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Cassandra
Cassandra
or Kassandra (Ancient Greek: Κασσάνδρα, pronounced [kas̚sándra], also Κασάνδρα), also known as Alexandra, was a daughter of King Priam
Priam
and of Queen Hecuba
Hecuba
of Troy
Troy
in Greek mythology. Cassandra
Cassandra
was cursed to utter prophecies which were true but which no one believed. A common version of her story relates how, in an effort to seduce her, Apollo
Apollo
gave her the power of prophecy. When she refused him, he spat into her mouth to inflict a curse that nobody would ever believe her prophecies. Another version has her falling asleep in a temple, where snakes licked (or whispered in) her ears so that she could hear the future.[a] Cassandra
Cassandra
became a figure of epic tradition and of tragedy. In modern usage her name is employed as a rhetorical device to indicate someone whose accurate prophecies are not believed by those around them.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Mythology

2.1 Biography 2.2 Gift of prophecy 2.3 Fall of Troy
Troy
and aftermath 2.4 Captivity and death

3 Agamemnon
Agamemnon
by Aeschylus 4 Modern adaptations 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 Primary sources 9 Further reading 10 External links

Etymology[edit] Hjalmar Frisk (Griechisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, Heidelberg, 1960–1970) notes "unexplained etymology", citing "various hypotheses" found in Wilhelm Schulze,[1] Edgar Howard Sturtevant,[2] J. Davreux,[3] and Albert Carnoy.[4] R. S. P. Beekes[5] cites García Ramón's derivation of the name from the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European
root *(s)kend- "raise". Mythology[edit] Biography[edit]

Woodcut illustration of Cassandra's prophecy of the fall of Troy
Troy
(at left) and her death (at right), from an Incunable
Incunable
German translation by Heinrich Steinhöwel
Heinrich Steinhöwel
of Giovanni Boccaccio's De mulieribus claris, printed by Johann Zainer (de) at Ulm ca. 1474.

Cassandra
Cassandra
was a princess of Troy, the daughter of King Priam
Priam
and Queen Hecuba
Hecuba
and the fraternal twin sister of Helenus. According to legend, Cassandra
Cassandra
had dark brown curly hair and dark brown eyes, and was both beautiful and clever, but considered insane.[6] Gift of prophecy[edit] Cassandra
Cassandra
was given the gift of prophecy, but was also cursed by the god Apollo
Apollo
so that her accurate prophecies would not be believed. Many versions of the myth relate that she incurred the god's wrath by refusing him sex, after promising herself to him in exchange for the power of prophecy. Hyginus says:[7]

Cassandra, daughter of the king and queen, in the temple of Apollo, exhausted from practising, is said to have fallen asleep; whom, when Apollo
Apollo
wished to embrace her, she did not afford the opportunity of her body. On account of which thing, when she prophesied true things, she was not believed.

A similar version is related in Aeschylus's play Agamemnon. Cassandra says she consented to have sex with Apollo
Apollo
in exchange for the gift of prophecy, and then broke her promise: "Oh, but he struggled to win me, breathing ardent love for me...I consented to Loxias (Apollo) but broke my word...Ever since that fault I could persuade no one of anything."[8] In some versions of the myth, Apollo
Apollo
curses her by spitting into her mouth during a kiss. In Aeschylus' Agamemnon, she bemoans her relationship with Apollo:

Apollo, Apollo! God of all ways, but only Death's to me, Once and again, O thou, Destroyer named, Thou hast destroyed me, thou, my love of old!

Cassandra
Cassandra
had served as a priestess of Apollo
Apollo
and taken a sacred vow of chastity to remain a virgin for her entire life.[9]

Ajax the Lesser
Ajax the Lesser
in Troy
Troy
drags Cassandra
Cassandra
from Palladium before eyes of Priam, Roman mural from the Casa del Menandro, Pompeii

Her cursed gift from Apollo
Apollo
became a source of endless pain and frustration to Cassandra. She was seen as a liar and a madwoman by her family and by the Trojan people. In some versions of the story, she was often locked up in a pyramidal building on the citadel on the orders of her father, King Priam. She was accompanied there by the wardress, who cared for her under orders to inform the King of all of his daughter's "prophetic utterances".[10] She was driven truly insane by this in the versions where she was incarcerated. According to legend, Cassandra
Cassandra
had instructed her twin brother Helenus in the power of prophecy so he could be a prophet. Like her, Helenus was always correct whenever he had made his predictions, but unlike his sister, people believed him. Cassandra
Cassandra
made many predictions, and all of her prophecies were disbelieved except for one, when she foresaw who Paris was and proclaimed that he was her abandoned brother. That took place after he had sought refuge in the altar of Zeus
Zeus
from their brothers’ wrath, which resulted in his reunion with their family.[11] Cassandra
Cassandra
foresaw that Paris’ abduction of Helen for his wife would bring about the Trojan War and cause the destruction of Troy. She did warn Paris not to go to Sparta. Helenus echoed her prophecy, but their warnings were ignored.[11] Cassandra
Cassandra
saw Helen coming into Troy
Troy
when Paris returned home from Sparta. Cassandra
Cassandra
furiously snatched away Helen's golden veil and tore at her hair, for she had foreseen that Helen's arrival would bring the calamities of the Trojan War and the destruction of Troy. The Trojan people, however, welcomed Helen into their city.[11] Fall of Troy
Troy
and aftermath[edit]

