Friday, October 11, 2013


Aphrodite's Gifts to Pandora

Among the gifts which the gods gave Pandora, Hesiod (Works and Days, line 66) includes the following gifts given by Aphrodite: painful longing (πόθον ἀργαλέον) and cares that gnaw the limbs (γυιοβόρους μελεδώνας). How can these dreadful things be considered as gifts? M.L. West in his commentary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978; rpt. 1996), p. 159, explains:
πόθον: the longing felt by a man because of her, not longing felt by her; but it is treated as an attribute of hers. Likewise the μελεδῶναι. The transference seems strange to us because we think or desire or preoccupation as originating inside us; the Greek thinks of them as invading from outside.

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