The music on this web site was created by Vangelis, as art of a longer composition that he calls “Mythodea: Music for NASA’s Mars Odyssey Mission.”
Mars Odyssey team members wanted to know more, so we asked Vangelis a few questions about his personal connection to Mars and music. Have you always been inspired by space, as you are by music?
Mythology, science, space exploration, these are subjects that have fascinated me since my early childhood. And they were always connected somehow with the music I write.I understand the world through music and I believe that music shapes the universe. Mankind has always had a sense of wonder about space, has always been curious. It’s something that’s implanted in us. It’s natural to want to travel and discover. It is, always has been, and is always going to be like this. We are space. What fascinates you most about Mars exploration?
The stars and the planets have interested people for millennia, and Mars in particular. It doesn’t matter what each one of us believes about it — Mars has always held for mankind a sense of mystery, legend and intrigue. And man’s persistence to reach, to explore Mars, to find the much anticipated traces of life there, despite the many difficulties and set-backs incurred in trying, this persistence is amazing. What connections do you draw between your music, the Mars Odyssey mission, and Odyssey — the great, epic tale written by Homer?
In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses is trying to go back to his homeland. And he goes through different adventures and difficult times for years and years. So Odyssey seems a good name for NASA’s Mars Mission, because it has been and is still an extremely difficult adventure. You call your music for the Mars Odyssey mission: “Mythodea.” Where does that name come from?
I made up the name Mythodea from the words myth and ode. And I felt in it a kind of shared or common path with NASA’s current exploration of the planet. Whatever we use as a key; music, mythology, science, mathematics, astronomy,we are all working to decode the mystery of creation, searching for ourdeepest roots.
And whatever we find on Mars, the doors will be open to the next Odyssey, to something so many have instinctually felt for so long, something which through music I remember — that at the dawn of creation the seeds of life were likely scattered far and wide across the endless skies, and that science will continue to show us how we are connected, no different than the universe itself.
Europa’s parents were the Phoenician king Agenor and queen Telephassa. One day, while Zeus was watching the earth from the sky, spotted Europa, a pretty young lady playing with her girlfriends near the sea and immediately fell in love with her. He transformed himself into a pretty, snow white bull and descended to earth. He proposed to her that they go for a ride. She then, ascended on his back and off they went, into the deep sea. The bull reached Crete and there Zeus revealed himself. He made love to her and from this union, three sons were born, Minos, Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon, the three of whom became the three judges of the underworld when they died. Zeus also, gave her three gifts; a dart that never missed its target, a peculiar dog and a copper giant named Talos. Talos used to roam about the island and shoot at all strangers who disembarked on the island. Much later, Europa married Asterion, king of Crete who adopted her sons.
500gr (1 pound) shelled peas or 1,500kgr (3 pounds with shell)
1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm(1/2 inch) pieces
1 small potato, cut into 1 cm ( 1/2 inch) pieces
1 medium sized red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
400gr (14oz) chopped, canned tomatoes
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
In a large and wide saucepan, in the oil fry the onion, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup water, the shelled peas, salt, pepper and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, with the lid on.
Add the potatoes, parsley and dill and continue simmering for another 20 minutes or till there is only a thick sauce and no moisture remaining in the pan.
Serve at room temperature with fresh bread and feta cheese.
To the preparation time, shelling the peas isn't calculated.
Myth is disguised philosophy or theology, concealing its deep secrets from those who do not understand its allegories. This view prevailed amongst ancient thinkers who attempted above all to defend Homer. It was inherited by the Renaissance and last flowered in the immense, influential and wholly mistaken work of F. Creuzer, his Symbolik (1st edn, 1810-12) in which he argued that Greek mythology contained deliberately concealed eastern wisdom.
The following sample is taken from a work of the first century AD which seeks to justify Homer through allegorisation:
Overall, the wandering of Odysseus, if one cares to look at it in detail, will be found to be an allegory. Homer has taken Odysseus as a sort of tool for every virtue and used it to philosophise, since he detested the vices that feed on human life. Take for instance pleasure, the country of the Lotus-eaters, which cultivates a strange enjoyment: Odysseus exercises his restraint and sails past. Or the savage spirit in each of us: he incapacitated it with the branding instrument of his verbal advice. This is called the ‘Cyclops’, that which ‘steals away’ (hypoklopon) our rationality…..
