Who’s who in Olympus

IHe chose ten. Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Poseidon, Demeter, Hades, Dionysus and Aphrodite. Ten, but not joined like the fingers of one hand. In fact, at Olympus, it is an understatement to say that people eat their noses, make mistakes, take revenge, and that all means are good to preserve – or rather, sacrifice – market shares and sometimes forcefully remind them. or by trickery, who is the boss. Zeus, in this case, the serious but mischievous first “entrance” to the bookish pantheon, which our collaborator Romain Brethes (also Associate Professor of Classics at Jason-de-Sailly and Sciences Po) dedicates to the ancient Greek gods. , with the idea of ​​removing the angle of attack from the tunic of clichés.

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Inflexible, Zeus? Not with his daughter Athena, born with a full helmet, who does (almost) what she wants with him. And is this really the goddess of wisdom when she drives Ajax mad and humiliates him in front of his army, telling Ulysses in Sophocles: “Is there anything sweeter than laughing at your enemies? » As for Apollo, who became a sun god a little too quickly, we must not ignore the dark side, his murderous tendencies revealed by the work of Marcel Detienne. Indeed, there is nothing binary about the way gods and goddesses lead their lives, their real lives. “to convey the intrigues of godfather or Game Of Thrones for friendly disputes with notarized inheritance”, writes Romain Brethes.

Starting from well-known sources (Homer or Hesiod), or even less (Lucian, Clement of Alexandria), it goes back to these ancient gods, despite the disappearance of the cults that do not stop populating the imagination, their extraordinary and paradoxical complexity… humanity. Although they are immortal, they are in fact still jealous, impulsive, angry and playful… Giulia Sissa, who signs the preface, warns us: “ The gods live with us, but not for us. »

“The Real Lives of the Greek Gods”By Romain Brethes (Oreina, 240 pages, €20).

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