrow night, same time. How about you guys?
22:35 Torrey Philemon: Why don't we   continue on the board and meet next week? I will just get back at 9pm   Thursday.
22:35 Morgana Flavius: Let's decide through the board the next chat then.
22:36 Myrrhine Philemon: yes, that sounds ok to me
22:37 Torrey Philemon: Does same time work for both of you? And do you think we'd have better luck in the mythquest chat room than here (probably not, these server errors are happening everywhere too)
22:38 Torrey Philemon: Morgana, do post more about what you want to say about Proserpina. Sounds like you have more thoughts on her story.
22:38 Myrrhine Philemon: yes, the same time is fine with me - i don't know whether a change of venue will make a difference though
22:40 Torrey Philemon: Another possibility for the three of us. We're all on ICQ. Can you all access the ICQ chat rooms...?
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