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Disclosure @ Reading Festival - ‘Apollo’ & ‘What’s in Your Head’
An Epic Prayer to Apollo

Statius (P. Papinius Statius), Thebaid I.696-720

Notes: the speaker is Adrastus, king of Argos; Hera/Juno was Argos’ patron deity, hence the reference to “Juno’s fields”.  “Shoulders that received no gratitude”: Apollo and Poseidon constructed the walls of Troy for King Laomedon, who then refused to pay them the agreed-upon salary.  “The Phrygian” is Marsyas, who lost a musical contest to Apollo and was skinned alive as punishment; “the Theban mother” is Niobe, whose children were cut down by Apollo and Artemis when she boasted that she was more fortunate in her offspring than Leto.  “The race of Achaemenes” refers to the Persians, who regarded the Sun (“rosy Titan”) as a manifestation of the god Ahura Mazda.
  “Perses’ cave”: Perses, son of Perseus and Andromeda, was the mythological founder of the Persian race.

Father Phoebus, whether the thorn-bushes of Patara occupy you
On the snowy ridges of Lyciae, or whether it pleases you
To dip your blond hair in the chaste waters of Castalia,
Or whether, under your title of Thymbraean, you occupy Troy, where, they say,
You once willingly lifted Phrygian stones on shoulders that received no gratitude,
Or whether Leto’s Cynthus, that strikes the Aegean with its shadow,
Pleases you, and not to seek Delos, now fixed in the sea:
Arrows are yours, and a bow to be bent against savage foes
Far off, and your heavenly parents have granted as a gift
That your cheeks blossom with youth eternally;  you have the skill
To know in advance the unjust hands of the Fates, the destiny that waits beyond,
And what highest Jove will decide, whom a death-bringing year awaits,
To what peoples wars will come, what scepters comets change;
You force the Phrygian to submit to your lyre, for your mother’s honor
You stretch out earth-born Tityon on Stygian sands;
When you triumphed in your quiver, green Python and the Theban mother
Shuddered; for you, the avenger, fierce Megaera,
Oppresses with eternal dinner-reclining starving Phlegyas
Who lies beneath hollow cliffs- she goads him with profane dishes,
But mingled nausea overcomes his hunger.
May you be present, mindful of our hospitality, and may you propitiously
Show love to Juno’s fields- whether it is better you be called ‘rosy Titan,’
According to the rite of the race of Achaemenes, or whether you should be called
‘Grain-bearing Osiris,’ or ‘Mithras,’ who twists bull’s horns that are loath to follow
Beneath the rocks of Perses’ cave.

 “Phoebe parens, seu te Lyciae Pataraea niuosis
exercent dumeta iugis, seu rore pudico
Castaliae flauos amor est tibi mergere crines,
seu Troiam Thymbraeus habes, ubi fama uolentem
ingratis Phrygios umeris subiisse molares,
seu iuuat Aegaeum feriens Latonius umbra
Cynthus et adsiduam pelago non quaerere Delon:
tela tibi longeque feros lentandus in hostes
arcus, et aetherii dono cessere parentes
aeternum florere genas; tu doctus iniquas
Parcarum praenosse manus fatumque quod ultrast
et summo placitura Ioui, quis letifer annus,
bella quibus populis, quae mutent sceptra cometae;
tu Phryga summittis citharae, tu matris honori
terrigenam Tityon Stygiis extendis harenis;
te uiridis Python Thebanaque mater ouantem
horruit in pharetris, ultrix tibi torua Megaera
ieiunum Phlegyan subter caua saxa iacentem
aeterno premit accubitu dapibusque profanes
instimulat, sed mixta famem fastidia uincunt:
adsis o memor hospitii, Iunoniaque arua
dexter ames, seu te roseum Titana uocari
gentis Achaemeniae ritu, seu praestat Osirim
frugiferum, seu Persei sub rupibus antri
indignata sequi torquentem cornua Mithram.”

image

Apollo and Two Muses, Pompeo Batoni, ca. 1741

8

     This Command Module was flown into space by Walter Schirra, Don Eisele and Walter Cunningham on Apollo 7, the first manned flight of the Apollo Program. On October 11, 1968, they became the only crew to fly from Launch complex 34 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, a launch complex which I have covered in a previous post (click here to view). The crew orbited the earth for 11 days, the length of a future Apollo Moon mission, testing the various Command Module systems.

     On this blog, one of the things I typically try to cover is test flight aircraft. This capsule qualifies, sort of. Apollo 7 was the first test flight of the command module system. Also, this spacecraft maneuvered through the air during re-entry, so we could, without too much of a stretch, call it an aircraft. There you have it. Test flight aircraft. Sounds good, right?

     This capsule is on display at the incredible Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. I was very impressed with this museum. They have a pristine, non typical collection, beautiful facility, and very friendly, knowledgeable staff.

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