Fried green peppers

fried green peppers

Centaurs and Lapiths

A Centaur in Greek mythology is a savage creature, half man and the lower half, horse.  Centaurs, usually resided in the mountains of Thessaly, southeast of mount Olympus. According to Pindar, an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes (c. 522–443 BC), the first Centaur was born from the union of Ixion (king of Lapiths, the most ancient tribe in Thessaly) and Nephele (the cloud Zeus created to resemble Hera in order to test Ixion’s integrity when he realized that he was lustful for her) where none of the Graces (Charites) was present at his birth.  The Centaur mingled with the mare at the Magnesian peninsula (where the city of Volos is, today) thus engendering a whole nation of mythical monsters.  The myth says that they were extinguished by the brave and civilized nation of Lapiths when they tried to abduct Hippodamia during her wedding to their king Pirithous.

The abduction of Hippodamia was not an uncommon subject of Western art in the classical tradition, including the sculpture “The Abduction of Hippodameia”  by French artist Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse and a painting by Rubens. Also in the pediment of the temple of Zeus in Ancient Olympia (Peloponnese) one can see the depiction of the war that took place between the Centaurs and the Lapiths. Continue reading

Green beans in tomato sauce

green beans in tomato sauce

Crete

Whichever gods and satyrs, nymphs and muses still inhabit the peaks and glades of Crete, they smile benevolently on visitors to their island home.  Crete is, after all the home of a dynastic soap opera to top all dynastic soap operas.  The cast of characters includes Zeus, born in a mountain cave to keep him out of reach of his father, Kronos, who considered him a threat to his throne; Pasiphae, wife of king Minos, who fell head over horns in love with a handsome bull and gave birth to the part-man-part-bull creature known as the Minotaur; Theseus of Athens, who entered the labyrinth built by Daedalus, killed the Minotaur, and escaped to tell the story with the help of a spool of thread supplied by Ariadne, Minos’s daughter-whom he seduced, carted off to the island of Naxos, and promptly abandoned, thus inspiring Richard Strauss to create one of the twentieth century’s most glorious operas, Ariadne auf Naxos. (Extract from “Gourmet” magazine of an article written by Ian Keown in 1987).

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