Did you know Helen and Menelaos had a daughter? Not everyone does. Her name was Hermione, and while every one else was off in Troy she was left behind and forgotten. Like. Helen? Menelaos? You definitely lose the parent of the year award. Odysseos faked MADNESS in order to try and stay and raise his son. Helen and Menelaos are so wrapped up in their nonsense it’s like Hermione Doesn’t Even Exist.
Supposedly she was engaged to Orestes. Orestes was the son of angry-faced Agamemnon and take-control Klytemnestra. BUT after the war she was married off to Achilles’ son Neoptolemos. This didn’t last, however, because Neoptolemos was an idiot (more on that some other day). Once Neoptolemos was dead Hermione was then free to marry Orestes. Or. Well. At least according to some versions of the story.
BUT WHO CARES ABOUT THAT. What I want to know is what was she doing BEFORE she was married off to Neoptolemos The Idiot? She was alone in Sparta ABANDONED and being raised by some nursemaid APPARENTLY, unless her grandmother Leda was still alive. WHAT I LIKE TO THINK is that she grieved and was angry and ultimately: got over it and moved on with her life. I want more of this woman and we do not get enough of her AT ALL. One day I will probably write a short story for her, because come on. She survived being surrounded by idiots. She reminds me a lot of Gorgo, who is this Spartan princess Herodotos tells us about who, also, was surrounded by idiots. I like to think they are related and that Hermione would be proud of her.
Want more bad-ass Greek Ladies?
Click HERE for Penelope.
Click HERE for Klytemnestra.
Come back next week for Aegiale.
Klytemnestra is the wife of angry-face Agamemnon who, right before he left for Troy, killed their daughter Iphegenia. She, understandably, did not forgive him for this. The story goes that she took as lover Aegisthos, who was Agamemnon’s cousin (I think? Their family tree is super messed up, considering Aegisthos was the son of Thyestes and Thyestes own daughter Pelopia, It gets really complicated really fast).
ANYWAY. When Agamemnon came home (with a lady in tow, I might add) she welcomed him AND THEN MURDERED HIM, with the help of her lover-lad. This is, of course, just another way we see Greek men’s fear of women’s sexuality exposed. HOW DARE SHE take a lover. LOOK HOW DANGEROUS is it when women make these decisions. DEATH and MURDER and MORE DEATH. *ahem* Not that I’m biased. At all.
I love Klytemnestra (at least the one portrayed by Aeschylos) because she is such a good villain. You understand she is motivated by grief at the death of her daughter and outrage at her husband’s infidelity. She took her life, her love life, and her desire for vengeance in her own hands, asked for no apologies, and regretted nothing.
Want more bad-ass ladies? Last week was all about Penelope and next week is about Hermione. See you then!
While Odysseos was off traveling and fighting (and getting lost, pff, men) Penelope had to stay at home, raise a child, take care of a city, fend of suitors, take care of civic and religious responsibilities, all without offending anyone and maintaining relationships with any allies she could gather. She is known for her loyalty and, most importantly for Greek men, for not jumping into bed with a man who was not Odysseos. Greek men were really terrified of women’s sexuality and did everything they could to control it. *major eye roll* ANYWAY. What I, personally, love about Penelope is how bad-ass she is. She is able to juggle a lot of responsibilities and has to be majorly smart to outwit all of the idiots that surround her. I also love her loyalty, but really, I love how smart she is.
I don’t, alas, have time to do full Iliad posts – yet. BUT, I miss this and I want to be able to post SOMETHING for you all, so I have a couple of “Meanwhile In…” posts for you. Because the Iliad is super MANLY MEN I thought it would be fun to think about what is happening at home with the lady-folk who got left behind.
Next week we’ll check in with Klytemnestra!