September 12, 2008


Circe, courtesy of wikipedia.

The theme at Goat Rope these days is the Odyssey of Homer, but you will also find links and comments about current events. If you like this kind of thing, please click on earlier posts.

After many ordeals, Odysseus and his men have it pretty good on the island of Circe. As he put it:

...there we sat at ease,
day in, day out, till a year had run its course,
feasting on sides of meat and drafts of heady wine...
But then, when the year was through and the seasons wheeled by
and the months waned and the long days came round again,
my loyal comrades took me aside and prodded,
'Captain, this is madness!
High time you thought of your own home at last,
if it really is your fate to make it back alive
and reach your well-build house and native land.'

Circe is cool with all that (unlike the other nymph Calypso in a similar situation). She promises to help but warns him that he must undertake yet another journey if he is ever to make it home:

'Royal son of Laertes, Odysseus, old campaigner,
stay no more in my house against your will.
But first another journey calls. You must travel down
to the House of Death and the awesome one, Persephone,
there to consult the ghost of Tiresias, seer of Thebes,
the great blind prophet whose mind remains unshaken.
Even in death--Persephone has given him wisdom,
everlasting vision to him and him alone..
the rest of the dead are empty, flitty shades.'

It will be a dangerous trip, beyond the confines of the know world. It sounds like the dead "lived" underground beyond the Mediterranean somewhere in the Atlantic, which the ancient Greeks considered to be the river Oceanus. Neither he nor his men are glad to hear the news. She gives him final instructions for his task and helps him on his way.

The way you know you've really arrived as a mythological hero, by the way, is to take a trip to the land of the dead. Odysseus will join the company of Orpheus, Heracles, and Theseus. In future years, Aeneas and Dante will make the trip as well.

Come to think of it, I guess we all will, one way or another.

AMERICAN HUNGER. Here's an item from AARP on the growing problem of hunger and food insecurity in the US.

OCCUPATIONS have their problems, as economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses in this op-ed on Iraq and Afghanistan.

THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT in helping the economy grow is discussed here.

PUT MONEY IN THY PURSE. Financial compatibility may be the key to a good marriage.


SPEAKING OF WHICH, if you feel like a theological workout, here's an interesting paper on the history of Christian views of warfare.


No comments: