The journal of an average reader – Day 2 (The scholars help us know He has risen and Vergil’s political propaganda)

If yesterday started with a strong, thrilling passage, today was the calm after the storm. Do you know that moment when you think that everything is lost, but then you discover that it’s quite the contrary? John 20: He has risen ! Yesterday He was beaten up, crucified and left to die, now he disappeared from his tomb and showed Himself a couple of times to people He knew. Once again, the scene when Peter and the other disciple found out that He was not anymore in the tomb and started running like crazy was so alive in Greek thanks to the repeated καὶ juxtaposition, that created a state inside me which made me start reading faster like I was running with them. I imagine them rushing and arriving to the place where Jesus was buried without breath.

Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.”

     So many emotions are involved in the 31 verses of this chapter, especially in the 16th verse when Maria realized whom she was talking with, exclaiming “Rabboni”, then the time when Jesus shows Himself to Thomas. Every time I finish reading this episode I fully live strong emotions with a peaceful apogee.

    Next on the list was once again Scribes and Scholars. I started with a small chapter dedicated to the process of transition from the roll to the codex, the period from the second century to the fourth AD. It is a pretty impressive chapter talking about a very mesmerizing task that actually caused the loss of a lot of literature, which we would’ve lost anyways due to the deterioration of the papyrus. I was also well pleased in the next chapter with the erudition of the first Christians who, contrary to what the modern thinker would believe, did not destroy the pagan literature, but took what was applicable for their own beliefs and used it in their writings.

“Just as Ambrose in his De officiis ministrorum was able to produce an influential manual of Christian ethics by reworking the basically Stoic content of Cicero’s De officiis, so Augustine, writing at a time when he was least sympathetic to secular letters, in his De doctrina Christiana successfully adapted classical Roman rhetoric and in particular the theory of the three styles as elaborated by Cicero in the Orator to the needs of the Christian preacher. “

L.D. Reynolds (1968), p.38

     A thing I love about this book is that when it comes to those things that need a visual support, i.e. the critical signs, scripts, etc. at the end of the book there are pictures of different plates that gives you an example; e.g. this plate with an example of Rustic Capital script. Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 22.51.52

     Next book to read was Vergil’s Eclogae or Bucolics, in a Catalan translation from 1956 made by Miquel Dolç, of course, Bernat Metge editorial. The introduction to this version is around 100 pages long, but it helps you understand very much what Virgil intended with these ten short poems. I have to recognize that I struggled a bit with the translation, though, but since Vergil is not the easiest author to read and translate it’s totally fine (I guess). It was a delightful read and I enjoyed some parts more than the others. The 1st, 3rd, 4th,and 6th were my favorites. I don’t want to start commenting now every little aspect of this masterpiece since already flowed rivers of ink related to the subject. I do want to point two things that called my attention especially. My Romanian readers will definitely relate to the first one. In the first Ecloga there are a couple of times when Virgil uses his writings to worship the Roman emperor Augustus, calling him “god” . In the first lines we find:

Meliboeus:

…you, Tityrus, idling in the shade,

teach the woods to echo ‘lovely Amaryllis’.

Tityrus:

O Meliboeus, a god has created this leisure for us.

Since he’ll always be a god to me, a gentle lamb

from our fold, will often drench his altar.”

     What a great propaganda system the poets were! This makes me travel two thousand years in time and remembers Ceaușescu’s propaganda poets in the communist Romania. One of them, Vadim Tudor, at the 20th anniversary of Ceaușescu’s declaration as general secretary declared:

“We delight in the providential existence of this man, so profoundly attached to our ancient land; we should all rejoice in his neverending youth, we should all be grateful for we live in his times and thank him for all these. Only due to his will we are now truly masters in our souls’ home.”

Tismăneanu (2014), p. 256

     The second point that called my attention is the tremendous parallel between the Cumean prophecies from the fourth Ecloga and the prophecies of the Judeo-Christian religion. Also the parallel between the child who was to bring the new race. All these made Christian authors like Augustine or Lactantius think that Vergil was inspired by the Christian God.

“Now the last age of the Cumaean prophecy begins:

the great roll-call of the centuries is born anew:

now Virgin Justice returns, and Saturn’s reign:

now a new race descends from the heavens above.

