Ajax, Kassandra, and a Statue of Athena

athena kassandra

I saw this one at the Yale Art Gallery (it is a terracotta plate attributed to Paseas.Greek, Attic, ca. 5520-510 B.C. Picture taken with an iPAD), and I immediately thought of a painting I love by Solomon Joseph Solomon:

I wrote about the painting and the story in a previous post here.


A handsome face

This is the fantastic recollection of a dream by this guy Ptolemaios (2nd century BC), who decided to live around the sanctuary of Serapis. The “twins” he mentions are two girls he took custody of; Knephis is an Egyptian god. This is the dream:

On the 14th I seemed (in a dream) to be on a big tower in Alexandria. I had a handsome face and I didn’t want to show my face to anyone because it was so beautiful. An old woman sat down by my side and a crowd gathered to north and east of me. They shout that a man had been burned to a crisp, and the old woman says to me, “Wait a minute and I will lead you to the god Knephis, so you can kneel and worship him”.
And I seemed to be saying to an old man. “Father, do you not see this vision that I have beheld?” I told him in detail. He gave me two reeds. I looked through them and soon saw Knephis. Rejoice, all my friends. I shall soon have my release. I have beheld other visions, but these are altogether more beautiful. You know that my chief concern is to assure a safe harbor for the twins. I worry about nothing else. So then, invite the twins to come to you and say that I am Ieaving. Amosis has come to me and has granted me free passage and l am leaving my cell.

(taken from The Interpretation of Dreams & Portents in Antiquity, by Naphtali Lewis)

This be the poem

This poem belongs to the Hellenistic poet Philodemus. It is a poem that could have been written by a minimalist in recent times, except it was written two thousand years ago.

I’ve been in love. Who hasn’t? I went out and got drunk. Who hasn’t? I was out of my mind.Who did it? Some god, no doubt. Well, let it go. White hairs come in place of the black. It’s a sign of the age of sense. When it was time to play, I played. Now that it isn’t, I’ll try to put my mind to better things (1)

(1) Taken from Hellenistic poetry: an anthology. By Barbara Hughes Fowler