This is a post for my March book challenge, #marchmonthofmythology.
The Iliad and the Odyssey contain several stock verses, remnants of the oral storytelling tradition. Before these famous works were written down, they were learned by heart and told, or rather, sung by traveling bards. It’s a lot easier to remember something as long as these epics when they are 1) composed in metric verse instead of prose; 2) contain stock phrases and even whole stock verses. These stock phrases are the building blocks of the epic poems. That isn’t to say they have no meaning – the poet still had the choice of which verse or phrase to put where.
when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared
— Homer, Odyssey (translation Samuel Butler, 1900)
One of these stock verses is the one quoted above: the rise of the goddess Dawn to signify the start of a new day. She flies ahead of her brother Helios, the Sun, and her rosy fingers are the first thing you see in the morning, her saffron dress trailing along behind her. It’s not hard to imagine if you’ve ever seen a beautiful sunrise (like the one in this picture I took one early morning at Utrecht Central Station).
Dawn – or, as the Greeks called her, Eos – is not a particularly prominent goddess in Greek mythology. There are some myths about her falling in love with mortal men, some about her having children with mortal men, but mostly she’s mentioned to signify the transition to a new day. This is why I chose her to start off my book challenge this month. This short post will precede a month filled with more detailed posts about some of my favourite tales and people in Greek mythology. I hope you will enjoy the stories as much as I do, and at least some of my enthusiasm will reflect on these posts.
Eos – a new dawn, a new TBR
The first prompt this month is not the most creative, but like a stock verse in epic poetry, the TBR is something to hold on to in most monthly book challenges. This month I’m once again reading two books with The Magic Book Club: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling, and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. I also want to read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with the Babbling Book Club. Aside from that I’m not setting a TBR, I’ll just see what I want to read if/when I have time to read more. I don’t like putting too much pressure on myself to finish a certain amount of books each month (even if I do set a goal for the whole year.)
What are you reading this month? Is there any book in particular you’re looking forward to? Tell me in the comments below!