Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A little gossip from ancient Greece

This week I've decided to share part of my Greek Mythology in Context assignment from university. We were tasked with writing a gossip column about one of the Greek gods' sexploits, and I went for the obvious culprit. Enjoy!

John William Waterhouse Danaƫ
Well, my dearly beloveds, auntie has had another dizzy week keeping up with the sexploits of our simply divine Olympians. Word has it that Zeus has been up to his old tricks again, but then again, nothing’s new if Hera’s latest public outburst has anything to do with it.

We all know how it went with that Phoenician wench Europa. There she was, minding her own business picking flowers by the seaside (and who could ask for a more enchanting pursuit for a young maiden?) when Zeus found her a particularly tasty morsel. To be honest, we do need to question her taste in men if she found a bull to be so charming.

Then, who could forget Leda? The fact that she was clearly already taken meant little to Zeus, and it is alleged by a source close to her that she wasn’t aware that it was Zeus, at the time.

“He came to her as a swan,” the source claims. “And she does rather have a fondness for birds. She thought nothing of the incident until she started hunting for nesting material not long after.”

King Tyndareous was less than charmed with her hatching those eggs, our same source reports.
When Zeus visited Alkmene, his penchant for disguises really pushed the limits.

“She swears it was her husband,” erstwhile handmaiden Agathos claims. “Though his royal highness was off on a campaign at the time. We all knew something was up, but no one dared to say anything.”

An oracle’s prophecy led to further trouble when it was widely reported that Danae, daughter of King Arkisios, would give birth to a child who would later kill the king of Argos. He thought to solve the problem by having his daughter locked up. This proved no obstacle to Zeus’ amorous intentions.

Danae recounts: “He was so persistent. My father’s attempts to protect his own hide meant nothing to my lover, who came to me as in a shower of gold. Zeus was so gentle, so loving, and I would do it all again. To Tartarus with the prophecies. And my father!”

We all know what happened to poor Io, driven half crazy by a vengeful Hera. Then again, it can’t be much fun being turned into a cow and chased all the way to Egypt by a persistent fly. Just ask Herakles; you really don’t want to mess with Hera.

Speaking of Hera (Looking back, who truly blames her for having had it with Zeus’ philandering ways?) what she did to Kallisto was just plain nasty, turning Artemis against her own handmaiden just because Zeus turned a lecherous eye on the girl. And if you think getting turned into a bear is a raw deal, having your own goddess use you for target practice really takes the cake.

Which brings us to this week’s bit of juicy gossip. And, surprise surprise, it’s not some lass who’s been plucked but a lad. Seems that Ganymede’s pretty face has caught Zeus’ fancy, and he has taken up employment as a barista over at Zeus’ palace. We all know that Ganymede’s going to do a bit more than pouring ambrosia.

His father, Tros, comments: “We are devastated. He was taken so suddenly, but we are assured that he is in a better place and that his beauty will be preserved for evermore.”

Hera was unavailable for comment.

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