(An interview with Doubting Thomas).THE MYTH OF ICARUS
Is Ikaria the island where Icarus fell?
I can’t tell you. I hadn’t been born yet and there is no video-tape of the accident. The nearest we have to a video is Brueghel’s painting but this is not enough evidence. It’s a painting made in Holland thousands of miles away from the Aegean, many centuries later. Though it’s a fact that it looks like those amateur videos that are focused on an innocent scene and accidentaly captured a tragedy. Then they become famous and their makers sell them to the media for a lot of money. It could be a video, but it’s not. It’s an oil painting -a artistic fancy, in other words.
Yet people say that’s where he fell.
People say a lot of things. For example in every encyclopedia and guide book we read, «Ikaria, known from the fall of Icarus, e.t.c.» People love to be told stories especially when accidents are involved.
Yes but what about the name of the island?
Oh, names may mean something or may mean nothing. We can go to the registrar and change our names according to our fancies and make various connections and associations. Or without changing the name, we can change it’s meaning or it’s origin to suit our convenience. For example, there is a Greek island called Karpathos, that is, it’s got the same name as the Karpathian mountains in Transylvania, Romania. Now the Karpathians (of the island) are free to associate the name of their island with Dracula; to claim, for example, that the mountains of Romania got their name from their island; evenmore, that Dracula was born in Karpathos and after having sucked all the blood out of the inhabitants as a kid, when he grew up, he flew (he was a vampire) to a larger place with a larger population and an endless supply of blood. Nevertheless, today, even if the Aegean Karpathians had thought of doing this, they are too late. The Romanians have taken every advantage of the tale already and Dracula’s castle is the biggest tourist attraction of their country. There would be a huge diplomatic clash between Greece and Romania, if the Aegean Karpathians claimed their island as the birthplace of Dracula. There is so much money and prestige involved, you see.
So the association between Ikaria and Icarus is a lie?
I don’t say it’s a lie. All I say is I don’t know. There is no video and there were no reliable eye-witnesses, BBC, CNN, SKY NEWS and so on. Maybe there was an amateur video (by a cousin of that plower in the painting, for example) or a pilot shot for a documentary on a rustic subject; because it had captured «The Fall» it survived till the 16th century and that’s what Brueghel saw and he made the famous painting. All I’m saying is that we must find and watch the original video to be sure of the fact. For example, something like this.
Next week a new episode of the interview with Doubting Thomas.
Subject-matter : «Ikaria political« : Red Rock, Dry Rock, Devil’s island, Island of Exile
Yes, we must definitely find the Icarus video. I am also interested in the videos of other high flyers such as Abbas Ibn Firnas, Leonardo da Vinci, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi etc. I looked at youtube but none is available. Leonardo’s depiction of the Icarus accident is a collector item and would be OK instead of the original video. I wonder if Doubting Thomas has seen any of those?
Tuesday February 13, 2007 – 04:56pm (EST)
Keep looking. Doubting Thomas is right. In the times we live, what’s not on a photo or a video, just doesn’t exist!..
Thursday February 15, 2007 – 01:14am (PST)
That’s interesting to know that… will browse thru youtube and dailmotion to find anything on this… and add it to my documentary collection @ http://iamyuva.wordpress.com/documentaries
Wednesday February 21, 2007 – 07:54am (GMT)
THE IONIAN MYTHS
Related to: «Icarus in the pool»
The Myth of Icarus, the flying man, belongs to the ‘Circle of Theseus’, which in its turn belongs to a larger group of closely related myths, all of them being the foundation of the Ionian Greek heritage and identity.
In simple words, to know these myths meant that you were Greek.
Though it is certain that the Ionians conducted savage warfare against the Carians, the Cretans and other peoples who inhabited the coasts of the Aegean, their myths speak very little about it. They speak about achievements of the mind instead; ingenious devices, machines, new political ideas (‘the city-state’ for instance was supposed to be Theseus’ invention), new kind of ships (‘the 50oared that could sail against any sea current), new gods like Dionysus who was –what else?- the difficult art of wine making and drinking personified or rather deified, as it should be.
To know these myths meant that you were Greek.
Thursday January 24, 2008 – 10:59pm (EET)
To know these myths meant that you were Greek.
It is very interesting how little magic is involved in them. For example, in the myth of Deadalus and Icarus, unlike the similar myths about flyers from Persia and India, we are told bluntly that it was enough for a man to glue feathers with wax to make wings and fly away! We are not even told that the flyer had to move his arms very fast! Isn’t it absurd?
There is no magic and yet, there precisely lies the magic. The myth is a challenge to the mind. How on earth did Deadalus and Icarus do it? How did Theseus come up with the idea to seduce Ariadne and how did she come up with the idea to give him the string, Ariadne’s clue, to find his way in the Labyrinth?
These are logical myths. Their purpose is not to make you stand in awe but to make you want to do the same.
For example, you see that you weren’t able to fly with feathers glued with wax tied around your arms? Your head is in bandages? Don’t worry. Blame Dedalus who probably knew a few tricks that he didn’t say. But if you were patient enough to do all that feather and wax and leather straps work, if you were as crazy as to jump from a high place trying to fly, you can build yourself a nice little boat now. Plant a nice mast, rigging and sail and set off towards the unknown.
