• Blogging “The Iliad” – 21

    Filed under Uncategorized
    Mar 6

    You will recall that Venus saved Paris/Alexandrus’s life by whisking him from the battlefield (where he was being defeated by Helen’s husband, Menelaus) and depositing him in his own bedroom. Next, Venus, disguised as an old woman, tracks down Helen and tells her to go to Paris. Helen, though, is no fool. She recognizes the goddess and basically tells her off: ‘Hey, if you like him so much, you go to him. He’s been nothing but bad news for me.’

    This makes Venus angry and she warns Helen not to cross her. Helen thinks she’s got trouble now? She doesn’t know what trouble is. Helen is afraid of Venus so she does as she’s been told. She doesn’t have any kind words for Paris, though. She calls him a coward. Surprisingly, this doesn’t make Paris angry. Instead, he gets turned on! What a pervert. It’s the ancient Trojan equivalent of “Oooo baby! I love it when you call me names!” Since she really doesn’t have much choice in the matter, Helen has sex with him.

    Meanwhile, back on the battlefield, Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon are claiming victory over Paris/Alexandrus and demanding that Helen and all her wealth be returned to them. Now.

    Frankly, if it were me, I’d be saying ‘You can KEEP Helen. Just give me back all the gold, okay?’

    And what’s with Venus hooking up Paris and Helen like that? That’s pretty kinky! Actually, though… it really gives us an interesting insight into how ancient people thought about sex and “the gods”. (This fits in with what I’ve been reading in Joseph Campbell’s Thou Art That.) Monotheists think of their god as being outside nature. Consequently, nature itself is viewed as being corrupt — it’s something to be overcome. The ancient polytheists, though, thought of their gods as operating within the field of nature. With that sort of worldview, nature is sacred — or, at the very least, just as good as anything else you might be able to think of. When nature is sacred, then sex also becomes something that the gods are involved with. So, looking at it that way, it only figures that Venus would be encouraging Helen to have sex with Paris. To a nature goddess, sex is a good and life-affirming thing. Same with drinking wine, for that matter. (The god Bacchus!)

    Those ancients really did get a LOT of things right!

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