Ovid Metamorphoses
BOOKS 12, 13

Chat Transcript 9 
171 lines
July 10, 1999


18:56 Nimue Cormac enters...
18:56 Nimue Cormac: looks like i'm early
19:01 Torrey Philemon enters...
19:01 Torrey Philemon: Here I am......a few minutes late! I was just finishing up another post, this time on book 12. Glad you made it Nimue!
19:02 Morgana Flavius enters...
19:02 Morgana Flavius: Hello, ladies!
19:02 Torrey Philemon: Welcome Morgana (My last post won't go through. A.S. message boards are delivering error messages again!).
19:03 Torrey Philemon: What would you like to discuss Morgana.....and how much have you read, Nimue? Topic is book 12 and first half of book 13. Morgana and I have been writing about book 13.
19:04 Morgana Flavius: I'm still under the impression of Book 13. And how Ovid is putting his own words on Ulysses mouth... :o)
19:05 Nimue Cormac: i just finished12
19:05 Nimue Cormac: d a little of 13
19:06 Torrey Philemon: I most liked 13 too, but let's start with 12 since Nimue's read it, ok........? Unless there's something else you really want to say about 13, Morgana (I find it the most fascinating)
19:06 Torrey Philemon: (My post on book 12 finally went through on A.S. It's just a sketchy series of questions that arose for me while reading it)
19:06 Nimue Cormac: i've read most of Ajax' first speech and see what you mean
19:06 Morgana Flavius: It's ok to start on book 12.
19:07 Torrey Philemon: Well since Nimue read Ajax's first speech though in 13, any comments on that...?
19:07 Morgana Flavius: Torrey, I see two posts from you on the Ovid board. Maybe the error message did not prevent both your postings to go through.
19:08 Myrrhine Philemon enters...
19:08 Morgana Flavius: Welcome, Myrrhine!
19:08 Torrey Philemon: He doesn't sound so dumb to me as Ulysses says he is. In fact, he's quite convincing that Ulysses isn't quite the hero that we have been led to believe that he is! (I just compared Ulysses to Clinton.....both with their own brand of intellectual sleaziness!)
19:09 Torrey Philemon: Oh goodie, Myrrhine's here!
19:09 Myrrhine Philemon: Hello Morgana & Torrey   I have just been reading you posts!
19:09 Nimue Cormac: hello Murrhine
19:10 Myrrhine Philemon: Oh and Nimue too :)
19:10 Nimue Cormac: i could really see the comparasin between
19:10 Nimue Cormac: d Clinton
19:10 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Ajax does not seem dumb. And for sure Ulysses dos not refute all Ajax's accusations. But what makes think that Ulysses is Ovid is when Ulysses/Ovid says the intellect is more important than physical strenght or heroic deeds.
19:12 Morgana Flavius: And I start to think that dialogues like that one between Ulysses and Ajax are Ovid's "trade mark". He is really good at that and apparently he enjoys it a lot. :o)
19:13 Nimue Cormac: he gets to look at both sides of the argument that way
19:14 Torrey Philemon: I imagine as a writer he could get away with debating the powers that be by putting the arguments in the mouths of characters of the  past! He gets to express his opinion without speaking in his "own voice". (I'd like to hear more on your view on the Clinton analogy, Nimue....though we only have 2 U.S. citizens here, along with Brazil and Australia!)
19:15 Morgana Flavius: Right Nimue.
19:15 Myrrhine Philemon: I would imagine that his skill in this comes from rhetorical training ... shame that is not taught in school now!
19:16 Morgana Flavius: I was about to say that, Myrrhine! We can see a lot of rhetorical skills in Ovid, something that was deeply appreciated by ancient Romans and Greeks alike.
19:16 Torrey Philemon: Hmm. I wonder if Ovid was taking pot shots at anyone of his time by representing them as Ajax. Like a ruler, or military hero. Someone he could view as powerful but dumb and get the better of through his Ulyssean flair for words.
19:18 Nimue Cormac: its more in the general tone of the speech Ajaz seem to be calling Ulysses a coward who only went to war because he was forced. he accuses him of all kinds of crimes but Ulysses shrugs them off like water off a ducks back.
19:19 Morgana Flavius: I also think that Ovid was really very careful not to overlap with Virgil (and perhaps even with Homer) in his narrative of the Trojan War. That's why he focused on issues that were not so well discussed in the Iliad & Odissey and in the Aeneid.
19:19 Torrey Philemon: Ulysses would make a good lawyer!
