Posts Tagged ‘Odysseus’

gemma

 

ΤΑ ΚΑΤΑ ΚΙΡΚΗΝ

Ο Όμηρος είναι ή για τα μικρά παιδιά ή για τους πολύ γέροντες. Θα τον ακούσεις να παραμυθολογεί και θα σε δέσουν τα λόγια του, όπως σε δένουν μαύρα μάτια ή γαλανά, όταν δεν ξέρεις σχεδόν τίποτα ή όταν τα ξέρεις σχεδόν όλα.
Έλα να ιδούμε, λοιπόν, κάτω απ’ αυτή τη διπλή οπτική του μικροσκοπίου και του τηλεσκοπίου τί λέει στην ιστορία της Κίρκης.
Το καράβι του Οδυσσέα με τους συντρόφους πλέει στα νερά, και βιγλίζει μακρυά τους ορίζοντες. Ξαφνικά φαίνεται στο ραντάρ του νησί. Πλησιάζουν γλαυκοπετώντας και λάμνοντας και το νησί μεγαλώνει. Μεγαλώνει, ωσότου παίρνει το θώρι μιας ωραίας εξωτικής παραλίας.
—Τραβάτε και ιδέστε, τί είναι εκεί, λέει ο Οδυσσέας στους ναύτες. Γιομίστε τα τουλούμια με νερό. Πάρτε και φλασκιά κρασί, εάν βρείτε. Φέρτε και παξιμάδια, ανανάδες, καρύδες και ό,τι άλλο πετύχετε φαγώσιμο για το ταξίδι. Κι ελάτε να τραβήξουμε για τη μακρυνή Ιθάκη. Άειντε, και κάμετε σύντομα.
Οι σύντροφοι βαρκαρίζουνται στο νησί, κι ο βασιλιάς μένει επάνω στο καράβι φύλακας, συντηρητής, οικονόμος, και τεχνικός διαχειριστής.
Οι σύντροφοι προχωρούνε, ακροαστικά και ανιχνεύοντας, φτάνουν μπροστά σ’ ένα παλάτι, και βλέπουν μια μάγισσα. Η Κίρκη είναι αυτή. Την πλησιάζουνε άφοβα, κι εκείνη τους ρωτάει το ποιος και το πώς, το γιατί και για πού. Ακούει και μαθαίνει.
Ύστερα τους κοιτάει γλαρωτικά, σηκώνει μια ξαφνική βεργούλα, αγγίζει απάλαφρα τους συντρόφους στον ώμο και στον τράχηλο, κι αμέσως οι σύντροφοι γίνουνται χοίροι. Ένα γραμμόφωνο πιο πέρα παίζει κάποιο σημαδιακό ρεμπέτικο:
Τα δυο σου χέρια πήρανε βεργούλες και με δείρανε.
Οι σύντροφοι σκορπίζονται δυο δυο, τρεις τρεις στην πρασινάδα καις τις βραγιές του κήπου, και αναματιάζουνται σαστισμένοι. Ύστερα, μ’ ένα τρελό χοροπηδητό, αρχίζουνε να τρέχουν, να στέκουνται, να πηδάνε, και να γρυλλίζουν. Θέαμα ευτυχισμένο παραδείσου.
Λουτσάνε και στα νερά, κι όπου βρούνε λάσπη πάνε και χώνουν το μουσούδι τους, και κυλιούνται πανεύτυχα. Τα τρελαίνει η λάσπη τα γουρούνια, που λέει ο Δημόκριτος.
Σύες ἐπὶ φορυτῷ μαργαίνουσι.
Ο Οδυσσέας περιμένει στο καράβι τους συντρόφους, αλλά οι σύντροφοι δεν έρχουνται. Μία, δύο, πέντε, δέκα ημέρες. Αδημονεί, συγχύζεται, κακοβάλνει. Ξεκινάει να πάει ο ίδιος στο νησί. Και πηγαίνει και βλέπει. Και βλέπει και θιαμάζεται. Και θιαμάζεται και δεν πιστεύει.
—Στο καλό μου, Ποσειδώνα! Φωνάζει. Τί μου `στειλες πάλι!
Τότε αντικρύζει και τη μάγισσα. Τα μάτια της είναι σκοτεινά της αστραπής, Σε μαρμαρώνουν. Ένα ρίγος νιώθει να κυλάει στη ράχη του, και ξαφνικά καταλαβαίνει. Δια μιας συλλαβαίνει ολόκληρη την κατάσταση. Εποπτικά και ακαριαία, που λένε οι ψυχολόγοι της ενορατικής μάθησης. Ξιφουλκεί τότε, το μάτι του άγριο, καις σκούζει στη μάγισσα.
—Πίσω άτιμη, και σ’ έφαγα. Τη Μπαναγία σου μέσα. Κάνε γρήγορα τους συντρόφους μου ανθρώπους! Γιατί σου παίρνω το κεφάλι με το σπαθί, όπως ο Περσέας τη Γοργόνα. Και δεν έχω και καθρέφτη.
Η Κίρκη πανικοβάλλεται, ξεφωνίζει αχ, ζαρώνει να αφανιστεί. Σηκώνει το μαγικό ραβδάκι, αγγίζει πάλι τους συντρόφους. Ένας-ένας αρχίζει να αναδύεται μέσα από το θαμπό βάθος του κόσμου των ζώων. Αγάλι-αγάλι τα γουρούνια παίρνουν ν’ αλλάζουν σουσούμια, μεταμορφώνουνται, ξαναγίνουνται άνθρωποι.
Ο βασιλιάς διατάζει τους ναύτες να στοιχηθούν τριάδες, πάντα με το σπαθί στο χέρι. Κοιτάει τη μάγισσα και η ματιά του έχει μεγάλη εξάντληση. Ψιθυριστά σχεδόν της λέει
—Καημένη μου, σπολλάτη σου. Που δε σε κόβω λιανά λιανά με το γεντέκι, να σε ρίξω να σε φάνε τα ψαράκια της πισίνας σου. Κι είσαι και γυναίκα.
Είπε και γυρίζει στους συντρόφους του, και τους δίνει το παράγγελμα: – Άντρες! Εμπρός μαρς! Ένα δύο, εν δυο! Παίρνει τους στρατιώτες του και ξεμακραίνει κατά το καράβι.

