VikingBoyBilly asks:

Something’s been on my mind for a long time since I stopped lurking, but I need to say how I feel.

In our long argument about Odysseus, you ended it with “i know what I’m talking about; so there.”

No, you didn’t, because if you did, you wouldn’t have been a misanthrope. Reading mythology is what made me fall in love with humans, and it’s unsettling that you never acknowledged the irony of being a misanthropic archaeologist. The lessons the Oddessey taught me is that life is a journey full challenges and misery, but by keeping your wits and the strength to continue, you can reach your goals. Oddysseus’s goal was to reunite with the wife an son that he loved, and it’s so cynical to think he enjoyed having sex with women that kept him stranded on those islands, and it doesn’t mesh thematically when these are supposed to be a series of hardships. The optimist in me believes this was something to be overcome, either as a temptation like the lotus fruits and sirens, or a situation to get out of like the cyclops. His devotion and loyalty to his crew, his homeland, and family are values I live by, and I don’t like that being tarnished by accusations that he’s a scummy womanizer. I could just be satisfied with my own opinions and not be bothered by what anyone else thinks, but you know what the internet does to us.

I also was put off by your use of the vague buzz-word “western civilization.” It’s nonsensical to anyone with an understanding of geography, and condescending, as if any other civilization doesn’t count (and because I think an archaeologist/anthropologist would only use such a simplification of jargon when talking to a layman). Funny how people angry with the state of the world will defend “western civilization” as the best thing that ever happened.

I hope your outlook of your own species has changed since then, and if you want to reply non-publicly, my email is [REDACTED]

[This is what Billy is referring to – linking to the Tumblr version of the original question-and-answer post rather than the WordPress version because that’s where the relevant comment thread is, but I might actually move it over here for posterity’s sake]

Continue reading “VikingBoyBilly asks:”

Anonymous asks:

This doesn’t have anything to do with pokemon, but I was wondering if you might have any thoughts with your Archaeology background: In a lot of stuff written about Greco-Roman mythology I’ve read, Hectate is called a goddess of witchcraft and Circe a witch, and there’s probably other examples I don’t know of. However, I’m not really sure what being a witch would mean outside of the context of Christianity or modern pop-culture. Was this just something that was added in by much later writers?

Well, what is a witch, exactly?  Ugly old woman, warty nose, pointy hat, flies around on broomsticks, brews potions in cauldrons, turns people into newts, weighs the same as a duck, that sort of thing?  Circe, Hecate and Medea aren’t witches in that sense, no; they predate that stereotype of what a “witch” is by a good couple of millennia.  Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Vikingboybilly asks:

I hate that third wave feminists complain about Odysseus sleeping with Circe and that random nymph, when they FORCED him to stay with them or they’d let his crew die. It was an act of long-term, consensual rape. Penelope had it way better than him.

…weeeeelllll, I’d hesitate to attribute the idea specifically to third-wave feminists, since there seems to be a hint of it in Penelope’s letter to Odysseus from Ovid’s Heroides (published c. 25 BC, and therefore predating the feminist movement somewhat)… and Odysseus’ stay with Circe lasted a full year after he had defeated her and freed his crew, and is presented as something of a lapse of judgement on his part even by Homer in the Odyssey itself… and in some accounts he has a child with Circe, Telegonus… and I’m assuming that by “that random nymph” you mean Calypso, daughter of the Titan Atlas and mistress of far-flung Ogygia, in which case, well, he does keep sleeping with her even after the gods have ordered her to let him go and they have begun to make preparations for his departure…

…but other than that, yeah, sure.