19:20 Nimue Cormac: kind of a "teflon warrior". none of his accusations seem to overly bother Ulysses
19:20 Morgana Flavius: And wrote only a few sentences on the fall of Troy to name only one example...
19:20 Torrey Philemon: Maia Nestor says that the Romans of Ovid's time didn't idealize Ulysses as the Homeric culture did. He was not portrayed as favorably. I wonder why.
19:22 Morgana Flavius: There's something else... I guess that by the time Ovid wrote that part of Metamorphoses, the outcome of the fight over Achilles' arms was something very well known to his audience... so maybe he thought he should not elaborate so much on Ajax's speech as he did with Ulysses'. BTW, have you noticed how big is Ulysses' speech compared with Ajax's?
19:22 Torrey Philemon: what do you mean by teflon warrior, nimue? (original term). Like invulnerable?
19:22 Nimue Cormac: Ulysses was a lover of the good life...a true Hellene. perhaps this had something to do with it. the romans were a bit of a stuffy bunch
19:23 Nimue Cormac: nothing sticks to him. all the dirt that was thrown his direction....and very litle if anything actually stuck
19:23 Morgana Flavius: That's news to me, Torrey. That the Romans didn't idealized Ulysses that much... as you said, he does sound like a very good lawyer... something that Romans seem to value almost as much as... (hum... pardon my joke) American do! (LOL!)
19:24 Torrey Philemon: yes, ulysses speech is a lot longer, but then again he's most known for his words. Though Ajax doesn't seem all that dumb, just as Odysseus (at least in the Odyssey) isn't so physically weak!
19:26 Myrrhine Philemon: I think Torrey that Ajax would need to be intelligent for Ovid's intellectual victory to go to Ulysses ...
19:26 Nimue Cormac: it seems like a matter of style to me...like the difference between a poet and a journalist. one is more flowery and wordy in his style
19:26 Nimue Cormac: that doesn't mean he's a better speaker
19:27 Torrey Philemon: Ajax does effectively cast doubt on Ulysses' integrity and courage......
19:28 Nimue Cormac: i haven't finished Ulysses speech but i can tell you, from listening to Ajax, i don't much care for Ulysses
19:28 Torrey Philemon: How do you picture them? Unlike in the great recent tv movie of the Odyssey, in which Ulysses was very strong and solid, I see him more as thin and lithe, kind of slippery, with a more intellectual, clever look. But he couldn't hav
19:28 Torrey Philemon: But he couldn't have been a weakling or he wouldn't have survived the Trojan War or the journey home.....
19:30 Myrrhine Philemon: I haven't seen the tv movie ... but I have always seen Odyseus/Ulysses as a strong man ... and clever ...
19:30 Morgana Flavius: I think Ulysses is one of the most contradictory characters in the ancient epics. He seems to have very solid arguments when he didn't want to join the Greeks in the war against Troy. And he did not sound coward. He sounded more like a peace maker.
19:30 Torrey Philemon: If that movie is ever available to you on video, Myrrhine, I highly recommend it........
19:31 Myrrhine Philemon: I will hunt it out Torrey :)
19:31 Morgana Flavius: But, as we have already disucuss it, apparently being brave in a war counted more for one's glory than being a clever peace adept...
19:31 Torrey Philemon: Here it is....Hallmark video. The Oduyssey with Armand Assante, Greta Scacchi, Isabella Rossellini and Vanessa Williams. VERY WELL DONE. And Armande Assante makes one hell of a sexy and powerful Ulysses.
19:31 Nimue Cormac: its more a matter of the inside of the man. Ulysses was clever. but i don't see him as a "man's man"
19:32 Nimue Cormac: his first priority doesn't seem to be kill and conquer. he has other things that are important to him
19:33 Torrey Philemon: Say more, Nimue. What would a man's man be? More the heroic physical type, like Ajax? More brawn than brain?
19:34 Torrey Philemon: As you pointed out too, Morgana, Ulysses had to defend his bravery by taking credit for other people's physical accomplishments. Because he persuaded them to fight, he takes credit for the results of their fighting!
19:35 Nimue Cormac: definitely NOT the sensitive type. a man like.....well Richard the Lionheart, for instance. trhat man lived and breathed war. he had no interest in matters that didn't have some aspect of war in them
19:35 Morgana Flavius: Author Marion Bradley, in her book "The Firebrand" also portrays Ulysses/Odysseus as one of those characters that travel with equal familiarity in the black and white areas of ethics... he's an adept of the the shady areas of Dante. ;o)
19:36 Nimue Cormac: no namby pamby sissy was hew
19:37 Torrey Philemon: Ulysses as amoral, rather than moral or immoral. And the Gemini archetype.
