Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat"

The legend of Prometheus dates to a trilogy called the "Prometheia," originally attributed, but now disputed, to an ancient Greek named Aeschylus. It tells the story of a Titan, Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humankind. As punishment, Zeus had him bound to a rock atop a mountain where an eagle comes every day to feast on his liver. Eventually, Prometheus is freed by Hercules .... and, you can read the trilogy if your curiosity is sufficient to learn the rest of the tale. The painting here is an oil by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. It was begun in 1611/1612 and completed in 1618 and is titled "Prometheus Bound." It is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art collection. The eagle was painted by Frans Snyders, a specialist animal painter.

Quotes to remember ....

It is said there is a quote for any and every occasion and, when one finds it, someone else will find another which contradicts it .... and, someone else will locate an earlier version of both.  (Or, should that be "of each?")

As a college boy, I encountered a number of quotes which struck my fancy. Among them was this one: "Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad."

The line was spoken by Prometheus in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "The Masque of Pandora."

I since have discovered a number of references using descriptive words other than the term, "mad," to illustrate the concept, and written examples demonstrating that the thought goes back to other "Old Greeks," ­such as Sophocles and Euripides, if not to even more "distant" times.

English poet and playwright, John Dryden, who lived about two centuries before Longfellow actually wrote this: "For those whom God to ruin has design'd, He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind." Sort of sounds the same, does it not?

No matter who, what, where, when or how, I still like the quote, occasionally use it and have seen indication it often is reasonably correct and accurate.

A fascinating side note of this (to me, anyway) is the possible connection between the Greek mythological woman Pandora and the Biblical woman Eve. There is a theory, which I will not elaborate on at this time, that they are based on the same individual. I sort of think it is a very plausible theory.

And, with that, here is another quote which I recently discovered and to which I am drawn:

Written on a t-shirt /
Worn by rock front man Doogie White /
While performing an on-stage concert /

I have no job
I have no money
I have no car
But, I'm in a band

I like that one, too ....


Kaya said...

Nice introduction to the post, Fram with a glance into the Greek mythology. And a very impressive painting made by Frans Snyders.

This post isn't an invitation to conversation, it's rather a reflection on some moments and thoughts. You wrote that you fancied quotes as a college boy. Do they still struck your imagination? And if yes, what are you looking for in quotes? There was time when I tried to find answers to my questions, right now I am looking for inspiration in quotes.

When I read about the quote "whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad" I immediately recalled my old little notebook with a collection of my favorite quotes. It's pure coincidence that this quote was there. In Russian it sounds a little bit differently but the same meaning .

Lastly, I think that we may draw a parallel between Pandora and Eve. Both were created by Gods ( in case of Pandora) and by God (in case of Eve). Both had a deceitful feminine nature. And they both were women of their own mind.

Overall, this is a nice post Fram. I like it.

ANITA said...

Hello and good afternoon Fram.Sorry Iam this UCI Road World Championships 2o17 thats being held in Bergen. My town.Takes my time alittle and besides I am very busy at work.
Ilove the painting and I saved it at my computer.Very very interesting.Also the quote.But i have to think about it.Before i say anything.I will come back later.
Now warm applepie with icecrem is just a little more ..what shall I say ...ok i am hungry.

See you later!


Fram Actual said...

I do not look for quotes, Kaya .... they look for me. I mean that in the sense I encounter dozens and dozens, enjoy and like many of them, but only try to remember a very few of them. I do not look for inspiration or anything else in them, at least not consciously. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to explain.

If you look at and think about the two quotes in this post, they really are not alike .... but, they both have great appeal to me, and I am not sure why beyond the fact that they each seem to reveal a truism: One that often people go crazy before they are destroyed and the other that young band members often own nothing other than their musical instruments and the clothes they are wearing.

As an illustration, read Robert Frost's poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." I identify with that poem completely/entirely/from first word to last word. I suppose that might be the possible key -- some manner of recognition of myself in the quote/poem. I said a few days ago that your photographs often stir memories in me. The same is true with this poem, the final verse in particular. I know exactly what the poet is saying, because I have been there, precisely where his "picture with words" is describing.

Maybe, I will write more about this after having thought about it more .... maybe ....

Another point about Pandora and Eve: They both had paradise to exist within and had only one rule to follow .... and, both of them broke the rule and, by that means, caused the end of paradise for all people then and those yet to be born.

I am in a bit of a rush this evening, Kaya .... I have to be on the road early in the morning and will not be home until Friday .... thank you, for your visit and your words .... I would enjoy having a conversation with you whenever time is not an issue ....

Fram Actual said...

Well, Anita, I did not realize you are interested in biking. It is an activity which builds strength and endurance, and would be good for you -- although, I am not at all certain how well it would it work out in a city like Bergen, built on a hillside and surrounded by mountains .... hmmmm ....

I have been eating too many doughnuts the past few months, so I brought home a Dutch apple pie the last time I went to the store. I walked right past the ice cream, though, and was not even tempted a little bit. The pie, I might add, disappeared in a hurry even without any ice cream.

I hope you do come back and write your opinions/thoughts about both quotes. As I mentioned in my note to Kaya, I am embarking on a brief, short trip early Thursday morning and will return Friday.

Thank you, Anita, for coming to visit me here and for your comment. You are a delight ....

Smareis said...

Olá Fram!
A imagem é bem curiosa, de um pintor bem famoso. Eu não gosto muito desse tipo de desenho. Me deixa angustiada. Achei interessante as citações.
Os videos são bons, a música é boa.
Continuação de boa semana Fram.
Que o final de setembro lhe traga muitas coisas boas.

