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Sex, Swans and Yeats Ancient Greek mythology has always been synonymous with the graphic representation of sex. There are countless myths depicting sex be it between deities, mortals or both. Since he didn't know how to get shame inside the human body, he ordered her to go in from behind.
At first Shame protested, considering Zeus' request to be beneath her dignity. When Zeus kept insisting, she said, 'All right, I will go in there, on the condition that if anything comes in there after me, I will leave immediately.
Although the practise of anal sex was widely accepted they remained controversial. It also serves as a valid comparison between ancient Greek attitudes towards sodomy and the widely stigmatised attitude held by people today. Pomeroy, couples only shared beds about once a month. Adultery, whether with a slave or free woman, was looked down upon as other, more socially acceptable, alternatives where available in Greek society.
The Greeks even had a personification of bi-sexuality in Hermaphrodite, son of Hermes and Aphrodite.
Sex featured prominently not only in the physical, but metaphysical lives of the Ancient Greeks; an example of a link between the two can be seen in the cult of the phallus.
Morton writes on this subject in the passage "The cult of phallus initiated religious practises similar to those associated with the Egyptian god Min and Indian god Siva.
Representations of the phallus where carried in religious processions, to the temples to Priapus, as the sacred organs of generation. There are many such examples of the representation of Sex in Greek society, however I have decided to focus on one myth in particular, 'Leda and the Swan'.
In this myth Zeus falls in love with a mortal woman called Leda who is the wife of the king of Sparta, Zeus proceeded to assume the guise of a swan and rape or seduce depending on the source, which I discuss further below Leda on the same night as she sleeps with her husband.
Leda then Laid two eggs, one containing Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra and the other Castor and Polydeuces, deities commonly associated with war.
There are many Interesting points about this myth, perhaps the most obvious being the form Zeus adopts in order to rape Leda. The myth is also parallelled in the Hindu tradition in the myth of Brahma and Saraswati where the swan is actually twin brothers Ham and Sa united as one entity.
Here not only is the bestial copulation theme the same but also the association of the Swan with twins.
I first came across this myth in my English literature A level course in a poetry class. The Nobel prize winning William Butler Yeats wrote a poem titled 'Leda and the swan' which retells this myth.
Ancient Roman Mythology This article provides a fast overview and dictionary Roman mythology detailing the names of the gods, goddesses, heroes and legendary creatures stories that feature in the world of Roman mythology and legends of history. The Iliad (/ ˈ ɪ l i ə d /; Ancient Greek: Ἰλιάς Iliás, pronounced in Classical Attic; sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to urbanagricultureinitiative.com during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the. The Iliad (Homer) BOOK II. How Zeus beguiled Agamemnon by a dream; and of the assembly of the Achaians and their marching forth to battle. And of the names and numbers of .
Yeats employs the literary technique most commonly associated with odes and love poems, the sonnet, with a certain degree of irony as in his version Leda is most certainly raped. Yeats also skillfully employs this poetic form by utilising the separation between the octave and sextet, typically the 'climax' of a sonnet, to bring attention to the line "A shudder in the loins engenders there"; Here the 'climax' of the poem mirrors the climax during the rape of Leda.
Directly after Zeus' climax, Yeats also makes references to the Iliad in the lines "the broken wall, the burning roof and tower And Agamemnon dead.
Yeats is deliberately brief and concise in referencing the Iliad and Agamemnons' death; suggesting that in that very moment, that climax, his fate is sealed. The artful use of structure, historical and mythological reference combined with Yeats' use of powerful language words like 'staggering' and 'helpless' in the first stanza paired with words like 'mastered' and 'power' in the last make for a very blunt and brutal depiction of sex in Greek mythology, and most certainly one of my favourite poems from my A level class.
In this vase painting one can see a more classical representation of the myth. Zeus in the body of the swan kisses Leda which certainly contradicts Yeats' rendition. In some more modern renditions of the myth Zeus is also putting his beak into Leda's mouth suggesting consensual sex.
In fact I found it very difficult to find classical versions of the myth, and interestingly could not find any which depicts the myth as a rape. Apollodorus 3, 10 for example: Zeus 'enjoying' Nemesis, or 'consorting' with Leda is far less shocking depiction than him 'mastering' her.
Yeats' misreading of the historical text also raises some other questions. For instance, why would Zeus need to conceal his identity to rape Leda, a mortal, this suggests that Yeats thought Zeus had sex with Nemesis rather than Leda who was an immortal which would warrant trickery.Iliad by Homer, Robert Fitzgerald available in Trade Paperback on urbanagricultureinitiative.com, also read synopsis and reviews.
Anger be now your song, immortal one,Akhilleus' anger, . Aug 21, · Watch video · Homer’s epic poem The Iliad tells the story of his adventures during the last year of the Trojan War.
between the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. suffering was a promise that he. The Iliad (Homer) BOOK II.
How Zeus beguiled Agamemnon by a dream; and of the assembly of the Achaians and their marching forth to battle.
And of the names and numbers of . The Iliad (/ ˈ ɪ l i ə d /; Ancient Greek: Ἰλιάς Iliás, pronounced in Classical Attic; sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to urbanagricultureinitiative.com during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the.
The oldest known Greek literary sources, Homers epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on the Trojan War, archaeological findings provide a principal source of detail about Greek mythology, with gods and heroes featured prominently in the decoration of many artifacts.
These "forces of nature" include Gaia, Uranos, Chaos, the Fates, etc. who are ancient and primordial "gods" that are potentially more "powerful" than Zeus even though he is the Lord of the Earth.