These are logical myths. And there is nothing more crazy than logic. But it’s magic because it makes us move. Not too often against each other, I hope.
Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:02pm (EET)
THE MYTH OF ICARUS AND ICARIA (1)
When the Ionians who of course knew well the myths of the ‘Circle of Theseus’, came from Miletus and settled in Ikaria in the 7th century B.C. or while they were sailing past and round it, they must have observed the resemblance of the island’s Phoenician name, Ikor, (most of the Aegean islands bear Phoenician names) to the name of Ikaros (Icarus) and they must have told their brothers, the Athenians. As the Phoenicians weren’t there anymore to contradict them, the Athenians thought: Nice! We can complete the myth of Deadalus and Icarus. That place must have been where Icarus fell and drowned! There is wild wind-beaten sea around it, called “Sea of Ikor”? That’s it!
And so you have an entire sea and an entire island dragged out of nothingness and into the Ionian universe: “The place where Icarus fell” = Island Icarus (in Thucydides) = Ikaria (in the archives of Venice and to the present day).
The myth was a great one and the Ikarians were lucky to have acquired it. Even Nero the mad Roman emperor loved that story and he had tried to adapt and stage set it in the theater! Only that he was soon short of actors because the play was too realistic. The Icaruses dropped themselves from the ceiling and died!
Meanwhile the Ikarians worked on their myth and even claimed they had found the tomb of Icarus. In fact it is said that they showed it to visitors in the Roman time (‘tourism’ as we know it was born exactly then).
Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:05pm (EET)
THE MYTH OF ICARUS AND ICARIA (2)
So it was all propaganda, you will say. Of course it was. Isn’t it all? Those myths were heavy with propaganda and partiotic stuff. What else is a myth after all if not a way to turn reality the way we want it?
I find this fascinating. The mind connects and works with whatever finds handy.
Cabet and the utopians started and social conditions made so as today the Myth of Icarus is associated with the idea of Freedom. Since the 19th century people refer to it as “The Flight of Icarus” rather than “The Fall of Icarus”. Ikaria again takes advantage. By some game of coincidence, it so happened that its inhabitants have never been slaves to nobody, were never invaded, lived primitive perhaps, but free –sometimes (good times) carefree. “Welcome to the Island of Icarus” reads the big sign in the harbour of the capital. Agios Kyrikos. Does it mean “This is the site of the most famous flying accident in the world”?
No. For the people I know at least, it means (consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously) “Welcome to the Island of Freedom”.
The Island of Freedom… What a heavy weight our own propaganda has put on our shoulders!
Why couldn’t we rather have something lighter and more neutral like “Welcome to the Island of Windmills” instead?
Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:09pm (EET)
ότι θα γράψω τα παραπάνω και στα Ελληνικά, ε;
Ε, λοιπόν πολύ αμφιβάλλω…
Thursday January 24, 2008 – 11:11pm (EET)
Οχι μωρε. Αστο. Δεν χρειαζεται. Τρεχα γυρευε – που λες κι εσυ…
«Το Νησι της Ελευθεριας» -αυτο μονο ας μεινει. Πραγματι, τι μεγαλο βαρος.
«Το Νησι της Ισοτητας» -να προσθεσω εγω (αν και ασχετο με το μυθο). Κι αυτο ειναι βαρος.
Χριστε μου ευτυχως που υπαρχει το κρασι! 🙂
Friday January 25, 2008 – 04:22am (PST)
«Με το κεφάλι δεμένο μέσα σε επιδέσμους; Μη χολοσκάς. Μπορείς τώρα να φτιάξεις ένα ωραίο σκάφος…»
Χαχαχα – Μ’ άρεσε πολύ!
Saturday January 26, 2008 – 02:02pm (EET)
Of the muses, children of Memory, perhaps.
Reality the way we want it?
No, I think it’s reality the way we don’t want it.
Think of Oedipus (Tiresias: ‘What made me forget? I never should have come.’)
Or Agamemnon returning home. Or Odysseus for that matter.
There is a political dimension, but you can’t limit it to just that!
Thursday February 14, 2008 – 12:20am (CET)
But now I’ve argued with AKK it looks like I don’t appreciate him setting out the myth and so much background for us.
So to cover up the argumentativeness, can I add Auden’s poem?
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot<
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Thursday February 14, 2008 – 10:53am (CET)
Simon G, maybe AKK should have put the word ‘propaganda’ between quotes. Yet for the Greeks, politics has run in their veins since always, so terms like this sound much less heavy. They are part of the culture.
I don’t know why, the epigram on Aeschylus grave came in my mind. It didn’t read anything about him being a big shot playwright. It read «The long curly haired Persians will remember his valour in battle». The poet wanted to be remembered as the young soldier who had been and had fought for the freedom of his city in Marathon.
Thursday February 14, 2008 – 11:33am (PST)
Heh heh heh! You caught me :)) Auden’s poem was behind my choice of Brughel’s painting to go with Nana’s hilarious interview of DT.
Thursday February 14, 2008 – 11:40am (PST)
You are right. I over-simplified. Put ***propaganda*** in many quotes.
Friday February 15, 2008 – 02:04pm (EET)