Um punhado de sorrisos!

Liplatus said...

Great painting, pain and suffering.

Both women are the first women.
As a researcher you have found an interesting answer that is the same woman.
I can not say.
The same symbolism is yes and they have broken the ban.

Well-known saying, it is not necessary to open the Pandora's box.
Sometimes I'm about to say.

Good luck that the band brings joy to the center of sorrow.

Have a nice week!

A Cuban In London said...

I really liked this post. You got me hooked from the start. I was a sucker for Greek mythology when little. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

There are virtually dozens of paintings of this scene involving Prometheus, Smareis, and most are sort of horrifying. The mere thought of this gives me the chills, but I also am fully aware of the nature of the world in which we live, so I deal with it.

These quotations and a number of others keep floating through my mind.

The music is good, from my point of view, but not great. I selected this pair of songs because, all too often, the music being played by the band makes the voice of the singer nearly indistinguishable .... and, I like the sound of the voice of Doogie White.

Yes, this has been a "two-rifle week" for me, which makes it a very good one.

Thank you, Smareis, for coming and for leaving your words with me.

Fram Actual said...

It is a great painting of a great legend, Liplatus .... perhaps, even, a myth with a bit of truth to it.

There is no way of ever knowing, short of time travel, I would imagine, if Pandora and Eve are based on one and the same woman. If they are, I am curious which story came first .... and, that, too, would be unanswerable.

I think most individuals, both women and men, would be unable to resist the temptation to open Pandora's box. Curiosity is, for the most part, what drives humankind. I know that it is what keeps me looking for the answers to questions, even to those questions which have no satisfactory answer.

Hmmmm .... music .... as the four members of Queen wrote:

My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairy tales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly, my friends

The show must go on, yeah
The show must go on
I'll face it with a grin
I'm never giving in
On with the show ....

Thank you, Liplatus, for your appearance here and for your comment here ....

Fram Actual said...

Perhaps a flaw of the American educational system, CiL, was the fact that the mythology of the "Old Greeks" and the "Old Romans" was virtually the first and the only I was introduced to as a school boy, consequently, the first I became interested in back then.

By the time I was a college boy, however, I was head over heels "in love" with the legends and the myths and the history of the "Old Norse," and have remained that way throughout my life.

I suppose that interest comes from the fact my DNA shows the source of eighty-nine percent Scandinavian and seven percent Great Britain, etc. .... and, although I did not know the percentages back then, I did know when and from where my ancestors arrived here in America.

Thank you, CiL, for coming by and for your comment ....

ANITA said...

Afternoon Fram.I promised I would be back.But Iam sorry to say I have not reflected on the poem.So much these days.Happily survived the 100 times more 17mai celebration on that world race 2017.we were more than 100 000 thousands in town.Yes we got drunk and now we have to pay the bill for this happening.You got me?They havent got a dime those fellows which arranged it hahaha..But the silver medalion with a gold taste sure was worth it..
Iam deeply concerned about what going on in the world..Trumph..North Korea.Germany and the Alternative Decuchland that is rising...
Iam soo glad i live in little Norway,,what problems we have is to kill wolfves or not..
What is your opinion Fram.The world as it is turning...Do you belive the Climate change is human cause?Or not.
Ok I will go back to my big little world where spaghetti is on the table and later...My own Plum Liqueur.Yeah Igot into the hobby of making ligueur.Give away for Christmas!

Have a nice and happy evening Fram!!

Greetings Vikings Norway.


Fram Actual said...

Well, Anita, I am glad you have returned and have written a note here for me, but since you have not "reflected" on the post, I will assume you owe me still one more visit and one more comment. How does that sound ????

I really am not familiar with the "Alternative for Germany" political movement, however, I essentially am a conservative in most regards so my assumption is that I would agree with much of what the party endorses and hopes to accomplish.

As for the world itself, there rarely has been a time in history (and, probably, a time during the millions of years before the era of recorded history) when the sense of eminent disaster did not exist. Things either happen or they do not, to quote Ernest Hemingway .... so events these days do not particularly concern me.

As for humankind causing climate change, my thought is that while the actions of people affect climate to one degree or another, it is in a state of constant change all by itself (so to speak), and would continue to be with or without the presence of people. Ice ages, for instance, were occurring long before the ancestors of mankind stood on two legs. Volcanoes erupt now and then, such as Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies in 1815. Its clouds of volcanic dust blocking sunlight are generally attributed for the "year without a summer" in 1816. Freezing temperatures were recorded in July and August on the American East Coast and in Western Europe, and crop failures were common throughout the world.

Then, too, there was the era known as the "Little Ice Age," which took place roughly from 1300 to 1850. It was during this time when Norse settlers abandoned Greenland because of crop failures and encroaching glaciers. It followed an era known as the "Medieval Warm Period," which existed from around 900 to 1100. Anyway, these cycles always have existed and will, no doubt, continue to do so even if mankind should vanish from the face of the Earth.

That is my "short" response to your question about climate change.

I encounter people now and then who try brewing beer and/or making wine at home. A college buddy was into beer making and my step-father tried making a variety of wines. I would like to try your plum liqueur sometime ....

My evening is preoccupied with Monday Night Football on television. I am hoping the Arizona Cardinals will defeat the Dallas Cowboys, but the Las Vegas odds makers are betting the other way.

So, Anita .... take care and stay safe and do not drink too much of your plum liqueur = save some for me ....

Something special ....