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Author Topic: The Great God Pan is Dead  (Read 804 times)

Lykeios Lysios

The Great God Pan is Dead
« on: June 26, 2017, 01:16:08 am »
Okay, so I've been wondering about this story.

This is a relatively new edition to Hellenic/Greek Polytheism. Plutarch was well beyond the sources that I choose to follow. In any case, it interests me.

What are your thoughts about this myth that "the Great God Pan is dead"?

Personally I feel it was a reference to the diminishing of the wild places in the Greek world. As a God's (or Goddesse's) dominion diminishes his/her power diminishes (at least that's what I believe). And there can be no denying that, as man has expanded his "civilization", Pan's dominion has shrunk significantly. Personally, I think Pan is still out there and I try to keep as much of a wild place alive in my own sphere of influence (my backyard and such).

Do you believe Pan is "dead"? Do you like feel he's fading away? Or do you think the Gods transcend their domains and can remain even when their sphere of influence is destroyed?

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 09:07:27 am »
This is a relatively new edition to Hellenic/Greek Polytheism. Plutarch was well beyond the sources that I choose to follow. In any case, it interests me.

What are your thoughts about this myth that "the Great God Pan is dead"?

I've never really known what to make of the story, although I believe some of the later interpretations (e.g. it was announcing the end of Paganism, the death of Christ, etc.) to be a bit off the wall.
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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 08:23:58 pm »
Okay, so I've been wondering about this story.

This is a relatively new edition to Hellenic/Greek Polytheism. Plutarch was well beyond the sources that I choose to follow. In any case, it interests me.

What are your thoughts about this myth that "the Great God Pan is dead"?

Personally I feel it was a reference to the diminishing of the wild places in the Greek world. As a God's (or Goddesse's) dominion diminishes his/her power diminishes (at least that's what I believe). And there can be no denying that, as man has expanded his "civilization", Pan's dominion has shrunk significantly. Personally, I think Pan is still out there and I try to keep as much of a wild place alive in my own sphere of influence (my backyard and such).

Do you believe Pan is "dead"? Do you like feel he's fading away? Or do you think the Gods transcend their domains and can remain even when their sphere of influence is destroyed?

I disagree with the "overtaken by the Christian God" theory. While Christianity was spreading and starting to take hold, I don't think that at the time of Plutarch traditional Greek religion and its practitioners would have felt nearly pressured enough to say something like "Pan is dead!" or anything to that effect. Christians at the time were still being persecuted and martyred, and paganism was still the main religion and would hold on in the elite areas of society and government in the Greco-Roman world until Emperor Constantine.

Personally, I also don't think that the statement "the Great Pan is dead" was supposed to mean much of anything, but exist as part of a series of postulations about gods, demigods, oracles, and whatnot.

In the passage that the story about Pan being dead comes from, the speakers are having a conversation about various philosophical thoughts and hypotheses they have. The topic of the passage is the ability of demigods to die, by way of another conversation about whether oracles are given by the gods or by demigods who are just below them, which in turn came from conversation that some stories about the gods could not have truly been the gods themselves because of unholy or cowardly things attributed to them, which in turn came from conversation about why there were fewer oracles at the time than there had been before. Says  Cleombrotus:

Quote from: Plutarch
"As for the various tales of rapine and wanderings of the gods, their concealments and banishment and servitude, which men rehearse in legend and in song, all these are, in fact, not things that were done to the gods or happened to them, but to the demigods; and they are kept in memory because of the virtues and power of these beings [...]"

When asked why this theory makes him uncomfortable, another character, Heracleon, states:

Quote from: Plutarch
"That it is not the gods," said Heracleon, "who are in charge of the oracles, since the gods ought properly to be freed of earthly concerns; but that it is the demigods, ministers of the gods, who have them in charge, seems to me not a bad postulate; but to take, practically by the handful, from the verses of Empedocles, sins, rash crimes, and heaven-sent wanderings, and to impose them upon the demigods, and to assume that their final fate is death, just as with men, I regard as rather too audacious and uncivilized."

