Saturday, June 17, 2006
Just got this book from the library for the second time. The book opens with the story of Europa’s kidnapping by a bull, told several times over, and each time one question recurs, "But how did it all begin?". The abduction of Europa by Zeus sets the tone for the rest of the book, for what follows is a seemingly endless array of rape, betrayal, murder and adultery. The abduction of Europa was also the one capture by Zeus that would have the most far-reaching consequences. Europa’s brother Cadmus would follow his sister and later found Thebe, Europa’s son Minos would become king of Crete and build the labyrinth that would become the home of the Minotaure, which would be killed by Theseus, helped by Ariadne, Europa’s granddaughter. Cadmus would also give the Greeks a seemingly innocent but precious gift: the alphabet.
Out of the myriad of Greek myths Roberto Calasso has created a caleidoscope of stories which at first appears disorienting but then totally absorbs you. The only way to get to know the landscape is to lose yourself and get lost...
The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony does not tell all Greek myths. I myself would have loved to read Roberto Calasso’s account of Orpheus and Eurydice and of Prometheus and Perseus and... But The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony is the greatest encouragement to reread those myths yourself and recreate them in all their variations from the different sources that come to us. Not only books, but also operas, architecture, novels and ballets. The myths and the gods are not dead. They continue to live on in us.
“There are always connections; you have only to want to find them.”