Αυτή είναι η ιστορία της Κίρκης. Και κάπως έτσι θα την διδάξουμε στους μαθητές μας οι δάσκαλοι. Στα παιδιά των δεκατριών χρονών.
Θα καρυκέψουμε και λίγο το μάθημα με μια πρόχειρη γαρνιτούρα. Γραμματική, λίγη σύνταξη, λέξεις, εικόνες, στοιχεία εποχής, διαγραφή χαρακτήρων και τα συναφή. Πάει καλά. Ένας μαθητής μικρός, μικρούτσικος, δοκιμάζει να ξηλώσει στην άκρη το στερεό ύφασμα που ύφανε ο αργαλειός της τάξης.
—Μα καλά, κυρ δάσκαλε, αυτός είν’ ο Όμηρος; Ένα τέτοιο παραμύθι θα μπορούσε κι η γιαγιά μου να το πλάσει. Για να μας νανουρίζει τις νύχτες με το φεγγάρι. Λίγο αλαφροΐσκιωτη να ` τανε, λίγο νεραΐδοπαρμένη, και φτάνει. Αυτός είν’ ο Όμηρος;
Αυτός είν’ ο Όμηρος; ερωτάμε κι εμείς με τη σειρά μας. Ο πατέρας των ποιητών; Όπως έλεγε κι ο ίδιος για το Δία, ο πατέρας των θεών. Ο Όμηρος, στους Έλληνες ο πρώτος, η πύλη του πολιτισμού της Ευρώπης, η ακένωτη πηγή τη σοφίας;
—Οι τραγωδίες μου είναι ψίχουλα από την πλούσια τράπεζα του Ομήρου, έλεγε ο Αισχύλος. Κι ένας ζωγράφος, ο Γαλάτων, εζωγράφισε ένα συμπόσιο σε πολυτελή αίθουσα. Έβαλε γύρω-τριγύρω όλους τους μεγάλους Έλληνες συγγραφείς, και στη μέση ο Όμηρος. Ανοίγει το στόμα του καθώς τερρακόττα, και κάνει εμετούς. Και οι άλλοι τρώνε εν χορώ τα ‘εμημεσμένα’.
Τριάντα αιώνες τώρα τον μελετάμε. Τον διδάσκουμε, τον σπουδάζουμε,, τον εξηγάμε, τον σχολιάζουμε, και στην άκρη του δεν εφθάσαμε. Κι ούτε θέλει να φτάσουμε ποτές. Αυτός λοιπόν είν’ ο Όμηρος; Ένας ανοϊκός γεροντάκος; Σε καλό μας δηλαδή.
Ο μαθητής με τα έξυπνα μάτια έχει δίκιο. Μας προκαλεί. Να αποβάλουμε τη σύνδρομη αφέλεια που, χωρίς οι ίδιοι να το νιώθουμε, κατεβάζει το δάσκαλο στην ηλικία του μαθητή. Ο μαθητής μας προκαλεί να ιστορήσουμε αλλοιώτικα την ιστορία. Όχι πια για τα παιδιά, αλλά για τους γερόντους. Κάπως έτσι.

