mythology

Kuan Yin, goddess of compassion. Kuan means Earth and Yin is the female life force. She is a completely enlightened Buddha who made a promise in the distant past that after reaching complete enlightenment she would always appear in female form for the benefit of all beings. By iconographic category and hierarchy she is a meditational deity and her appearance is that of a peaceful deity. Kuan Yin has strength which is embraced by softness.” 

(Source)

  • Zeus:I’d like to think that our kingdom was like one big, happy family. Little did I suspect that we’re harbouring a backstabber in our very bosom. I’m going to reveal the name of that person. The backstabber is…
  • Hermes:[to Demeter] Isn’t this where the lights go off and Zeus is found dead on the floor?
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Persephone (/pərˈsɛfəni/, Περσεφόνη)

She loved her power,
the Queen of the Dead,
to forever reign
in the fires of hell.
She wore her crown
like a beacon;
a beautiful queen,
plotting against her king.
They never wanted you
to know the hunger of Persephone,
how she starved for something
other than pomegranates.  (x)

Classical Studies is one of the Arts fields of study that has the most content. Which also means that it can be hard to find quality, or even useful, material. It has come to my attention that a lot of people don’t really know where to get all the classical texts and everything related to Classics for their studies, so, here are 5 websites that I use literally every time I need to write a paper.

Oxford Classical Dictionary

Sadly, the Oxford Classical Dictionary online is ‘locked’ which means you can’t access all definitions, or not in their entirety. However, the most ‘common’ entries (such as “Achilles”) are whole. For the complete and extensive definitions, I’m afraid you will have to face the physical copy. But, fear not, the Oxford Classical Dictionary can be replaced by his twin brother, or as I like to call it, the Lesser Classical Dictionary. The famous -


Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World

This dictionary gives you basic definitions for all classical things (from objects to concepts, and of course, classical figures). It does not actually ‘replace’ the OCD, but if you are stuck at home without access to the library, the ODCW will be perfect. Its biographies of the classical figures (mythological or historical) are quite extensive and give you all the basic information (birth, life, role, death…), and also the sources where the info was found (eg. in the entry on Helen of Sparta, you will find that “tragedians, especially Euripides, condemn Helen for her adultery”. Now, your only job is to go and find the quote in Euripides’ play. Half the work done, really!)


theoi.com

theoi.com is THE website you will use if you are studying Greek mythology. It contains all the famous classical texts (eg. The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Argonautica…) and a lot of more obscure texts. It also offers the ‘biography’ of all the gods, and the famous figures. The only downside of this website is that it’s absolutely horrid looking, and very messy. But once you get used to it, it’s pretty easy to use. The most useful features (namely “Gods and Goddesses”, “Fabulous Creatures”, “Heroes, Kings and Villains” and “Mythology Classical Texts”) are all available on the home page. 
The translations of the classical texts are really great, and it’s a wonderful alternative to buying all the classical texts, which can be extremely costly.


perseus.tufts.edu

perseus is, in my opinion, the classicist’s soulmate. Despite its very Windows-98 look, it is the most useful website for classical studies. Its database contains most of the classical texts, mythological AND historical (which makes it, if not better, more useful and complete than theoi.com), and most of the time in at least two languages (english and the original language, latin or greek). In addition to the classical texts, it offers quite an extensive collection of secondary sources (for example, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander). The main appeal of this website is, if you don’t know exactly what text to look at, you can search for key words, and the website will give you all texts related to this word, primary and secondary sources. It’s insanely useful when you’re, for example, writing a summary of a particular myth and are supposed to include at least 5 different primary sources. From instance, I had to write a summary of the Argonauts’ Journey. Just type ‘argonauts’ in the search bar, and a buttload of sources show up. Extremely useful, if I say so myself.
The layout of the text is also pretty nice, in my opinion. It’s way easier to quote things when you’re reading on perseus than on theoi.com, since it gives you the exact reference (eg. if you’re reading Agamemnon by Aeschylus, you will find the reference Aesch. Ag. and the line the passage begins with).

nb. perseus is most famous for its classical library, but don’t be fooled: it also offers Arabic, Germanic, and renaissance materials, sources on the history of the 19th-century United States, Humanist and Renaissance Italian Poetry in Latin (such as Dante etc..) and finally the issues of the Richmond Times.
You’ll also find a gigantic collection of Art and Archaeology artifacts. I know. Almost too good to be true. Trust me, perseus.tufts.edu is the messiah. 


JStor.org

I decided to include JStor in this list for two reasons: it is extremely useful for classical studies, and it’s actually extremely useful for everything. I guess most people in higher education know about JStor, but in case you didn’t…
JStor is a scholarly database that contains… well, pretty much everything. It has an absolute shitload of secondary sources, both journal articles and books. I’m not really sure if there is a free access to all content, but if not, you can most likely access every title through your college library. JStor is absolutely wonderful for classical studies, since it gives you a multitude of essays about classical history, mythology or archaeology. It can be a bit complicated at first, but after using it once or twice, you get the hang of it fairly quickly. The biggest disappointment you can have on JStor is thinking you’ve found what you were looking for and realizing afterwards that it’s just the review of the book you were interested in. But, all in all, JStor is a real gold mine for students. And again, just like perseus, it’s a wonderful ‘cheating’ tool, in the way that if you need additional sources to reach a minimum, you can just type a key word, find the first journal that seems even remotely relevant, quote the first sentence that fit in your essay and poof, there you are! a new source. The Internet is a magical place.

My last advice would be: USE Wikipedia. Or Sparknotes. The first thing I learnt when I started college is that teachers are monstrous liars: we all use Wikipedia. Students, PhD candidates, Professors, all of us. Wikipedia is fine when you want to check a common information (”Gosh, I can’t remember who were Helen’s siblings!”), even though it’s something you can find in the online OCD. Wikipedia is the fastest solution and it’s also quite trustworthy for ‘famous’ piece of info, such as birth and family. For more obscure things, though, I would not recommend using Wikipedia. Also DO NOT REFERENCE WIKIPEDIA AT THE END OF THE ESSAY trust me, a lot of people do, for some reason. Do not.
Sparknotes or Shmoop.com are also fine for quick summaries of myths. When you have to simply outline a myth (let me tell you again about my Argonautica essay: when you have to mention all the stops between Argos and Colchis, actually reading the whole of the Argonautica is a pain in the neck), use Shmoop or Sparknotes. It’ll give you a basic summary, with all the important points of the story, which you can then research in the classical sources. It’s a massive time saver. Again, stupid warning: DO NOT REFERENCE SHMOOP DOT COM OR SPARKNOTES.

I hope all of this was useful, good luck for your essays, have fun with all these free primary and secondary materials, and have a good study session! x

John Lessore, Apollo and Daphne, c.1985, oil on canvas, 91.4 x 61 cm, Tate Collection. Source

John Lessore was the son of artists Helen and Frederick Lessore. He studied at the Slade under the tutelage of William Coldstream, and went on to become a co-founder of the Royal Drawing School in London. Apollo and Daphne was based on a sculpture by Bernini of the same title.

10

Vacation Day 3

Quinta de Regaleira (Part 3)

As soon as we got to Quinta de Regaleira we paid for a guided tour. It was money well spent and the place was so empty it was just us and the tour guide. I learned some amazing facts about the construction of the gardens.

This place is unearthly, built deliberately with layer upon layer of meaning. 

All images ©2016 Narcisse Navarre