12 July 2015


Not a Eurovision Blog, But . . .
(. . . I've still got stuff to say!)

What were you doing back in 2006, when Greece gave us that semi-final opening? I was just about to start my first year of teaching high school English, with Greek mythology on the syllabus. And if I had cared at all about Eurovision then, you can bet my students would have got an earful.

The best thing about knowing Greek mythology is being able to divide the world up among the gods in the pantheon. I don't mean just the obvious stuff, like Hera ruling marriage and Athena ruling crafts. Twelve different things in a single category could "belong" to different deities. Give me a few minutes on my favourite crafters' Web site and I'll show you twelve kinds of knitting projects, one for each Olympian. And give Greece a few million Euros on credit (Forgive me . . .) and they'll show you which famous Eurovision song best represents each of them as well. So, how many can you identify?

Answer key after the jump!

Zeus -- Nel Blu Dipinto in Blu (Italia, 1958)
Poseidon -- L'Amour Est Bleu (Luxembourg, 1967)
Hermes -- Save Your Kisses for Me (UK, 1976)
Athena -- Making Your Mind Up (UK, 1981)
Hephaestus -- A-bah-nee-bee (Israel, 1978)
Ares -- Dschinghis Khan (Deutschland, 1979)
Aphrodite -- Viva La Diva (Israel, 1998)
Hera -- Waterloo (Sverige, 1974)
Artemis -- Wild Dances (Ukrayina, 2004)
Finale -- My Number One (Hellas, 2005) and Love Shine a Light (UK, 1997)

Discuss, class!

I get the rationale behind most of these choices. But for the others, I'd like to know what the organisers were thinking. For instance, what does the god of craftsmanship have to do with A-bah-nee-bee, which means "I love you" in . . . can we borrow the "Pig" from Pig Latin here or would that be too offensive . . . oh, wait . . . never mind . . . I get the crafty Hephaestus connection now. =P

But I still need someone to explain to me what Hera has to do with big jars. Thanks in advance!

Then there is the question of why Greece didn't go all the way. There are more than just eight Olympians--and we get my personal "lucky" number when we recall the one who is never counted because he lives in the Underworld. And we should recall him, because one look at the winner that year shows us that he got his revenge. ;-)

On the other hand, it is sobering to realise which god has been getting shortchanged for decades, especially when it is he who is the proper ruler of the entire Eurovision Song Competition.

Long, long before the ESC was anything more than a twinkle in its founders' eyes, there was another music competition held on Mount Timolus. The two competitors were Apollo, god of music, and Pan, god of the wilds; and the judge was Timolus himself. And because the Greeks knew what was what when it comes to art and beauty, Timolus declared Apollo and his lyre superior to Pan and his pipes . . . and the dissenting Midas (yes, that Midas!) was punished with ass's ears. And I can't think of a better myth to remember in this golden age of music competitions.

Apollo, if you're reading . . . and listening . . . here is your Eurovision song . . .

(Espana, 1973)


Star Crunch said...

Is this always held around this time of the year? I wonder if I didn't stumble on it back in 2001 while touring Europe (mid-to-late June). Flipping through the channels in the Swiss hotel, all we found was some musical something-or-other...

That said, my knowledge of Eurovision comprises this and last year's post. Then as now, I came away with a "Well, that was something" feeling. :)

After realizing what was going on in the video, I read on, hoping for some insight on Hera! (Whom I failed even to identify.) Alas, it was not to be. My guess is that she's too associated with others and specific situations (how she tormented Heracles, being sought by Ixion, cheated on by Zeus, competing for Paris's favor, et al.), rather than her "goddess of X" traits, but hey, some of the events are depicted on famous vases, so there ya go. Shot in the dark, though.

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks for reading last year's post! I think you were the only one. LOL!

Back in 2001, I wouldn't wouldn't be surprised if you didn't hear of Eurovision at all! Many of my French, German, Italian and Swiss trainees, back when I was teaching English, were embarrassed that I even asked about it. =P (The Spanish trainees, on the other hand, were happier to admit they liked it!) And in my humble opinion, the 90s and early 2000s were the ESC's worst period. I don't like any of the songs from then. But it seems to have bounced back since.

That was a good guess about Hera! You'd think they could have thrown in a peacock, though! All the other gods are a snap to identify even with the sound off. After writing this post, I guessed that the jars were there as a tribute to Greek art--sort of like the caryatids during the Athena bit, except that the caryatids make sense for Athena.

Sheila said...

I don't know what Eurovision is, except that you post about it, and this post is made even more enigmatic by the fact that my browser's video player isn't working.

But when I think "lucky ninth .... always left out ... god of the underworld" I think of New Horizons. I hope you're not as ignorant of astronomical news as I am of musical news!

Enbrethiliel said...


Actually, I am out of the loop when it comes to astronomical news! I know that there were supposed to be new photos of Pluto, because people have been joking on Twitter, but that's it. At least we can keep each other informed. ;-)