CORCERNING CIRCE

Ihr Fröhlichen am Isthmos, und am Cephyss
und am Taygetos

~Hölderlin

Homer’s stories are either for the very young or the very old. You can hear him weave his elaborate tales and his words may bind you, like furtive looks by eyes of black or blue can captivate, when you know next to nothing or when you know almost all there is to know.
Come then and let us see, under the dual optical perspectives of the microscope and the telescope, what the story of Circe may yet reveal.
The ship of Ulysses and his companions sails upon the azure waters surveying the distant horizons. Unexpectedly, the form of an island begins to emerge. They steer and row through the blue-white expanse towards an ever-clearer vision of the island. Eventually, the vista of a magnificent and exotic shoreline reveals itself.
—“Go and have a look around”, Ulysses says to the sailors. “Fill the flasks with fresh water. See whether you can find some wine as well. Return with bread, pineapples and coconuts, whatever you can find that’s edible so we can replenish our supplies for the voyage onward. And tarry not, so we may soon set sail again for distant Ithaca.”
A small boat ferries a handful of the companions over to the island, yet the king remains on board as a guard, conservator, housekeeper and technical director.
The companions wander deeper into the island, always scouting and exploring, and chance upon a palace. At its doorstep, they encounter an enchantress. This is Circe. They approach her without reservations and she asks to know the who, the how, the what, the whence and the wherefore. She listens and she learns.
Then she looks at them mirthfully, raises an inconspicuous wand, and deftly touches the companions on their shoulders and necks. In an instant, the companions turn into swine.
They scatter in groups of two or three, in the lush palace gardens and nearby pastures, staring at each other in confusion. After a while they begin trotting about restlessly; they scamper and gyrate, then stand still with ears poised, sniffing at the wind and grunting at the grass. A captivating vision of blissfulness.
They throw themselves in puddles and playfully stir up the mud with their snouts. Muddy waters can drive swine mad, as Democritus asserts.
Σύες ἐπὶ φορυτῷ μαργαίνουσι.
Pigs revel in mud.
Meanwhile, Ulysses patiently waits for the companions aboard the ship; but they are nowhere to be seen. One, two, five, ten days come and go. He is now worried, unsettled, and his mind starts contemplating worst-case scenarios. Soon, his patience is exhausted; he sets out for the island to see for himself. And when he does, he stands in shock and cannot believe his eyes.
—“Merciless Poseidon!” he cries. “What adventures have you tangled me in again? ”
Then he encounters the enchantress. Her eyes possess the darkness of lightning. They petrify you. His spine tingles, he shudders and then he suddenly understands. At one fell swoop, he grasps the entire situation. Decisively and immediately, as the learned insightful psychologists might put it. His stern, fiery gaze engulfs the witch and he issues his warning:
—“Fall back, wench, or face my wrath. Despicable creature! Turn my companions back into men forthwith! Or, gods help me, I will draw my sword and sever your head from your shoulders, as Perseus did with Medusa. Even though I carry no mirror.”
The scolded Circe panics and withdraws. She lifts her magic wand again and touches the companions. One by one they resurface from the dull depths of the world of the animals. Slowly but steadily, the ugly snouts transform back into human faces and the companions become men again.
The king orders his sailors to form ordered lines in threes, sword in hand. He turns towards the witch and in his eyes can be perceived a great weariness. In what is almost a whisper, he tells her
— “Consider yourself lucky that I didn’t slice you into a thousand pieces and throw you into the sea to be eaten by the fish. Even though you are a woman.”
Having said that, he looks at the companions and issues the marching orders:
— “Men, on my mark…”
And they march back toward their ship leaving Circe’s palace behind.

