Friday, February 24, 2012

rome

feed me, mommy!
There's all kinds of crazy stories about the founding of Rome and where the name came from, actually. Most of it was after-the-fact attempts by the Romans to weave existing myth together (see here Aeneas and Evander and Romulus), or Greek imposition of their own myth structures on this place called Rome they were hearing about (Aeneas married or fathered Roma, Evander fathered Roma, Roma was the granddaughter of Heracles who slew a local giant on his way back from Erytheia where he had slain Geryon).

There's also a less generous pun regarding the she-wolf and Romulus and Remus: Romulus and Remus were abandoned and found by a farmer. According to Livy, the farmer's wife was a bit of a whore, and so was often referred to as lupa, or she-wolf, a slang term for prostitute.

Wow, those Romans - as much as I always find it hard explaining some aspects of Greek myth ("no, really, Medea is not completely insane..."), the Romans come across as even more messed up. I don't know why. Maybe because it seems like they were obviously trying to 'fix' their mythology to fit their needs, and in doing so always came out seeming more screwed up in the end.

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