For centuries people have spoken of the Greek myths as of something to be rediscovered, reawoken. The truth is it is the myths that are still out there waiting to wake us and be seen by us, like a tree waiting to greet our newly opened eyes.
Roberto Calasso - The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony
What song the Sirens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture.
Sir Thomas Browne - Hydriotaphia 1658
Who were the Sirens? And what did their singing sound like? According to myth very few mariners ever heard those divine harmonies and lived to tell the tale. In Homer’s Odyssey there are two sirens, neither of them named, but in later narratives their numbers vary; three, four, five. Logic and consistency are not characteristics of the creative psyche. Post-Homeric tradition asserts that, if a mortal succeeds in hearing the music of these bird-footed temptresses, and survives, then the singers themselves will die, and this is the myth behind the founding of Naples, a siren-city if ever there was one. By means of a clever trick Odysseus heard the Sirens singing, but did not die. Consequently, the drowned body of Parthenope was washed up on the neighbouring shore, giving her name to the first Greek settlement, founded there four thousand years ago.
Sirens, Naples, Italy, the south in particular, alluring voices and magical journeys; these are the themes of this collection. In part I the women of the Odyssey speak, in part II myths and legends are explored and retold, in part III the real world begins to manifest, but never completely independant of the dreaming realms.
|Part I||Part II||Part III||Parthenope's Burden I||Dolphins||Virgil's Egg II||Circe||The Shrine of Hadranos||Dog Days||Hades||Black Goddess||Stilla Maris||Sirens||An Etruscan gentleman meditates on his wife’s tomb at Sovana||Swimmer||Scylla||Pompeii A.D. 79||Mood Music||Calypso||Alchemist||Orario||Leucothea||Unicorn||The Syrian Hostess||Nausicäa||Alicorn||The Catacombs||Athene||Il Millione’s Rhino||Shell Song||Eurycleia||Actæon||Prospero's Island||Helen||Virgil’s Egg I||Bells||Penelope||Palaemon||Parthenope’s Burden II||The Words of Hermes||Between Friends||The Furnaces||Sighting||The Question||Lost for words||Montepulciano||The death of Saint Clare||The Silence of Trees||Oreades|