Ajax and Cassandra
Cassandra
by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, 1806

Cassandra
Cassandra
foresaw the destruction of Troy. In various accounts of the war, she warned the Trojans about the Greeks hiding inside the Trojan Horse, Agamemnon's death, her own demise at the hands of Aegisthus
Aegisthus
and Clytemnestra, her mother Hecuba's fate, Odysseus's ten-year wanderings before returning to his home, and the murder of Aegisthus
Aegisthus
and Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
by the latter's children Electra
Electra
and Orestes. Cassandra predicted that her cousin Aeneas
Aeneas
would escape during the fall of Troy and found a new nation in Rome.[12] However, she was unable to do anything to forestall these tragedies since no one believed her.[13] Coroebus and Othronus came to the aid of Troy
Troy
during the Trojan War out of love for Cassandra
Cassandra
and in exchange for her hand in marriage. Priam
Priam
decided to betroth Cassandra
Cassandra
to Telephus’s son Eurypylus, after Telephus
Telephus
had reinforced the Trojans by sending them an army of Mysians to come to defend Troy
Troy
for them.[10] Cassandra
Cassandra
was also the first to see the body of her brother Hector
Hector
being brought back to the city. In The Fall of Troy, told by Quintus Smyrnaeus, Cassandra
Cassandra
had attempted to warn the Trojan people that Greek warriors hiding in the Trojan Horse while they were celebrating their victory over the Greeks with feasting. They disbelieved her, calling her names and degrading her with insults.[14] She grabbed an axe in one hand and a burning torch in her other, and ran towards the Trojan Horse, intent on destroying it herself to stop the Greeks from destroying Troy. The Trojan people stopped her before she could do so. The Greeks hiding inside the Horse were relieved that the Trojans had stopped Cassandra from destroying it, but they were surprised by how clearly she had seen their plan to defeat Troy.[14] At the fall of Troy, Cassandra
Cassandra
sought shelter in the temple of Athena. There she embraced the wooden statue of Athena
Athena
in supplication for her protection, but was abducted and brutally raped by Ajax the Lesser. Cassandra
Cassandra
was clinging so tightly to the statue of the goddess that Ajax knocked it from its stand as he dragged her away.[11] One account claimed that even Athena, who had worked hard to help the Greeks destroy Troy, was not able to restrain her tears and her cheeks burned with anger. In one account, this caused her image to give forth a sound that shook the floor of the temple at the sight of Cassandra's rape, and her image turned its eyes away as Cassandra
Cassandra
was violated, although others found this account too bold.[11] Ajax's actions were a sacrilege because Cassandra
Cassandra
was a supplicant of Athena
Athena
and supplicants were untouchable in the sanctuary of a god, being under the protection of that god. Furthermore, he committed another sacrilege by raping her inside the temple of Athena, despite it being strictly forbidden for people to have sexual intercourse in a temple.[15] Odysseus
Odysseus
insisted to the other Greek leaders that Ajax should be stoned to death for his crimes, which had enraged Athena
Athena
and the other gods. Ajax avoided their wrath, because none of them dared to punish him after he clung, as a supplicant, to Athena's altar and swore an oath proclaiming his innocence.[11] Athena
Athena
was furious at the Greeks' failure to punish Ajax for raping Cassandra
Cassandra
in her temple, and she punished them severely with the help of Poseidon
Poseidon
and Zeus. Poseidon sent storms and strong winds to destroy much of the Greek fleet on their way home from Troy. Athena
Athena
punished Ajax herself, by causing him to have a terrible death, although the sources differ as to the manner of his death.[16] The Locrians
Locrians
had to atone for Ajax's great sacrilege against Cassandra
Cassandra
in Athena's temple by sending two maidens to Troy every year for a thousand years to serve as slaves in Athena's temple. However, if they were caught by the inhabitants before they reached the temple they were executed.[10] In some versions, Cassandra
Cassandra
intentionally left a chest behind in Troy, with a curse on whichever Greek opened it first.[11] Inside the chest was an image of Dionysus, made by Hephaestus
Hephaestus
and presented to the Trojans by Zeus. It was given to the Greek leader Eurypylus as a part of his share of the victory spoils of Troy. When he opened the chest and saw the image of the god, he went mad.[11] Captivity and death[edit] Cassandra
Cassandra
was then taken as a concubine by King Agamemnon
Agamemnon
of Mycenae. Unbeknown to Agamemnon, while he was away at war, his wife, Clytemnestra, had begun an affair with Aegisthus. Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
and Aegisthus
Aegisthus
then murdered both Agamemnon
Agamemnon
and Cassandra. Some sources mention that Cassandra
Cassandra
and Agamemnon
Agamemnon
had twin boys, Teledamus and Pelops, both of whom were killed by Aegisthus. Cassandra
Cassandra
was sent to the Elysian Fields after her death, because her soul was judged worthy due to her dedication to the gods, and her religious nature during her life.[17] Cassandra
Cassandra
was buried either at Amyclae or Mycenae. The two towns disputed the possession of her grave.[10] It is most likely that she was buried in Mycenae. Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann
was certain that he had discovered Cassandra’s tomb when he had excavated Mycenae, because he found the remains of a woman and two infants in one of the circle graves at Mycenae.[10] Agamemnon
Agamemnon
by Aeschylus[edit]

