Tag Archives: Classic culture

Disney Mythology vs. Greco-Roman Mythology: Part I

Posted on 19. Nov, 2014 by in Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

With the many of you learning Latin and the Roman culture; I believe it is important to observe how antiquity permeates through modern media. So today I propose we observe the role of mythology, mythic characters and items within Disney films and series.

Walt Disney World. Courtesy of Flickr & Dawn Ashely.

Walt Disney World. Courtesy of Flickr & Dawn Ashely.

#1. Character or Item FEMALE CENTAURS OR KENTAURIDES

Film or Series: Fantasia; 1940 & The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe; 2005

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Commentary: Female Centaurs are not really discussed at length within modern or even ancient mythology. When recalling recent films with centaurs (Harry Potter, Step- Brothers, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief), the centaurs are male.  However that small amount of mythology which is discussed by ancient sources does reflect the imagery that Disney produces in these films (i.e.- beauty consumed creatures, but nobly warlike when they need to be).

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Disney Mythology: Within Fantasia ( the video above) is from the chapter known as “The Pastoral Symphony” by Beethoven. The setting is a mythical world of centaurs, cupids, fauns and other figures from classical mythology. A gathering for a festival to honor Bacchus (Dionysus), the god of wine, is interrupted by Jupiter (Zeus), who creates a storm and throws lightning bolts at the attendees. The mythology of centaurs present in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is that of C.S Lewis’ mythology (here)and not necessarily of Disney.

Greco-Roman Mythology: Though female centaurs, called Kentaurides, are not mentioned in early Greek literature and art, they do appear occasionally in later antiquity. A Macedonian mosaic of the 4th century BC is one of the earliest examples of the Centauress in art.

Female centaurs flanking Venus (Mosaic from Roman Tunisia, 2nd century AD).Courtesy of WikiCommons & GiorcesBardo55 .

Female centaurs flanking Venus (Mosaic from Roman Tunisia, 2nd century AD).Courtesy of WikiCommons & GiorcesBardo55 .

Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”  also mentions a Kentaurides named Hylonome who committed suicide when her husband Cyllarus was killed in the war with the Lapiths:

“In the high woods there was none comelier of all the centaur-girls, and she alone by love and love’s sweet words and winning ways held Cyllarus, yes, and the care she took to look her best (so far as that may be with limbs like that). She combed her glossy hair, and twined her curls in turn with rosemary or violets or roses, and sometimes she wore a pure white lily. Twice a day she bathed her face in the clear brook that fell from Pagasae’s high forest, twice she plunged her body in its flow, nor would she wear on her left side and shoulder any skin but what became her from best-chosen beasts.

#2. Character or Item: KING TRITON or TRITON

Film or Series: The Little Mermaid; 1989

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King Triton added to Ariel's Undersea Adventure Building at Disneyland. Courtesy of Flickr and Loren Javier.

King Triton added to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Building at Disneyland. Courtesy of Flickr and Loren Javier.

Commentary: King Triton often confused with Neptune (Poseidon) due to this Disney portrayal. Neptune is the king of the seas, but Triton is actually a son of  Neptune. Ariel does not exist in any mythology.

Disney Mythology: King Triton is king of the sea and has a triton. He is a widower with seven daughter including Ariel who is the protagonist of the featured film “The Little Mermaid.” The film is based upon the Hans Christen Anderson’s fairy tale which is simply called “The Little Mermaid” and the stories are almost identical except for a few details: she has no name (simply known as the Little Mermaid), her legs hurt with excoriating pain, her prince does fall in love with her (but marries someone else), heartbroken she is given the choice to kill the prince (a become a mermaid again) or not, and lastly she throws herself into the sea unable to kill the prince and becomes foam and then an air spirit.

The Triton Fountain, by Gianlorenzo Bernini, Rome.Courtesy of Wikicommons & Tritonbrunnen rom.

The Triton Fountain, by Gianlorenzo Bernini, Rome.Courtesy of Wikicommons & Tritonbrunnen rom.

Greco-Roman Mythology:  He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish, “sea-hued”, according to Ovid “his shoulders barnacled with sea-shells.  According to Hesiod, Triton dwelt with his parents in a golden palace in the depths of the sea. He is said to have had one daughter , Pallas, who was killed by Minerva (Athena), who was a foster daughter or ward to him, in an innocent friendly fight.

Pausanias describes Triton(s) (the children and class of mermen/mermaids) as the following:

On their heads they grow hair like that of marsh frogs not only in color, but also in the impossibility of separating one hair from another. The rest of their body is rough with fine scales just as is the shark. Under their ears they have gills and a man’s nose; but the mouth is broader and the teeth are those of a beast. Their eyes seem to me blue, and they have hands, fingers, and nails like the shells of the murex. Under the breast and belly is a tail like a dolphin’s instead of feet

#3. Characters or Item PANTHEON of GODS

Film or Series: Hercules; 1997

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Commentary: While the names of the Gods are from the Greek Mythology; Hercules is the Romanized version of Herakles. Furthermore, Mount Olympus would rarely house all the gods at one time for the birth of a god. There is no record of this ever taking place within mythology. Lastly, the entire film is based upon Hercules seeking to be a hero to regain his “godhood;” when in fact Hercules was never a god. He was also a demi-god and Hera was not his mother let alone loving towards him at all!

