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Newsletter - May 2014

 

New members’ drinks

Tina Feilden kindly hosted the new members’ drinks party at her house on Sunday May 18th. This is an opportunity for newly joined members to meet committee members and each other, and for the committee to welcome them to our Society. About 20 members joined us in a glass of bubbly and canapés and the sun shone, allowing everyone to enjoy the garden and Tina’s lovely home. It was a very successful afternoon and much enjoyed.

 

The King’s Grand Staircase
Click for full size printable flyer

Music and Masquerades

Karin Fernald is an experienced NADFAS speaker, who has visited our Society in the past with a lecture on the 18th century diarist, Fanny Burney. On Friday 13th June she is at the beautiful King’s Lynn Town Hall at 7pm, with a words-and-music evening based on Burney’s early journals. Music of the period will be performed by Bridget Kerrison, soprano; Stephen Miles, tenor and Francis Knight, harpsichord. Click on the illustration for full details.

 

 

 

 

The King’s Grand Staircase
Click for full size printable flyer

The Sorrell Family Reunion

Julia Sorrell, a member of our Society, artist and daughter of artists, has asked us to publicise an exhibition to be held at the Wymondham Arts Centre from 10th – 15th June (10am to 5pm daily). The private view, to which members are invited, is on 8th June from 7pm to 9pm.

There is also a series of evening events held at the same Centre all starting at 7.30pm, details of which are on this leaflet. For an invitation to the private view, or bookings for the evening events, please contact Julia Sorrell on 01953 498736 or by email sanderssorrell@gmail.com.

 

 

May the Gods be with You

Birth of Venus
Birth of Venus
Aphrodite
Aphrodite

The Greek creation myth, Steve Kershaw told us, is described in the poem Theogony by Hesiod (8-7th century BC).

The lecture was packed with so many characters out of Greek mythology that to summarise it proves almost impossible. In the creation, out of Khaos, broad-bosomed earth Gaia was formed. Out of Gaia came the Sky, the Mountains and the Sea. Gaia also bore the Titans, one of whom was Cronus. He castrated his father Uranus, and this act resulted in the creation of Aphrodite, goddess of love and mother of Eros, the most beautiful of all gods who had an elemental power.

Aphrodite became a very popular subject for sculptors and artists, rising up from a seashell as in the Birth of Venus by Botticelli, but there is a different perspective of her in other myths where she is not the delicate, ethereal being. In this ancient Greek statue her pose is remarkably similar to that depicted by Botticelli.

Rhea, a Titan, was the wife of Cronus and mother of Zeus. Cronus had swallowed all his children, but when it came to Zeus, Rhea saved his life and hid him, and gave Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes to swallow instead.

Rhea offers Cronus a stone
Rhea offers Cronus a stone
Birth of Athena
Birth of Athena
Head of Athena
Head of Athena

After three divine generations the god Zeus presided over all other gods and men. He violently deposed his father Cronus, and castrated him, as Cronus had destroyed his own father Uranus before him.

Zeus himself ‘gave birth’ to Athena from his head – a scene that was illustrated on many ceramics and in sculpture; she is portrayed arriving in full armour and Zeus is shown holding his thunderbolts. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and the Parthenon was founded in her honour. She appears on coins and the reverse is the owl, symbol of wisdom.

Cronus and his (regurgitated) children including Zeus waged a huge war on the Titans that lasted many years and involved giants, and monsters with a hundred arms, and was a very violent conflict. During this war, Typheous, a dragon with a hundred heads, throws mountains at Zeus, and Zeus throws Mount Etna back at him and so defeats him. The war is at an end.

Zeus marries Hera and fathers many children, among them Ares, god of War, but he also consorted with many other goddesses and women as well as Hera – much to her anger. Greek gods it seems do not behave any better than men!

The story of mutilation of fathers by sons, and the earth as mother, sky as father appear in other cultures, including those found on Hittite tablets, where similar myths generated in the middle east. There are also recurring motives of swallowed children and male pregnancy. The Greeks were active in Silesia and it may be that these myths disseminated by oral transmission.

Steve’s lecture generated some interesting questions; always a sign of an engaged audience, which was in great part due to our lecturer’s enthusiastic delivery.