19:37 Morgana Flavius: Right, Torrey.
19:37 Nimue Cormac: exactly
19:37 Myrrhine Philemon: That is interesting Morgana - I have always found Odysseus a slippery and suspect character - as one friend of mine said in a tutorial once she wouldn't trust him as far as she could throw him
19:37 Torrey Philemon: Ajax as a Taurus or Scorpio perhaps; Achilles as a Cancer.
19:38 Torrey Philemon: (For those who read the Aeneid, Aeneas was also slippery,but in a more Pisces less intellectual way)
19:39 Torrey Philemon: Hmm, it does't seem as if we have a Ulysses fan club here!
19:39 Morgana Flavius: Wow! That's an interesting analysis, Torrey! Putting zodiac archetypes on famous ancient heroes!
19:40 Nimue Cormac: he did go home to Penelope, but it sure took him long enough
19:40 Morgana Flavius: Oh, no, not me, Torrey! I'm out of Ulysses fan club! But I wouldn't put him in hell, like Dante. *wink*
19:40 Nimue Cormac: i'm afraid i don't know ennough about the zodiac to understand ther reference
19:40 Myrrhine Philemon: exactly Nimue ...
19:41 Myrrhine Philemon: me either ... I hardly know anything about zodiacal references ...
19:42 Morgana Flavius: With respect to Ulysses coming back to Penelope, I also think that he did when he couldn't find anything else to do... and was old enough to stay home... not a very nice thing to do to a wife...
19:42 Torrey Philemon: What I remember in reading the Aeneid or the Odyssey  - don't remember which - is how even after death Ajax was FURIOUS at Ulysses for besting him over Achilles armor. His shade did nothing but sulk in Hades.
19:43 Morgana Flavius: That's odd too... if Romans didn't like Ulysses that much, how come Virgil put Ajax in Hades, still vociferating against Ulysses?
19:45 Torrey Philemon: It's interesting too that Ajax's sense of honor was SO deeply bruised that he committed suicide over it. That's what I call having a strong reaction. Even stronger than Achilles reaction when his sense of honor was violated by Agamemnon.
19:46 Torrey Philemon: I certainly don't get the impression that Ulysses lost any nights of sleep over Ajax's death either. He probably slept with Achilles' armor as his pillow.....
19:47 Morgana Flavius: LOL! yeah... sounds very "Ulyssean", Torrey.
19:49 Morgana Flavius: Should we talk a bit about Book 12? I felt really moved by the centaurs... not the war, but the love story between two of them...
19:50 Torrey Philemon: Oh Morgana.....was it in Dante where Ajax was still fuming about Ulysses? I couldn't remember the source but it seems like I read it recently.
19:51 Torrey Philemon: Sure, book 12, centaurs.
19:51 Nimue Cormac: i want to know who are the apithites?
19:52 Myrrhine Philemon: *guily look* I haven't read this bit yet so i'll just listen for a bit :)
19:52 Nimue Cormac: thats Lapithites
19:52 Morgana Flavius: (I'm not sure about it either Torrey. Could have been Dante or Virgil who put Ajax fuming against Ulysses...)
19:53 Morgana Flavius: I have the smae question about the Lapithes, Nimue...
19:53 Torrey Philemon: Yes, who are the Lapiths? (ok here comes a metacrawler search)
19:54 Morgana Flavius: I was very impressed to see a narrative where love among centaurs was portrayed...and so beautifully... in the middle of a bloody war...!
19:55 Morgana Flavius: and it was interesting to read when Ovid tells us how Hylonome (female centaur) makes herself pretty to seduce Cyllarus (male centaur).
19:56 Morgana Flavius: As a matter of fact, I had never thought about female centaurs before... as much as I have never thought about male Amazons! LOL!
19:56 Myrrhine Philemon: Here is a entry in the encyclopedia mythica http://www.pantheon.org/mythica/articles/l/lapiths.html
19:56 Torrey Philemon: First result on a search: "Caeneus, in trying to prevent the half-human, half-horse centaurs from raping the women of the Lapith tribe, was mercilessly hammered into the ground by these monsters..."
19:56 Torrey Philemon: Origin of the centaurs http://www.eliki.com/ancient/myth/centaur/
19:57 Morgana Flavius: So, the Lapiths were a tribe...
