Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

God Apollo, Hyacinth, Hermaphroditus, androgyny

                                             Edited May 11, 2012
Let's look at Apollo.

Apollo, one of the great divinities of the Greeks, was, according to Homer (Il. i. 21, 36), the son of Zeus and Leto. Hesiod (Theog. 918) states the same, and adds, that Apollo′s sister was Artemis. Neither of the two poets suggests anything in regard to the birth-place of the god, unless we take Lukêgenês (Il. iv. 101) in the sense of "born in Lycia," which, however, according to others, would only mean "born of or in light."

According to some traditions, he was a seven months′ child (heptamênaios). The number seven was sacred to the god; on the seventh of every month sacrifices were offered to him (hebdomagetês, Aeschyl. Sept. 802; comp. Callim. Hymn. in Del. 250, &c.), and his festivals usually fell on the seventh of a month. 

1.The god who punishes and destroys(oulios) the wicked and overbearing, and as such he is described as the god with bow and arrows, the gift of Hephaestus. (Hom. Il. i. 42, xxiv.605, Od. xi. 318, xv. 410, &c.; comp. Pind. Pyth. iii. 15, &c.)

The circumstance of Apollo being the destroyer of the wicked was believed by some of the ancients to have given rise to his name Apollo, which they connected with apollumi, "to destroy." (Aeschyl. Agam.1081.)

2. The god of song and music. We find him in the Iliad (i. 603) delighting the immortal gods with his play on the phorminx during their repast ; and the Homeric bards derived their art of song either from Apollo or the Muses. (Od. viii. 488, with Eustath.) Later traditions ascribed to Apollo even the invention.

3. The god of prophecy. Apollo exercised this power in his numerous oracles, and especially in that of Delphi. (Dict. of Ant. s. v. Oraculum) The source of all his prophetic powers was Zeus himself (Apollodorus states, that Apollo received the mantikê from Pan), and Apollo is accordingly called "the prophet of his father Zeus." (Aeschyl. Eum. 19); but he had nevertheless the power of communicating the gift of prophecy both to gods and men, and all the ancient seers and prophets are placed in some relationship to him. (Hom. Il. i. 72, Hymn. in Merc. 3, 471.) The manner in which Apollo came into the possession.

The satyr Marsyas challenges Apollo to a musical contest. He sits on a rock playing his double-flute, and is shown with the features common to his kind: pug nose, horse's tail and ears. Beside him stands Apollo holding a laurel branch staff, and to either side a pair of Muses, one holding a lyre, the other a scroll box, who have been appointed as judges in the contest.

British Museum, London, United Kingdom, Date: ca 350 - 340 BC

Orestes seeks refuge from the avenging Furies (Erinyes) of his mother Klytaimnestra at the shrine of Delphi. He grasps hold of the omphalos stone beneath the sacred tripod as a suppliant of the god. Apollo receives him, and turns to face one of the pursuing Erinyes. He is wreathed in laurel, and holds a laurel branch staff. On the other side stands Athena, Orestes' patron-goddess, who has guided him to the altar. She wears a helm and her gorgon-headed aigis cloak. Above her is the ghost of Klytaimnestra, who drives the Erinyes against her son to avenge the crime of matricide. The two Erinyes are depicted as huntresses, wearing short-skirts and hunting boots. Their arms and hair are wreathed with poisonous serpents. One of the pair is winged.
An omphalos is an ancient religious stone artifact, or baetylus. In Greek, the word omphalos means "navel" (compare the name of Queen Omphale). According to the ancient Greeks, Zeus sent out two eagles to fly across the world to meet at its center, the "navel" of the world. Omphalos stones used to denote this point were erected in several areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea; the most famous of those was at the oracle in Delphi. The plant genus Omphalodes in the family Boraginaceae is commonly called navelwort. It is also the name of the stone given to Cronus in Zeus' place in Greek mythology.

Museum Collection: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria, ca 380 BC
Apollo rides sidesaddle upon the back of a Gryps (Griffin), a winged, eagle-headed lion. The god strums a lyre with one hand and holds a laurel branch in the other.
A statue of Apollo Lykeios type,withPython.Roman copy of a Greek original.Louvre
 I have noticed that Apollo looks quite feminine. LOL!
Apollo Sauroctonos by Praxiteles (360 BC).Louvre


    Vienna, Schönbrunn gardens, statue Apollo 1773-1780

Michelangelo - Apollo 

Gustave Moreau Apollo and the Satyrs

Apollo and Marsyas, Romanelli

Stanza della Signatura für Vatican im Papst Julius II., Wandfresko.

