Metamorphoses Project, Part 2: Tracing Mythology through Time and Place


Group Members:  Amber Gronbach, Lee Tilden, and Jenny Reiser.

Part 2 A and B

Please note that for your convenience Part A and B are located in the same section.

Different later versions of the myth

Over the years, myth has undergone many changes. From music, to television, to the movies everyone seems to have their own ideas as to what the gods were like and why they acted the way they did. It would seem very easy to imagine that the myth of Homer and Hesiod have been replaced by that of Disney. But, that is not the case. For when we look at some of the paintings that capture Achilles' pain at the loss of Patroclus or see some of the web pages dedicated to perserving myths in their truthfull entirety it becomes perfectly clear that these stories have and will continue to stand the test of time unscathed.

Past, Present, Future: Mythology and Ancient Civilizations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

- Written by Christi Malmberg

    This very, and I do mean very, interesting link explores the prevelance of mythological characters and themes expressed in today's movies and television programs. Not only does it talk about Apollo trying to take over the crew of the starship Enterprise in chapter six: Gods in Space, but also mentions many other divinities and themes within its bulk. This link is perhaps one of the best representations of mythology in our current MODERN society that we were able to find in our extensive search.

    This is rather important because it demonstrates how we have carried over themes millenia old and brought them into mainstream culture. But, the sad thing here is that the myths are often bent and twisted beyond recognition to make them more appealing to modern society. A perfect example is the Star Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonias"in which Greek gods are said to be extra terrestrials that left when they got bored after people started worshiping them. In this particular episode Apollo takes over the Enterprise to make its crew his worshipers. The producers probably chose Apollo for this role because he did something similar when he took a ship full of men in the Hymn to Apollo.

For a look at gods in your television, click here! Christi Malmberg

Apollo- by Igor Stravinsky

    Apollo is a a modern ballet in two parts honoring the life of the great god Apollo. The first part, tells the story of Apollo's birth; sired by the gods in the infinite chaos. This piece is identified by a booming tempo accompanied by a lighter beat that almost seems to form a conversation. The overall rhythm is a slow four-four that frames the high, arching melody very well. It identifies itself as a modern piece of music by its often changing key signature and lack of a definite pattern.

    The second part is simply a tribute to Apollo's changing nature. The meter and rhythm remain fairly similar, while the melody takes it upon itself to perform wild feats that the more reserved first half did not really display.

    I think it is intersting how music can form emotions and ideas in people's heads. This piece does an exceptional job of bringing Apollo to life with mere notes on paper.

    This piece of music does a tremendous job of keeping the spirit of Apollo alive. Not only does it strive to bring forth his nature, as illustrated in various myths, to music; but he also creates an atmosphere of wonder and delight that must have paralled that experienced by Homer's audiences in those long ago recitals. The powerful booming of the music at times displays the wrath that apollo shows to his enemys, while the quiet and more subdued music displays his more friendly and loving side. The themes and tenets carry over very well to modern times.

    Stravinsky: Apollo (Apollon Musagete)

    Ballet in Two Scenes

    Columbia Symphony Orchestra

    "Columbia" Masterworks

Apollo and Daphne- Sculpted by Bernini (1598-1680)

    Bernini, an artist of the early colonial period, sculpts Apollo and Daphne. The sculpture shows a nude Dahpne running away from her persistant lover Apollo who follows quickly on her footsteps. The smooth lines and young faces, not to mention the hand-carved oaken base, give the sculpture a more modern air than its Greek ancestors. But, because of the lack of pupils and the subsequent dirth of clothing it seems almost as if Bernini seeks to copy the old Greek and Roman stylings rather than create one of his own. This is interesting in and of itself because in a lot of the art work we saw the artist left traces of their own time period and culture all over the work.

    This seems to imply a respect not only of mythology, but of the ancient world in general. This would suggest that the ancient world and its ideas are still studied and even used in the near past and even the present. I think Berninin did an incredible job of bringing to life the myth in stone. The longing look on Apollo's face causes him to seem more human than god-like. That is most likely why the sculptor chose this event in Apollo's life. It translates well to today because I think it emodies the myth so well it is able to draw people in; sending their memories spiraling through the ages to that misty meadow where Apollo vainly persued his lady love.

Apollo And Daphne- Painted by Anthonie Waterloo

To see the image, click on this link!

Here we see another image of Apollo and Daphne, this time using painting. This image, painted in the 20th century, shows something I had not seen about this particular myth; a look of anguish on Apollo's face. Always before it seemed as if Apollo had only lust for Daphne and simply showed a childish pouting when she turns into the willow. But Antonio interpets Apollo's feelings as genuine and shows that pain and loss well in his painting. This transends to today's audience with the easily relatible feeling of a love that is unattainable. The artist shows the true pain of the lovestruck Apollo, not simply his brash and fierce persuit of Daphne. Looking at a mythological tale at different angles and levels is very imporant in understanding what these myths actually stood for. Many themes and hidden messages lie hidden within every paragraph and the differing views both people and artists can take toward them show how many different perceptions there are in the world.

Location: Ann Arbor, MI Artist: Anthonie Waterloo Nationality: Dutch Artist Dates: ca. 1610-1690

Title: Apollo and Daphne, No. 2 from a series of six mythological subjects Date: n.d. Object Type: print Medium: etching Subjects:

Holding Institution: The University of Michigan Museum of Art Accession No.: 1964/1.143

Image Source: The University of Michigan Museum of Art Image Accession No.: PCD4160-2011-0905-77

To Apollo- Written by Robert Herrick

"Thou mighty lord and master of the lyre,

Unshorn Apollo,come and re-inspire

My fingers so the lyrick-strings to move,

That I may play and sing a hymne to love"

    This poem appeals to Apollo's musical side. His love of peace and order. It seems his appeal to people has transended over the ages so that even fairly modern authors appeal to the great god Apollo for aid in their creativity. What is interesting about this though is its similarity to the invocation of the muses in some of the myths we have read. The difference lies in the fact that Apollo, rather than the muses, is being invoked. The central invocation though remains very similar and implies a close link between modern and classical literature. This speaks of a feeling of power that the gods still hold over us and that if we ask for a little luck perhaps it just might be granted. The author asks Apollo to inspire a hymn of love. This is most likely a reference to the many loves of Apollo.

    Hesperides by Robert Herrick

    Houghton, Mifflin, and Company: Boston.


    Call Number: 821.4 H43he

    Rusell D. Cole Library, Cornell College

    In the end, it is the art, music, and writing that keeps the gods immortal. Long after the last stone of the last temple of Apollo has faded away into dust his name will be remembered becuase of Homer, Bernini, and the scores of other talented people that have brought the gods to life. And only by adding modern interpitations to the gods can we eer hope to have people relate to them. Your kleos is assured Apollo, you will live forever.

Please Note: All Photographs and Paintings are Linked to their Original Site

Last Update: 29 July 1999
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