Friday, November 30, 2012
The myth of Hercules and Achelous battle
A large river called Acheloos dominates my place, a fertile plain in Aitoloakarnania. The river descends from the mountains of
and Thessaly and has the shape of a snake
because it passes through the mountains. Its significance for the ancient
Greeks and the current residents of the area led to its deification. Besides,
everybody knows that the greatest civilizations of the antiquity were created
near the water.
Myth in a nutshell
Myth in a nutshell
Hercules descended the underworld to get Cerberus. There he met Meleager- Deianira’s brother and Oineas’s son- and begged him to go to Oineas and ask him to marry his daughter Deianira when he returns to the upper world. He kept his promise and when he went to
he requested Deianira from her father Oineas. However, river god Acheloos
,who also wanted Deianira and was transformed into a powerful and beautiful
bull in order to impress her, heard this and asked Hercules to fight with him.
The winner would get Deianira for his wife. So, the battle
happened. The battle was
fierce and Hercules was trying to scare Hercules with his transformations. While they were
fighting, Hercules grabbed Acheloos’ horns as Acheloos had the head of a human
with two loud horns. He broke the one horn and drops of blood dropped the earth
and transformed into sirens( birds with human face, strong legs and nails of a
Legend about the creation of the small church on "Dorotka Hill"*
At construction of the small church on "Dorotka" it happened, that what bricklayers built during a day, was destroyed within the night.
When contemporary parish priest Rev. Lipnicki noticed those pranks, he put the guard at construction, with telling to apprehend perpetrators. On the first night security guards noticed nothing and nobody. For the second night, about midnight, they heard some terrible noises in air, and in a minute spotted large pieces of rocks falling around the small church being built. Frightened guards ran away from their positions, and in the morning all over the settlement a news spread, that the dead hand was carrying stones, in order to demolish the temple being built. Parish priest having examined stones, decided to fight evil spirits off the hill with exorcisms . On closest Sunday he set off from the church to the hill with the procession and here amongst prayers devoted the top of a mountain one more time to the four directions of the world. When the evening approached, security guards left to their place, in order to keep a close watch on the work. Until midnight silence prevailed around. But at very midnight something terribly whispered. From the north side a pack of black devils appeared. Having struck to the forest surrounding the building, they already grabbed gigantic stones into claws, in order to demolish walls of the temple. But from the east a few angels turned up at this moment and begun to fight against Satan, They extracted the stones from the devils' paws with such power that the rocks fell as far as in surroundings of Siemianowice**, where up till today they lie broken to smaller chips, over that area of a few miles with visible tracks of claws. The part of the stones marked by devils, one can still watch next to walls of the small church on "Dorotka". But since then the evil hasn't appeared on the hill and hasn't prevented the building of the small church from completing.
* “Dorotka” is the highest hill in B ędzin
**Siemianowice – one of the cities in Silesia, abou t 20km far from Będzin
The Maia Myth
Maia, goddess with a multicoloured veil, was the eldest among the Pleiades, Atlas and Pleione’s seven daughters. She was loved by Jupiter and gave birth to Hermes.
Her beloved son was a giant with eyes as black as the mountain’s blackberries. They were living happily in Phrygia, a region in Turkey, but one day, very far in space and in time, atrocious persecutors made an attempt to Hermes’ life.
Maia then decided to take him away and to leave her beloved land. On board of a tattered raft, she crossed the sea, certain that her son would be safe. But, as they were approaching the Abruzzo coast, nearby Ortona, inexplicably, the raft was wrecked in a storm and Maia lost her only and beloved son.
The sea returned Hermes’ body already lifeless: he was lying there, still, on the fine sand. Maia lifted him in her arms and she took him among the woods and the rocks of the deserted and rough mountains and she buried him there, on the Gran Sasso, on the live rock of the mountain.
Desperate from the sorrow, Maia sheltered on the Maiella, which became her home. Every day, she sat on a rock, still, to watch the mountain skyline that had become her beloved son’s grave.
When Maia died, her faithful buried her under the Maiella rocks, so that she could keep watching her son.
Up until today, the wind’s whistle that shakes the branches , the storm’s howl, the roar of the rock that crumbles down in the deep valleys… are Maia’s voice that mourns and cries for the loss of her only child.
In the spring, on the mountain’s slopes, another sign of the goddess’ presence appears: the “majo” or “maggiociondolo” (laburnum), symbol of grace, love and gentleness. It brightens the woods with its cluster of yellow flowers that tell stories of love and life.
These stories, that unfold between reality and imagination, show how our mother mountain, in the majesty and magnificence of its size, speaks, and always has, to those who can listen to her heartbeats, to her voice, that tells stories, poems and love. To be able to listen to her, you need to love her and respect her.
THE LEGEND OF THE ENCHANTED PRINCESS. CÁCERES.
In the XII century, Cáceres was a big Arab fortress. It was governed by an arrogant and proud Moorish Kaid.
The city had many palaces and mansions that were connected together by underground passages and alleys. Among them, there was a very famous one called “MANSABORÁ” which lead to the Kaid´s palace.
Alfonso IX, a Christian King, wanted to reconquer Cáceres and have control over the Moors. For such a purpose, he sent his best captain to negotiate with the Kaid. When the captain got to the palace and saw the beautiful Moorish princess, they both fell in love with each other.
When the captain was leaving the palace, one of the princess´ maids gave him a handkerchief. Inside it, there was a message from the princess, inviting him to go to the “MANSABORÁ” alley at night, where one of her maids would be waiting to guide him into the palace. In that way they started to meet every night.
But one day, thinking that it would be good for the Christians, and even for his love, that wouldn´t have to be a secret anymore, he told his king about the secret entrance to the palace.
There was a battle and the Christians won. When the Kaid discovered the reasons for his defeat, went mad and threw his daughter and her maidens to the “MANSABORÁ” passage and transformed them into hens. There, as a punishment, they will have to stay until Cáceres is reconquered by the Moors again. The only night they can be seen or heard is the 23rd April, St George´s Day.