Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of August 15th - August 21st,  2003

Chapter VI

Hektor and the Maid

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  This week we're examining the sixth sign of the zodiac, Virgo. If our hypothesis is correct, then the elements of this sign should be apparent in Chapter VI of Homer's Iliad.

Hektor, wife and child

Hektor, wife and child

  Virgo is the service industry. It's our support system which deals with ordinance and supplies. Today these are plumbers and domestic staff. In times gone by they were artisans, craftsmen and soldiers on the male side, and weavers, water-carriers and nursemaids on the women's. At best, the people of this sign represent the virginal entourage which maintains the most sacred, in the church or temple. They are the chosen, the select, the few.

  Our harvest 'earth' themes are briefly reintroduced as we saw last week in Joshua, for instance when Diomedes asks, "...if you are man and mortal, one who feeds on harvest of the grainland...", and when Bellerophontes overcomes his foes and is being rewarded by the people they "...set aside their finest land for him, vineyard and plowland, fertile for wheatfields." But other Virgoian themes take center stage in Book VI of the Iliad, and that is the role of the nursemaid with small child, and of the women who work together, at the loom and needlecraft, weaving the finest robes.

  "So Hektor spoke, and she walked slowly on
into the megaron. She called her maids,
who then assembled women from the city.
But Hekabe went down to the low chamber
fragrant with cedar, where her robes were kept,
embroidered work by women of Sidonia
Alexandros had brought, that time he sailed
and ravished Helen, princess, pearl of kings.
Hekabe lifted out her loveliest robe,
most ample, most luxurious in brocade,
and glittering like starlight under all
This offering she carried to Athena (the virgin goddess)
with a long line of women in her train.
On the Akropolis, Athena's shrine
was opened for them by Theano, stately
daughter of Kisseus, wife to Antenor,
and chosen priestess of Athena. Now
all crying loud stretched out their arms in prayer,
while Theano with grace took up the robe
to place it on fair-haired Athena’s knees."

  Latter in Book VI we see another Virgonian theme being threaded throughout the chapter:

Homer

Homer

  "With one nursemaid and her small child,
she stood upon the tower of Ilion, in tears,
bemoaning what she saw..."
"In haste, like a madwoman, to the wall
she went, and Nurse went too, carrying the child."
"Behind her came the maid, who held the child
against her breast, a rosy baby still..."
Hektor ponders his city's, and Andromakhe's fate:
"Before another woman's loom in Argos
it may be you will pass, or at Messeis
or Hypereie fountain, carrying water,
against your will- iron constraint upon you.
And seeing you in tears, a man may say:
'There is the wife of Hektor, who fought best
of Trojan horsemen when they fought at Troy.'"

  There is a choreographed emphasis on servants, the women at work, the finest offerings at the inner temple, the craftsmanship of Priam's inner court and their master-builders... all as the tragic hero of the Trojans takes time out to talk to the maid.







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