Image and Archetype
by Linda Carter - for the Art and Psyche Group
In this issue, readers will find an article by Ann Norton called “Following Bronze Age Migrations” and another by Andreas Jung on the “Shield of Achilles.” Both are well researched, scholarly papers that return us to ancient times; their writing styles are accessible and invite us into ancient worlds and cultures and both offer pictures that open the visual, mythic imagination. We are most fortunate to have two such experienced writers contribute their work to our online journal.
These papers began as presentations for the third Art and Psyche Conference called “Layers and Liminality” that took place in Siracusa, Sicily in September of 2015. We are now in the midst of planning a fourth conference for March 2019 to be held at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. More details will follow soon!
Following Bronze-Age Migrations
by Ann W. Norton
Jung has emphasized the importance of the collective unconscious in relation to cultural and personal understanding. Study of history, expanded through archaeological finds, continues to shed more light on many elements of the past, making them meaningful in our own lives. Through modern scientific methods such as DNA, carbon 14, metal analysis and geological studies, dating can be more accurate, and a growing number of facts are found.
Added to all of this must be migrations, as humans and their cultural activities are not always static. Therefore, when people today trace their ancestry back to Africa, Ireland or Japan, this does not take into account the many moves and dislocations that went on before. Mass migrations may be triggered by war, famine, or other catastrophe. And when groups of people move, they take with them not only some aspects of their worldly goods but also religious beliefs, language, and customs. This is a study of the cause and effects of one mass migration, which began in the Bronze Age and continues its influences today.
Read Following Bronze-Age Migrations in its entirety here.
Shield of Achilles
by Andreas Jung
Plot of the Iliad
Some two thousand years ago a bard would be standing in the middle of a theatre. He would sing the best epic he knew, the famous Iliad of Homer! He would sing of the Greek army coming over to Troy to conquer the town and rescue Helena, the most beautiful woman in the world. He would sing of the rage of Achilleus, the great hero of the Greeks.
Achilleus is young, handsome and the most brilliant fighter of them all. He is born as son of a goddess, Thetis, and a mortal man. But it is predicted that either he will die in his early years as an outstanding hero or he will live a long life at home as a nobody. Being offended by the Greek commander, however, Achilleus refuses to fight. But he allows Patroklos, his closest friend, to dress in his own armour and join the battle. But there arrives Hektor, the proud leader of the Trojans – he kills Patroklos and takes the armour off.
Now Achilleus' anger turns to sheer rage – further he has no other aim than to murder Hektor for having killed his beloved friend! But how is he to do so? – He has no armour, since it all has been taken. While Achilleus is weeping on the beach in grief and anger, his mother, the goddess Thetis, arrives. And she climbs Mount Olympus to find Hephaistos, the gifted smith of the gods. She asks him to forge new armour for her son. And Hephaistos takes tin, bronze, silver and gold to shape new armour. As a masterpiece he forms a broad shield and decorates it with marvellous pictures.
In his striking new armour Achilleus enters the battlefield and conquers them all. The Trojans escape into town and close all the gates – outside remains only Hektor. Furious Achilleus hurries over and kills Hektor unforgivingly. Then he commits the most dreadful sacrilege – he drags the dead body three times around the grave of Patroklos and leaves it alone - exposed to the flies!
This breach of honour and convention enrages the Gods and they command that the outrage be stopped. Also they send a messenger to Hektor's father, the Trojan king, to lead him through the Greek camp, while all the soldiers are asleep, to the tent of Achilleus. And Hektor's father implores Achilleus, to release his dead son. Achilleus' heart melts and he returns Hektor's body to be buried back in Troy with all due honours.
Shield as Art
And the bard sings of Achilleus' tremendous Shield…
Hephaistos forges the Shield and decorates it with various pictures – you see them coming to life, since the little figures, human beings as well as animals, start to act, to move, to fight. Nine times he creates a different scene, and each has its own content, its own meaning. Hephaistos starts with the world, forms two cities and adds three pictures of agriculture or two of animal farming. Thereafter he creates a wonderful dancing scene and completes his work with an image of the Ocean.
Read Shield of Achilles in its entirety here.
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