Yet another speaker, Philip, goes on to tell the story about Pan, which is merely anecdotal and possibly just to support or "play devil's advocate" to the argument (as Greek philosophers were wont to do), and beings with: "As for death among such beings..." and continues to relay the story of, of course, Pan being dead. Towards the end, he says:

Quote from: Plutarch
"Tiberius became so convinced of the truth of the story that he caused an inquiry and investigation to be made about Pan; and the scholars, who were numerous at his court, conjectured that he was the son born of Hermes and Penelopê."

Note here Penelopê, a human, is actually the mother of Pan, making him a demigod and thus mortal in the line of thought that Philip and Cleombrotus have. There are multiple stories about who Pan's mother was, but Penelopê seems to be the one they've chosen here. In fact, in the text the phrase is "the Great Pan is dead," without using the word "God."

So in the context of this story, I think that they're really speaking about if demigods CAN die, not why they die- which is because they're mortal.

As for my own opinion? If the Greeks were whining about how much forest and nature they were losing then, they'd be in for a shock if they were alive now. Frankly, I don't think they were so concerned with the environment based on their relatively homo-centric religion and philosophy. They valued logic above all else, or at least the elites did.

I personally believe that yes, a god can be brought back to "life" or that they simple go dormant or live within the works made for them by their ancient followers until others come along to "resurrect" them. I don't believe they can truly die if their legacy, even if it's purely from a historical standpoint, still exists in some form.

EDIT: Stupid typo and trying to make things a little clearer!
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 08:27:30 pm by CoyoteFeathers »

arete

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 04:25:28 pm »
What are your thoughts about this myth that "the Great God Pan is dead"?
the human race deteriorates and deteriorates and deteriorates...

Quote
Do you believe Pan is "dead"? Do you like feel he's fading away? Or do you think the Gods transcend their domains and can remain even when their sphere of influence is destroyed?
Pan is not dead, he is a god he can't die  :)

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2018, 04:50:19 am »
Do you believe Pan is "dead"? Do you like feel he's fading away? Or do you think the Gods transcend their domains and can remain even when their sphere of influence is destroyed?

I'm not a Hellenist, I'm a Hindu, but that quote has always resonated with me, and filled me with profound sadness and a sense of melancholy. I have my own nature Gods, and though none of them are perfect analogues for Pan, I do feel that they are declining. In fact, my scriptures foretell that very eventuality, as the quality of the material world declines during the Kali Yuga, nature will decline along with all other good things.

Some Gods are immortal and eternal, but I don't think that the nature gods are such ones. I think that they live, grow, and die, just like the things that they represent. They may live for aeons, they may be very powerful, but I don't think you can be the god of something that doesn't exist any longer.

To supply a somewhat relevant Hellenistic quote, and one that's equally melancholy, I will share the words of the final oracle of Delphi:

Εἴπατε τῷ βασιλεῖ, χαμαὶ πέσε δαίδαλος αὐλά, οὐκέτι Φοῖβος ἔχει καλύβην, οὐ μάντιδα δάφνην, οὐ παγὰν λαλέουσαν, ἀπέσβετο καὶ λάλον ὕδωρ.

Or roughly,
"Tell the emperor that the Daidalic hall has fallen. No longer does Phoebus have his chamber, nor mantic laurel, nor prophetic spring and the speaking water has been silenced."

Powers can die, and it seems to me that they have been dying for a long while now. Is the great God pan dead? I can't say for certain, but it would hardly surprise me if he were.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 03:52:27 pm »
"Tell the emperor that the Daidalic hall has fallen. No longer does Phoebus have his chamber, nor mantic laurel, nor prophetic spring and the speaking water has been silenced."

That truly is melancholy.

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2018, 10:13:42 am »
Okay, so I've been wondering about this story.

This is a relatively new edition to Hellenic/Greek Polytheism. Plutarch was well beyond the sources that I choose to follow. In any case, it interests me.

What are your thoughts about this myth that "the Great God Pan is dead"?

