Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paleothea.com is no longer made by Ailia Athena

Hello all,

This is a long delayed post, but I figured I should share. Paleothea.com is no longer my website. I do not have access to it, I cannot update it.

I began the site as a free Geocities account in 1996 and made up the pseudonym Ailia Athena because my mom was scared about me putting my real name online. Over the years, I painstaking scoured AltaVista, then Google, for images and artists and the names of goddesses and ancient queens who I could tell other people about. I bought books, then added what I learned there to the site. I went to college, majored in ancient Greek language and literature, and then added what I learned there to the site. And eventually, I changed my path. I started going in new directions and decided that I no longer had the energy or inclination to keep updating the site.

So http://www.paleothea.com now belongs to Ezoic.com. It's the end of a major chunk of my life and I was sad to say goodbye. But I'll still occasionally post here or as a guest blogger on Bubo's Blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Olympus Baseball Team

 DUDE!!! Breakfast With Pandora has served up a friggin' fantastic post (imho) imagining Greek Gods as members of a baseball team. Love. It.

Check it out: http://myth.typepad.com/breakfast/2011/04/olympus-baseball-team.html

What sports do YOU imagine the gods into?

Also, look at what I photoshopped! Hephaestus At Bat!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Same-sex relationships in history

O.M.G. My previous life as someone who thought all the time about reading queer contemporary U.S. stuff back into ancient Greece totally became relevant again today! I was watching a presentation on some research on same-sex relationships between adolescents, and the presenter mentioned, off the cuff, that these relationships are now "more visible than at any other time in history."

I'm an anthropologist now, so I could have talked about lots of groups and times and places where various visions of what is meant by "same-sex relationships" aren't stigmatized (e.g., in any number of African or Melanesian groups). But it was clear that his ethnocentric vision of "any other time in history" meant Western history. And that was wrong, too. So I got to say so.

Because, DUH, ancient Greece was totally down with the same sex relationships - especially when they involved youth! I think wikipedia's entry on Homosexuality in ancient Greece covers it better than I could, though, so I'm not gonna bother.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Screw HostMySite and screw Wordpress too

I'll admit, they gave me plenty of notice that they were going to stop offering me a free Wordpress blog with my website. Plenty of time to save all my posts and move them over.

But I didn't.

So now I'm starting over here. I think I might be able to figure out how to move those posts over cuz they're surely archived SOMEWHERE. In the meantime, Hi! Welcome back.

And until future notice, we are Under Construction.

Now I have to get back to writing my final papers.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why So Much Sex?

Léda ou La Louange des Bienheureuses Ténèbres by Louys
You may be thinking as you browse the various titles here, why so much sex? The seductive moonings of innocent young landowners 1, man-on-man lovin’2, slave-girl sex (consensual and not)3, cheating wives who murder their husbands and are subsequently killed by their sons (I guess that might be hot to somebody)4, ancient lingerie (eww)5, sex with castration and sex involving transgender participants6, man, I even talk about Earth sex7! Am I a sex-crazed maniac?
Um, not so much.

Actually, the whole field of gender and sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome is so valid that I actually took a class with that very title as an undergrad. And, though many of our founding mothers and fathers weren’t so keen on discussing it (they much preferred to read Thucydides apparently), sex happens a lot. And, with varying degrees of licentiousness, the Greeks tended to include that important facet of their lives in their stories.
Sure, sure, you might protest, but why do you have to spend so much time talking about it? Well, for one thing, because it’s so often misrepresented everywhere. I mean, people love the idea of coming a finding an Archetypal Goddess (don’t let me stop you, more power to you!), but rarely do they bother to look into why Athena, Artemis, and Hestia stay virgins (although the goddesses’ chastity is often cited by such people as proof of their righteous independence). And let’s not leave the blame with just the well-intentioned new-fans, think of movies like the movie 300 with it’s “Athenians? Boy lovers!” comment and, like, every other contemporary homophobic and/or misogynist reframing of the heroic masculine Classical myths.

The truth is, I am personally interested in gender and sexuality outside of the Classical context (in part because people remain as shockingly badly informed about these things in our own times and places just as much as about a culture we are still trying to piece together), so that is definitely part of why I keep bringing it up, too. And, because, hey! Prude or promiscuous, learning about other people’s sex lives is titillating! And finally, perhaps most importantly, there’s so much sex in ancient Greek myths that no collection, no matter how “kid-friendly”, can avoid the subject matter completely. What’s the best way to deal with this? Enjoy it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beautiful Butt

Aphrodite Kallipygos
It shouldn’t surprise you that vanity appears to have been around as we’ve had records. But what might surprise you is that, just as butts are part of the hotness requirements for women today, butts were also totally “big” back in the day! Breasts were a good thing, too (Phryne’s got her out of a charge of impiety, for example), but today I’m interested in the butt and nothing but. It was all inspired by this picture of Aphrodite on the right.

Have you taken the Quiz to find out which goddess you’re most like? I tend to score as Aphrodite unless I’m feeling really anti-social.

So anyway, that Aphrodite is called Kallipygos - literally, Beautifulbutt. And, although no wise mortal should doubt the attractiveness of the Goddess of Beauty’s derrière, this story comes from a less divine source. Two sisters were arguing in the random way that all sisters do, regardless of what millennium they inhabit, about who had the cuter bottom. To resolve the issue, they stopped their young and rich neighbor - the son of a wealthy landowner - and asked him to decide. Well, he chose for the eldest, but one look was not enough and he decided to go back and marry the girl. He brought his younger brother along to meet her sister and, sure enough, those two fell in love, too!

Well, the two girls (totally country, imagine Elly May from the Beverly Hillbillies) were so tickled that their fannies had brought them such good fortune, that they built a temple to Aphrodite Kallipygos in gratitude.

And, since we’re already on the subject, I adore the part in the Lysistrata when the women start making butt jokes - the implication is that the Spartan men are so into other dudes, that their favorite part about a woman is when she’s facing away from them and they can look at her gorgeous assets and imagine they belong to another gender. Awesome.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lovers' Legends Unbound: A Book Review

Ganymede, by Coreggio
The author kindly shared a copy of this book (with accompanying CD performing a retelling of the myths included) with me for my review. It has taken a long time for me to find the appropriate space to do so.

In short, it is a book that retells the Greek myths that involve love between males - god and young man, etc. It does it quite well. It is an attractive book, though not full of pictures or anything like that. The performance on the CD is a great way to listen to myths, since so many of them would have been oral. The myths are totally accessible for beginning myth-heads.

In fact, I think a person not deeply versed in Greek myth already would be the ideal person to buy this since most academically inclined people will prefer the original versions. I imagine that the majority of people buying this book also happen to be gay men. However, I will say that I think people who are expanding their knowledge of myths by reading compilations and such should DEFINITELY get this, as it will emphasize an important aspect of Greek myth that is to easily “forgotten” in other compilations of Greek myths. If you’re open-minded, get it for your kids, too! I mean, it’s no more graphic and certainly no less “authentic” or important a story than any other! And getting an audio version is a wonderful way to learn the myths.

Of course, I feel it is necessary to add that this shouldn’t be the ONLY myth book on your shelf. Beginning or not, invest in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Classical Mythology. And although I haven’t come across a beginner’s compilation of women in Greek myths that I love yet, I definitely think Sue Blundell’s Women in Greek Myths and/or Sarah Pomeroy’s Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves should be read by anyone wanting a sense of what that world might have looked like for women. I know people will tell you to read Robert Graves (including me in a couple places on the main site), but now I say skip him and Hamilton and go straight to the far hipper and better cited Complete Idiot’s Guide.