Monday, April 25, 2005

Greek Myth III -- Laurels for the Lover

Now i know what my teachers went through every evening preparing for class the next day. And i was never the silent one, making their life as entertaining as is allowed within school limits.
It was quite a task choosing a topic for discussion and finally decided to narrate one of my favorite love stories.

Big Daddy Zeus had two kids;twins through Leto - Artemis (goddess of hunt) and Apollo (god of music & prophecy) and today's lesson is of Apollo...his first love.

One day a young Apollo saw Eros (god of love and son of Aphrodite) play with his bow & arrows. Apollo being a warrior and having just slained the huge serpent Python(Refer **) felt it was not for a boy to play with such weapons so asked Eros to go play with something else. Eros considered this as an insult (The Greeks had a sharper & bigger ego than their noses i suppose)
and decided to show Apollo his true strength. From his quiver he took two arrows - one dipped in gold to make the person fall in love and another dipped in lead to make the victim repel love.
With the golden arrow he pierced Apollo while the lead arrow found its place in Daphne's(daughter of river god Peneus) soul.

Daphne was a beautiful woman with many men seeking her hand in marriage but then Eros is no small boy either. His arrow taking effect, she shun them all. She took after goddess Artemis and wanted to remain a virgin all her life.
The besotted Apollo ran after to profess his undying love and the maiden fled from him. Her dancing tresses on her bare shoulders, those luscious lips and beautiful eyes taunted Apollo so much that he could contain himself no longer and chased the damsel through the forest...across hills and stones she ran and he follwed like a hound on her pursuit , swifter and stronger for her.

Daphne had already made a pact with her Daddy. Should she call out to him, he should heed to her call (What are daddys for anyway?!). So when Apollo finally caught his lady love, she called out to Peneus to protect her chastity and the river God did listen to her. Her body become a tender bark, her hair leaves, her foot took root in the ground...she was transformed into a beautiful Laurel tree.
Apollo stood transfixed at his Love, touched her ever so tenderly and said, "I loved you so immensely and now since you can't be my wife, you will decorate my harp & quiver. You will always be my tree and i shall wear you as my crown". Daphne-turned-Laurel tree acknowledged his love and accpeted it. A bit too late if you ask me.

Apollo did have many other affairs; both men & women (yeah just as bro-sis marriages, the Greeks didn't think twice about homosexuality!)
The Next lesson would be on Orion, Apollo & Artemis - The Triangle.

**We shall delve deep into the childhood & adventures of Apollo on a later date. Also if you know of any parallels in our myth do pls leave a comment about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy dont i wish history lessons were like this..hmm..Chapter one:'Apollo's first love'...who would forget dates from that lesson...heck..who'd forget anything??They should replace civics with greek mythology or something in school.hmph!

6:00 AM  
Blogger Vitalstatistix said...

I think Zeus had many more kids than just Apollo and Artemis.
There is 'Ares' whom you mentioned in one of your previous posts and Hebe - these two from Hera. There are many more -
Perseus with Danae (name after 'with ' is the mother)
Minos and Rhadamanthys with Europa
Dionysos with Semele
Herakles with Alkmene

If my knowledge of Greek mythos astounds you then shall let you know that all this was googled in the last few mins. :)

10:48 AM  
Blogger piggy said...

You can't find a parallel in Indian myth because we have all happy endings. சுபம்.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@Ammai: that's asking for the sky :)

@Vital: Bingo! but Dude you just jumped the gun...Since i was talking of Apollo i just mentioned his twin n mom. All the paramours of Zeus would take more than a week's class :) Btw, yours truly prepares for the class googling :p

@Piggy: Gosh we must be one of those optimistic & highly romantic ppl to have only happy least in myths n legends :)

11:44 PM  

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