The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

View previous topic View next topic Go down

The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by Guest on Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:55 pm

Ive been re-reading Ovid's "Metamorphosis" for a classical literature class. I've found myself thinking about the myths differently than I had before. I'm reading the Penquin Classics translation, though the class is reading another. In the class's translation, Ovid is grotesquely humorous about everything from death to rape, and the teacher is focusing on that humor. Granted, there is a healthy does of irony and humor in my translation of Ovid, but it isn't so- overt I suppose. The teacher is reading a translation by an American poet and comedian- I told him I won't read that translation, as I have doubts about it's faithfulness.

so the topic- the rapes. In most of the myths it is typically a nymph (and occassionally a human woman) who is raped by a god (typically Zues), and from these unions we get the heroes. Is there a particular reason rape features so prominantly in these myths? Were they really so common as to be treated in an off-hand manner as presented by the poor translation mentioned above? Is Ovid excusing rape or somehow implying the women liked it?

How does this relate to paganism? I guess my question is how does a modern pagan, particularly one who follows or recognized Greco-Roman deities, deal with rape in these tales? I suppose we can run from it from there; jsut throwing out initial thoughts. silent

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by John T Mainer on Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:07 pm

I soldiered for the UN, as my father did before me. In the crapholes we got sent, the bodies of your enemies women were considered fair game, and forcing your enemies women to bear your bastards was considered a great jest. In fact, the swaggering thugs used their weapons to steal and rape whatever caught their attention, treating their own folk as a wolf would so many hobbled sheep.

Respect for the status of women is not natural to humanity, nor is the idea that those unable to defend themselves by virtue of their own armed strength, or command of other warriors, have any value beyond property.

Classical Greece gives us many fine ideas whose understanding now is utterly different from the authors. Democracy was an idea advanced by a cultured elite whose farms and houses were kept by human livestock, and whose women (save hetaria or prostitutes) were barred from the civilized discourse of men.

Civilization is artificial, and entirely worth the effort. As long as civilization confers a technological advantage in the arts of war it will endure. When barbarity and civilization stand equal in killing power, Vie Victus.

_________________
Fiat justitia ruat caelum
"Let justice be done, though the heavens fall."
avatar
John T Mainer
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 1004
Join date : 2009-04-01
Location : Maple Ridge, BC Can

http://community.bc-freehold.org/news.php

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by Davelaw on Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:27 pm

the word Rape has an older meaning which means forcible abduction ; but does not necessarily imply forced sex
avatar
Davelaw

Posts : 1684
Join date : 2009-07-18
Location : Houston Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by Guest on Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:28 pm

THanks for those thoughts, JOhn. I find it interesting though that there is very little of this rape going on in other culture's myths- that or I"ve been reading poor translations.

Dave- in the stories I'm referencing, the women were forced to have sex. I left out the abduction of Proserpina for this reason. I should have left out Europa, now that I think about it, as well. I should have been more specific, thanks. ^_^

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:33 pm

Tameless_Heart wrote:THanks for those thoughts, JOhn. I find it interesting though that there is very little of this rape going on in other culture's myths- that or I"ve been reading poor translations.

Dave- in the stories I'm referencing, the women were forced to have sex. I left out the abduction of Proserpina for this reason. I should have left out Europa, now that I think about it, as well. I should have been more specific, thanks. ^_^

I think Persephone counts, TH. After all, she is referred to as Hades wife. In my mind, that can only indicate one thing in this situation.

_________________
Remember one thing about democracy. We can have anything we want and at the same time, we always end up with exactly what we deserve.

Edward Albee
avatar
sacrificialgoddess
Admin
Admin

Posts : 3199
Join date : 2009-04-01
Location : Oklahoma

http://kltompkins.wordpress.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by Guest on Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:08 am

That is true. We tried to discuss it in class, but unfortunately most of the people in that class don't understand how any of them could have been worshipped or even considered real deities...I get the opportunity to correct this view tomorrow (I spoke with the professor and he wants me to have a whack at explaining it). Mostly, they thought Ovid was drawing attention to a common practice, or that maybe the gods thought humans were nothing more than sex objects, that kind of thing. I mentioned that maybe the rapes were neccessary for the "production" of the heroes... an idea which was quickly disregarded, since they don't consider Ovid as being religious, so why would he use something like tht to convey a religious idea type of thing.....In some cases it was seen as an honor to be raped bby a god (as the class sort of decided).

Does anyone know of other translations or versions of myths that do not emphasize this behavior on part of the gods?

Is it neccessary for a pagan who follows these deities to recognize the rapes or regard them as having never happened? Do any other culture's mythologies focus on this type of violence as much as the Roman/Greek?