Only favor the child who’s born, pure Lucina, under whom

the first race of iron shall end, and a golden race

rise up throughout the world”

     Today was a bit more intense than yesterday because of how deep everything I read was. Whenever I approach this kind of literature I take my time and read 3 or 4 times the same passage to be sure I get it. Especially Vergil’s Eclogae took a lot of time due to their density (a lot of things happen in approx. thousand verses).

See you tomorrow,

Denis

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The journal of an average reader – Day 1 (Among Pilatus, Agamemnon and a modern psychologist)

Today was the first day of this reading marathon and it started no different than any other day. I took my trilingual Greek-Latin-Catalan New Testament and started with a chill reading in Greek of John 19; the scene where Jesus was condemned, beaten up and then crucified. It’s my first time reading this in Greek and it had a very strong effect that I never felt before. The way the text is built up until the “ἰδοὺ ὁ ἄνθρωπος/ecce homo” moment is brilliant and when Pontius Pilatus says these words it’s like the whole universe stands still, complete silence. That’s the effect these words had inside me too. I also enjoyed a lot Pilatus’ answer when the priests went to him and complained about the fact that on Christ’s cross lied written “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”: a simple laconic: quod scripsi scripsi. After finishing the chapter I realized how much I wouldn’t have liked to be in Pilatus’ place.

Next, I took the Spanish edition of the L.D. Reynolds’ classic Scribes and Scholars. Every single word of this book is gold. I love it. It’s so good. It’s a history of the transmission of Greek and Latin texts from the antiquity to the present day. Today I went through the Hellenistic philologists and ended in the 2nd century AD, with the Romans’ interest in their classics (Ennius, Plautus, etc). I enjoyed very much a passage that talks about how Atticus, a good friend of Cicero, helped him to edit and publish some of his works:

“Atticus would carefully revise a work for him, criticize points of style or content, discuss the advisability of publication or the suitability of a title, hold private readings of the new book, send out complimentary copies, organize its distribution. His standards of execution were of the highest and his name a guarantee of quality”

L.D. Reynolds (1968), p.24

    After all these stories about the earliest philologists, how could I go somewhere else but to the Iliad? I will never get tired of rereading this book. Every time there’s something new to discover. Now it’s the first time I read a Romanian translation of the classic and it’s a very special one. It was translated by Dan Slușanschi, who in my opinion is one of the best classicists that Romania ever had. Why do I say it’s special? Well, it has been translated in Romanian hexameters, a very hard and tricky task to do. That’s also the reason why I read it out loud: to hear the effect it had when the Greeks listened to somebody reciting it. I went through the 11th book today when Agamemnon goes on a killing spree and the coward Paris wounds Diomedes from far away with an arrow. There’s this scene, a bit gore,(pretty mild when we consider other scenes) that I liked when Agamemnon refuses to spare the life of two brothers in exchange for a lot of wealth and remembers that he’s at war. I say I like this because of what it meant for the posteriority. (Both Romanian and English translations).

“Prinși ia-ne, mare Atride, și ia-ți cuvenita răsplată:

Multe-avuții stau acasă, la Antimahos în palaturi,

Aur și-argint, cum și fierul cărunt și lucrat și măiastru!

Dintr acestea-ți va da tata chiar necurpinse odoare,

De va afla că trăim și-am ajuns la Ahei, la corăbii!”

Astel plângeau amândoi, înălțând ruga către măritul

Rege, mai dulce ca mierea, dar vorba de-amar auzit-au:

“Dacă lui Antimahos, socotitul, voi fii dragi îi sunteți –

El, ce, la Troia, în sfat, cu îndemn venea pe Menelaos

Cu Odysseu cel zeiesc, cu solie sosiți în cetate,

Să-i  și ucidă pe dată, și iar la Ahri dă nu-i lase -,

Chiar că plăti-veți acum a părintelui vostru ocară!”

Zise, și-apoi pe Peisandru din car îl zvărli în țărână,

Dându-i cu sulița-n piept: el pe spate, în colb prăvălit fu.

Hippolohos sări jos ca să fugă, dar jos îl ucise,

Mâinile lui retezând și luându-i apoi căpățâna,

Și-apoi îl rostogoli, tăvălug prăvălit, prin mulțime.

