Walter F. Otto on Athena and Apollo

“In Apollo we recognize the wholly masculine man. The aristocratic aloofness, the superiority of cognition, the sense of proportion, these and other related traits in a man, even music in the broadest sense of the word, are, in the last analysis, alien to a woman. Apollo is all these things. But perfection in the living present, untrammelled and victorious action, not in the service of some remote and infinite idea but for mastery over the moment – that is the triumph that has always delighted woman in a man, to which she inspires him, and whose high satisfaction he can learn from her.” Walter F. Otto comparing Athena and Apollo. I’m using and quoting Otto a lot these days and this comparison was born to mesmerize and enchant (and certainly to make some modern woman mad, as her feminist lack of femininity will disallow her comprehension of the extraordinary compliment being paid her kind). If fate allows you access to a copy of Otto’s The Homeric Gods and 15 minutes to put to good use, read, if nothing else, section 4 (pages 53-56) of his chapter on Athena.

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