In Greek mythology, Hyacinth was given various parentage, providing local links, as the son of Clio and Pierus, King of Macedon, or of king Oebalus of Sparta, or of kingAmyclas,[2] progenitor of the people of Amyclae, dwellers about Sparta. His cult at Amyclae, where his tomb was located, at the feet of Apollo's statue, dates from the Mycenaean era.In the literary myth, Hyacinth was a beautiful boy and lover of the god Apollo , though he was also admired by West Wind, Zephyr. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing thediscus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died.[3] A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth.[4] His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant archery god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo's discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth. When he died, Apollo didn't allow Hades to claim the boy; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid's account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower's petals with ai, ai, the sign of his grief. The flower of the mythological Hyacinth has been identified with a number of plants other than the true hyacinth, such as the iris. According to a local Spartan version of the myth, Hyacinth and his sister Polyboea were taken to heaven by Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis.
Hyacinth was the tutelary deity of one of the principal Spartan festivals, the Hyacinthia, held every summer. The festival lasted three days, one day of mourning for the death of the divine hero Hyacinth.
Jean Broc (1771-1850), The Death of Hyacinth. Hyacinth is the figure on the left of the frame being supported by his lover Apollo.
Giovanni Tiepolo (1696-1770), The death of Hyacinth.

Alexander Andrejewitsch Iwanow, 1834 Apollo, Hyacinthus and Cyparis singing and playing.

From the book: Albert Moll, Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaften, Verlag Von F.C. Vogel, Leipzig . Picture by Stefano Bolognini.
Giulio RomanoApollo and Kyparissos (1596), Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.
Francois Joseph Bosio (1768-1845) Hyacinth. Louvre                        
I have noticed a pine cone.

Apollo, Poetry and Music by Aimé Millet (ca. 1860–1869), viewed from the boulevard de l'Opéra. Roof of the Palais Garnier, Paris.

 The Berdache are special in the fact that they carry this androgynous energy---the energy of the Gods. It is what makes them able to exist both in physical form and also "journey" into the other realms as well. Hermes Trismegastrus and the Egyptian God THOTH were both examples of this propensity for androgyny. In fact, the term "hermaphrodite" (Hermes+ Aphrodite) refers to the marriage of the archetypal male and female (these two were the children of Zeus). This important predisposition is seen clearly in the African culture. In childbirth, the spirit of the fetus is exhorted through the voice of the mother. It is at this time that the "energy" of it's soul is examined by the village Shaman. Certain souls who possess this androgyny are seen to be "blessed from birth." They are called "the holy ones." It is in this African tradition that the name of "Gatekeeper" is given to the child. Many preparations are made to welcome it into the community, including the giving of an appropriate name to "harmonize" with it's sacred purpose. 
I have to check if it true that Hermes and Egyptian god Thoth were androgynous. I would question the interpretation of Hermaphroditus asa marriage of archetypal male and female. 

Let's look at Hermaphroditus..

HERMAPHRODITOS (or Hermaphroditus) was the god of hermaphrodites and of effeminate men. He was numbered amongst the winged love-gods known as Erotes.
Hermaphroditos was a son of Hermes and Aphrodite, the gods of male and female sexuality.
In Greek vase painting Hermaphroditos was depicted as a winged youth with male and female attributes: usually female thighs, breasts, and style of hair, and male genitalia.

Date: ca 340 BC
Hermaphroditusis depicted as a winged Eros (love god) in the form of a young woman (breasts, thighs, and hair-style) with male genitalia. He/she chases a hare, an animal which for the Greeks symbolized sexual desire.
 Hermaphroditus, from a Herculanese fresco
Sleeping Hermaphroditus.Louvre   
Hermaphroditus surrounded by cupids. Workshop of Sostratos (Alexandria) 1st century B.C.
Hermaphroditus caresses a reluctant Satyr, Marble Roman copy from a Hellenistic original of the 2nd century AD


Hermaphroditus struggles with a satyr, fresco from Pompeii 45-79 AD

  Ancient Roman fresco of Pan and Hermaphroditus from the House of Dioscuri in Pompeii, Naples, Italy.
Francois Joseph Navez,  The Nymph Salmacis and Hermaphroditus 

Drawing of a cameo with Hermaphroditus reclining on a rock, covered with a lion-skin, under a tree; Pan lifts Hermaphroditus's garment while Silenus looks on.

