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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Agamemnon January 17, Mythology

Honey, I'm home!  What's for dinner?
Nobody names their kids Agamemnon anymore, and there’s probably a good reason.  When the wife of Agamemnon’s brother Menelaus ran off with another man, Agamemnon was even more eager to go to war over it than Menelaus himself.  When the winds weren’t favorable, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis.  To get Iphigenia out of the house, Agamemnon told his wife Clytemnestra that Iphigenia was going to marry Achilles.  Unfortunately, Clytemnestra happened to run into Achilles and when she mentioned the wedding, Achilles was like, “Wedding, what wedding?” and she caught wise.  In later versions of the myth, Iphigenia shows up at the sacrifice, and at the last minute Artemis supplies a deer to take her place, but personally I trust the earlier versions.  If Iphigenia had survived the sacrifice, it seems like somebody would have mentioned that right off.  Anyhow, Agamemnon got to the war right on schedule, where he made himself as a fierce and unrelenting fighter – unfortunately, he did most of his fighting with his fellow Greeks, especially Achilles.  Usually these fights were about women one or the other of them had captured and the other one wanted.  First it was Chrysies, then it was Bresies, until finally Agamemnon ended up with Cassandra.  Cassandra went around telling everybody about the future and what was going to happen and everything, so nobody wanted her very much, not even Agamemnon, but she was better than nothing.  When Agamemnon returned to Mycenae, his wife had a couple of big surprises for him.  One surprise was that she’d taken a lover.  The other was that she was going to kill Agamemnon.  Maybe she could have put up with Agamemnon going off to fight a war for nine years, and maybe even bringing home a talky female slave to do the hibbidy-bibbidy with, and maybe even sacrificing their daughter to Artemis – it was doing all three that was hard to swallow.  Anyway, Cassandra avenged Iphigenia’s death by murdering Agamemnon, then it was left to Agamemnon’s son Orestes to avenge his death, and then… but that’s another story.

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