Posts Tagged Greek

Odysseus

Car journeys are good for hearing stories.  This time it was The Adventures of Odysseus, in the marvellous telling of Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden. Travelling from Toulouse to Castres we listened to the first disk, and on the return one the second.

Page from the book, illustrated by Christina Balit

In the prologue Hugh Lupton explains how Paris, ruler of Troy got everyone involved in such an awful war:

http://www.zshare.net/audio/72762187e787b23d
or try this link.

Here’s Daniel Morden telling some of the story later on:

(These sound players either work very slowly or just don’t work for me, so for this second bit of story click here and click on the image of the CD to get to the audio more directly.)

Sam loved it. The only bit he didn’t like was that Argos, Odysseus’ faithful dog, dies when he sees his master return.

What we talked about afterwards was, what would you do? You have one golden apple, and three goddesses, Hera, goddess of Power, Athena, goddess of War and Wisdom, Aphrodite, goddess of Love. Who will you upset? Who will you please?

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you shall go to the ball

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Isn’t it amazing that there are Cinderella stories from all over the world? There is even a version from pre-Columban America.

(I recommend ‘Mufaro’s Beautiful Daugher’ from Africa, the very old ‘Yeh-Shen’ from China, and ‘The Talking Eggs’ from the American South.)

Update: see entry on Sapsorrow.

But the oldest scrap of the story we have is from Greece, and concerns a girl who was a slave with Aesop on Samos!

Rhodopis, ‘Rosy-Cheeks’, was taken as a slave from her native Thrace to Samos. There she worked for a man named Iadmon, as a fellow slave to Aesop the fabulist.

What stories did she hear?

Very beautiful, she was sold on to a trader named Xanthes who takes her to Naukratis in Egypt, the town that has been given over to the Greeks by Pharaoh Amazis.

What kind of journey was that?

She is bought by Charaxus, brother of the poet Sappho, who has come to Egypt with a shipload of wine from Lesbos (Sappho is thought to have writen a poem on the subject, calling the girl by her perhaps real name of Doricha).

What would that poem have been like?

And, from Wikipedia (not all of this is true to the sources):

She works in the household of her Egyptian master. Though kind, her master spends most of his time sleeping, and is therefore unaware of her harsh treatment at the hands of his other servant girls. Because Rhodopis is both fair-complexioned and a foreign slave, the other servants tease her and order her around.

After her master sees Rhodopis dancing skillfully by herself, he gives her a pair of rose-gilded slippers. The other servants resent this treatment and use Rhodopis more harshly than before.
One day, Pharaoh Ahmose I invites the people of Egypt to a celebration in Memphis. The other servants prevent Rhodopis from attending with them by giving her a long list of chores to complete.

While she is down by the river washing clothes, her slippers become wet and she places them in the sun to dry. Suddenly, the falcon Horus swoops down, snatches one of the slippers, and flies away with it. Rhodopis stores the other slipper in her clothing.

During the celebration in Memphis, the falcon drops the slipper in the Pharaoh’s lap. Realizing that it is a sign from Horus, he decrees that all the maidens of the kingdom must try on the slipper, and that he will marry the one whose foot it fits.

The Pharaoh’s search for the owner of the slipper eventually leads him to Rhodopis’ home. Though Rhodopis hides when she sees the Pharaoh’s barge, he sees her and asks her to try the slipper. After demonstrating that it fits her, she pulls out its mate, and the Pharaoh declares that he will marry her.

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