19:58 Torrey Philemon: "The principal myth associated with the centaurs concerns the war with the Lapiths, a neighboring Thessalian nation. The centaurs had claimed King Pirithous' kingdom and the king tried to make peace. The centaurs were invited to attend the wedding of Pirithous to Hippodamia (or Deidamia) as friends but they got drunk and tried to forcibly seize the Lapith women"
19:59 Morgana Flavius: Another thing that intrigued me (and Torrey pointed it out in her post too) is why Neptune asks Apollo to kill Achilles: "(...) since I may not meet him face to face (...)" Why one god cannot fight a man face to face, but another can strike this same man dead with an arrow? What's the reason for that "rule"?
20:00 Torrey Philemon: Good link on Lapiths, Myrrhine. Short and to the point.
20:00 Nimue Cormac: was some kind of vow made to prevent this?
20:01 Morgana Flavius: Interesting how Ovid chooses to narrate that war with the Lapiths. As the Romans themselves have a record of abduction of women in the Sabine case...
20:02 Torrey Philemon: I vaguely recall something in the Iliad about Zeus forbidding several of the gods and goddesses from continuing to be involved in the Trojan War. Was it Athena and Poseidon? Not sure......Some of the gods were getting too caught up in controlling the war and Zeus was outraged, and demanded that they cool it.
20:03 Nimue Cormac: i have to be going.i'll read the posts later. thank you for inviting me
20:03 Myrrhine Philemon: Bye Nimue ....
20:03 Morgana Flavius: Thanks for being here with us, Nimue!
20:06 Morgana Flavius: Anywhow.... in Metamorphoses we see a god asking another god to kill a mortal... why one could do that (and actually did) and the other one could not? Was it something related to the prophecy that Jupiter and Neptune knew of, about Achilles?
20:06 Torrey Philemon: (glad you came, Nimue!)
20:10 Torrey Philemon: hmm....I just found a study guide on Neptune, Achilles and Cycnus, but it's just questions......http://ccis09.baylor.edu/WWWproviders/thorburn/ovidmet276to279.html
20:11 Torrey Philemon: Mandelbaum translation, around line 595, ""But since I'm not permitted to confront Achilles face to face....."
20:12 Morgana Flavius: (Sorry I was reading that link about the Centaurs. Really interesting)
20:12 Morgana Flavius: More's translation: "since I may not meet him face to face"
20:13 Torrey Philemon: Yes I just skimmed that page on the centaurs too. definitely intriguing. I had thought more of them were like Chiron, more enlightened, but apparently they have been portrayed more often as primitive, somewhat dionysian and animalistic.....
20:14 Torrey Philemon: You've got me really curious now about why Neptune can't meet Achilles face to face!
20:15 Morgana Flavius: Yeah... Apparently, it was something known to the Romans, Torrey, as Ovid does not elaborate much on that...
20:16 Torrey Philemon: Here we have another reference to Achilles in relation to Neptune  http://www.schoenbrunn.at/e/tour/rundP01_neptun.html
20:16 Myrrhine Philemon: my translation:  I may not meet my enemy face to face
20:18 Myrrhine Philemon: notes:  because the mythological and literary tradition forbade it.  Achilles had to be killed by an arrow shot by Paris and directed by Apollo
20:19 Morgana Flavius: Regarding your question (in your posting) about metamorphoses of men becoming women, and vice versa, besides the Caenis/Caeneus case, narrated in book 12, I remember another case of a sex changing in Ovid... a (rare) happy ending story where two young boys fall in love and one of them is transformed into a girl at the wedding day... (I can't remember exactly the story)
20:20 Morgana Flavius: But also, Myrrhine, it could be because Neptune promised Thetis to protect her son. (That's what's said in the link about the Neptune's fountain, that Torrey just mentioned)
20:21 Myrrhine Philemon: Ahhh ok .. I haven't got that that yet :)
20:22 Torrey Philemon: Right, on the other sex change, Morgana......we did read that Ovid story.......Back to Achilles and Neptune......I remember discussing when reading the Iliad and Odyssey that most of the gods can not or do not appear directly to human beings. They usually intervene by putting on a disguise, such as the role of a friend of a hero.........Yet I don't recall any incidents in which Poseidon disguises himself (though he does speak to Odysseus during the ocean storm).
20:22 Morgana Flavius: BTW, that fountain sculpture in Schonbrunn Park (Innsbruck, Austria) is very similar to the one in the famous Fontana di Trevi, in Rome. Also portrays Neptune in his glory, among nereids and taming brave sea-horses...
20:25 Morgana Flavius: But if Apollo could do it, what not Neptune? Only because Neptune "knew" that Paris should be the one who should kill Achilles? Then why Ovid chose the words "could not meet my enemy"?
