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19.800 x 27.800 x 1.000 inches
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Cassandra The Ill-fated Soothsayer
Painting - Oil On Canvas
The story of Cassandra is one of the very saddest tales of Greek mythology. Cassandra was princess of the legendary city of Troy, the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. The god Apollo lusted after the beautiful young mortal woman and intended to make her his own. To convince her to give into his advances, he promised to bestow upon her the gift of prophecy.
Apollo took Cassandra under his wing and taught her how to use her prophecies. Once her mentorship was finished, however, Cassandra refused to give her body to Apollo as promised.
Furious at being rejected by a mere mortal Apollo decided to punish her. While he couldn't take back the gift he'd already given, he could alter it. After having his way with Cassandra he laid a terrible curse upon her. While Cassandra would still be able to foresee the future, the curse ensured that no one would believe her. Worse than that, they would believe that she was purposely telling lies.
Thus, Cassandra was able to foresee the future for herself and those around her, but every attempt she made to warn people in advance of impending doom was ignored or labeled as a lie. Although she foresaw the fall of Troy, Cassandra was unable to stop its ultimate end.
Ashamed of his daughter's supposed madness, the king pronounced her insane and imprisoned her by locking her inside her own chambers. Denying his daughter altogether, he told many people that she had died. Eventually Cassandra managed to escape from Troy but was raped by Ajax.
Twice raped, once by Apollo and once by Ajax, labeled a liar and insane, Cassandra finally relented and gave in to her fate. She allowed Agamemnon to claim her as his concubine, considering herself a rightful spoil of the Trojan War. Although he didn't marry her, she bore him two children.
Upon return to his home shores, Agamemnon's wife Clytamnestra greeted the couple with full heroic honors. She even embraced Cassandra, promising the young girl that she would make certain her servitude would not be too difficult. However, Cassandra had foreseen her fate as well as that of Agamemnon and she chose to fight it no longer.
Cassandra stood her ground outside the castle, waiting until Clytamnestra finished killing her husband and returned to murder Cassandra with the very same ax. Although she knew her children would also die, it is believed that Athena took pity on the hapless mother and blurred that particular part of her prophecy so she didn't have to witness the death of her sons.
July 1st, 2014
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