Friday, May 4, 2012

May I? Day 4

I'm editting today, but wanted to give something quick and different here. A few lines of iambic pentameter referencing the story of Candaules and Gyges from Herodatus's histories.

In darkness on her throne beneath the earth
the dead and nameless queen did read her tale.
The king - her mate who'd shown her as his prize
betrayed her naked form to unfit; eyes
and slain in turn be he who'd seen her form.
And now she sits there naked on the throne
and reads the in the tale she's further stripped.
The writer of events has named the killer and the king
but left her name buried in the sands of time.

The first thing that strikes me about the Histories is that it isn't history the way we know it today; it is much more narrative, much less focused on root causes and historical context and more on individuals and their stories. Candaules, for example, was so intent on proving to his advisor Gyges that his wife was the most beautiful woman in the world that he contrived to let the man see her naked. The digital camera was a few thousand years from being invented, so this involved hiding in her bedroom, getting caught, and having the embarrassed woman convince him to murder her husband to get even with her. It's the kind of story, with broad characters leading to some lesson, that would not feel out of place in a religious text.

Interestingly,while she does instigate her husband's murder, the wife is never given a name and vanishes from the narrative after marrying Gyges. That was the prompt for today's exercize.
Today's image prompt is courtesty of bo_frannson onFlickr under a Create Commons non-commercial license.

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