Firebrand Chat 2 June 2001  Marion Zimmer Bradley Trojan War


12:18 - Zoe Xanthippos
....I'm reading the Merlin Stone I mentioned and also the Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler
12:18 - Torrey Philemon
Morgana told me a few months ago that the Amazon River in South America was actually named for "Amazons" reputed to be in that area! (did I get that right, M?)
12:20 - Morgana Flavius
Yes, Torrey. Apparently, the Spanish pioneers that first sailed down the mighty river took the Indians they saw along the river banks (probably long hair and no body hair) as female warriors.
12:21 - Morgana Flavius
Thus, they named the river "Amazonas", which is the Portuguese/Spanish word for Amazons
12:21 - Zoe Xanthippos
On the Amazons , so far, the best source was On the Trail of the Warrior Queens (or whatever the title is, I can't find it) that I wrote on at TRP, mainly for the various archzeological sites
12:22 - Torrey Philemon
How about if we just hang out and catch up for 20 minutes or so before talking about the Firebrand? I'd be interested in knowing more about what you've all been up to in regard to our subjects of interest etc. -- and online community.
12:22 - Morgana Flavius
I think I followed one of the links posted by you, Zoe, at TRP, on the Amazons. Very exciting site, with historic links as well as current groups that apparently are trying to revivie the ancient female power that Amazons once enjoyed.
12:24 - Torrey Philemon
Trail of the Warrior Queens sounds very interesting, Zoe.....I don't have that one..... (was your post in the Homer area? I'll have to look it up again)
12:24 - Zoe Xanthippos
I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the artifacts at some of those sites as well as reading the digger's descriptions
12:24 - Morgana Flavius
I haven't read anything about matrilinity in the Bronze Age after I posted at TRP. I am catching up today, after reading Torrey's comments on the Firebrand.
12:25 - Zoe Xanthippos
On the Trail of the Women Warriors, by Lyn Webster Wilde. (I found it, misfiled it)
12:26 - Zoe Xanthippos
I'm also reading myths, or maybe the goddess stories would be a better term, in the various myth encyclopedias I have, lots of overlap in the various stories and cultures
12:26 - Torrey Philemon
In the Greek heroes course I took at Harvard (which ended around May 1), professor Nagy made reference to Simone Weil's essay, The Iliad of the Poem of Force. I got a book of her collected essays and am reading that one now. Very interesting. (I'll look up the book you mentioned at now Zoe and see what they say)
12:27 - Morgana Flavius
On the Trail of the Women Warriors, here it is:
12:26 - Morgana Flavius
I've heard this new MZB Priestess of Avalon. was posthumously published
12:26 - Zoe Xanthippos
The heroine in this case was Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. Same theme though, old goddesses/religions vs. new ones - in this case Christianity
12:38 - Torrey Philemon
12:57 - Torrey Philemon
What are you most looking for now, Morgana? What is your focus online?
12:59 - Morgana Flavius
I am interested in gathering as much info as I can about Roman late republican times up to the 3rd century AD. But even for this, I have VERY little time...
12:59 - Morgana Flavius
Let me just make a comparison about the Panhistoria approach and the Rostra approach (Rostra is a group at CommunityZero formed by some of the oldest members of AS).
13:01 - Torrey Philemon
I guess there's no real place for serious ancient history and literature discussion except the ancient history site, and the chat run by Irene.......and our little alcove on TRP.
13:05 - Torrey Philemon
   (Tell me, ladies, when you'd like to switch topics and start discussing the Firebrand....... <-: )
13:06 - Morgana Flavius
Just before we switch to Firebrand, I'd like to know what Zoe is doing in Panhistoria. Are you taking part in a RP story? Which one? Maybe I will get hooked to it too. ;-)
13:06 - Zoe Xanthippos
Firebrand? Is THat why we're here? LOL!
13:09 - Morgana Flavius
Zoe? Are you writing?
13:09 - Torrey Philemon
(I keep doing wordplay on Amazon in my mind since the word keeps coming up....and I just came up with an acronym for the three of us. Another version of AAA. We three are are AAA - the Academically Adventurous Amazons. How do you like that?)
13:10 - Morgana Flavius
Wow, I like that, Torrey!
13:13 - Morgana Flavius
Ah, thanks for telling me about that, Zoe! I will look for those threads you mentioned. And keep on writing your RP, and go out to the "public" as soon as you can. Positive criticism is usually bigger than negative ones, and they can help you a LOT!
13:15 - Morgana Flavius
I'd like to comment about Torrey's first remark in her part one e-mail about Firebrand: The Real Cassandra.
13:17 - Morgana Flavius
Her relationships with Chryes, Aeneas, Helen and the Amazons
13:18 - Morgana Flavius
I think that MZB fabricated all that, and this is what a historic fiction writer does (mostly): take facts that were not elaborated by any mythologic/historic source and fabricates around them.
