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“Chiron and Achilles” by John Singer Sargent

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John Singer Sargent, Chiron and Achilles, 1922-25. Oil on canvas, 347.98 × 317.5 cm. © MFA with permission by fair use. On view at Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Colonnade (Gallery 204B).

A rather complete compendium of Chiron can be found at theoi.com. A small excerpt:

KHEIRON (or Chiron) was the eldest and wisest of the Centaurs, a tribe of half-horse men. But unlike the rest of this tribe he was an immortal god, a son of the Titan Kronos and half-brother of Zeus. Kheiron’s mother was the nymph Philyra who was coupling with Kronos when his wife suddenly appeared on the scene. To escape notice he transformed himself into a horse, and in this way sired a half-equine son.

The Kentauros was a great teacher who mentored many of the great heroes of myth including Jason, Peleus, Asklepios, Aristaios and Achilles.

The scene depicts the generic theme of the education of Achilles by Chiron.

Achilles meets some of the criteria of the warrior-hero, that is, Mars, including the violent temperament that kills both friend and foe. First, on the similarities of Heracles and Mars, see these two:

A third strategy, hitherto overlooked, would be to compare ancient reports surrounding the various planets with traditions involving heroes or heroines identified with the respective planets. Ancient beliefs surrounding the planet Mars, for example, might be compared with traditions surrounding Heracles, the identification of the Greek strongman with the red planet being widespread in Hellenistic times.65 Here, too, it would appear students of archaeoastronomy have overlooked a valuable source of information. Indeed, it was the vast nexus of characteristics shared in common between the planet Mars and Heracles which led me to postulate that the ultimate key to the myriad of mythological traditions surrounding the Greek strongman was the primeval appearance and unusual behavior of the red planet.66

65. H. Seyrig, “Antiquities Syriennes,” Syria 64 (1944-45), p. 62. See also B. L. van der Waerden, The Birth of Astronomy (New York, 1974), p. 190.
66. E. Cochrane, “Heracles and the Planet Mars,” AEON I:4 (1988), pp. 89-106; Idem, “The Death of Heracles,” AEON II:5 (1991), pp. 55-73.

  • E. Cochrane, “On Mars and Pestilence,” Aeon, vol. III, iss. 4, pp. 59-79, 1993.
    [Bibtex]
    @Article{EvCochraneAeonVol3No4MarsPestilence,
      author =    {Ev Cochrane},
      title =     {On Mars and Pestilence},
      journal =   {Aeon},
      year =      {1993},
      volume =    {III},
      number =    {4},
      pages =     {59-79},
      month =     {December},
      abstract =  {Ev Cochrane analyzes the worldwide myth of Mars as an agent of pestilence and disease. PAGE 59},
      comment =   {ISSN 1066-5145 AEON, 2326 Knapp, Ames, IA 50010, USA Copyright (c) December 1993},
      timestamp = {2016-04-18}
    }

An underlying theme of this series of essays upon Heracles is that the Greek strongman can serve as a prototype for reconstructing the myth of the warrior-hero. Nearly every fundamental motive belonging to the mythological dossier of the warrior-hero is attested in the cult of Heracles. Nearly every significant episode in Heracles’ career, in turn, receives illumination by comparison with analogous episodes from the careers of other prominent warrior-heroes, particularly Nergal, Indra, and Thor.

