Thursday, August 24, 2006



Vox Popoli, American Cassandra:
It always amuses me when people dismiss individuals like Mr. Buchanan as Cassasandras [sic]; it makes me wonder if they've actually read any Homer.
I'm not sure what Vox means, but I think he's alluding to Cassandra's role in Greek mythology as a prophetess. Cassandra, however, does not prophesy in Homer.

Timothy Gantz, Early Greek Myth, vol. 1 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), p. 92, summarizes the evidence:
Kassandra is never made by Homer to possess prophetic powers, although she seems to have done so in the Kypria, where she prophesies to Paris (p. 39 PEG), and Pindar calls her mantis, "seer," at Pythian 11.33. The same poet's Paian 8 (where her predictions are probably vain) and Bakchylides' Ode 23 (see apparatus) present a similar view. But predictions that no one believes (if they had, matters would obviously have taken much less interesting turns) do not necessarily require Apollo; Kassandra's relationship with the god as we know it first appears in Aischylos' Agamemnon, where we read that she promised herself to him, received the gift of inspiration, and then reneged on the promise (Ag 1202-12).

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