Thursday, 11 March 2010


Harmonia in Greek mythology was the Goddess of Harmony. There is controversy who her parents were but one of the myths is that she was the product of a love affair between Ares, God of War and Aphrodite, Goddess of Beauty. Aphrodite was married at the time.

When Harmony grew up she got married and all the Gods came to her wedding including Aphrodite's husband who was spiteful and gave Harmonia a gift: a cursed necklace. This meant that everyone who possessed the necklace would suffer misfortune without knowing what was the cause of it. Harmonia certainly suffered a lot of misfortune and had to go into exile with her husband. While in exile they helped Enchelean people in their conflict with Illyrians (around lake Ohrid ). The mythical people they helped were Eel people (Encheleans), I presume, given such name because they lived around the lake where they could fish for eels.

However, I know that eels are also symbol of temptation and passion. It is interesting here as Harmonia and Cadmus (her husband, a Phoenician Prince, who introduced the first Phoenician alphabet about four thousand years ago) led Encheleans who won over their enemies Illyrians. Thus symbolically they aligned themselves with passion but rose above temptation. They became leaders first and won the war for Encheleans.
Encheleans also went to famous Delphi and plundered the temple, presumably, not overwhelmed by the superstitions of the time,according to the historical records.
The necklace changed hands several times and eventually it was given to a Temple. However, a tyrant stole it to give it his mistress. She gave birth to a son who was said to be mad and he burnt the palace with all the possessions including all the treasures. That was the end of that necklace.
Harmonia myth is a fascinating myth about resistance to harmony, envious destruction of Harmony's quality which is concord and the only way she could elevate herself was eventually through war.
Madness is an interesting concept in Harmonia's myth and it comes across as the only liberation from the cursed necklace that brought misfortune to princess and deity. Is it not just as possible that tyrant's son was not mad but angry enough to put an end to dysfunctional abuse of power? He may have looked mad to some because when person stands up to overwhelming power he does seem to be taking a risk only a madman would. Standing up against the abuse from tyrannical power is often misinterpreted as madness when in fact, it is the only way forward.

I find it fascinating how dictatorial regimes declare dissidents mad and dangerous throughout human history and myths live on.

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