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by WarriorPrincessDanu on Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:32 pm

Ovid was well know for portraying the gods in a less than favorable light. Many people believe that is why he was exiled. Also, at that point in history a fair amount of Romans did not believe the stories about their gods were literal, and some didn't even believe the gods existed. I think that Ovid was poking fun a the myths, rather than the gods.

On a side note, I'm studying Latin, and I have read some of Ovid's works. What I got from reading the Metamorphoses in Latin was not that rape was funny, but that he was trying to portray the whole myth in a slightly ridiculous light. And of course, Ovid wasn't exactly a saint. If you ever get a chance, read some of his love poetry or the Ars Armatoria (which is basically "how to get a girl"). One of the suggestions in the Ars Aramtoria is to sit next to the girl you like at the chariot races. Since it's so crowded, you're thighs will be touching. He also recommended things that in today's society would be considered stalkerish.

WarriorPrincessDanu

Posts : 30
Join date : 2009-10-10

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by AutumnalTone on Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:06 pm

Remember that mythology (and folk tales) work with the subconscious, too. The rape can work as a metaphor with the loss of innocence as we age--the maidenhood (childhood) of the woman disappears with the loss of her maidenhead/innocence. The "purity" of childhood/virginity signifies a lack of adult concerns, whereas intercourse of the body also signifies intercourse with the travails of the world.

Whether it's wrapped in humor or misogyny or irony or whatever at a shallow level, at deeper levels, the tales speak to the experience we've all shared.
avatar
AutumnalTone

Posts : 325
Join date : 2009-04-14

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by TonyCoyote on Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:54 am

Tameless_Heart wrote:Is it neccessary for a pagan who follows these deities to recognize the rapes or regard them as having never happened?

I would say the latter, as it is silly to regard myths as accounts of actual actions taken by the Gods. Even as far back as early Greek philosophers myths were not taken as literal or something to base someone's faith on. Granted, this doesn't exactly tell us what the "common people" thought of the issue, but my personal conjecture is that it's doubtful they based their faith in the Gods on man-made stories about them in the way that Christianity and Judaism do. As sort of a side-note, interesting reading on the topic is a book called "Did The Greeks Believe In Their Myths?" by Paul Veyne. Greek rather than Roman, but a good look at the subject.

TonyCoyote

Posts : 15
Join date : 2009-10-15
Location : Durham, NC, USA

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:19 pm

TonyCoyote wrote:
Tameless_Heart wrote:Is it neccessary for a pagan who follows these deities to recognize the rapes or regard them as having never happened?

I would say the latter, as it is silly to regard myths as accounts of actual actions taken by the Gods. Even as far back as early Greek philosophers myths were not taken as literal or something to base someone's faith on. Granted, this doesn't exactly tell us what the "common people" thought of the issue, but my personal conjecture is that it's doubtful they based their faith in the Gods on man-made stories about them in the way that Christianity and Judaism do. As sort of a side-note, interesting reading on the topic is a book called "Did The Greeks Believe In Their Myths?" by Paul Veyne. Greek rather than Roman, but a good look at the subject.

While literalism is highly problematic, it should also be noted that it is through the myths we ("we" being polytheists, henotheists, etc.), learn the character of the deities we honour, and even serve. The tales serve as both narrative history and ethical compass, so to speak. The "Indo-Eurpoean Gods" (Titans/Olympians, Aesir/Vanir/Jotun, Tuatha De Danna/Fir Bolg/Formoii, etc.) are all written about via tales and epics, and through the reading of such tales, is their characters known (which is then coupled with UPG/SPG). They are also quite different from the Abrahamaic God as recounted in the OT/NT, Talmud, Koran, (though perhaps closer to the earlier Semitic Polytheism) so comparisons are difficult, becuase there is a difference in what divinity means from one arc-culture to another, and then culturally, and then group to group.

Certainly, there is ample evidence that such societies believed in the actual existence of such beings, not to say that the tales are bereft of allegory, they are ripe with it, but the narratives are generally held to be the "history" of such groups; so what is needed in a case where a God rapes another God(dess) or mortal, is to try and understand why, and the significance behind it. Look at the society, look at the culture and their historic context, and interpret the tales though that lens; you'll get a much clearer picture.

_________________
If you approach the Gaelic gods with 'I'm not worthy', they're going to reply to you with 'Then come back when you are.

Coffee Three Shouts on a Hilltop
avatar
Gorm_Sionnach
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 838
Join date : 2009-04-02
Location : Toronto, ON, Canada.

http://threeshoutsonahilltop.blogspot.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by TonyCoyote on Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:38 pm

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:
While literalism is highly problematic, it should also be noted that it is through the myths we ("we" being polytheists, henotheists, etc.), learn the character of the deities we honour, and even serve. The tales serve as both narrative history and ethical compass, so to speak. The "Indo-Eurpoean Gods" (Titans/Olympians, Aesir/Vanir/Jotun, Tuatha De Danna/Fir Bolg/Formoii, etc.) are all written about via tales and epics, and through the reading of such tales, is their characters known (which is then coupled with UPG/SPG).

