Thursday, September 26, 2013

Creatures in the Aeneid

Since Joey knows all the backstories necessary to fully understand the Aeneid, stories the audience back then would have known as well, I thought I would do some research to "get on his level". Here is information on two of the many crazy creatures mentioned in the sixth book.

Scylla was a monstrous sea goddess who killed any sailors that would come to close to the rocks she haunted. Homer describes Skylla as a creature with twelve dangling feet, six long necks and grisly heads lined with a triple row of sharp teeth. Her voice sounded like yelping dogs. The description of Scylla is probably derived from the imagery of words associated with her name. Skylax in Greek means dog and Skyllaros means hermit-crab. Late classical writers say that she was once a beautiful nymph but was transformed into a monster by a witch named Kirke.
Lernean Hydra was also a monster. However, she was a giant, nine-headed water serpent that haunted the swamps of Lerna. Hercules was sent to destroy her as his second labour, but for each of her heads that he decapitated, two more would grow. So with the help of Iolaos, his nephew, he applied burning brands to the severed stumps, cauterizing the wounds and preventing new head from springing forth.

1 comment:

Amy Clement said...

I definitely agree with you that knowing the myths behind the characters and monsters mentioned in the Aeneid would make reading it more enjoyable. Like you said, the audience would have understood all of Virgil and Homer's allusions. It makes me think about how wonderful the authors of these epics were at encompassing so many aspects of cultural knowledge while creating a piece of literature that would be studied up until today. I'm guessing authors today would have an extremely hard time creating an astounding piece of literature that would survive through the ages about the Kardasians or Justin Bieber.