Personally I feel it was a reference to the diminishing of the wild places in the Greek world. As a God's (or Goddesse's) dominion diminishes his/her power diminishes (at least that's what I believe). And there can be no denying that, as man has expanded his "civilization", Pan's dominion has shrunk significantly. Personally, I think Pan is still out there and I try to keep as much of a wild place alive in my own sphere of influence (my backyard and such).

Do you believe Pan is "dead"? Do you like feel he's fading away? Or do you think the Gods transcend their domains and can remain even when their sphere of influence is destroyed?

Pan is very much alive (married to Echo no less), although spiritually dead. In fact there's a prophecy involving Pan for the Age of Aquarius. An angel's fall and torch bearing Cybele coinciding with an oblivious Pandrosus opening a very famous and dreaded box signals the inevitable End of Pan project. See 'The Sciences that Illuminate the Human Spirit, 1557'.

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2018, 12:23:31 am »
In fact there's a prophecy involving Pan for the Age of Aquarius. An angel's fall and torch bearing Cybele coinciding with an oblivious Pandrosus opening a very famous and dreaded box signals the inevitable End of Pan project. See 'The Sciences that Illuminate the Human Spirit, 1557'.

Les Sciences qui Éclairent l'esprit de l'homme is an Italian Renaissance allegorical etching, and does not appear to either be, or to illustrate, such a prophecy, nor does it fit your description of the prophecy. I'm unclear about why the etching is relevant here; do you mean that it is, itself, the prophecy you refer to? If not, can you give more information about the prophecy (ideally a reliable scholarly source)?

Incidentally, though their names are somewhat similar, Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Kekrops, is not the same as Pandora, first mortal woman and made from clay by the gods.

(Those who with to follow Bellero's suggestion to 'see' the etching mentioned above, you can find it on Wikipedia [it's the second picture in that section].)

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2018, 01:22:00 pm »
Les Sciences qui Éclairent l'esprit de l'homme is an Italian Renaissance allegorical etching, and does not appear to either be, or to illustrate, such a prophecy, nor does it fit your description of the prophecy. I'm unclear about why the etching is relevant here; do you mean that it is, itself, the prophecy you refer to? If not, can you give more information about the prophecy (ideally a reliable scholarly source)?

Incidentally, though their names are somewhat similar, Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Kekrops, is not the same as Pandora, first mortal woman and made from clay by the gods.

(Those who with to follow Bellero's suggestion to 'see' the etching mentioned above, you can find it on Wikipedia [it's the second picture in that section].)

Sunflower

The etching is a retelling of a different version of the same story and is a prophecy for the age of Aquarius which I agree is open for interpretation. All the greek and roman stories are prophecies that continually play out throughout time so long as the gods exist, so rather than a box delivered by Hermes, it is a chest delivered by Athena and the three sisters of Kerkrops are strictly forbidden from opening the chest. The legend varies on who opens the chest, but inside was a baby and serpent or some hybrid, named Erechtheus. One version has it that Pandrosus herself opened the chest and was promptly turned to stone (a hint at the story of medusa). I also disagree that Pandora and Pandrosus are not the same. Where there's a first, there's a last (alpha and omega) and the many in between and I believe this to be the case for Pandora and Pandrosus.

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Re: The Great God Pan is Dead
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2018, 12:35:21 pm »


A Reminder:
Bellero:

Please remember that you are posting in the Hellenic and Roman Polytheism SIG, which is a recon-oriented subforum. Renaissance and later materials are not primary sources for purposes of this subforum, and the "Age of Aquarius" in particular is a modern occult concept wholly alien to Classical scholarship. If you have evidence that Greek and Roman people considered their mythology to be iterative prophecy, you are of course welcome to provide reputable sources.

The specific rules for this subforum can be found here.  Please take particular note of the second bulleted rule, which explicitly requires up front acknowledgement of UPG.

This is just a reminder for now, but if you continue to conflate ancient and modern sources and present UPG as attested fact you will receive a warning for violation of the rules of this SIG.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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