13:19 - Morgana Flavius
But it could have happened, why not? Cassandra did relate to every one of those characters, so it is plausible that those things might have happened. Now, when MZB says that Cassandra survived, that is drifting too far away from known sources. And, personally, I am not very fond of that kind of approach.
13:20 - Torrey Philemon
It sounds all fabricated to me, but sometimes there are lesser known myths that make reference to a hero or I was wondering if there are any references anywhere to Cassandra with the Amazons etc.(in known myth or mythical dramas)
13:20 - Zoe Xanthippos
I think Cassandra has ever been a figure of mystery and intrigue to subsequent writers. Since her mention in Homer is so small, writers have been trying to flesh her out for centuries... Aeschylus, Euripides... And each one has a slightly different slant. And it is all a fabrication, as the historical sources just aren't there. So MZB and the others are merely following in illustrious footsteps.
13:20 - Morgana Flavius
Agree with you, Zoe.
13:21 - Torrey Philemon
I agree, Morgana. I can accept her relationships with Chryse, Helen, Penthesilea etc. but the ending with her surviving etc. is too farfetched for me too.
13:22 - Morgana Flavius
The most plausible relationship that MZB protrays, in my opinion, is Cassandra and Chryses. Chryses was Apollo's priest and it might have been him ("possessed by the god") who truly tried to rape Cassandra in the temple.
13:22 - Torrey Philemon
I think part of my own difficulty with roleplaying, fantasy etc. is that I'm not very grounded and need to have at least one foot in reality or at least real history or myth (if myth can be considered real). 
13:22 - Zoe Xanthippos
It seems to me that those Greek plays were to their viewers very like our 'historical fiction'. Tales for entertainment, loosely based on legend and fact
13:22 - Zoe Xanthippos
Myth was real to the ancient Greeks, wasn't it?
13:23 - Torrey Philemon
I had one trouble with the Chryse/Khryse story. He seemed to change too suddenly. He was totally preoccupied with his own desire and then near the very end of the book he seems to have lost his self-centeredness and forcefulness to become altruistically devoted to Cassandra. There wasn't enough there to make the change convincing. 
13:23 - Morgana Flavius
I really liked MZB portraying of human beings (mainly priests/priestesses) taking on the power of the god they are possessed by (or wearing the mask of).
13:24 - Zoe Xanthippos
Yes, I did too, Morgana. It seems more plausible than Gods descending to do things
13:24 - Zoe Xanthippos
   And yes, Khryse did change too abruptly.
13:25 - Morgana Flavius
Yes, I remember having felt very uncomfortable with the sudden change on Chryse character, Torrey. One of MZB's writing flaws regarding that particular character.
13:25 - Morgana Flavius
But before the change, Chryse was doing alright. ;-)
13:26 - Torrey Philemon
I'm referring to myth as real  - meaning KNOWN MYTH which has been passed on through the ages..... But in regard to myth being real to the ancient Greeks, Zoe, that's a fascinating topic. Just to what extent people took myth to be real, as people took the existence of God to be a given in medievel times, OR  how much people questioned myths, as we don't take the existence of God for granted today (some believe, some question, but God is not a given for everyone)...... I think in the times we were discussing some people as even Socrates and Plato were begining to conceive as myth as stories and not necessarily reality.....
13:27 - Morgana Flavius
The Amazon subplot, in my opinion, is one of the highlights of the book. Here, MZB is at her best. It cannot be judged as totally out of history/myth, as myth and history do not say much about the Amazons and their role in the Trojan saga.
13:28 - Torrey Philemon
Agreed totally, Morgana, about the Amazon subplot. Cassandra's time with the Amazons, her relationship to Imandra and Penthesilea etc., very well done. Bradley seems to excel when she brings in goddess religions/female societies etc. in all her books.
13:29 - Zoe Xanthippos
Their Gods and Goddesses were a part of everyday life. Not something you went to a 'church' and did, but totally involved in minute decisions of no real importance. Their gods were alive to them. Part of this may be because every object, season, animal, place, etc, had it's own god it was special to - hard to get away from it in that light
13:29 - Morgana Flavius
Torrey I agree with you. And would add that myths, for the ancient people, were as real as history is for us today. I mean, we do not have to "believe" history, but we certainly have to take it for granted until someone comes up with some irrefutable evidence that it did not happen like that.
13:29 - Torrey Philemon
One thing about the Amazons puzzled me though - Bradley presented Priam as objecting to/not liking the Amazons, whereas according to myth the Amazons were friends with Priam. I wonder if Bradley was trying to imply that Priam was primarily threatened by them - by female power. 
13:30 - Zoe Xanthippos
And where did Imandra come from? I can't find her anywhere!
13:31 - Zoe Xanthippos
Perhaps Priam was friends with them in the sense ofan allied nation rather than in the sense of approving of thier lifestyle. And his own wife was an Amazon - wasn't she? or was that just MZB. (I get confused in my versions...)
