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Who was Cassandra?


  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.

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September 30, 2005

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This also makes me think about the recent DNA/mitochondrial tracking of pre historical human movement. Following either the male or female line to figure out when the different geographies were populated. Colonizers, or abducted slave women? Refugees of natural disaster or last survivors of massacre? These are our eternal stories, the horrors and moments of grace that created us as a species.

What a fascinating comment and question, Zhoen. You're quite right: the stories of both sides of history there in those movements, interwoven.

I played Cassandra in a high school production of "The Trojan Women" and "Agamemnon," and fell in love with the role. The stories have resonated for me ever since.

Thanks for this post. Truly this is the wonder of literature -- that stories from so long ago still ring true for us today. (Or, glass-half-empty, truly this is what's depressing about humanity, that we have learned so little in the intervening centuries...though I prefer to try to focus on the former perspective.)

"The thing about Greek tragedy is that it IS so modern."

Or, as Rachel alludes, the thing about modernity is that it's so tragic.

"To dis examartin ouk andros sophou...."

Actually, it's civilization that is the tragedy, not human existence per se. See, e.g., John Zerzan's anthology, "Against Civilization": http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0922915989/qid=1128217236/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-9071916-1829729?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

I've been listening to the Great Courses series, "Famous Romans." The similarities between the last years of the Roman Republic and present-day America are frightening: the need for large campaign contributions to win an election, the popular distrust in republican government and the desire to bring in a single leader to save the nation, etc.

I'm sure the world would be a better place if our leaders did study Classics--so long as they looked at the whole sweep of ancient history and literature rather than fixating on conquerors such as Alexander and emulating them.

John Zerzan wrote "Against Civilization" not Paul Zerzan. Please correct this. Thank you.

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