This is the story of Circe, in brief. And along those lines will we teachers teach it to our students. To kids in their teens.
We might even embellish the lesson with a bit of garnish. Perhaps say a few things about the grammar and syntax, the words and images used, some historical information about that era, the character development in the story and so on and so forth. All well and good.
Yet a young student, too small for his age and at the back of the class, attempts to pull at the loose thread in the corner of the carefully constructed tapestry that the loom of the class has conscientiously weaved.
— “But, sir, is that really Homer? My grandmother can tell better stories. At nights when the moon is full, she tells them before we go to bed. All it takes is a bit of imagination. Is that all there is to Homer?”
Is that all there is to Homer, we have to ask as well. Is that all there is to the father of poets? A title he himself reserved for referring to Zeus, the father of gods. Homer, first among the Greeks, the gateway of the civilization of Europe, an endless source of wisdom?
Aeschylus considered his tragedies as mere crumbs from Homer’s rich banquet table. And an ancient painter, Galaton of Alexandria, painted a symposium in a lavish hall. He placed the greatest Greek writers of the time all sitting expectantly around Homer. Homer is depicted vomiting and the rest are consuming in chorus what has been “predigested”.
For thirty centuries now we have been studying him. We have been teaching him, reading him, explaining him, writing long essays about him and still there is no end in sight. And perhaps there won’t be. So is this really Homer? A dull old man? Is that all there is to him?
But perhaps the young student with the clever eyes is right. He has challenged us. So let us get rid of this syndrome of naiveté, which, even though we may not immediately suspect it, lulls us teachers into teaching on the same age level as the students. This student is challenging us to
tell the story differently. Not the story for the teenagers, but the story for the old people. And it goes like this…

~Μετάφραση Γιάννη Τσάπρα

~Translation by Yannis Tsapras

Myths or mythos for the ancient people was an allegoric vehicle to awaken the soul from its forgetful past for those who were spiritual and sensitive enough to recognize the veiled truth behind it.  The Greek word μύθος= myth, derives from the sound‘mou’=murmur, which we produce when our lips are closed and the word Μυστήριο=mystery= inexplicable, adjoins with it. Together they form a secret communicating organ for every soul who is ready to recollect the forgotten experience from their previous incarnations.

Every mystical truth when presented by a normal open concrete language, usually is misconceived and rejected by the undeveloped intellectually insensitive individuals.  For this reason philosophers, mystics, epic poets and even prose writers of all times used myths, allegorizes and parables to veil the truth from the unready ones and to unveil for those who were ready to understand.

The soul of man possesses the capabilities to recognize and respond to truth that the myth carries, even before the mind grasped and analyze it. Most of us have been touched with this type of phenomena in the past and especially in our youth, before our minds and souls have been wounded and cobbled by dogmatism and wrong education. Soul responds sensitively to truth and its poetical beauty that encompasses the myth –and which has been lost through countless incarnations. Here, we see clearly the Socratic theory that our soul pre-existed and that all knowledge is nothing more than αναθύμισης=anathimisis= recollections from the past.