“Take us alive, thou son of Atreus, and accept a worthy ransom; treasures full many he stored in the palace of Antimachus, bronze and gold and iron, wrought with toil; thereof would our father grant thee ransom past counting, should he hear that we are alive at the ships of the Achaeans.” So with weeping the twain spake unto the king with gentle words, but all ungentle was the voice they heard: “If ye are verily the sons of wise-hearted Antimachus, who on a time in the gathering of the Trojans, when Menelaus had come on an embassage with godlike Odysseus, bade slay him then and there, neither suffer him to return to the Achaeans, now of a surety shall ye pay the price of your father’s foul outrage.” He spake, and thrust Peisander from his chariot to the ground, smiting him with his spear upon the breast, and backward was he hurled upon the earth. But Hippolochus leaped down, and him he slew upon the ground, and shearing off his arms with the sword, and striking off his head, sent him rolling, like a round stone, amid the throng.”

Iliad, XI, 131-148

    Since not everything has to be ancient world, I decided to finish a book I started some time ago and didn’t have time to read lately: Larry Crabb – Connecting. It’s a book about how to heal ourselves and our relationships in a Christian environment. I happened to start reading this when I went through a harsh time in my life and it was a great guide. In my opinion, every single person who lives in a Christian environment should read it. It’s not only going to benefit yourself but also everybody around you.

“A godly vision lets us ignore lots of problems that a selfish vision requires us to focus on. We need to think vision, not problems. And we need to think godly vision, not selfish vision.”

Crabb (1997), p.162

    That’s how my first reading day ended. It wasn’t as full as I wanted it to be because of some secondary issues, but I hope that the next days I’ll be able to dedicate myself more to it. For tomorrow I already prepared Virgil’s Eclogae and some Greek tragedy. We’ll see how it works.

See you tomorrow,

Denis

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The journal of an average reader (intro)

A little bit more than a week ago an idea popped into my head. I was writing the last lines of my bachelor thesis and I realized how much I had to give up at the everyday literature and focus on my research. While I was surrounded by epigraphic evidence from Ephesus related to the subject I was researching, deep inside I was missing all those Dostoievskian ideas, Homeric heroes, and Shakespearean dramatis personae. I promised myself that as soon as I will hand in my thesis, I will go back to them, but in a special way. So I decided to have a special week of reading all kind of literature and see how much can an average reader do in 7 days of complete dedication to books. I am not a fast reader, but a very normal one, even slow, some could probably say. The pace of my reading will vary very much as the reading will be done in all the languages I know (of course I won’t read as fast in Ancient Greek as I will read in Romanian, or Spanish). Therefore, it’s going to a be balanced rhythm. The kind of literature will also vary a lot. I will go from the ancient world to contemporary literature. The point of this is to drop everything else I would do and grab a book instead. At the end of each day, I will write a short entry about how that it went, what did I read and how many pages. I hope this will be as interesting for you as it will be for me.

Denis

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Two Thousand Years of Flood (A comparision between The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Bible and The Metamorphoses)

          The Great Flood is a common subject to everybody with a minimum taste for general knowledge (or no taste at all). We are aware of the rich amount of research material in the field but we also felt the lack of reachable writings to the wide public especially when comparing original sources. The motivation behind this material is a systematic comparison between three major writings from the antiquity, that comprise the Great Flood issue including the anterior and posterior facts avoiding the philological and archaeological jargon. These three texts, with considerate periods of time apart from each other, are The Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 2100 BC), The Bible (circa 1445 BC) and Ovidius’ Metamorphoses (8 AD). In the first part, we will mark a set of similarities and differences between them, then, in the second part we will do the same, but with the three at the same time. All this is done in the form of an essay given that the writers are not experts in the field but curious outsiders. Our exploration relies mostly on the analysis of the original texts in translation (except the case of The Metamorphoses, for we used the Latin text as well) rather than on the scholars’ studies, without excluding their consultation either.

 

Similarities

 

          Concerning The Metamorphoses and The Bible, the first thing that’s calling the attention is the presence of giants in both books (Met. I, 151 and Gen. 6.4), followed by a feeling of regret. The Bible simply says that the Lord regretted (Gen 6.6), but Ovidius is covering this feeling with a sigh (Saturnius…ingemit; Met. I, 163). As a reaction to the regret, anger coming from the deepest makes its appearance. His soul conceived great anger (Met. I, 166.) and it grieved him to his heart (Gen 6.6). Another common point is the depravity of the human kind represented by Ovidius in the figure of Lycaon (Met. I, 162-251), but the Bible says that God saw that the wickedness of man was great on earth (Gen. 6.5). The effect of this depravity is the divinity’s desire to erase the human race from earth (Met I, 259 and Gen. 6.7). Both texts talk about one man and his family that was above the others and deserved to be saved. We’re talking about Deucalion in the Metamorphoses (Met. I, 322-323) and Noah in the Bible (Gen. 6.9). The last similarity that we could find is one posterior to the flood, i.e. the way it was stopped with the help of the wind. The Roman author tells us that Aquilo was sent and took the clouds away (Met. I, 328) while God made a wind blow over the earth, and the water subsided (Gen 8.1).