Courtesy of GraphJam.com

Courtesy of GraphJam.com

Disney Mythology: The birth day celebration of Hercules the god, who is the son of Juno (Hera) and Jupiter or Jove (Zeus). It features Neptune (Poseidon), Minerva (Athena), Jupiter (Zeus), Jove (Hera), Mars (Ares), Venus (Aphrodite), Vulcan (Hephaestus), Mercury (Hermes), Diana (Artemis), Bacchus (Dionysus), Sol (Helios), and more! The scene is filled with gods who are too obscure to see or who shouldn’t be considered a “god” (like Narcissus).

Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC – 1st century AD) depicting the Twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from left to right, Hestia (scepter), Hermes (winged cap and staff), Aphrodite (veiled), Ares (helmet and spear), Demeter (scepter and wheat sheaf), Hephaestus (staff), Hera (scepter), Poseidon (trident), Athena (owl and helmet), Zeus (thunderbolt and staff), Artemis (bow and quiver), Apollo (lyre), from the Walters Art Museum. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC – 1st century AD) depicting the Twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from left to right, Hestia (scepter), Hermes (winged cap and staff), Aphrodite (veiled), Ares (helmet and spear), Demeter (scepter and wheat sheaf), Hephaestus (staff), Hera (scepter), Poseidon (trident), Athena (owl and helmet), Zeus (thunderbolt and staff), Artemis (bow and quiver), Apollo (lyre), from the Walters Art Museum. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Greco-Roman Mythology: The gods would rarely been seen together, but the 12 Olympians would be seen as the hierchacial gods that would reign from Mount Olympus. The gods were known for fighting with another, taking sides in the affairs of mortals, and hardly being cordial or nice unless you were Jupiter or Jove (i.e. King of the Gods!). For more information on stories of the Greco-Roman Gods; check it out here.

#4. Characters or Items: MYTHOLOGICAL CROSSOVER

Films or Series: The Little Mermaid; 1989 & Hercules;1997

Courtesy of WDWMAGIC.COM & Allyinwonderland.

Courtesy of WDWMAGIC.COM & Allyinwonderland.

Commentary: This connection between Disney and Greco-Roman mythology was included merely for fun and humorous sake. Since Ariel is not a “real” or “true” mythological character- most of this means nothing.

Disney Mythology: The world of Disney (in films) does not remark of this correlation other than “memes” that fans have figured out and one conversation reported with two Disney actors:

Courtesy of Evergreenring.

Courtesy of Evergreenring.

Courtesy of Pinterest of Thalia Grace.

Courtesy of Pinterest of Thalia Grace.

Greco-Roman Mythology: According to Greek mythology, Ariel’s father, Triton, is the son of Poseidon, which would make the sea god Ariel’s grandfather. Poseidon’s brother Zeus is the father of Hercules, so Herc and Triton are first cousins. The child of your first cousin is your first cousin once removed, therefore Hercules and Ariel are first cousins once removed.

If this is still causing issues in the respect to “your mind is blown;” I have provided a helpful image of a family tree illustrating this (here). However, since Ariel does NOT exist then perhaps it is better said that King Triton and Hercules are related.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I do hope you enjoyed this! I have more similarities next week! Some of them are super obvious and others are bit harder to discern! Have an awesome weekend!

 

 

10 Facts about Ancient Rome that You Didn’t Know

Posted on 18. Sep, 2014 by in Roman culture

Saluete Omnes,

I hope everyone’s week is going well. My week is going okay other than the horrible heat wave in California. So for your viewing and intellectual pleasure. I will present to you 10 Facts about Ancient Rome that will make you think, giggle, and ponder the world of antiquity.

 

1.The early Romans thought Christians were literally practicing cannibalism when they heard that they consumed bread and wine as symbolic representations of the body and blood of Christ.

Courtesy of Wikicommons, Lamre, and Shizhoa.

Courtesy of Wikicommons, Lamre, and Shizhoa.

2. The abbreviation SPQR can be found on many Roman statues, buildings, and military sta.ndards. It stands for “senatus populusque romanus.” meaning “The senate and people of Rome.”

