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Inspirational Reads

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXIX

May 14, 2010

Have you ever been to Nashville? I know a few of you have. I went a couple of years ago with my wife for a couple of days without the children. It was nice. Plus, I was able to check Tennessee off that list of "States I haven't yet had sex in."

Anyway, did you know that the Parthenon is in Nashville, TN? Well, it's a reconstruction of the original that sits atop the acropolis in Athens. Nashville built their Parthenon in 1897 as a part of their Centennial celebration. The building itself is a full-scale replica, as well as the statue of Athena that stands inside it. They also have some plaster reconstructions of the pieces of the pediment which are housed now in the British Museum in London.

For a couple of people who like ancient history just a little too much, the Parthenon was a must see on our trip. We both really liked it. In fact, the wallpaper on my wife's computer is a picture she took of Athena's shield; fortunately, it was just a reconstruction, so we didn't turn to stone.

Athena, of course, was a warrior goddess. While Ares was a god of war, he was more the embodiment of the rage, bloodlust and strife that comes in battle. Athena was more the tactician, which is why she liked Odysseus so much, because he was a thinking man focused on strategy. Because he was favored by Athena, this was one reason why Poseidon didn't much care for Odysseus and sent him traipsing all over the Mediterranean (there were a lot of reasons why Poseidon was pissed at Odysseus; this was just one of them).

Poseidon and Athena had a long-standing feud. As you may have guessed, the cult of Athena was centered in Athens, Greece. She and Poseidon vied for the city, each providing the Athenians with something with which they could survive. Poseidon struck the earth, and a spring flowed from it. Unfortunately, the spring was salt water and couldn't really be used. Athena gave them the olive tree, which provided olives for food, olive oil for burning and cooking, and wood for building and burning. From there, the Athenians named their city after her and erected a huge temple in her honor. If things had gone differently, maybe the capital of Greece would be Poseidos.

But why was it called "the Parthenon" if it was dedicated to Athena? Well, Athena was a virgin goddess, and thus carried the title Athena Parthenos, which means "Athena, ever-virgin".

And, she apparently wasn't ever-virgin because she was, y'know, ugly. While fitting her for some armor, Haphaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, got turned on and tried to "assert himself" on Athena. She ran, and since he was misshapen and couldn't keep up with her, he decided to take matters into his own hands. After rubbing one out, he ejaculated, which hit the ground and there was born the serpent Erichthonius. Athena took the snake and raised it, which is one of the reasons why serpents were a symbol of hers.

Speaking of ever-virgin...ever have one of those relationships where things just weren't moving into the sexual realm fast enough? Who hasn't, right? Sweet talking can only get you so far, so you might want to try sweet-talking and sounding profound all at the same time:

Non dolebit, voveo. Ero velox.

Pronounced "Noan doh-lay-beet, woh-way-oh. Air-roh way-loxe."

Translation in the hovertext.

So, knowing all that about Poseidon and Athena, it makes sense that Nashville got hit so hard last week with flooding, right? It was simply a continuation of a centuries-old fight. Athena's main temple is reconstructed in Nashville, and a couple hundred years later, Poseidon decides to be a dick and flood the joint.

If you're going to visit Nashville, the Parthenon serves as their main art gallery, too. I'd personally say that the $6 admission is well-worth the price. We were so impressed that we bought a framed picture of the Parthenon, which hangs in our living room. I also recommend the state capital building, which is on a hill in the middle of town and has a lot of cool stuff to see and do, too.

Oh, and I ate the banana, but I waited until later in the afternoon to do it.


BigSis said...

I think they talk about this place in the Percy Jackson books. I'm telling you, my son is getting into Greek and Roman mythology because of Rick Riordan!

Adam L. said...

I actually learned about this because of the Percy Jackson movie (that the wife made me go see after reading the books). It sounds like it'd be a fun place to go (after it's been drained, of course)!

carissa said...

I once dated a guy for six months without any action. He may or may not be gay. This place sounds interesting, and now I want a banana!

Bev said...

If I'm ever in Nashville, which I highly doubt, I'll be sure to check out the Parthenon!

I love a good ripe banana.

SkylersDad said...

How was the banana?

Eric said...

I knew about the second parthenon, but still haven't been yet. Maybe I could go chisel some authentic looking graffiti into that one?
The state troopers would get the joke, right?

Scope said...

Is your framed picture of the Nashville Parthenon on velvet? Does it glow under black light?

MJenks said...

@ Bigsis: If I get this new one published, and if he reads it, I'm sure I'll turn him back off of Greek mythology like that. *snaps fingers*

@ Adam L: I guess I should probably get around to reading those books. Of course, we have the fifth one and the fifth one only. Maybe after I'm done reading the half-dozen other books sitting around begging for my attention. Maybe...

@ Bev: My dear Bev...there's lots and lots of bars in Nashville. Lots.

I highly recommend it.

@ SkyDad: Bananariffic. It was a little overripe, though, and so those parts of the peel that are kind of between the main parts of the peel clung tenaciously to the shaft of the banana itself. Otherwise, it wasn't so bad.

@ Eric: I'm sure they would. Just remind them that pi are squared.

@ Scope: It might, it might. Also, we didn't see a single Elvis-type person on our stay there.