Reading the title of this post you might think that it is a story about some poultry at the famous Olympia, in Ilia region, anyway somewhere in the western Peloponnese. Geographically speaking your thoughts would be right. This is a story of ancient Olympia. The rooster, however, is not the main character.
Ganymede is .
The story begins on a recent trip I made to ancient Olympia. I was fed up of crossing the archaeological site and the museum so many times in the past, when I travelled there, working on some magazine articles. So I thought of coming this time in Olympia only for the pleasure of touring. Just for myself.
I spent many hours in the cool Altis ( I went there early in the morning you see, that’s why it was so cool), the main archeological site. By the time which the sun became too hot I slipped inside the equally cool museum.
I will not tell you here about the extraordinary exhibits (I will write about them in other posts).
I will speak about one single exhibit. Which made me stand for a long time in front of its show case.
Purple clay glowed under the spotlights of the crystal display cabinet. Jupiter (I mean God Zeus – Jupiter) with a sly smirk held the handsome Ganymede in his arms. Who was holding a cock in his own arms! A unique statue, at any case.
The story – better: the myth – of Ganymede is small and rather unknown. Zeus saw the dazzling beautiful young man (who lived in the ancient Troy), and was struck by its beauty. So he tricked him and grabbed him by divine way from his father Troadas. And Zeus gave him eternal life bringing him at Olympus mountain , where Ganymede would serve nectar to Jupiter forever, during the symposiums of the gods.
Jupiter consoled Ganymede’s father, told him that his son would live forever at the abode of Gods and as a reward the God gave him the finest and strongest horses in the world.
And the cock? What did the cock mean in the hands of the beautiful young man? Scholars say that Zeus, in order to fool Ganymede, gave him a cock to play with. And meanwhile, before the first shout of the rooster, Ganymede and its cock departed for the peaks of mount Olympus. Since then, scholars say that this cock is an erotic symbol. Because if you do not understand already… there was something slightly erotic in the background of this myth. But to comply with the pretense of mythology Ganymede was appointed merely servant of Jupiter. The rooster leaves no room for misunderstanding what was Zeus doing with Ganymede . It’s a very meaningful cock …!
I photographed several times the statue when a guard approached me and she asked me.
“But what are you shooting so many times? The rooster ? Or the other two? “
“But the rooster of course… ” I answered. “What do the other two worth without the rooster ? ‘ I asked.
“So what? ” she asked again, completely confused.
“I mean that the whole point of the sculpture is the rooster. ” I continued headlong . I undoubtedly enjoyed the talk…
“Why ? They were planning to eat the cock ? ” she asked with a stupid smile.
I was shocked. “Yes, yes … something like that .. ” I murmured, ” They will eat him … “.
“I was sure… I had long understood that this cock was to be slaughtered … ” she said and walked away, turning her back and walked away wrapped in invisible veils of complacency.
I looked at the sculpture with melancholy in my face. It remained silent …
While normally it should have dropped down laughing !
Where am I ?
In Olympia , the cradle of the Olympic Games in Ilia region, in western Peloponnesus. The quickest way to get here is by car along the highway Athens – Corinth – Patras – Pyrgos. By reaching Pyrgos, turn to the west and follow the main road that brings you to the village of Ancient Olympia. The museum is located very close to the archaeological site, in the valley of the river Alfios .