59-Greek Myths: The Violence of Our Ancestors

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59-Greek Myths: The Violence of Our Ancestors

Many connected stories from Greek mythology. We'll start with story of Hades and Persephone, and learn why she's always hanging around the underworld (hint: it's not because she wants to). Then, I'll tell the story of the curse of the house of Atreus, starting with Tantalus and his questionable food choices. It's a long, dark episode, so get ready.

The creature is the Nakki, from Finland, who just wants to drown you and look good while doing it. Is that too much to ask?

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By | 2017-02-01T01:39:43+00:00 February 1st, 2017|Categories: Episodes, Podcast|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |1 Comment
  • Sage Friesen

    Okay, so, excuse me as I hop up onto a soapbox of sorts, because I have very strong feelings on the matter, but I’ll try not to go on too long; there are many, many interpretations of the myth of Hades and Persephone that she ate the pomegranate seeds willingly. While he did initially kidnap her, and that was not cool and “that’s just how things were back then” is of course no excuse, in the Homeric Hymn of Demeter, Persephone’s first appearance in written record, before she leaves the underworld, Hades tells her:

    “Go now, Persephone, to your dark-robed mother, go, and feel kindly in your heart towards me: be not so exceedingly cast down; for I shall be no unfitting husband for you among the deathless gods, that am own brother to father Zeus. And while you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings, reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be punished for evermore.”

    It is only then that he slips her the pomegranate seeds, and only then, after he has offered her equal rule at his side, that she eats the seeds. As a goddess of vegetation, she would have known the consequences of eating the food in the underworld.

    Though perhaps it’s just my modern feminist leanings that make me prefer interpretations of the story in which Hades–debatably the least awful husband in the pantheon–is not forcing his wife to stay with him against her will and Persephone–dread Persephone, august Persephone, and the Iron Queen–is not a passive victim but a woman who had agency and choice in becoming a feared and powerful figure. [awkward chuckle]