Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

5 March, 2012

Five of a Thing: Graeco-Roman Gods

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Yes, it’s that time again, where the deadline haunts, and I need something useful and easy to say, and I turn to a list. Seeking to avoid a repeat of last time’s debacle, I’m aiming for a safer subject. My head is currently full of Greek and Roman mythology, both from reading through course literature and from a recent re-watch of HBO’s Rome. Great show that. Rather than try to sort out something coherent on this topic right now, I’m going to give you my favourite gods. Yes, and ranked this time, by my interest. You heard it here first folks, the final and definitive mythological popularity contest! (Hubris? What’s that?) So here we go, top five Graeco-Roman gods!

5 – Janus

The only really Roman god on the list, and at the end of it at that. Janus is one of those gods who seem like they should be hugely important, what with controlling doors and such, yet somehow don’t figure to much. The reason he gets on my list right now is because I really like the concept of one of his temples in Rome, the one with the gates of war. Whenever Rome was at war, the gates were open – this was most of the time. Augustus apparently bragged that he managed to close the gates a whooping three times in his reign.

4 – Zeus

Head lecher of Olympus, but he only reaches the number four spot on my list. Sure he’s big and strong and kingly and all that, but he’s not terribly interesting. Where he really shines, though, is in his, ahem, sexual escapades. There’s really nothing else to call them. This is the guy who seemingly slept with at least half of Greece, and never as the same animal twice.

3 – Dinoysus

Zeus may be a party dude on paper, but Dionysos is the real Michelangelo in the dodecatheon, at least when he’s counted among them. Sex, drugs, women, wine and song – no wonder this guy was popular. My interest in him comes more from his foreign status, though – something I had never heard about until I began reading about this for my course. Dionysus was a god who came from somewhere else, in his fundamental conception an outsider that invaded Greek order with his man bacchanalia. That’s worth a number three spot for sure.

2 – Hephaestus

Who got a rawer deal than Hephaestus? His whole reason for being is to prove the point that women aren’t any good at doing stuff for themselves, and he goes on to be the Olympian butt monkey. Even when he does smithing well, he gets no respect. There’s something eminently loveable in an underdog like that, but not enough to outweigh the sheer cool-factor of the number one spot.

1 – The Erinyes

Well …

We are the skilled, the masterful,
we the great fulfillers,
memories of grief, we awesome spirits
stern, unappeasable to man,
disgraced, degraded, drive our powers through;
banished far from god to a sunless, torchlit dusk,
we drive men through their rugged passage,
blinded dead and those who see by day.

Then where is the man
not stirred with awe, not gripped by fear
to hear us tell the law that
Fate ordains, the gods concede the Furies,
absolute till the end of time?
And so it holds, our ancient power still holds.
We are not without our pride, though beneath the earth
our strict battalions form their lines,
grouping through the mist and sun-starved night.

– Aeschylus’s Eumenides

‘Nuff said.

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