13:31 - Morgana Flavius
   That's interesting, Zoe. And it certainly was so for Greeks, but not for Romans, for instance. Roman religion was a "state religion". You had to either believe on it or pretend you did if you wanted to get things done in your human/civil/day-to-day life. But you didn't have to pretend to believe in those gods when you were inside your house, or in a private place. There, most Romans revered their ancestors as tutelary deities and sent the Olympians to Hades! (lol)
13:32 - Torrey Philemon
Zoe, it's my impression though that there was a shift in those times between the gods as givens and questioning their reality. Just as in the 20th century.....people more obviously began to question the existence and nature of God, what they had been taught in Sunday school. But come to think of it, the Trojan War as 1200 BC and the questioning times of Plato and Socrates were many centuries later.......(don't you think that Cassandra questioning the burial customs etc was a bit too premature for those times too?)
13:33 - Zoe Xanthippos
I think Cassandra's questioning was MZB's questioning seeping into the story
13:33 - Torrey Philemon
I can't figure out if Imandra was totally fictional too, Zoe. And I researched Hecuba and found that there are conflicting views about her origin she COULD have been Amazon. No known myths/literature however tell us. 
13:34 - Zoe Xanthippos
Some equate Hecuba and Hecate also
13:34 - Morgana Flavius
I don't remember that burial thing. But I agree with Zoe: it might have been MZB's own agenda coming into the story.
13:35 - Torrey Philemon
Interesting point about the difference between Greek and Roman religion, Morgana. Perhaps Roman religion lacked the innate spiritual sense that Greek religion had for many...which is why the the Greek mystery religions became attractive to many Romans, who found in it an emotional appeal that the state religion didn't have. It's like today....the difference between sterile religious ritual and real spiritual experience. 
13:35 - Morgana Flavius
Imandra looks to me like the African Kandakes, one of which we found during our Cleopatra readings.
13:36 - Zoe Xanthippos
Yes, I thought about the Kandake too, Morgana. But the Amazon evidence seems to be for their being around the Black Sea. But then that caravan Cassandra went with to guard while in Colchis sounded like it was heading to Africa.
13:37 - Torrey Philemon
Well put, Zoe, Cassandra's questioning as MZB's voice! Sometimes out of context, stepping too much outside her time..... Hecuba/ Hecate, intriguing connection! ..... The burial thing was when Kassandra said that burying Hektor wasn't such a big deal, since she had visited him in a trance and he was at peace. That's when she said that burial wasn't necessary for the soul to be at peace. Totally in opposition to the religious views of the times. 
13:37 - Torrey Philemon
Where is Colchis?
13:37 - Morgana Flavius
Oh, but Greeks did not have a "spiritual" approach to their religion (except the mystery religions, ok). But the Greeks did think that the gods represented (mostly) natural forces and respected them for that. But the Romans view their gods purely as the target of ritualistic performances, done "in public", to acknowledge their powerful nation's values, not their personal ones.
13:39 - Morgana Flavius
Colchis is where the former USSR Georgia republic is today. It is East of the Black Sea.
13:39 - Zoe Xanthippos
Colchis is supposed to be in what is now Georgia, Russia
13:43 - Morgana Flavius
About Torrey's comment on Demeter, as a goddess submitted to the patriarchal Zeus/Jupieter.
13:43 - Zoe Xanthippos
I was looking for something I saw recently that you made me remember with your Kandake remark, will have to wait, can't think where it was
13:45 - Morgana Flavius
I've read sometime ago (can't remember where) that the Greek Demeter = Roman Ceres are actually a disguised form of the Asian powerful goddess Cybele, who is the goddess who presided over one of the most intriguing mystery cults in ancient times. Cybele might have been the heir of the ancient mother goddess.
13:47 - Morgana Flavius
Yes, Zoe. When we started to read about the Kandake, in Cleopatra, I immediately connected her to MZB's Imandra character. And I think that Imandra was one of the Amazons referred to by ancient sources. I guess that Imandra (or a very similar name) is mentioned in that Amazon site.
13:47 - Torrey Philemon
I'm back. I crashed as I was looking up a reference on Hecuba.
Also there's Euripides play Hecuba which I haven't read
13:47 - Zoe Xanthippos
Yes, I've seen that too. Just before we began I was reading about Demeter. No time to have thought it out but Demeter apparently survived in one form or another into the 1800s. There was even an(uncanonized) St. Demetra, who is supposed to be a re-do of Demeter
13:48 - Morgana Flavius
That sounds fascinating, Zoe!
13:49 - Torrey Philemon
The Demeter/ Cybele connection is interesting. It's my impression that Troy and regions in Africa, further from Greece and Rome, were slower to adopt the patriarchal gods and goddesses and give up their own.....
13:49 - Morgana Flavius
I didn't know about Demeter surviving into the 1800's!
13:49 - Zoe Xanthippos
I will attempt to write it out and source it for you in the near future