Circe A SirenaSaturday, April 23, 2016
From my Wikepedia a citation on the siren:
In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were beautiful yet dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the "flowery" island of Anthemoessa, or Anthemusa, is fixed: sometimes on Cape Pelorum and at others in the islands known as the Sirenuse, near Paestum, or in Capreae. All such locations were surrounded by cliffs and rocks.
When Sirens are named, they are usually as daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered by Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon (the Earth). In Euripides' play, Helen (167), Helen in her anguish calls upon "Winged maidens, daughters of the Earth"). Although they lured mariners, the Greeks portrayed the Sirens in their "meadow starred with flowers" and not as sea deities. Roman writers linked the Sirens more closely to the sea, as daughters of Phorcys. Sirens are found in many Greek stories, notably in Homer's Odyssey.
Spanish often transports me into other places because of the fact that Spanish, being a romance language has a more evident influence of Latin. And because of Latin it also has shades of ancient Greek, too.
Consider that word alarm that to many represents a metropolitan angst of the noise of ambulances in the middle of the night.
In Spanish it’s quite a different thing. An alarma translates that noisy word into Spanish. But consider sirena (also an alarm). To name that romantic noise that ships at port might project at midnight on New Year’s in Spanish we would call that a sirena de barco or ship’s siren.
But best of all a sirena is also a mermaid. My Real Academia Dictionary of the Spanish Language (the on line version) has this citation:
Del lat. tardío Sirēna, este del lat. Siren, -ēnis, y este del gr. Σειρήν Seirḗn.
1. f. Ninfa marina con busto de mujer y cuerpo de ave según la tradición grecolatina, y con cuerpo de pez en otras tradiciones, que extraviaba a los navegantes atrayéndolos con la dulzura de su canto. U. t. en sent. fig.
To illustrate this blog I have here a photograph of a Circe that one day came into my studio.