The inclination for a certain talent and the easier understanding of some life issues, are nothing more than recollection, says the English Platonist Thomas Taylor. The aim of a myth is not to entertain the senses and the mind by telling interesting stories, but to awaken the soul from its lethargic past. The Greek word αλήθεια =alitheia= truth, is derived from the word λήθη= lithe= forget -and the letter a’ in the front which means to throw away the forgetful-ness. In other words, the meaning of this word it speaks clearly, that truth searching is nothing more then throwing away the forgetfulness of the past or ανάμνησης= anamnesis= remembrance, as Plato used to call.

Every free and undamaged soul wakes up joyfully like a child by listening to the poetic beauty and the truth that myth unveils.

It feels exited, like re-meeting old friends and known events from its forgotten past. This is the grace and the glory that the myth brings- and of which the ancient Hellenes have so generously endowed us with.

The exegesis (explanation) of myth is a valuable exercise for the wandering soul. Although initially it appears as a fable, nevertheless when analyzed, creates enthusiasm and reveals the depth and glory that contains.

Plato was one of the greatest skilful masters of myth producers with his brilliant written dialogues.  He often used myths, imaginations and metaphors to pass the knowledge and the deep mystery, which our life hides. He proceeded bit by bit in lengthy dialectic conversations, manufacturing with scrupulous care the foundations of truth, leaving no ignorance and microbes behind, neither allowing lies nor doubts to creep between his celestial edifices. Suddenly without notice or argument, he calmly finishes his intellectual masterpiece to glisten everlastingly in the minds and souls of humanity.

When Socrates was conversing with his friends about soul and knowledge, he introduced myths and metaphors experimentally and almost hesitatingly at first, as if he was entering a holy ground.  As he new well the misunderstanding of the myth initially by those unfamiliar and has taken the necessary steps to make it easier conceivable. Great care is needed to interpret a myth and especially Plato’s. When he speaks of a human soul turning to an animal, he doesn’t mean that man becomes a beast, but he wants to say that when man cares only for his sensual pleasures (hedonism), he descends voluntary to an animal level, without intellectual and spiritual thoughts as higher human being.

Soul is an abstract word without material substance. No language ever yet managed to outline its subtle nature. For this reason Plato often used symbols, myths and fantasies to lead the human intellect higher and closer to their soul. The myths in his dialogues of Gorgias, Phaedra, Pheudo, Republic and Symposium, are the most valuable treasures that he left us behind to read.

Homer with his story of Achilles heel did not mean surely that the only vulnerable spot of Achilles, was his heel, but he was allegorizing that for every bad act that we do, we will not escape our punishment no matter where we will hide our self’s, it will find us like in the secret venerable heel of king Achilles.

The well-known myth of Odysseus, who was wandering in the stormy sea for ten years before reaching his Ithaca home, meant that every soul goes through testing hurdles and sufferings before it reached intellectual awakening, of spiritual destination.

The ancient sphinx that gave a riddle to passing pedestrians with a risk of losing their life if not answering correctly had metaphoric meaning. It was saying that our life has new riddles daily to be solved, and if we don’t answer them correctly, our future life will not be safe.

Resuming for a moment the enormous and admirable Hellenic mythological inheritance, I ask myself with a heart yearning: Why we are not taught this valuable truth and analyze them from our young age? Why such enormous valuable treasures remain untaught and hidden away from our schools and societies today?  Although we see clearly the advanced of their culture, we remain indifferent and apathetic to learn or study them theoretically.

What would we loose by being taught the meanings of these mythological treasures from the past? Would it not be useful to know little more about the meaning of our present earthy existence, – rather to accept blind beliefs without any knowledge of our life purpose what so ever?

~Karalis Dimitris

South Africa
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