here is the original of this incorrectly credited repost. please do me a favour and reblog this instead of the repost!
in the iliad helen speaks the last lament for hector. the only man in troy who showed her kindness is slain—and now, helen says, πάντες δέ με πεφρίκασιν, all men shudder at me. she doesn’t speak in the iliiad again.
homer isn’t cruel to helen; her story is cruel enough. in the conjectured era of the trojan war, women are mothers by twelve, grandmothers by twenty-four, and buried by thirty. the lineage of mycenaean families passes through daughters: royal women are kingmakers, and command a little power, but they are bartered like jewels (the iliad speaks again and again of helen and all her wealth). helen is the most beautiful woman in the world, golden with kharis, the seductive grace that arouses desire. she is coveted by men beyond all reason. after she is seized by paris and compelled by aphrodite to love him against her will—in other writings of the myth, she loves him freely—she is never out of danger.
the helen of the iliad is clever and powerful and capricious and kind and melancholy: full of fury toward paris and aphrodite, longing for sparta and its women, fear for her own life. she condemns herself before others can. in book vi, as war blazes and roars below them, helen tells hector, on us the gods have set an evil destiny: that we should be a singer’s theme for generations to come—as if she knows that, in the centuries after, men will rarely write of paris’ vanity and hubris and lust, his violation of the sacred guest-pact, his refusal to relent and avoid war with the achaeans. instead they’ll write and paint the beautiful, perfidious, ruinous woman whose hands are red with the blood of men, and call her not queen of sparta but helen of troy: a forced marriage to the city that desired and hated her. she is an eidolon made of want and rapture and dread and resentment.
homer doesn’t condemn helen—and in the odyssey she’s seen reconciled with menelaus. she’s worshipped in sparta as a symbol of sexual power for centuries, until the end of roman rule: pausanias writes that pilgrims come to see the remains of her birth-egg, hung from the roof of a temple in the spartan acropolis; spartan girls dance and sing songs praising one another’s beauty and strength as part of rites of passage, leading them from parthenos to nýmphē, virgin to bride. cults of helen appear across greece, italy, turkey—as far as palestine—celebrating her shining beauty; they sacrifice to her as if she were a goddess. much of this is quickly forgotten.
every age finds new words to hate helen, but they are old ways of hating: deceiver and scandal and insatiate whore. she is euripides’ bitchwhore and hesiod’s kalon kakon (“beautiful evil”) and clement of alexandria’s adulterous beauty and whore and shakespeare’s strumpet and proctor’s trull and flurt of whoredom and schiller’s pricktease and levin’s adulterous witch. her lusts damned a golden world to die, they say. pandora’s box lies between a woman’s thighs. helen is a symbol of how men’s desire for women becomes the evidence by which women are condemned, abused, reviled.
but no cage of words can hold her fast. she is elusive; she yields nothing. she has outlasted civilisations, and is beautiful still. before troy is ash and ruin she has already heard all the slander of the centuries; and at last she turns her face away—as if to say: i am not for you
The rivers all run stagnant here
and cold and dark and deep.
No merry little tinkling streams
to sing me off to sleep.
The fields all lie asleep in here,
where many tears are shed.
Even the grass lies bent in grief
and reverence for the dead.
The shades live on, live on down here
in glory or in shame;
with no one but their fellow dead
with whom to share their fame.
But for all the silent shadows
and all the lifeless air,
I will always cross those rivers
and learn to call them fair.
To your kingdom I bring starlight
in the glowing of my eyes,
and you will always welcome me
as your glory, not your prize.
very into charts about naps
This is very useful for when I go back to uni.
"No, professor, I was not sleeping, I was taking the NASA nap."
Dad jokes brought to you by Rick Grimes
Ileana D’cruz for L’Officiel India
I’m not too late for the cute lil ghosts, right?
Of course you have to drag it and be amazed
THIS IS THE BEST ONE YET
I know there’s no assigned seats in college but if I’ve been sitting in the same seat since for seven weeks don’t fuckin sit there
Mother, you don’t understand ― persephone’s return
Have you ever wondered
Whether the salt water in our hot tears
Is trying to return to the sea?
It probably isn’t,
But let’s consider for a second
That our grief is going somewhere.
You sadness means something
Outside of all that it means
To you, and it always will.
We are all made of salt and bone,
Of hot water and copper,
Of sand and stardust.
Maybe the dust from bricks that built
Ancient Roman temples is the same
Now settling in your tired bones.
Maybe the light that shines
In your eyes
Comes from a thousand year old star.
Maybe you smile like Achilles did;
Maybe you walk like queens,
And love like the sun.
We are always told that energy is indestructable
So don’t worry dear:
When you dance you move like centuries.
Your smile is made of stardust,
And your breath comes from a hurricane.
Your footsteps echo those of thousands of heroes.
We all come from the ocean
And your veins lead to the sea
We’ll all return there someday
But for now, stay here with me.”