Ajax taking Cassandra, tondo of a red-figure kylix by the Kodros Painter (el), c. 440–430 BC, Louvre

The play Agamemnon
Agamemnon
from Aeschylus's trilogy Oresteia
Oresteia
depicts the king treading the scarlet cloth laid down for him, and walking offstage to his death.[18]:ln. 972 After the chorus's ode of foreboding, time is suspended in Cassandra's "mad scene".[19]:p. 11–16 She has been onstage, silent and ignored. Her madness that is unleashed now is not the physical torment of other characters in Greek tragedy, such as in Euripides' Heracles or Sophocles' Ajax. According to author Seth Schein, two further familiar descriptions of her madness are that of Heracles in The Women of Trachis
The Women of Trachis
or Io in Prometheus Bound.[19]:p. 11 She speaks, disconnectedly and transcendent, in the grip of her psychic possession by Apollo,[18]:ln. 1140 witnessing past and future events. Schein says, "She evokes the same awe, horror and pity as do schizophrenics".[19]:p. 12 Cassandra is someone "who often combine deep, true insight with utter helplessness, and who retreat into madness." Eduard Fraenkel remarked[19]:p. 11, note 6[20] on the powerful contrasts between declaimed and sung dialogue in this scene. The frightened and respectful chorus are unable to comprehend her. She goes to her inevitable offstage murder by Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
with full knowledge of what is to befall her.[21]:pp. 42–55[full citation needed][22]:pp. 52–58 Modern adaptations[edit] Cassandra
Cassandra
is an enduring archetype. Modern invocations of Cassandra are most frequently an example of a Cassandra
Cassandra
complex. To emphasize such a situation, Cassandra's name is frequently used in fiction when prophecy comes up, especially true prophecy that is not believed. This can include the names of people, objects, or places. Cassandra
Cassandra
has been used as metaphor and allegory in psychological and philosophical tracts. For example, Florence Nightingale's book Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truth has a section named for Cassandra, using her as a metaphor for the helplessness of women that she attributes to over-feminization. (Further examples are located on the Cassandra complex
Cassandra complex
page.) The Cassandra
Cassandra
myth itself has also been retold several times by modern authors of novels and dramatizations, including works by Eric Shanower, Lindsay Clarke, Christa Wolf, Lesya Ukrainka, Woody Allen, Marion Zimmer Bradley, David Gemmell, and Hector
Hector
Berlioz. A number of songs have also referred to her, such as "Cassandra" (1982), by Swedish pop band ABBA. See also[edit]

Greek mythology
Greek mythology
portal

Apollo Apollo
Apollo
archetype Novikov self-consistency principle The Boy Who Cried Wolf Tiresias

Notes[edit]

^ A snake as a source of knowledge is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes the snake brings understanding of the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future. Likewise, prophets without honor in their own country reflect a standard narrative trope.

References[edit]