Greek mythologySilenus was a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus.
The original Silenus resembled a folklore man of the forest with the ears of a horse and sometimes also the tail and legs of a horse. The later Sileni were drunken followers of Dionysus, usually bald and fat with thick lips and squat noses, and having the legs of a human. Later still, the plural "Sileni" went out of use and the only references were to one individual named Silenus, the teacher and faithful companion of the wine-god Dionysus. A notorious consumer of wine, he was usually drunk and had to be supported by satyrs or carried by a donkey. Silenus was described as the oldest, wisest and most drunken of the followers of Dionysus, and was said in Orphic hymns to be the young god's tutor. This puts him in a company of phallic or half-animal tutors of the gods, a group that includes PriapusHermaphroditusCedalion and Chiron, but also includes Pallas, the tutor of Athena.
When intoxicated, Silenus was said to possess special knowledge and the power of prophecy. The Phrygian King Midas was eager to learn from Silenus and caught the old man by lacing a fountain from which Silenus often drank. As Silenus fell asleep, the king's servants seized and took him to their master.
Silenus was also possibly a Latin term of abuse around 211 BC, being used in PlautusRudensto describe Labrax, a treacherous pimp or leno, as "...a pot-bellied old Silenus, bald head, beefy, bushy eyebrows, scowling, twister, god-forsaken criminal"
Silenus riding a donkey. White marble, late 1st century BC.

Let's go back to androgyny. We have androgyneus Baphomet.
     Satyr & Satyress Riccio, Andrea (Andrea Briosco) 1510-1520
               Avalokiteshvara as Androgyne

A further striking feature of the iconography of Avalokiteshvara are the feminine traits which many of his portraits display. He seems, as an enigmatic being between virgin and boy with soft features and rounded breasts, to unite both sexes within himself.
As god of the dead (Yama) and snarling monster Avalokiteshvara also holds the “wheel of life” in his claws, which is in truth a “death wheel” (a sign of rebirth) in Buddhism. Among the twelve fundamental evils etched into the rim of the wheel which make an earthly/human existence appear worthless can be found “sexual love”, “pregnancy” and “birth”.
Shiva Ardhanari "half-female" holds the vina which partly masks the breast. His female half is underlined by a heavy bun and bracelets. His hand holds the female utpala, water lily with long narrow petals. To his left, his wife and to his right the skeletal ascetic. This representation shows a Tamil legend. A devotee refused to include Uma in turn ritual. Uma, dissatisfied then went on skeletal devotee. Shiva then explained to her that her devout sakti was inseparable from himself. It then recognized the power of the goddess. (MA Loth, 2003, 2006).

The character of Athena, as we have here traced it, holds a middle place between the male and female, whence she is called in an Orphic hymn (xxxi. 10) arsên kai thêlus, and hence also she is a virgin divinity (Hom. Hymn. ix. 3), whose heart is inaccessible to the passion of love, and who shuns matrimonial connection. Teiresias was deprived of his sight for having seen her in the bath (Callim. Hymn. pp. 546,589), and Hephaestus, who made an attempt upon her chastity, was obliged to flee. (Apollod. iii. 6. § 7, 14. § 6; Hom. Il. ii. 547, &c.; comp. Tzetz. ad Lycophr. 111.) For this reason, the ancient traditions always describe the goddess as dressed; and when Ovid (Heroid. v. 36) makes her appear naked before Paris, he abandons the genuine old story. Her statue also was always dressed, and when it was carried about at the Attic festivals, it was entirely covered. But, notwithstanding the common opinion of her virgin character, there are some traditions of late origin which describe her as a mother. Thus, Apollo is called a son of Hephaestus and Athena -- a legend which may have arisen at the time when the Ionians introduced the worship of Apollo into Attica, and when this new divinity was placed in some family connection with the ancient goddess of the country. (Müller, Dor. ii. 2. § 13.) Lychnus also is called a son of Hephaestus and Athena. (Spanheim, ad Callim. p. 644.)
Among the attributes which characterize the goddess in these works of art, we mention -- 1. The helmet, which she usually wears on her head, but in a few instances carries in her hand. It is usually ornamented in the most beautiful manner with griffins, heads of rams, horses, and sphinxes. (Comp. Horn. Il. v. 743.) 2. The aegis. (Dict. of Ant. s. v. Aegis.) 3. The round Argolic shield. in the center of which is represented the head of Medusa. 4. Objects sacred to her, such as an olive branch, a serpent, an owl, a cock, and a lance. Her garment is usually the Spartan tunic without sleeves, and over it she wears a cloak, the peplus, or, though rarely, the chlamys. The general expression of her figure is thoughtfulness and earnestness; her face is rather oval than round, the hair is rich and generally combed backwards over the temples, and floats freely down behind. The whole figure is majestic, and rather strong built than slender: the hips are small and the shoulders broad, so that the whole somewhat resembles a male figure.
Let's look at paintings.

Franz Von Stuck The Three Goddess Athena, Hera and Aphrodite.
Andrea Mantegna,Detail from Minerva Expelling the  Vices

It was a fantasy of an artist. LOL!  Why don't we look at more paintings.
Jusepe de Ribera, (1591 – 1652), Magdalena Ventura with Her Husband and Son.

Giovanni Battista Caracciolo (1578–1635), Lamentation of Adam and Eve on the Dead Abel.

I was looking at William Blake's paintings. Female are quite masculine.
 Did gods dreams come true?