I don't disagree and my intention was not to claim otherwise. My point is that literalism is not needed to "learn the character of the deities we honour." And if one is not being literal and instead interpreting "rape stories" in some metaphorical sense, then there really is no need to go about justifying the actions of the Gods since they did not happen in a literal sense. I would consider interpreting such stories as having another, deeper meaning as being the same thing as the latter choice Tameless offered in her question, hence my reply.

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:Certainly, there is ample evidence that such societies believed in the actual existence of such beings, not to say that the tales are bereft of allegory, they are ripe with it, but the narratives are generally held to be the "history" of such groups; so what is needed in a case where a God rapes another God(dess) or mortal, is to try and understand why, and the significance behind it. Look at the society, look at the culture and their historic context, and interpret the tales though that lens; you'll get a much clearer picture.

Of course they believed in the Gods, what I said was that they didn't particularly hinge the existence of said Gods on mythological narratives or believe that said narratives were definite descriptions of literal things the Gods did. There are examples of mythology being made up as needed (Lupercalia is what comes to mind for me) so while you're totally right that myths were held to be the history of the groups, they didn't necessarily view "history" the same way we do today, so there isn't necessarily a conflict between them seeing mythology as some form of history while still recognizing its man-made, non-literal origin. Your last sentence is right on the button: myths reflect the culture and history of the people who write them.

TonyCoyote

Posts : 15
Join date : 2009-10-15
Location : Durham, NC, USA

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:59 pm

TonyCoyote wrote:
Gorm_Sionnach wrote:
While literalism is highly problematic, it should also be noted that it is through the myths we ("we" being polytheists, henotheists, etc.), learn the character of the deities we honour, and even serve. The tales serve as both narrative history and ethical compass, so to speak. The "Indo-Eurpoean Gods" (Titans/Olympians, Aesir/Vanir/Jotun, Tuatha De Danna/Fir Bolg/Formoii, etc.) are all written about via tales and epics, and through the reading of such tales, is their characters known (which is then coupled with UPG/SPG).

I don't disagree and my intention was not to claim otherwise. My point is that literalism is not needed to "learn the character of the deities we honour." And if one is not being literal and instead interpreting "rape stories" in some metaphorical sense, then there really is no need to go about justifying the actions of the Gods since they did not happen in a literal sense. I would consider interpreting such stories as having another, deeper meaning as being the same thing as the latter choice Tameless offered in her question, hence my reply.

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:Certainly, there is ample evidence that such societies believed in the actual existence of such beings, not to say that the tales are bereft of allegory, they are ripe with it, but the narratives are generally held to be the "history" of such groups; so what is needed in a case where a God rapes another God(dess) or mortal, is to try and understand why, and the significance behind it. Look at the society, look at the culture and their historic context, and interpret the tales though that lens; you'll get a much clearer picture.

Of course they believed in the Gods, what I said was that they didn't particularly hinge the existence of said Gods on mythological narratives or believe that said narratives were definite descriptions of literal things the Gods did. There are examples of mythology being made up as needed (Lupercalia is what comes to mind for me) so while you're totally right that myths were held to be the history of the groups, they didn't necessarily view "history" the same way we do today, so there isn't necessarily a conflict between them seeing mythology as some form of history while still recognizing its man-made, non-literal origin. Your last sentence is right on the button: myths reflect the culture and history of the people who write them.

I think it is that last bit I wanted to stress; if you want to understand why Zeus was held to be a "rapist" in many of the tales, explore what the culture thought about that, from said cultural perspective, and the reasoning behind why such an "event" occurred.

_________________
If you approach the Gaelic gods with 'I'm not worthy', they're going to reply to you with 'Then come back when you are.

Coffee Three Shouts on a Hilltop
avatar
Gorm_Sionnach
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 838
Join date : 2009-04-02
Location : Toronto, ON, Canada.

http://threeshoutsonahilltop.blogspot.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by TonyCoyote on Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:10 pm

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:I think it is that last bit I wanted to stress; if you want to understand why Zeus was held to be a "rapist" in many of the tales, explore what the culture thought about that, from said cultural perspective, and the reasoning behind why such an "event" occurred.

Agreed. :-)

TonyCoyote

Posts : 15
Join date : 2009-10-15
Location : Durham, NC, USA

Back to top Go down

Re: The Rape of Europa, Callisto, Io, etc....

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum