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Poem: "The Snake Goddess" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Snake Goddess"
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dakiwiboid From: dakiwiboid Date: September 22nd, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

A book I strongly recommend

to anyone who's interested in images of the Snake Goddess is Kenneth Lapatin's Mysteries of the Snake Goddess. It turns out that a number of the most famous "Minoan" images are forgeries were cranked out especially to feed the hunger of Sir Arthur Evans and his compatriots for Minoan artifacts. Evans was particularly vulnerable because of his drive to reconstruct Knossos come hell, high water, or lack of authenticity. He was cursed by a version of the same obsession that led Schleimann to dig right through and destroy one stratum after another of the Hill of Hissarlik in pursuit of evidence that would match his dream of Troy. In the process, he probably destroyed a big chunk of the city that actually stood at the time of something very like the Trojan War.

Does the fact that a lot of these statues turn out to be forgeries mean that they aren't valid as religious inspiration? Not necessarily. There are many other authentic Snake Goddess statues.

I think we do need to distinguish between originals, honest copies, reproductions, and out-and-out frauds when we grant our reverence, however. I have a particular interest in forgeries, since an "Etruscan" terra cotta statue of Diana in the St. Louis Art Museum, to which I had a certain devotion as a child, turned out not only to be fake, but to be the work of a very famous forger. Alceo Dossena's Diana the Huntress was beautiful and introduced me to the idea that Diana's worship was more ancient I'd thought, but it was a sham.

I don't think that the Snake Goddess is all that forgotten by scholars, at least. Mainstream religion may try to keep her down, but art historians, students of ancient sculpture, and even literature students find her again and again.

Edited at 2008-09-22 05:45 pm (UTC)
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