Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Potter's Loud Lament

From Homer's Epigram's fragment 14: "Potters, if you give me a reward, I will sing for you. Come, then, Athena [goddess of pottery], with hand upraised over the kiln. Let the pots and all the dishes turn out well and be well fired: let them fetch good prices and be sold in plenty in the market. Grant that the potters may get great gain and grant me so to sing to them. But if you turn shameless and make false promises, then I call together the destroyers of kilns, Suntribos (Shatter) and Smaragon (Smash) and Asbetos (Charr) and Sabaktes (Crash) and Omodamos (Crudebake) who can work this craft much mischief. Come all of you and sack the kiln-yard and the buildings: let the whole kiln be shaken up to the potter's loud lament. As a horse's jaw grinds, so let the kiln grind to powder all the pots inside."

You thought it was a joke, about the kiln gods! Not only did the Greeks acknowledge Athena as the Goddess of Craft, there were five, count 'em, FIVE demons who existed solely to torment potters: Suntribos (the Shatterer), Smaragos (the Smasher), Asbetos (Charrer), Sabaktes (Destroyer) and Omodamos (Crudebake). These are the Daimones Keramikoi: fear them.

Geez Louise! No wonder it's such an uphill struggle.

6 comments:

-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

That is a great little selection! Thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention.

And while it does make the profession of pottery seem a bit daunting, it also kind of makes me want to go slay some demons.

June Perry said...

Good, now I know who to blame. I am not responsible. I repeat - "I am not responsible"! :-)

Lori Buff said...

I've always said you need to respect the kiln gods, they like it when you raise a glass and toast them with other potter friends

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Athena is the potter's friend...so glad to know that. Didn't she also hunt? Pretty powerful goddess, considering the Greeks even named a city for her. And I've seen pics of her statue replica in TN. So glad to know the goddess who combats all those demon gods! May they all stay far far away from us.

Cathy Kiffney Studio said...

Thanks for the info! I have Kiln god of the Roses looking out over me. I did not know the powers she was up against ;). I know someone who needs to see this today...

Spirited Earth said...

laughing..i especially like, Omodamos-crudebake...in the course of 3+ decades of pottery making, i have been visited by all 5 demons.. though, praise Athena, for now keeping them at bay..thanks for sharing..

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