          Both the Bible and The Epic of Gilgamesh put an important stress on the continuity of the species after the flood. God says to Noah to take two pairs of every kind, male and female (Gen. 6:19) and Utanapishtim, telling his story to Gilgamesh, says that he loaded into the boat all the living beings that he had. (Gilg. XI. 084). After the storm, we’re being told that Ishtar wept with regret for causing the flood that destroyed the people and the other gods joined her in grief (Gilg. XI.117-127). The same kind of regret we see in God when He says “(Neither) will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.” (Gen 8.21). After the flood stopped, the very first reaction of Noah was to open a window (Gen. 8.6) and so was Utanapishtim’s (Gilg. XI.137). Last, but not least, as a conclusion to everything, a very natural ancient reaction occurred: the sacrifice (Gilg. XI, 157-160 and Gen. 8.20) that pleased the divinity with its aroma (Gilg. XI, 161-163 and Gen 8.21).

          Given the time gap between The Epic of Gilgamesh and Ovidius’ great opera (that follows the Greek tradition, but with a specific Augustan twist), we thought that the similarities would be insignificant or not existent at all, but although we only found one, it is compelling. The most important characteristic is the malicious element of the divinity that wants the surviving human to suffer, or doesn’t want it to live at all. After the flood, seeing the god Enlil that Utanapishtim and his family was alive, addressed to the goddess Ea with a choleric voice: “Where did a living being escape? No man was to survive the annihilation!” (Gilg. XI, 150-152). After doing all that was in his power, which was more than enough to destroy the humans, Jupiter’s wrath was still not content, so he asked his brother, Neptune, to help him and bring even more destruction upon the mortals through his control of the waters (Met. I, 276).

          Despite the elements that distinguish the three narratives, we clearly see common material among the accounts which really confirms that the Primeval Flood is a unique and important event in humankind’s memory. When studying the details, we don’t want to lose from sight that all of them speak about a Universal Flood, in all of them there is a human survivor and the event is the result of some kind of interaction between divinity and human. The divine punishment produces a fundamental disturbance in human’s quality of life. The tragedy of the flood is manifested when approaching the landing mountain (Nisir, Ararat or Parnasus) at the first sight of the destroyed world (Gilg. XI. 138-139); after leaving the boat, in the Metamorphoses the two survivors approach the temple with the cheeks full of tears. The nostalgia becomes clear when the divinity looks with pleasure or compassion towards the affected ones (Met. I, 381, Gen. 8:20,21, Gilg. XI. 158-163). Even though Utanapishtim and Pyrrha are granted eternal life, they must spend it in isolation (Gilg. XI. 205).

 

Differences

 

          In the present case we’re talking about a time gap of thousand years approx. between each of accounts and three different cultures, therefore the differences were expected from the very beginning.

          First of all, in the Metamorphoses the boat on which Deucalion and Pyrrha survived is a small and fragile boat (Met. I, 319), while Noah’s ark is a big and solid ark (300 cubits by 50 by 30, which means 158.7m long by 26.45m wide by 15.87m high; Gen. 6:15) and neither was Utanapishtim’s smaller (the exterior walls 120 cubits and the length of it 120 cubits as well). The size of the boat also implies that in the Roman’s epic poem there were no animals to be saved. The human depravity that we talked about before, referring to the Bible and the Metamorphoses we could not find in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

          Right on the moment the flood starts and the chosen ones were in the boat, God himself closed the door (Gen. 7:16), while Utanapishtim was ordered to close it (Gilg. XI, 90-93). Forty days after the flood stopped, Noah sends three times a dove to check whether the waters subsided (Gen. 8:6-12). In the Epic of Gilgamesh, we see Utanapishtim sending after only seven days, first a dove, then a swallow and last a raven which did not come back to the boat. (Gilg. XI, 115-126). The Metamorphoses is the only one who mentions the recreation of the humanity through stones (Met. I, 398-415).

