“Aphrodite simply charmed her way back again into her husband’s good graces, no great feat for her”

Vulcan and Venus marriage story ‘Of all the goddesses of Olympos only Aphrodite did no work. She was good for one thing and for one thing only: love. And for that she was very, very good. Hers was the magic girdle [Cestus] that could inspire uncontrollable passion in the most solid and respectable. Zeus was ever at its mercy. It could provoke, some claim, lustful fantasies in even the mutilated Ouranos himself. There was no need for the girdle, however, when she wished to be the object of passion herself. No goddess was more enchantingly lovely, more perfectly made.

Her marriage to the smith-god Hephaistos took place in heaven but grave doubts soon arose as to whether it was made there; for before long she made war-loving Ares her lover. Afternoons when Hephaistos labored over his forge, Aphrodite would furtively unlatch their doors to Hephaistos’s palatial bedroom and the wondrously wrought four-poster he had fashioned with his own hands. There they would sport themselves in sensual diversions unknown to husband, reserved for lover alone.

The afternoon trysts did not, however, go unobserved. Helios, God of the Sun, looked down from high above Mount Olympos at the shameless comings and goings; and when unable to contain his indignation for Hephaistos’s sake any longer, he went to the Smith God and revealed all.

Angry, spirits crushed, Hephaistos shuffled back to his smithy and set his great anvil on the anvil block. Nor did he leave the anvil until he had hammered chains unbreakable and finely wrought and had joined the chains together into a most subtle mesh. Still bristling with anger, he went to his own bedroom and spread the mesh over the posts of his magnificent bed just under the canopy. It hung there, like a thinly spun spider’s web, invisible to the naked eye.

Then to shapely Aphrodite he went. “I must betake myself to Lemnos, of all islands to me most precious,” he told her. “Can you manage a few days without me?”

Sweetly she bid him good-bye, and off he hobbled as if to his beloved island.

…Throwing wide the bedroom doors, the simple Smith God roared in his anger. Neither Ares nor Aphrodite could move from the bed; prisoners they were in a showcase cell. Hephaistos went to the balcony and, in loud voice both pained and triumphant, called out to Zeus and the other gods to witness his wife’s disgrace.

…Out of modesty the goddesses all declined the lame god’s invitation, but earth-shaking Poseidon came with quickened pace and so also did Hermes, bringer of luck., and the glorious Apollo. As the stood in the doorway, the two younger gods broke forth with inextinguishable laughter. “I thought Ares was the fastest god on Olympos,” said Hermes. “He must not be. A cripple caught up with him.”

“Oh, to be in bed with her! Who would worry about the chains,” the Far-shooter remarked, pressing his face against the transparent mesh to get a better look.

…All this time Poseidon, whose eyes had not left the shapely Aphrodite since the moment he entered the room, bore a serious aspect. He did not mask his irritation over the lightheartedness of the other gods. “This is truly outrageous,” he said to Hephaistos. “Let him go. He’ll pay you for this. I’ll see to it myself.”

“No,” said the Smith God. “Form a villain I expect only more villainy. If I free him, what surety do I have? He’ll leave his debts behind with his chains.”

“If he does that, I’ll take his place,” promised Poseidon, his eyes still fixed on the lovely goddess.

Hephaistos pondered the proposition while Apollo and Hermes doubled up with new laughter. At length, however, the lame smith relented and loosed the mesh from his violated marriage bed and its prisoners. Off fled Ares immediately to Thrace, one of the few places he was welcome.

Laughter-loving Aphrodite betook herself to Cypros, her favorite island, where the Graces bathed her in her virginity-restoring bath and rubbed oil of ambrosia into her unflawed skin. When she returned to her husband, she radiated the innocence and sweetness of an untouched bride. Zeus did not return the dowry, nor did war-loving Ares or the earthshaker Poseidon come up with so much as a bronze ring in compensation for Hephaistos’s humiliation. Aphrodite simply charmed her way back again into her husband’s good graces, no great feat for her; and then, when all was returned to normal, again she played him false and again and again and again.’ –Great Zeus and All His Children by Donald Richardson

This #CyberMonday, get a free book about divine #cyborgs hooked into the gods’ #cyber world

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Mythpunk novel The Automation by BLA and GB Gabbler

Quotes from GODS AND ROBOTS by ADRIENNE MAYOR:

GODS & ROBOTS cover“The artistic decision to show Prometheus constructing the first human starting with the bone structure likens the Titan to a sculptor who constructs a statue upon a model skeleton. Kanaboi, skeletal forms, usually of wood, were used by ancient sculptors as the internal core around which they would attach clay, wax, or plaster in the first states of creating statues….

