Friday, March 5, 2021

It's All Greek To Me.

To my dearest friends and followers,

Today I want to talk about something I haven't brought up in several blog posts, and that is books - or more specifically, the books I've read.
As some of you may know, I love Greek mythology and have for the past 10 years.
My first introduction to Greek literature / mythology was when I was taking an English college course (while I was still in high-school), and one of the assigned books was The Odyssey. For the same course, I then had to read Oedipus Rex, and The Aeneid. Later, for my own pleasure-reading, I read The Iliad.

At the end of the course, I was glad I had taken it!! While it was extremely stressful at times, it was also the best course I believe I ever took. So many of the books I read for that class (and there were 18 of them) were, in my opinion, just awful (based on the extremely disturbing content only), while some changed my life. Of those, were Shakespeare's writings, and of course, The Odyssey.

The protagonist is Odysseus, from where we literally get the word "odyssey", and the story tells of his travels home to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. The story is filled with every human emotion, evoking those same feelings into the reader. Every moment in the story is memorable, from Penelope weaving and unweaving a shroud to delay a marriage to one of the many suitors waiting for her that she might wait for the return of her husband, to Odysseus filling his crew's ears with beeswax that he might hear the song of the sirens, to his crew being turned into pigs, to his arrival home dressed as a beggar.

My all time favorite part of the book was when Odysseus encounters the cyclopes, Polyphemus. It is just one look at how Odysseus changes throughout the story. Odysseus, who could before say, "I am Odysseus" and strike fear in to his enemies, says, "I am nobody" to avoid being captured by the cyclopes. It always stuck with me to see how much the man had been through, and how much he was being humbled in a way - it was still a humorous scene to me though.

During the same year I took the course, the Percy Jackson movie came out. I watched it, didn't like it, but felt there was potential there. So I asked my mom for the box set of books, and I read them all in about 2 weeks. They were AMAZING!! Filled with all of the Greek charm that captivated me in The Odyssey, but told through the eyes of a modern character, only a couple years younger than me at the time. It was silly and funny, but also filled with roots in Greek mythology, memorable characters, heart-wrenching backstories, and just plain good story telling. It also shows very plainly how much the Greeks influenced modern western civilization. Over the span of 15 years, the author, Rick Riordan, wrote a total of 15 novels which told the story of Percy Jackson and other characters from the universe. Sadly, in 2020, the final book was released, but I'm excited about the series the author and his wife are working on with the team at Disney+.

Somewhat recently, I discovered who Robert Graves was. For those of you who are unsure, he was an English writer, born in 1895, and died in 1985. He is author of circa 140 different works, including Hercules, My Shipmate, A.K.A., The Golden Fleece.
I am currently reading it and listening to it on Audible. It's a little bit of a heavy read due to 1. the time it was written, and 2. the fact that it heavily echoes the writing style of Homer. It's really good and to anyone who likes any of the books I've been talking about, I think you'll like it too!! 
My only complaint is that, while the story is set in the mythological Greece, the character Hercules is called, well, Hercules. Are you confused yet? Let me explain.

In Greek mythology, Zeus had a child with a mortal woman and named the child Heracles, in honor of Zeus' wife, Hera. The name literally meant "Hera's glory" or "glory to Hera".
The Roman equivalent of Heracles was Hercules. Zeus became Jupiter and Hera became Juno. Therefore, the Latin name Hercules no longer held the same Greek meaning. So the fact that Robert Graves set the book in Greece and still called the character by his Roman name is a pet peeve of mine if you couldn't tell. XD

I suppose this post was a long way for me to tell you what book I'm reading right now. XD
I think next week I'll write a post about why Greek Literature is so good and why it is important and still relevant.

Thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

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What I'm currently reading: The Golden Fleece by Robert Graves
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