3. The Romans had gods for doors (Forculus), hinges (Cardea), and thresholds (Limentinus).

4. In response to a 73 B.C. revolt against Rome by Spartacus the gladiator, 6,000 slaves were crucified.

Crassus crucified 6,000 of Spartacus's followers on the road between Rome and Capua. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Crassus crucified 6,000 of Spartacus’s followers on the road between Rome and Capua. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

5. Sometimes gladiator blood was recommended by Roman physicians as an aid to fertility

6. Some men were advised to use hippopotamus skin to make hair grow. Men and women would remove hair with bat’s blood or hedgehog ashes, or keep hair from turning gray by coloring their hair with oil mixed with earthworm ashes

7. The Romans sometimes trained some female slaves to fight as gladiators.

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8. In battle, Romans sometimes grouped together and held their shields all around them in a formation called “the tortoise.

9. The Romans divided their days into 12 hours, measured by a sundial.

10. The Vestal Virgins were female priests who tended the sacred fire of Vesta, goddess of the hearth fire. If they lost their virginity, even as a result of rape, they were buried alive in an unmarked grave. In the 1,000-year history of the temple, only about 18 Vestals received this punishment (recorded).

Ancient Roman Recipes

Posted on 10. Sep, 2014 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

I hope everyone is doing great today! I will be honest and admit that this post is coming to fruition a bit later than I have liked. Yesterday was my birthday and I came home to a surprise party! It was very surprising to the say the least and a wonderful gesture. But as I sat there eating my surprise dinner, I wondered about the article that I would be writing for this week’s theme: Recipes.

Food of various forms and categories. Courtesy of WikiCommon and Lobo.

Food of various forms and categories. Courtesy of WikiCommon and Lobo.

I further wondered what use would a Latin or Ancient Roman Recipe be to my readers. So I have come up with two ideas. The first, I don’t know how many of you who read this throw your friends or family dinner parties, but instead of the same old boring food-why not theme it? Roman Dinner Party? Ask people to dress up toga (accurate or inaccurate) and serve only the most authentic food that will give your family and friends a taste of a different world and time! The second idea piggybacks off the first with a Roman Halloween Party! We also have a lovely post on Roman Halloween Costume Ideas here.

ROMAN DINNER PARTY

For this theme, I was asked to provide one recipe with the Latin and then the English, which is what you will see below. Although the recipe I have chosen is one of rarity is probably never cooked anymore; I hope it will lend some insight into the Roman and their food choices. Lastly, I have provided at the end of this article more options for recipes (that are not odd, rare, or obscure) for your trying.

A boy holding a platter of fruits and what may be a bucket of crabs, in a kitchen with fish and squid, on the June panel from a mosaic depicting the months (3rd century. Courtesy of WikiCommons & Sailko.

A boy holding a platter of fruits and what may be a bucket of crabs, in a kitchen with fish and squid, on the June panel from a mosaic depicting the months (3rd century. Courtesy of WikiCommons & Sailko.

The Recipe that I would love to translate and discuss today is the most intriguing in my mind: the dormouse. Most commonly known from its appearance in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland’ s Tea Party.

The March Hare and the Hatter put the Dormouse's head in a teapot. Illustration by John Tenniel.. Courtesy of WikiCommons and JasonAQuest.

The March Hare and the Hatter put the Dormouse’s head in a teapot. Illustration by John Tenniel.. Courtesy of WikiCommons and JasonAQuest.

It is often referred to as the edible dormouse, which was farmed by the Romans (which is discussed and explained here). It was mainly eaten as part of a snack,part of a main course, or even as a dessert. The text for this recipe (stuffed dormouse) is found in Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria Book 8 Chapater 9 (here):

Glires: “isicio porcino, item pulpis ex omni membro glirium trito, cum pipere, nucleis, lasere, liquamine farcies glires, et sutos in tegula positos mittes in furnum aut farsos in clibano coques.”

Dormice: “Stuff the mice with minced pork, likewise with mouse meat from all (fleshy) parts of the  mouse ground with pepper, pine kernels, laser, and garum (or broth). Sew the mouse up and put on a tile on the stove. Or roast in a portable oven.”

It should be noted that Roman recipes by Apicius ( the only “complete” recipe book that has survived) does not include measurements, ingredients, or even a cook time.

For a Modern interpretation of the dormouse recipe (a.k.a the substitution of dormouse with chicken) , please check out this wonderful recipe: here.

Seafood was very popular in the Roman cuisine as well. An array of creatures that may have been found in a "piscine." Sea creatures mosaic ( Attention to the Eel near the right bottom corner) from Pompeii; National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy. Courtesy of WikiCommons & Massimo Finizio.

Seafood was very popular in the Roman cuisine as well. Courtesy of WikiCommons & Massimo Finizio.

The topic of food and recipes have been discussed in this blog before, please take a look at some of our previous post that discuss terminology, popular food, (here) and even have some helpful videos(here)!

For more of  a collection of recipes in Latin and English, please see this wonderful website: Eight Recipes from Around the Roman Table-Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome (here). More Roman Recipes can also be found here.