July 3rd, 2006
|09:53 am - Deforestation and Erysichthon|
I was startled, when reading an article called "Lucan's Caesar and the Sacred Grove: Deforestation and Enlightenment in Antiquity" that describes the episode of desecration of the sacred grove by Caesar and what it means. Kinda cool article, and some copies will likely be made for a few people. What startled me, though, was that it referenced me to a passage in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book VIII, lines 738-884, the story of Erysichthon, who cuts down a sacred tree.
Get this: Erysichthon cuts into the sacred tree, and blood flows out "like a fountain from the neck of a great bull, who falls before the altars of the gods."
If there were cranes involved, too, I'd die. Literally, I'd be dead and gone of shock. But there are no cranes, so I'm guessing it's just an interesting, poetic coincidence.
But for a moment, I wondered.
(I think I'm going to suggest this passage for the "piety" and "nature awareness" requirements in the DP. . .)
Before anyone says anything anti-Roman, there's no actual evidence that Caesar destroyed any groves. Just an FYI, because we have a popular tradition in Neo-Paganism saying he did.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amused
Current Music: "Train to Dixieland", -JB
Death by cranes... not the cleanest way to go.
Please avoid that.
Suicides get turned into bleeding trees in the 7th Circle of Hell, according to Dante. Just as an added "Bleeding tree" reference there. :)
Any idea what Erysichthon means? Many names in Greek mythology are constructed of root words. I'd be interested in whether there's a connection between his name and cranes...
On second thought, maybe I wouldn't be interested. I'd rather see you continue living, Michael...
"cththon" likely has its root in "from the earth"
Beyond that, no, I've no idea.
Erys-ichthon. Hmmm. Erys...Eris? Ichthy -- fishy? or (i)chthon -- chthonic?
More seriously, though:
From the Etymology Dictionary
CRANE: O.E. cran "large wading bird," from PIE *ger- (cf. Gk. geranos, Welsh garan, Lith. garnys "heron, stork"), perhaps echoic of its cry. Metaphoric use for "machine with a long arm" is first attested 1299. Verb meaning "to stretch (the neck)" is from 1799.
So, probably no connection with Cranes.
On the otherhand, the closest English word:
ERYSIPELAS -- 1398, skin disease also known as St. Anthony's Fire, from Gk. erysipelas, perhaps from erythros "red" + pella "skin." Erythros is cognate with L. ruber, rufus, Goth. rauþs, O.E. read from the PIE base for "red" (see red); the initial -e- is because Gk. tends to avoid beginning words with -r-.
And the word "rude" also comes from the root "red" (as in: "redneck"), so Erysichthon probably was a rude, earthy person with no religious manners.
Whoah whoah whoah, I actually read this story and it is horrible. Horrible punishment for a horrible man...
Glad there are no real connections to Esus in this. :(