20:26 Torrey Philemon: This is in Iliad book 20, but it doesn't shed much light......"When earth-encircling Neptune heard this he went into the battle amid the clash of spears, and came to the place where Achilles and Aeneas were. Forthwith he shed a darkness before the eyes of the son of Peleus, drew the bronze-headed ashen spear from the shield of Aeneas, and laid it at the feet of Achilles"
20:26 Myrrhine Philemon: Good points Morgana ... I'm not exactly sure - that could be a translation problem
20:26 Morgana Flavius: Apparently, the 3 translations we have here say more or less the same...
20:28 Morgana Flavius: Really confusing... It seems that in the Iliad Neptune does interfer directly on a fight between two mortal men...
20:29 Torrey Philemon: Yet in the Iliad Neptune casts a darkness so that he is not seen by Achilles......so he is not "face to face".....
20:30 Torrey Philemon: (I"m trying to come up with some good search engine research questions for my Internet search skills class. This might be a winner!)
20:30 Morgana Flavius: Yes... that's true, Torrey...
20:31 Morgana Flavius: So, maybe gods and goddesses can appear face to face with mortals only when they want to seduce them?
20:32 Torrey Philemon: Well this can be a good research question for us to explore over the week, and post our findings on our message board!
20:32 Myrrhine Philemon: I'm happy to do that ...
20:33 Morgana Flavius: Yes, I'd like to know more about that "rule"... Let's use the board then, to post our findings.
20:36 Torrey Philemon: Page on Poseidon http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/5545/olympians-poseidon.html  Poseidon originally wanted to marry the Nereid, Thetis, but was warned that a son born to them would overthrow him. So, he married Amphitrite.
20:41 Torrey Philemon: Just found a page on Cygnus the Swan http://www.princeton.edu/~cmbell/myth/cygnus.html  It didn't occur to me that Cycnus is Cygnus! This refers to the myth "Other versions state that the swan was Cionus, son of Neptune, who was wrestled to the ground and smothered by Achilles. To save his son, Neptune immortalized Cionus as a swan. "
20:42 Torrey Philemon: (I was thinking of Cycnus as Sickness!)
20:42 Morgana Flavius: Are we all looking for Neptune links? ;o)
20:43 Myrrhine Philemon: hehehe yep!
20:43 Torrey Philemon: Hmm, I like that phrase, Myrrhine. heheh yep! Sounds like a native chat!
20:43 Morgana Flavius: LOL!
20:44 Torrey Philemon: Of course I prefer the feminine version shesheshe yip
20:44 Myrrhine Philemon: mmm my aussiness comming through :)
20:47 Torrey Philemon: Here's a very good Achilles link  http://hsa.brown.edu/~maicar/Achilles.html
20:49 Morgana Flavius: Oh my... when I start reading those links, I start clicking on related links about mythology and it's a never ending story...
20:50 Myrrhine Philemon: I'm glad I'm not the only one who has that problem *LOL*
20:51 Myrrhine Philemon: That Achilles link is very good Torrey - I'm studying the Illiad soon so I'll keep it in mind!
20:52 Torrey Philemon: Myrrhine, I've posted all the transcripts from our Iliad chats last summer.....have you seen them?
20:54 Myrrhine Philemon: Yes I've had  a look ... I'm working my way through the text now and checking all my references here as I go - this is one of the reasons why I love AS so much :)
20:54 Morgana Flavius: Ladies, I must go now. I do hope to see comments on "gods not allowed to meet mortal men face to face" in the Ovid board. I will look for some answers too. Good night, Myrrhine and Torrey!
20:54 Torrey Philemon: Sorry to see you go, Morgana! Let's continue on the message board, and maybe have our next to last chat in about three weeks........??
20:55 Torrey Philemon: Anything else you want to say about book 12 or 13, Myrrhine?
20:55 Myrrhine Philemon: Sounds good to me :)  I'll try and get something posted on the board this time round - I'll have something to say about Hecuba next time if that's ok?
20:57 Torrey Philemon: I'll look forward to you sharing more.......
20:58 Morgana Flavius exits...
20:58 Myrrhine Philemon: yes I've been flat out the last couple of weeks ... but I do enjoy hearing what you all have to say :o)
20:59 Torrey Philemon: Well I'll suggest we finish book 13 and do book 14 three weeks from tonight. Can you be here?
20:59 Myrrhine Philemon: Yep I'll make a note in my diary now :)
21:00 Myrrhine Philemon: Until next time then!
21:01 Torrey Philemon: Goodnight!
21:01 Myrrhine Philemon exits...
21:02 Torrey Philemon exits...

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