  • E. Cochrane, “Martian Metamorphoses: The Planet Mars in Ancient Myth and Religion.” Aeon Press, 1997, vol. 3.
    [Bibtex]
    @InBook{Cochrane1997TheDeathOfHeracles,
      chapter =      {The Death of Heracles},
      title =        {Martian Metamorphoses: The Planet Mars in Ancient Myth and Religion},
      publisher =    {Aeon Press},
      year =         {1997},
      author =       {Cochrane, Ev},
      volume =       {3},
      series =       {Maverick Science},
      month =        {ene},
      author_sort =  {Cochrane, Ev},
      calibreid =    {233},
      comment =      {Free PDF Download ISBN-10: 0965622908 ISBN-13: 978-0965622905},
      cover =        {/home/trismegisto/Calibre Library/Ev Cochrane/The Martian Metamorphoses\_ The Death of Heracles (233)/cover.jpg},
      file =         {Cochrane1997TheDeathOfHeracles.pdf:media/trismegisto/Vitamin/Documents/Bibliography/Cochrane1997TheDeathOfHeracles.pdf:PDF},
      formats =      {pdf},
      howpublished = {Maverick Science website},
      library_name = {Calibre Library},
      size =         {248279 octets},
      tags =         {electric universe, Mythology, Mars},
      timestamp =    {2016-02-14},
      title_sort =   {Martian Metamorphoses: The Death of Heracles, The},
      url =          {http://maverickscience.com/mars.htm},
      uuid =         {e575c99c-eef5-44c5-b343-8d342fd062d4}
    }

Peter Mungo Jupp tells us:

Lesbos lies very close to the Troy of legend. In fact one of the heroes of the Trojan war, Achilles, sacked the cities of Lesbos as had Hercules a generation before. The still existing castle of Molivos is said to be where one of these sieges took place. This was an era of what we would now call “high piracy”. Not only was Troy besieged but Homer tells us some twenty three other cities and towns were captured and sacked by Achilles alone. In other words chaos ruled in the Mediterranean basin.

On the relation of Achilles and divine fire, Hugh Crosthwaite has many references in his book:

In Homer, Iliad: XVIII, flames are seen round the head of Achilles.

  • [PDF] H. Crosthwaite, Ka, Metron Publications, 1996.
    [Bibtex]
    @Book{crosthwaite-ka,
      Title                    = {Ka},
      Author                   = {Hugh Crosthwaite},
      Publisher                = {Metron Publications},
      Year                     = {1996},
    
      Abstract                 = {A Handbook of Mythology, Sacred Practices, Electrical Phenomena, and their Linguistic Connections in the Ancient Mediterranean World. Introduction by Alfred de Grazia.},
      File                     = {crosthwaite-ka.pdf:crosthwaite-ka.pdf:PDF},
      Owner                    = {trismegisto},
      Timestamp                = {2016.01.22},
      Url                      = {http://www.grazian-archive.com/quantavolution/QuantaHTML/_start_here.htm}
    }

 

 

  • [PDF] Hesiod, Theogony, H. G. Evelyn-White, Ed., G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Heinemann, 1914.
    [Bibtex]
    @Book{hesiod-theogony,
      Title                    = {Theogony},
      Author                   = {Hesiod},
      Editor                   = {Hugh G. Evelyn-White},
      Publisher                = {G. P. Putnam's Sons, Heinemann},
      Year                     = {1914},
      Note                     = {Full text in HTML: http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/theogony.htm
    WorldCat: http://worldcat.org/oclc/41785942
    Place publ:
     London
    Date publ:
     1914
    Phys descr:
     print, xlviii, 657, 8 p.
     17 cm.
    Pages:
     78-153
    Word count:
     6969
    Notes:
     with an English translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White.
     "Contains practically all that remains of the post-Homeric and pre-academic epic poetry"--Pref.
     Includes index.
     Bibliography: p. xliii-xlviii.
    Subjects:
     Epic poetry, Greek--Translations into English
     Hymns, Greek (Classical)--Translations into English
     Hesiod--Translations into English
     Gods, Greek--Poetry
     Epic poetry, Greek},
      Series                   = {Loeb Classical Library},
    
      File                     = {hesiod-theogony.pdf:hesiod-theogony.pdf:PDF},
      Owner                    = {trismegisto},
      Timestamp                = {2016.01.18},
      Url                      = {http://data.perseus.org/texts/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0020.tlg001.perseus-eng1}
    }

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

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