Love and Longing in Art: Achilles and Patroclus

The story of Achilles and Patroclus is central to the story of Iliad. It is the death of Patroclus – when clad in Achilles’s armour – that ends the feud between Achilles and Agamemnon. It is the death of his friend that ignites Achilles into action, and sets into motion a sequence of events that […]

Love and Longing in Art: Troilus and Cressida

Last night, I was reading a re-telling of the Trojan War story by Olivia Coolidge, and I chanced upon the tale of Troilus and Cressida. This is one of the few stories in the Iliad that speaks of a woman’s betrayal of a man. The common theme in mythology is of how men use women […]

Love and Longing in Art: Demeter and Persephone

When we think of the phrase ‘love and longing’, we often just think of romantic love. In today’s post we’ll look at one of Greek mythology’s most famous stories – about the love of a mother for her daughter. Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest. If there is a mother-goddess in the Greek […]

Love and Longing in Art: Orpheus and Eurydice

Orpheus was a musician, poet and prophet in ancient Greek mythology. Like the Hindu Tumbura and Narada, his music was thought to be so delectable as to melt rocks, coax animals into submission, and to divert the course of rivers. Some versions of the Jason myth name Orpheus as one of the argonauts. However, Orpheus’s […]

Love and Longing in Art: Echo and Narcissus

In Book III of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, he tells the story of Echo, the talkative mountain nymph, and Narcissus, the vain youth from Thespia. Echo The tale, like most tales in mythology, begins with Zeus’s desire to frolic with the mountain nymphs while hiding from the jealous eye of Hera, his wife. Some versions say that Zeus tasked […]