^ Wilhelm Schulze, Kleine Schriften (1966), 698, J. B. Hoffmann, Glotta 28, 52 ^ Edgar Howard Sturtevant, Class. Phil. 21, 248ff. ^ J. Davreux, La légende de la prophétesse Cassandre (Paris, 1942) 90ff. ^ Albert Carnoy, Les ét. class. 22, 344 ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p. 654 ^ Schein, Seth L. (1982). "The Cassandra
Cassandra
Scene in Aeschylus' Agamemnon". Greece & Rome. 29 (1): 11–16. doi:10.1017/S0017383500028278. ISSN 1477-4550.  ^ "Cassandra". Mortal Women of the Trojan War. Stanford University. Retrieved March 24, 2014.  ^ "Aeschylus, Agamemmon 2". The Theoi Project. Retrieved March 24, 2014.  ^ "The Trojan women of Euripides". Retrieved March 24, 2014.  ^ a b c d e " Cassandra
Cassandra
in the Classical World". English.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-24.  ^ a b c d e f g h " Cassandra
Cassandra
– Greek Mythology Link". Maicar.com. Retrieved 2014-03-24.  ^ "The Internet Classics Archive The Aeneid
Aeneid
by Virgil". Classics.mit.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-24.  ^ "Full text of "The Trojan women of Euripides"". Archive.org. 2003-11-16. Retrieved 2014-03-24.  ^ a b "Classical E-Text: Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy
Troy
12". Theoi.com. Retrieved 2014-03-24.  ^ "Cassandra, Ancient princess of Troy, priestess and Prophetess". Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2014.  ^ See [[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajax_the_Lesser#Death ]]. ^ Westmoreland, Perry L. (2007). Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Beliefs. San Ysidro, CA: Lee & Vance Publishing Company. p. 179. ISBN 9780979324819.  ^ a b Agamemnon
Agamemnon
(play script) (in Greek). The chorus find her to be "crazed in mind and transported by a god"  ^ a b c d Schein, Seth L. (1982). "The Cassandra
Cassandra
Scene in Aeschylus' 'Agamemnon'". Greece & Rome. Second Series. 29 (1): 11. doi:10.1017/S0017383500028278.  ^ Fraenkel, Eduard (1964). Kleine Beiträge zur klassische Philologie (book). Storia e letteratura (in German). Vol. I. Rome. OCLC 644504522.  ^ Analyses of the Cassandra
Cassandra
scene are in Bernard Knox Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient theatre (Baltimore and London: Penguin) 1979 ^ Anne Lebeck, The Oresteia: A study in language and structure (Washington) 1971

Primary sources[edit]

Homer. Iliad
Iliad
XXIV, 697–706; Odyssey
Odyssey
XI, 405–434; Aeschylus. Agamemnon Euripides. The Trojan Women; Electra Bibliotheca III, xii, 5; Epitome V, 17–22; VI, 23 Virgil. Aeneid
Aeneid
II, 246–247, 341–346, 403–408 Lycophron. Alexandra Quintus Smyrnaeus: Posthomerica

Further reading[edit]

Clarke, Lindsay. The Return from Troy. HarperCollins (2005). ISBN 0-00-715027-X. Marion Zimmer Bradley. The Firebrand. ISBN 0-451-45924-5 Patacsil, Par. Cassandra. In The Likhaan Book of Plays 1997-2003. Villanueva and Nadera, eds. University of the Philippines Press (2006). ISBN 971-542-507-0 Ukrainka, Lesya. "Cassandra". Original Publication: Lesya Ukrainka. Life and work by Constantine Bida. Selected works, translated by Vera Rich. Toronto: Published for the Women's Council of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee by University of Toronto Press (1968). Pp. 181–239 ← Broken link, November 2016. Schapira, Laurie L. The Cassandra
Cassandra
Complex: Living with Disbelief: A Modern Perspective on Hysteria. Toronto: Inner City Books (1988). ISBN 0-919123-35-X.

External links[edit]

Media related to Cassandra
Cassandra
at Wikimedia Commons

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Characters in the Iliad

Achaeans

Acamas Achilles Agamemnon Agapenor Ajax the Greater Ajax the Lesser Alcimus Anticlus Antilochus Arcesilaus Ascalaphus Automedon Balius and Xanthus Bias Calchas Diomedes Elephenor Epeius Eudoros Euryalus Eurybates Eurydamas Eurypylus Guneus Helen Ialmenus Idomeneus Leitus Leonteus Lycomedes Machaon Medon Meges Menelaus Menestheus Meriones Neoptolemus Nestor Nireus Odysseus Palamedes Patroclus Peneleos Philoctetes Phoenix Podalirius Podarces Polites Polypoetes Promachus Protesilaus Prothoenor Schedius Stentor Sthenelus Talthybius Teucer Thersites Thoas Thrasymedes Tlepolemus

Trojans

Aeneas Aesepus Agenor Alcathous Amphimachus Anchises Andromache Antenor Antiphates Antiphus Archelochus Asius Asteropaios Astyanax Atymnius Axylus Briseis Calesius Caletor Cassandra Chryseis Chryses Clytius Coön Dares Phrygius Deiphobus Dolon Epistrophus Euphemus Euphorbus Glaucus Gorgythion Hector Hecuba Helenus Hyperenor Hypsenor Ilioneus Imbrius Iphidamas Kebriones Laocoön Lycaon Melanippus Mentes Mydon Mygdon of Phrygia Othryoneus Pandarus Panthous Paris Pedasus Peirous Phorcys Polites Polydamas Polybus Polydorus Priam Pylaemenes Pylaeus Pyraechmes Rhesus of Thrace Sarpedon Theano Ucalegon

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 74644776 GN

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