Terpsichore [Noun.]


The goddess of dance and the dramatic chorus, and one of the Muses; the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne.

‘Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,’
– Gerard Nolst Trenité, The Chaos

2/x mmxiv


Schwangerschaftverhütungsmittel is German for contraceptive.

In Greek Mythology, as one of the Twelve Labours, Hercules had to clean out the stables of King Augeas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said he had read Pride and Prejudice seventeen times.

Around 200,000 years ago, the human population diminished to such an extent that we know that all humans are descended from one woman at that time. (Please note: this does not mean she was the only woman alive at the time, nor was she the first woman, just that we all share that one common ancestor.)

During the reign of Peter the Great in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, members of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect known as the Old Believers, who customarily wore beards, were forced to pay a tax on their facial hair.

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Charon’s Obol‏


In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river styx that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Ancient Greek and Latin literary sources specify a coin as a payment or bribe for Charon. This payment was called an obol. According to legend, Charon’s obol was placed in or on the mouth of a dead person before burial.

In Latin, Charon’s obol was sometimes called a viaticum, or “sustenance for the journey”; the placement of the coin on the mouth has also been explained as a seal to protect the soul of the deceased or to prevent it from returning.

Amazons‏


The Amazons were an ancient legendary nation of female warriors. They were said to have lived in Pontus near the shore of the Euxine sea, where they formed an independent kingdom under the government of a queen, the capital being Themiscyra on the banks of the river Thermodon.

The triomph of the Amazons

The triomph of the Amazons

From this centre they made numerous warlike excursions—to Scythia, Thrace, the coasts of Asia Minor and the islands of the Aegean, even penetrating to Arabia, Syria and Egypt. They were supposed to have founded many towns, amongst them Smyrna, Ephesus, Sinope, Paphos. According to another account, they originally came to the Thermodon from the Palus Maeotis (Sea of Azov).

No men were permitted to reside in their country; but once a year, in order to prevent their race from dying out, they visited the Gargareans, a neighbouring tribe. The male children who were the result of these visits were either put to death or sent back to their fathers; the female were kept and brought up by their mothers, and trained in agricultural pursuits, hunting, and the art of war.

It is said that their right breast was cut off or burnt out, in order that they might be able to use the bow more freely. But there is no indication of this practice in works of art, in which the Amazons are always represented with both breasts, although the right is frequently covered.

The origin of the story of the Amazons has been the subject of much discussion. While some regard them as a purely mythical people, others assume an historical foundation for them.

The deities worshipped by them were Ares (who is consistently assigned to them as a god of war, and as a god of Thracian and generally northern origin) and Artemis, not the usual Greek goddess of that name, but an Asiatic deity in some respects her equivalent. It is conjectured that the Amazons were originally the temple-servants, religious prostitutes and priestesses (hierodulae) of this goddess.

Deucalion‏


In Greek mythology, Deucalion was a son of Prometheus; ancient sources name his mother as Clymene, Hesione, or Pronoia.

Deucalion and Pyrrha. Engraving by Virgil Soli...

Deucalion and Pyrrha

The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age.

Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering.

Zeus loosed a deluge, so that the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfed the foothills with spray, and washed everything clean.

Deucalion, with the aid of his father Prometheus, was saved from this deluge by building a chest (literally meaning chest, like the Bible’s ark). Like his Biblical equivalent Noah and Mesopotamian counterpart Utnapishtim, he uses his chest to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha.

Anasyrma


Anásyrma or anasyrmós is the gesture of lifting up the skirt. It is used in connection with certain stories in Greek mythology, religious rituals, eroticism, and lewd jokes.

Giorgio Sommer (1834-1914),

A statue of Aphrodite Kallipygos

The term is used in describing corresponding works of art. Anasyrma differs from flashing, a physically similar gesture as an act of exhibitionism, in that an exhibitionist has an implied purpose of his/her own sexual arousal, while anasyrma is only done for the effect on the onlookers.

Anasyrma may be a deliberately provocative self-exposing of one’s genitals or buttocks. The famous example of the latter case is Aphrodite Kallipygos ‘Aphrodite of the beautiful buttocks’. In many traditions this gesture also has an apotropaic character, as a mockery towards an enemy.

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Baubo


In Greek mythology, the old woman Baubo jested with Demeter when she was mourning the loss of her daughter Persephone. Baubo, sometimes spelled as Babo, was a woman of Eleusis, whom Hesychius calls the nurse of Demeter.

Whilst wearing a disguise, Demeter was the guest of King Celeus in Eleusis. The lame daughter of the King, Iambe, tried to console Demeter with comically lascivious verses, and a dry nurse, old Baubo, persuaded her to drink barley-water by a jest: she groaned as if in great travail and, unexpectedly, produced from beneath her skirt Demeter’s own son Iacchus, who leapt into his mother’s arms and kissed her.

Apple of Discord‏


As an English phrase, it denotes an object or topic which sows dissension and anger.

Kallisti

Modern interpretation of the Eris’ Apple of Discord

An apple of discord is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord which, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris inscribed “to the fairest” and tossed the apple in the midst of the festivities at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, thus sparking a vanity-fuelled dispute between the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite which eventually led to the Trojan War.

Kallistēi is the word of the Ancient Greek language inscribed by Eris on the Golden Apple of Discord. In Greek, the word is kallistēi (the dative singular of the feminine superlative of kalos, meaning ‘beautiful’). Its meaning can be rendered “to the fairest one”.

On a trivial note: in the Eixample district of Barcelona is a block nicknamed in Spanish: La manzana de la discordia (L’illa de la discòrdia in Catalan), the reason for this usage is because manzana means both ‘apple’ and ‘city block’ in Spanish. It was named ‘block of discord’ because the buildings in the district feature three different interpretations of modernist architecture by the artists: Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner, and Puig i Cadafalch.