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The agent sags and flops, like a medium when his voices desert him. For the Homeric heroes there was no guilty party, only guilt, immense guilt.


That was the miasma that impregnated blood, dust, and tears. With an intuition the moderns jettisoned and have never recovered, the heroes did not distinguish between the evil of the mind and the evil of the deed, murder and death. Guilt for them is like a boulder blocking the road; it is palpable, it looms. Perhaps the guilty party is as much a sufferer as the victim. In confronting guilt, all we can do is make a ruthless computation of the forces involved.

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony

What was left - Cadmus's parting gift to men - was the alphabet, and from it both history and poetry, and so our world, were born. Yet the world of myth is not dead - it is present now as it was in the time of Homer. The most dangerous event since the beginning of time has been the gods' discovery of us, their Olympian fascination with these human creatures that led them first to invade our world, then to assume human form for their own purposes and their ownterrible games.

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The consequences of that fascination are the extraordinary encounters that we know as the myths - the great, hypnotic, erotic, often contradictory stories that Calasso walks us back into as if they are some vast, half-ruined palace we had forgotten we owned.

High above, Athena blushed at the sight of her father bestraddled by a girl.

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An Achaean sailor saw them and gasped. Could it be Tethys, eager to see the sky? Or just some Nereid with clothes on her back for a change? Or was it that trickster Poseidon carrying off another wench? Europa, meantime, could see no end to this crazy sea crossing.

But she guessed what would happen to her when they hit land again. Please, give this necklace to my mother. But she bit her tongue: why swap one abductor for another? But how did it all begin? A group of girls were playing by the river, picking flowers.

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Again and again such scenes were to prove irresistible to the gods. Europa and her friends were likewise gathering narcissi, hyacinths, violets, roses, thyme.

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  • All of a sudden they find themselves surrounded by a herd of bulls. And one of those bulls is dazzling white, his small horns flashing like jewels. So much so that, though shy at first, Europa now brings her flowers to his white muzzle.