Pelion and Ossa in Rabelais

This response, quoth Pantagruel, maketh not very much for your benefit or advantage; for it plainly signifies and denoteth that your wife shall be a strumpet, and yourself by consequence a cuckold. The goddess, whom you shall not find propitious nor favourable unto you, is Minerva, a most redoubtable and dreadful virgin, a powerful and fulminating goddess, an enemy to cuckolds and effeminate youngsters, to cuckold-makers and adulterers. The god is Jupiter, a terrible and thunder-striking god from heaven. And withal it is to be remarked, that, conform to the doctrine of the ancient Etrurians, the manubes, for so did they call the darting hurls or slinging casts of the Vulcanian thunderbolts, did only appertain to her and to Jupiter her father capital. This was verified in the conflagration of the ships of Ajax Oileus, nor doth this fulminating power belong to any other of the Olympic gods. Men, therefore, stand not in such fear of them. Moreover, I will tell you, and you may take it as extracted out of the profoundest mysteries of mythology, that, when the giants had enterprised the waging of a war against the power of the celestial orbs, the gods at first did laugh at those attempts, and scorned such despicable enemies, who were, in their conceit, not strong enough to cope in feats of warfare with their pages; but when they saw by the gigantine labour the high hill Pelion set on lofty Ossa, and that the mount Olympus was made shake to be erected on the top of both, then was it that Jupiter held a parliament, or general convention, wherein it was unanimously resolved upon and condescended to by all the gods, that they should worthily and valiantly stand to their defence. And because they had often seen battles lost by the cumbersome lets and disturbing encumbrances of women confusedly huddled in amongst armies, it was at that time decreed and enacted that they should expel and drive out of heaven into Egypt and the confines of Nile that whole crew of goddesses.
(Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Chapter 3.XII: How Pantagruel doth explore by the Virgilian lottery what fortune Panurge shall have in his marriage)

July 14, 2004 in Gigantomachia/Titanomachia | Permalink

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