[lit-ideas] Re: Sexual Dimorphism -- and Greek Myth

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 12:22:56 -0700

On the other hand, Pallas Athena was supposed to have been born straight from the _brain_ of Jupiter -- rather than from the womb of Hera. So not only did she not have a navel, but she displayed all 'manly' characteristics that apparently the Greeks wanted in a goddess to which they dedicated their most famous city, "Athens".

Order, order! Athena sprang from the brow of _Zeus_, fully formed and armed, after one of his fellow gods had struck him on the forehead to relieve him of a fierce headache that came upon him after he had swallowed Metis, with whom he'd been fooling around. Zeus feared, I'm not sure why, that one of Metis' children would turn out to be more powerful than he, hence the precautionary ingestion; however, Metis was alredy pregnant with Athena.

There are a number of variations on this _Greek_ myth, but Jupiter, of course does not figure in any of them, he being the boring Roman counterpart of Zeus, as Minerva is the boring Roman counterpart of Athena. There is no corresponding Roman myth about Minerva's origins; it's been said that there are no Roman myths at all, only legends.

And there is no reference to Zeus' 'brain' in the stories of Athena's deliverance. Brains were of no special importance in ancient Greece.

The Greek sources for this stuff are Hesiod's Theogony, and certain of Pindar's odse. You could look it up.

Robert Paul
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