Wisdom goes as far as Hades so that no part even of the world below should be uninvestigated. Who, again, listens to the Sirens, if he has learnt the breadth of experience [referring to Odysseus’ epithet ‘much-experienced’] contained in the accounts of every age? And ‘Charybdis’ is a good name for lavish wastefulness, insatiable in its desire for drink. Skylla is his allegory for the shamelessness that comes in many shapes: hence she is not without good reason equipped with the dogs’ heads that comprise rapacity, outrage, and greed. And the cattle of the sun are restraint of the stomach-he counts not even starvation as a compulsion to wrongdoing. (from Gender and the interpretation of classical myth by Lillian E. Doherty). Continue reading →
Perseus reaches the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, in Ethiop. As he flies through the air, he sees a very beautiful young woman bolted to a rock, with the waves washing her feet. The sight moves him. This young person is Andromeda; she was put in that sorry position by her father, King Cepheus. His land is assailed by terrible plagues; the king and his people have been told that the only way to end the scourge is to hand over Andromeda to a sea monster-a creature linked to the sea, to the waters that can drown the land- and to expose her there so that the beast can come take her and have his will of her; devour or couple with her. (taken from here) Continue reading →
How can one penetrate to the future and discern what is the right thing to do, i.e. to earn higher or better life or to avoid pain, enemies, death. The quest for answers has been there since time immemorial. And that is the reason that seers had been sought after. And what are seers? What is that gift (endowment) that gives them the power to “swim” into time and give answers (that must be correct). In the Greek tradition seers have foretold kings and queens what they wanted to look into, respecting solidity of kingdoms and fame. They accompanied kings to expeditions and tradition has it that most of them were blind. Why? What does this connote? May be the deprivement of the fluctuating pictures and scenes of the present world, one can see – with the eyes of a clean soul – the events that formulate. And to that, one should be free of burdens and should have a clean inner world. Continue reading →
Long ago there were Amazons, daughters of Ares, who lived along the Thermodon river. They alone of the peoples around them were armed with iron, and they were the first to ride horses. With them, because of the inexperience of their enemies, the Amazons slew those who fled and outran those who pursued. For their courage Amazons used to be considered men rather than women for their physical nature. They seemed to surpass men in their spirit instead of falling short of them in appearance. They ruled many lands and enslaved their neighbors. Then, hearing of the great renown of this land, they gathered their most warlike nations and marched against the city. A glorious reputation and high ambitions were their motives. But here they met brave men and came to possess spirits alike to their nature. Gaining a reputation that was the opposite of the one they had, they appeared women because of the dangers rather than from their bodies. For them alone it was impossible to learn from their mistakes and form better plans about the future. Since they did not go home, they could not announce their misfortunes nor the bravery of our ancestors, for they died here and paid the penalty for their folly. They made the memory of the city imperishable because of its bravery and rendered their own country nameless because of their disaster here. Those women who unjustly lusted after another’s land justly lost their own (Lysias, Epitaphios 4-6), found in this book.Continue reading →
The Evzones, or Evzoni, is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Presidential Guard, an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Mansion and the gate of Evzones camp in Athens. The Evzones are also known, colloquially, as Tsoliades . Though the Presidential Guard is a predominantly ceremonial unit, all Evzones are volunteers drawn from the Hellenic Army’s Infantry, Artillery and Armoured Corps. Prospective Evzones are usually identified at the Army Recruit Training Centres during Basic Training; there is a minimum height requirement of 1.86 m (6′ 1.2″) to join. The unit is famous around the world for its unique traditional uniform, which has evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment. Their proven valour and peculiar dress turned them into a popular image for the Greek soldier, especially among foreigners.
Scholars face a taxonomic dilemma in discussing the female figures of Greek mythology and cult. If the female upon discussion is not a well-recognized goddess, one must decide (in the absence of convenient labeling by the ancient sources) whether to refer to her as a mortal woman (that is, a heroine), as a nymph, or as a member of some other group. Did the Greeks make a significant conceptual distinction between heroines and nymphs, and if so, what factors were used to distinguish them? No detailed discussion of these questions exists, and the matter of nomenclature has so far been idiosyncratic.
In the Greek imagination, nymphs are inseparable from the landscape. To a greater degree than most other Greek deities, they are closely associated with certain topographical features. The most basic of these is spring, for nymphs are above all deities of water. From Homer to the late epigrams in the Greek Anthology, nymphs are consistently the inhabitants of water sources and providers of fresh water. Their cultural significance thus stretches far beyond the spring itself to all the symbolic and practical uses of water. (taken from the book “Greek Nymphs – Myth, Cult, Lore” by Jennifer Larson). Continue reading →
She was the goddess of agriculture, daughter of Cronus and Rhea, sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera and Hestia. Demeter was a very important divinity since she represented the time of the harvest. Herodotus alleges that in reality she is the Egyptian goddess Isis whose worship was carried on to the Peloponnese by the Pelasgians who were ancient Greek tribes that lived by the 2nd millennium B.C. Her worship was regarded as mystic since it comprised matters of private evolution, death and resurrection. Eleusis, a small town at the outskirts of Athens, was the place for her worship, which took place each year either in September or October and is called the Eleusinian mysteries. Continue reading →
The picture which now emerges of Greek myth is hard to summarise. Plainly it is not enough to allege that myth does some one thing or another. Greek myth is a complicated organism, with a history of its own, in both ancient and modern times. At one extreme, Greek myth reaches back to an Indo-European past which we can scarsely conceive; at the opposite extreme stand modern ideas and interpretation of myth, which irrespective of any value they may have for a correct understanding of Greek myth (and is there such a thing?), are part of the intellectual fabric of our times. In between lies the entire culture and history of the Greeks, with which myth is continually in dialogue and in which it is continually redeployed. (from the book ‘The uses of Greek mythology’ by Ken Dowden). Continue reading →
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