Monday, February 22, 2010

On Sallustius and Virtue

 Sallustius wrote:
Those who make the world are Zeus, Poseidon, and Hephaestus; those who animate it are Demeter, Hera and Artemis; those who harmonize it are Apollo, Aphrodite, and Hermes; those who watch over it are Hestia, Athena, and Ares.
These are not the assignments I would have given these powers myself, but I trust that Sallustius knows more about the subject than I do. Especially interesting to me is the grouping of those who watch: Hestia, Athena, and Ares.

Athena is my dearest Goddess. After Athena there is no Deity I admire more than Hestia. Sure, I am closer to Dionysus, Aphrodite, and Hermes, but Hestia has more than her earned place of first reverence in my heart. I aspire to be like Hestia: gracious, contemplative, and as eternal in spirit as the flame. So it is interesting to me to see Ares in this triad.

I wonder who Ares is beyond the scant myths that exist of him. I wonder what names he bears beyond the epitaphs we are familiar with. I wonder if Ares would speak to me as do Athena, Hera, and Hermes?

I recognize that of the Hellenic virtues of temperance, prudence, fortitude, and righteousness I am sorely lacking in fortitude. I avoid conflict when conflict is necessary, even when I care about the matter at hand. I struggle to follow through on my commitments. My mind is strong, but my will is weak. Could my estranged relationship with Ares be the key to finding my inner strength?

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