 

Conclusions

 

          In the conclusions we would like to make a point about the purpose of the three writings with respect to the Flood:

The Epic of Gilgamesh

          The struggle of Gilgamesh of gaining eternal life when realizing that he will share the fate of his friend Enkidu leads him to the immortality quest. However, the only man that can decode for him this mystery is Utanapishtim the immortal. However, unexpectedly, the latter’s situation was an eternal life of isolation. The inner message of this chapter is the extent and limit to which the human can aspire to resemble the gods. For more information about this theological contradiction we have consulted the prologue to our version of the poem, pages 8 and 9.

Bible

          God hates sin and that’s why before destroying the earth the text iterates several times over the fact that the earth was corrupt (e.g. Gen. 6:11, 12). This corruption is correlated with the violence on the earth at that point and the sickness of human thought (every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually; Gen. 6.5). It is also correlated with some uncommon creatures for the post-Flood world like the “sons of God” (Gen. 6.2) which married human females, leading to the divine limitation of human age to 120 years.  Bizarre and evil creatures like the giants not only occur in the Bible but form the prototype of human depravity in the Metamorphoses. We won’t further speak about whether the sons of God are in fact the descendants of Seth or whether the giants are simply cruel land-owners. For further discussion on the topic see the interesting article of Keil in his biblical commentary [1]  given that the exact meaning of those creatures cannot be easily elucidated by philological means but by theological ones.

Metamorphoses

          Beyond describing the closing of another chapter in the human history, Ovidius also makes remarks the wickedness of humans before the Flood and the necessity of a new race of miraculous origins (Met. I,250). The contagious state (Met. I,250) of the humans is best represented in the image of Lycaon. One may consider Lycaon as a parallel to the uncommon creatures in the Bible because their association with the Flood episode, however The Metamorphoses exposes more features of this individual as a bloody being with anti-god aspirations (Met. I,250 220, 224-225). Lycaon is a clear image of the humans in the pre-flood world in places like Met. I, 215.

          Our comparison leads us to the conclusion that the red thread of the Primeval Flood is the guiltiness of the human kind before the divinity, either by trying to acquire a divine feature, like eternity, either by social disorder and immorality or by direct dishonor brought to the divinity, despite the syntax used for describing that.

 

 

Notes

[1] Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament. Gen 6.1-4.

 

Sources

Ovidio, N. P. “Metamorfosis. Libros I-V, Madrid: Gredos.” (2008)

Ovid. “Metamorphoses. Ed.Hugo Magnus. Gotha, Germany: Friedr. Andr. Perthes.” (1892)

Bible. “English Standard Version. Bible Gateway.” (web 15 Feb. 2016)

Biblia. “Traducerea Dumitru Cornilescu.” (1924 ediția revizuită în 2014)

El poema de Gilgamesh. “Madrid: Cátedra.” (2015)
Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament. Studylight (web 10 Mar. 2016)

 

Brumar, I. and Pleșa, D.C.

10 Mar. 2016

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From Barcelona to Budapest (short story)

Only 10 minutes passed after the plane took off and the seatbelt signal was turned off. On the seats 18B and 18C were Sheldon and George, co-workers for the past 2 years. They were heading to the yearly conference on management skills that was held, this time, in Budapest.

George took his hardcover, thick book from the pocket in front of him and started reading from where the bookmark was.

“What are you reading?” asked Sheldon, holding a thin, black device by himself.

“I’m reading this book called “The Idiot”, written by Dostoyevsky. My wife always liked him, so now she convinced me to try it too. What about you?”

“Well, I don’t know yet.”

Then, putting his lips together and moving his mouth to a side, with a thoughtful expression on his face uttered:

“I have a lot of options.” Right after, sliding his finger to the right on the device, he was browsing through a library of books. “This one it is! “ exclaimed Sheldon saying the name of a book, which his co-worker never heard of.

Not even 3 minutes passed when George extended his arm over his colleague’s head and turned on the light that was above his own seat. The next moment Sheldon said with an interesting look on his face:

“Hey man, look!” Then he pushed a button and the screen of the device was enlightened, making it easier to read. George, moving up his chin with an impressed position laconically said:

“Oh, nice!”

Short after, George addressed to his partner:

“Sorry for bothering, but do you happen to have a pencil? I really want to underline a passage that I like and I forgot mine in the bag.”

“Yes, definitely, here you go…but, check this out!” Then, holding his finger on the screen and dragging it, he shaded a whole portion of the text and a window popped up on the screen with multiple options. Underline was one of them.

