Ovid – The Fall of Icarus

Bought at the Rossiya Mall, Erevan

There is more mythology in this book than the sole story of recklessness – or bravery – of Icarus flying too close to the sun :

Drawn on by his eagerness for the open sky, he left his guide and soared upwards, till he came too close to the blazing sun…

Ovid, the fall of Icarus

Scylla, daughter of Nisus, loves Minos, son of Europe, king of Creta (the cradle of Jupiter), who plundered the shores of Megara. Scylla loves him, though he is assaulting her father’s kingdom :

Happy the javelin he touched, and happy the reins he gathered in his hands

Ovid, the fall of Icarus

Althaea mourns the death of her two brothers Toxeus and Plexippus at the hands of her son Meleager :

You lie dead, nothing but chill ghosts and a few ashes

Ovid, the fall of Icarus

But Althaea has to wreak vengeance, though justice on her own son wears the attire of a crime

Let this pyre consume the child I bore

Ovid, the fall of Icarus

Humble and modest Baucis and Philemon offer their hospitality to Jupiter and Mercury, disguised as mortals. The gratefulness of the Gods raise Baucis and Philemon to the status of apostles, guarding the temple, and being granted to die simultaneously and turn to trees for the eternity.

Whom the gods love are gods themselves, and those who have worshipped should be worshipped too

Ovid, the fall of Icarus

Erysichthon the Thessalian, cuts the huge sacred oak of Ceres. Blood flows where he hit the oak with his axe, releasing the voice of the nymph living in the tree, as she is on her dying breath.

There is a reckoning. At Ceres’ request, Hunger comes all the way from the mountain called Caucasus in the icy land of Scythia to get hunger into Erysichton’s body. Suffering from permanent and insatiable hunger, he eventually ends up devouring his own limbs.

There is one important lesson : never offense the gods. Calydon, the Naiads and Erysichthon learnt that.