Torch: WI - Page 11

you thought you knew mythology? (part 2)

by adam abuhajir, brookfield academy latin club co-consul

Editor’s Note: In a continuation of Michael Kearney’s feature from the Spring 2017 issue, Adam Abuhajir retells more myths you don’t read in Percy Jackson.

Sopatrus: Before mortals made meat sacrifices to the gods, an Athenian named Sopatrus was sacrificing grain and barley to the gods (basically cereal), and when he turned around he found a bull eating his sacrificial cereal. In frustration, he killed the bull with the knife he was using to prepare the food. This was sacrilegious at the time, so he fled to Crete. Athens, however, was suffering from a great drought. When the citizens asked an Oracle how the situation could be remedied, she told them that the animal needed to be brought back to life and the offender brought to justice. Long story short, Sopatrus was recalled to Athens, where he stuffed the bull and in doing so “brought it back to life.” Finally, the knife was found to be the guilty party, condemned, and thrown in the sea.

Tyrus: This myth is about the color purple.Tyrus was a nymph loved by Heracles. One day her dog wandered off to the river and ate a murex snail causing its nose to turn purple. Tyrus was so fond of this color that she told Heracles she would not love him anymore until he brought her that color. Heracles went off, searched for, and found the snail, giving the Tyrians the color upon which they built their empire.

Polycritus: When Polycritus got married, he spent a night with his wife. The next day, he woke and spent another night with his wife. The next day, he woke up and died. Nine months later, his wife gave birth. The child was extraordinary in that it had both male and female characteristics. That same day, a hooded stranger came into the city and threw his cloak back, revealing himself to be none other than Polycritus. He asked to hold the child. Not wanting to give the child to the undead, the villagers refused. Again he asked, and again he was refused. Finally, Polycritus snatched up the child. He began to tear apart and devour it, all except for the head. Polycritus then disappeared. While the citizens were preparing the head for burial, it began to speak. Among other prophecies, it said it should be kept in a bright place rather than be buried.

Temerus: Long story short, Termerus was a pirate killed by Heracles. That’s not too extraordinary by itself-- what was more interesting were his methods. He would exclusively kill his victims with. . . a headbutt.

Neoptolemus and Astyanax: Some of you might know that the son of Achilles, Neoptolemus or Pyrrhus, was responsible for both the death of Hector's infant son Astyanax and Hector’s aged father Priam. Many are adamant, however, that Neoptolemus killed Priam using the infant himself-- he wielded Astyanax as a sort of club against the old man. Apart from being particularly brutal, what is extraordinary about this version of the myth is that it is completely unsupported in literature and yet has been canonized into general mythological lore. The reason for this is that it is widely supported in Hellenic artwork. As far as I know, this is one of the only examples of mythology based entirely in artwork.

Modius Fabidius: It's always a little confusing when history meets mythology; however, it can be interesting. During a festival of the Sabine god Quirinus celebrated in Reate, a noble woman was called into the temple by a divine voice and was impregnated by the god. She bore a son named Modius Fabidius (awesome name I know) who founded a city called Cures, derived from the Sabine word “curis,” meaning spear.

the color upon which they built their empire.

Polycritus: Polycritus got married and then spent the night with his wife. The following day, he woke and spent another night with his wife. The next day, he woke up and died. Nine months later, his wife gave birth. The child was extraordinary in that it had both male and female characteristics. That same day, a hooded stranger came into the city and threw his cloak back, revealing that he was none other than Polycritus. He asked to hold the child. Not wanting to give the child to the undead, the villagers refused. Again he asked and again was refused. Finally, Polycritus snatched up the child. He began to tear apart and devour it, all except for the head. Polycritus then disappeared. While the citizens were preparing the head for burial, it began to speak. Among other prophecies, it said it should be kept in a bright place rather than be buried.

Temerus: Long story short, Termerus was a pirate killed by Heracles. That’s not too extraordinary by itself-- what was more interesting were his methods. He would exclusively kill his victims with. . . a headbutt.

Neoptolemus and Astyanax: Some of you might know that the son of Achilles, Neoptolemus (also called Pyrrhus), was responsible for the deaths of both Hector's infant son Astynax and his

page eleven