“Now,” said Sheldon with a smile on his face, “every time I want to see the underlined text I just have to go to a document and everything is there.”

“What a great feature!”

The time passed while the both colleagues kept reading. After some time, George asked Sheldon:

“Sorry for bothering again, but do you know the exact meaning of the word “truculent”?”

“Not exactly, but give me a moment.” Next step, he opened an application on his device, which happened to be the Oxford Dictionary of English. “The dictionary says it is an adjective meaning eager or quick to argue or fight. “

“Thank you, Sheldon”

“You are welcome, man!”

Out of the sudden a flight attendant announced:

“Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are safely parked at the gate. Thank you.”

Everybody fastened his seatbelt.

Sheldon turned off his device.

George kept reading.

 

Denis C. Plesa

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Importanța mitului și poziția socială a femeii în societatea antică

Cu puțin timp în urmă, stând de vorbă cu un prieten, îi spuneam printre altele că voi urma un curs de mitologie greacă. În următoarele momente am experimentat o stare neplăcută datorită aroganței aproape sfidătoare cu care făcea afirmația: „Dacă voi în anul 4 la facultate faceți așa materii, oricine poate să facă facultatea asta! Ce poate fi așa de greu să vorbești despre niște povești?”

Este mitul o simplă poveste? Este mitologia greacă o simplă amintire din copilărie din timpul în care citeam clasicele scrise de Alexandru Mitru? Sau este ceva mai mult, care merge mult mai departe de atât? În următoarele rânduri, încercând să fiu cât de scurt posibil, voi incerca să răspund acestor intrebări.

A defini exact mitul e o sarcină mai grea decât pare, dar pentru a ne crea o idee vagă am să folosesc definiția dată de H.J. Rose care spune că un mit e produsul imaginației unui popor, care ia o forma unei povești. Aceste povești grecii le-au numit mythoi, expresie care inițial însemna «cuvinte». Greșeala care se face cel mai des este aceea de-a gândi că studiul mitologiei este defapt studierea unui dicționar mitologic, care ne spune cine a fost Zeus, Cronos, Atena etc. când defapt aceasta merge mult mai departe de atât.


Pentru a putea ajunge la idea pe care vreau să o prezint e necesar să mergem cu gândul in anul 2000 î.C. , în insula Creta, la civilizația minoică. Descoperirile arheologice din acest loc au demonstrat că datorită lipsei zidurilor de protecție, a armelor și a altor elemente relaționate cu războiul, această civilizație nu cunoștea în absolut ce însemna acesta. Trăia, deci, într-o pace perpetuă. Nu mă voi opri asupra acestui subiect, care fără nici o indoială este un lucru extraordinar și merită studiat mai îndeaproape. Alt fapt care face ca această epocă să fie specială este prezența semnificativă a femeii în societate, care se bucura de drepturi asemănătoare cu cele ale bărbatului. Nu trebuie citite nenumărate cărți pentru a realiza că elementul feminin în Grecia și Roma antică (și nu numai) este de cele mai multe ori înjosit și nu are absolut nici un drept. e.g. În Atena femeia nu era considerată cetățean, ci fiică de cetățean; o femeie nu putea fi niciodată independentă, ci era tot timpul vieții sub protecția unui kyrios, care era tatăl, fratele sau soțul ei.

Între anii 1900 și 1600 î.C. se întâmplă ceva tragic pentru civilizația minoică: așa-numitele popoare indoeuropene intră în Grecia și încep să cucerească teritorii, printre care se numără și Creta, terminând pentru totdeauna cu civilizația minoică și tot ce înseamnă aceasta. Această nouă civilizație se numește miceniană și sunt însăși grecii prezentați de Homer în Iliada sub numele de Ahei. Din punct de vedere militar, Creta nu a prezentat absolut nici o problemă datorită lipsei de ziduri protectoare și a armelor de război. Acest fapt nici nu ar crea probabil un subiect foarte îndelungat de discuție, dar subiectul asupra căruia cred merită să ne oprim este anihilarea totală a ceea ce înseamnă cultură minoică și cum s-a impus cea miceniană asupra ei producând o ruptură, a cărei efecte se simt și după 3600 de ani. Iar pentru a concreta mai mult mă voi referi doar la figura feminină. Cum a fost posibil ca un lucru precum dreptul femeii în societate să cadă atât de jos în anii posteriori? Aici e punctul în care mitul începe să aibă un protagonism mai deosebit. Nu spun că el este cauza principală pentru acest fapt, deși în multe ocazii tind să cred asta. Chiar dacă nu a fost așa, sunt convins în totalitate că a avut un rol important pentru ca acesta să se îndeplinească. Pentru a înțelege exact la ce mă refer este necesară o apropiere de un mit grecesc și anume: Cutia Pandore. Voi încerca să-l prezint pe scurt cu ajutorul clasicului “Munci și Zile” de Hesiod.

