Sunday, June 24, 2012

Swearing, by Jove!


My pals often ask me why I will swear "by Jove". Some of them quite honestly have never even heard the name "Jove". So I have to explain it all to them.

For thousands of years, when one swore at all, it was generally to the great gods. And in the western world, the greatest god of them all was Jove, who is also known as Jupiter, and also known as Zeus.


Today, when one swears, then it's generally by the name of one of the (supposedly) monotheistic deities. Either God, or Allah, or Jesus, etc.

Since I don't buy into the hateful, intolerant monotheism currently running this world's civilizations into the muck, I harken back to older times. Therefore, "Jove".

From Shakespeare (All's Well that Ends Well):

DIANA.
'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth, But the plain single vow that is vow'd true. What is not holy, that we swear not by, But take the Highest to witness: then, pray you, tell me, If I should swear by Jove's great attributes I lov'd you dearly, would you believe my oaths When I did love you ill? This has no holding, To swear by him whom I protest to love That I will work against him: therefore your oaths Are words and poor conditions; but unseal'd,-- At least in my opinion.

Sophocles:
Bear up, my child, bear up; Zeus who oversees and directs all things is still mighty in heaven.

Hesiod:
It is not possible either to trick or escape the mind of Zeus.


Aristophanes:
Open your mouth and shut your eyes and see what Zeus will send you.


For about one thousand years there was a mighty temple to Zeus in Greece at Olympia. When the Christian emperor Theodosius in a reflection of his hateful, intolerant religion decided to outlaw the Olympic games, he also had the temple burned--thus, one of the great works of art of the ancient world was destroyed, and thousands of years of traditional culture and native worship was eliminated in the name of hatred.

7 comments:

MarkGelbart said...

Christians also burned the massive library in Alexandria, Egypt. This library probably held all of the knowledge of the ancient world. This knowledge was lost for all time. Burning this library probably contributed to the advent of the Dark Ages.

HemlockMan said...

Definitely. They were (are) a hateful lot.

Iain Quicksilver said...

Good for you. As long as the swearing isn't frivolous, I suppose it is safe to swear by All-Father. Personally, I like the oath "I swear by the gods by whom my people swear." And if ever called upon to take the oath in court, that is what I will say, contempt or no contempt. Incidentally, William Blake refused to take the oath as administered in court, because he claimed to be a Druid. This was late 18th century! Imagine the scandal!

Iain Quicksilver said...

Definitely hateful, but innocent in this case. It was the muslim conquerors of Eqypt who burnt the Library of Alexandria to heat the water for the Sultan's bath. They did spare the works of Aristotle, however. But don't let this get you down: in the preceding three centuries, the christian librarians had already thrown out most of the knowledge of the ancient world contained in the library. What was burnt was largely christian theological tracts.

HemlockMan said...

Most people refer to the burning of the great library at Alexandria in the year 391, which was definitely done by Christians.

It's a complicated story, but the short of it is that the Christians did it.

MarkGelbart said...

The books and other cultural treasures were burned during battles between the Arians and Athanasians who were fighting a Civil War over whether Christian doctrine should consider Jesus God or man. This was 300 years before Islam was born.

HemlockMan said...

Indeed. The library was damaged several times in its history, but the worst of these events was committed by the Christians when they were finishing up the hideous job of destroying reason and tolerance in the old Roman Empire.

Islam hadn't been invented yet when the most grievous and irreversible damage was done.