In all the variants of the Prometheus creation myth, the realistic forms of humans become the reality they portray: they become real men and women. This paradoxical perspective taps into the timeless idea that humans are somehow automata of the gods. The almost subconscious fear that we could be soulless machines manipulated by other powers poses a profound philosophical conundrum that has been pondered since ancient times: If we are the creations of the gods or unknown forces, how can we have self-identity, agency, and free will?’ – “Pygmalion and Prometheus”

‘The passages about the tripods and the automatically opening gates of Olympus (Iliad 5.749 and 18.376) are the earliest appearances of the ancient Greek word…automaton, “acting of one’s own will.” In the fourth century BC, Aristotle quoted the Homeric verse and referred to the tripod-carts as automata… Among the thaumata, “wonders,” were tripodes de automatatoi and automated cupbearers that attended royal banquets. As many modern historians have remarked the self-moving tripods serving the Olympian gods calls to mind modern self-propelled, laborsaving machines, driverless cars, and military-industrial robots. Homer’s myth reminds us that the impulse to “automate” is extremely ancient.

The tripods created by the blacksmith god were mindless machines. But Hephaestus also fabricated wondrous automata in the shape of human beings with special abilities. One example appears in a fragment of a lost poem by Pindar. The scrap of poetry tells how Hephaestus made a bronze temple for Apollo, god of music, at Delphi. The pediment of the temple was graced by the Keledones Chryseai, “Golden Charmers,” six golden statues of women who could sing. In the second century AD, the Greek traveler Pausanias (10.5.12) investigated the existence of the singing statues. He visited the site but learned that the bronze temple and the statues had long ago either toppled into a chasm during an earthquake or melted in a fire.

… “Hephaestus’s Golden Maidens set the standard for artificial life,” remarks a scholar of classical and modern fiction. With “human intelligence and bodies indistinguishable from the real thing,” the Golden Maidens are exceptional “divine artifacts in that they are composed of metal but have human-like abilities.” The mythic gold helpers seem to presage modern notions of thought-controlled machines and AI. Like other automata made by Hephaestus, however, their inner workings are cryptic “black boxes.”’ – “Hephaestus.”

 

See also:

GODS IN OUR MACHINES BY G.B. GABBLER

ON PANDORA AND ANIMATE STATUES:

QUOTES ON HEPHAISTOS FROM FACING THE GODS:

ON HEPHAESTUS’S PANDORA: “HESIOD NEVER HER CALLS HER THE FIRST WOMAN—OR EVEN A WOMAN, PERIOD.”

 

On Daedalus:

‘Modern scholars have often noted that the figure of Daedalus might originally have been an earthbound human double of the inventor god Hephaestus. Indeed, the Athenians gave Daedalus a genealogy that made him a descendant of Hephaestus, who was revered alongside the goddess Athena in Athens. A district of Athens came to be named for Daedalus, populated by craftsmen who saw him as their patron and claimed to be his descendants. Socrates, whose father was a stonemason, twice refers to Daedalus as his ancestor.

…The ancient Greek comparison of automata to slaves remains a concept with a moral significance in modernity. In antiquity, Greek and Roman masters were held responsible for the behavior of their salves. Today, present philosophers of Artificial Intelligence and robotics ethics maintain that it is imperative that AI and robots be considered tools and property – essentially slaves – and that makers must be held responsible for their programming and behavior.

…Aristotle’s discussions allude to legendary animated statues like those associated with Daedalus, but it is also possible that Aristotle had in made real self-moving machines, “mechanical dolls of some kind” made my contemporary inventors… Notably, Aristotle remarks that “an artifact might imitate” a living thing and he defines an automaton as “a kind of puppet with the ability to move by itself.”

In the Politics, Aristotle clearly speaks of self-moving statues like those made by Hephaestus and Daedalus. In a complicated passage in On the Soul… Aristotle specifically mentions Daedalus’s self-moving sculptures.

According to a brief poem by Pindar (Olympian 7.5-54, written in 464 BC), a group of legendary animated statues with similarities to works by Daedalus were located in Rhodes. “All along the avenues,” wrote Pindar, stood works of exalted art so gloriously crafted that they seem to “breathe and move.” An ancient scholiast’s commentary on the poem calls the statues “moving things with a soul or life spark.” IN this case, the maker was not said to have been Daedalus or Hephaestus, but the Telchines, blacksmith wizards of magical metallurgical lore, fabled to be the original inhabitants of Crete or Rhodes. The Telchines carried out activities similar to those of Hephaestus, but on a smaller scale, forging weapons and baubles for the gods. The powers of the statues of Rhodes recalled the bronze guardians defending harbors and borders, the function of the mythic Talos of Crete and the historical Colossus of Rhodes…’ –Adrienne Mayor, “Daedalus and the Living Statues” from Gods and Robots. 

See also:

ON THE AUTOMATONS IN THE AUTOMATION

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: A HISTORY OF ROBOTS

ON OVID’S METAMORPHOSES:

“Tentacular Thinking”

“What if the doleful doings of the Anthropocene and the unworldings of the Capitalocene are the last gasps of the sky gods, not guarantors of the finished future, game over? It matters which thoughts think thoughts.”

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