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his Ixion embrace Options
flylikeeagle
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 5:01:07 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 11/29/2018
Posts: 32
Neurons: 4,364
Location: Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt
In the British science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, "The food of the Gods", I read:

"No doubt he was among the first to discover them. They were scattered at
intervals up and down the path between the near down and the village
end--a path he frequented daily in his constitutional round. Altogether,
of these abnormal fungi there were, from first to last, quite thirty.
The Vicar seems to have stared at each severally, and to have prodded
most of them with his stick once or twice. One he attempted to measure
with his arms, but it burst at his Ixion embrace
."

What is meant by "his Ixion embrace"?


thar
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 5:42:51 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 19,207
Neurons: 77,530
Well Ixion is a figure in Greek mythology, which readers of the time would know about.

I think the image of an embrace which destroys what it touches fits in with what he did before he got involved with the gods ( Zeus took pity on him and took him in - but then he slept with Zeus' wife. Well, not actually his wife because Zeus made a cloud to look like her, and he got the cloud pregnant. But still, a bad move, seducing Zeus' wife - that was never going to end well!)
He was bound to a fiery wheel and doomed to roll around endlessly on it. But that doesn't seem to have any connection with damaging what you touch, so I think it is the original act that is his 'embrace'.


Quote:
Ixion married Dia, a daughter of Deioneus and promised his father-in-law a valuable present. However, he did not pay the bride price, so Deioneus stole some of Ixion's horses in retaliation. Ixion concealed his resentment and invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa. When Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of burning coals and wood. These circumstances are secondary to the fact of Ixion's primordial act of murder; it could be accounted for quite differently: in the Greek Anthology (iii.12), among a collection of inscriptions from a temple in Cyzicus is an epigrammatic description of Ixion slaying Phorbas and Polymelos, who had slain his mother, Megara, the "great one".[6]

Ixion went mad, defiled by his act; the neighboring princes were so offended by this act of treachery and violation of xenia that they refused to perform the rituals that would cleanse Ixion of his guilt. Thereafter, Ixion lived as an outlaw and was shunned. By killing his father-in-law, Ixion was reckoned the first man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology. That alone would warrant him a terrible punishment.


That is my guess.
flylikeeagle
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 7:04:37 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 11/29/2018
Posts: 32
Neurons: 4,364
Location: Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt
thar wrote:
Well Ixion is a figure in Greek mythology, which readers of the time would know about.

I think the image of an embrace which destroys what it touches fits in with what he did before he got involved with the gods ( Zeus took pity on him and took him in - but then he slept with Zeus' wife. Well, not actually his wife because Zeus made a cloud to look like her, and he got the cloud pregnant. But still, a bad move, seducing Zeus' wife - that was never going to end well!)
He was bound to a fiery wheel and doomed to roll around endlessly on it. But that doesn't seem to have any connection with damaging what you touch, so I think it is the original act that is his 'embrace'.


Quote:
Ixion married Dia, a daughter of Deioneus and promised his father-in-law a valuable present. However, he did not pay the bride price, so Deioneus stole some of Ixion's horses in retaliation. Ixion concealed his resentment and invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa. When Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of burning coals and wood. These circumstances are secondary to the fact of Ixion's primordial act of murder; it could be accounted for quite differently: in the Greek Anthology (iii.12), among a collection of inscriptions from a temple in Cyzicus is an epigrammatic description of Ixion slaying Phorbas and Polymelos, who had slain his mother, Megara, the "great one".[6]

Ixion went mad, defiled by his act; the neighboring princes were so offended by this act of treachery and violation of xenia that they refused to perform the rituals that would cleanse Ixion of his guilt. Thereafter, Ixion lived as an outlaw and was shunned. By killing his father-in-law, Ixion was reckoned the first man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology. That alone would warrant him a terrible punishment.


That is my guess.


Maybe it means this image?!
http://www.jules-elie-delaunay.fr/en/5-history-paintings/8-ixion-precipite-dans-les-enfers
thar
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 7:23:03 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 19,207
Neurons: 77,530
Well that is Ixion being thrown into the inferno - hell - the fiery wheel punishment. So I don't think that is the metaphor. It is not really an embrace.
Whereas hugging his father-in-law in welcome and then killing him - that seems to sit far better with the idea of putting your arms around this fungus and it puffing into nothing. But the snake is new to me - don't know how that comes into it so maybe that is the embrace. Although the point is he is never destroyed - he has to suffer that torment forever, which is not what happens to the poor fungus!


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2019 9:53:09 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 32,078
Neurons: 193,869
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Gosh - Wells is referring to something which, it seems, was not very well-known even in his day.

It IS Ixion embracing the cloud - it was used as an image of the difference between the image and the substance - the difference between what you see and what you get.

It's a very old image.

"What are they els but Silenus pictures; without Lambes and Dowes, within, Apes and Owles: who like Ixion imbrace clowdes for Iuno, the shadows of vertue in steede of the substance."
(What are they except Silenus pictures - lambs and doves on the outside, but apes and owls inside. They, like Ixion, embrace clouds instead of Juno - the apparency instead of the substance.)

"Ixion's embrace, which was almost as proverbial, figured the same opposition, contrasting the unsubstantial show of worldly good with its failure to bring satisfaction and its evanescence. . ."

The quotes are both taken from Meaning in Comedy: Studies in Elizabethan Romantic Comedy
by John Weld


It was 'proverbial' in Elizabethan times.
The mushrooms dissolved into dust when embraced, were not so solid as they looked - like "Juno" was really just cloud.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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