După ce Prometeu a furat focul divin pentru a-l dărui oamenilor, Zeus, înfuriat de atitudinea sfidătoare a nepotului său decide să creeze o femeie cu ajutorul altor zei prin care să pedepsească omenirea. Această femeie numită Pandora, deosebită prin frumusețea ei, primește în același timp o cutie care, o dată pe pământ, urma să fie dată în dar soțului său. După căsătoria sa cu Epimeteu, fratele lui Prometeu, acesta deschide cutia și din ea iese tot răul, care se extinde pe întreaga suprafață a pământului. Un lucru doar mai rămâne: speranța, care urma să-i aline pe oameni în suferințele lor.

Acest mit micenian a fost cauza care a determinat în anii următori destinul femeii. Poate nu a afectat gândirea primelor trei generații, dar începând cu a patra sunt sigur că au existat persoane care se vedeau afectați de acest tip de mituri (aici m-am limitat la mitul Pandorei, dar au existat și alte figuri care au influențat gândirea națiunii în această direcție, precum Alcestis, Penelope et al.) De la bun început femeia apare ca un rău, ca o pedeapsă pentru oamenii care urmau să o accepte fără sa fie conștienți de pericolul mortal care îi așteaptă. Cum se poate trage concluzia din mit, apariția femeii nu putea să fie una mai nefastă, reprezentând cauza principală prin care oamenii sunt loviți de tot felul de calamitați. Cum se putea, deci, această civilizație încrede în cineva care nu e capabil să mențină închisă o cutie care știe că nu trebuie deschisă. Cum s-ar fi putut încrede în ea pentru a-i oferi drepturi depline în societate sau chiar responsabilitâți publice? Din acest punct începe decăderea statusului feminin ajungându-se la figura femeii reprezentată de firul de lână, de focul casei, de tăcere, de subordinare, etc. Orice încercare posterioară de modificare a acestui tip de gândire era oprit de imaginea puternică pe care acest mit și cele asemănătoare au creat-o în mintea poporului.

A spune deci, că mitul este o poveste nesemnificativă „de adormit copiii” mi se pare dovadă de o ignoranță enormă, asemănătoare cu negarea istoriei. Atunci când un lucru, oricât de lipsit de însemnătate ar părea, se poate folosi ca o armă pentru a distruge cultura unei civilizații (și nu numai) cred că merită o atenție deosebită și un studiu minuțios.

Denis

Surse:

H.J. ROSE, A Handbook of Greek Mythology

HESIOD, Munci și Zile

BERNARDO SOUVIRÓN, Hijos de Homero

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Revederea

Revederea

Sufletul în mine obișnuia să strige:

“Mi-e dor de acele meleaguri reci”.

Tot mă ruga să îi rezolv problema

De parcă n-aș fi vrut să vină iarași vremea

Să fiu din nou cu tine

Și să nu mai plec veci.

 

Nu mi-am închipuit c-o să fii tot așa:

Trist și gri, dar totuși plin de viață,

Cu vântu-ți tipic rece, ce vrea totul să-nghețe

Lovind năpraznic fețe

Și mâini cu poftă-nhață.

 

Când ne-am văzut ultima dată

De nu mă-nșel erai tot verde

Și prieten bun cu soarele păreai.

N-o să uit niciodată, când inflorit-ai,

Mi-ai prezentat pe cineva.

Nu era încă mai.

 

Acel poet (și fii lui) ce a făcut istorie

Scriind dragostea, moartea, primindu-și nemurirea

Mi-a dat și cărți, știindu-mi slăbiciunea,

Cafea neagră, amară, din mâna perfecțiunii

Iar când mi-am luat adio

Se terminase parcă lumea.

 

Cu drag iar m-ai primit, îți sunt mulțumitor.

Abia mai așteptam să mă iei în brațe.

Un lucru doar lipsește

Și sunt dezamăgit.

Nu se spunea mereu că

cel ce caută găsește?


24 ianuarie, 2015

Berlin

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