The Death’s-Head Hawkmoth is very large with markings resembling a skull, hence the name, and has long been associated throughout Europe with all manner of superstitions. It squeaks, which I find fascinating, but this unique ability has doubtless contributed to its ill-deserved reputation as an announcer of death, predicting everything from plague to war.
Eye-catching! The Hawkmoth caterpillar
The genus name is Acherontia, a reference to the river Acheron in the Epirus area of Greece. The Acheron flows from the mountains down into the Ionian Sea, and was prominent in Greek mythology as one of the five rivers of death in the Underworld.
Perhaps Persephone wandered its banks, weeping into the dark waters?
I’ve seen the Hawkmoth caterpillars on the property fairly frequently, feeding their way voraciously along, but have never been able to capture a good picture of the moth. Unless one happens to fly into the light, they’re not easy to spot at night but I’ve heard the strange squeak they make; one can understand why primitive peoples were so preoccupied with them.
No pesticides or poisons of any sort have ever been used on this land so we are fortunate to have quite a variety of insects which creep and crawl, flutter and fly about on their foraging missions, ducking and diving from their natural predators. Yes, of course the garden suffers to some extent, but it’s amazing how the birds by day and the bats by night sort things out somewhat.
I wasn’t ready for this close-up!
The colourful Death’s-Head Hawkmoth caterpillars are so striking that the lowly worms inching and squinching their munching way along seem insignificant by comparison.
Forget the cyclamen flowers, I need the leaves
Whether they creep or crawl, are large or small, worms and caterpillars are highly regarded by birds, so their lives are constantly under threat whatever their colouring.
Knitting needles, a few yards of yarn and a button or two – I give you GoogliBugs.
Watch out for birds!
Quite tasty, no?
Minor’s puzzled…where’d he go?
What is this stuff?
Nice ‘n’ fresh!
Trying to worm your way in?
Lots here to fatten me up!
These leaves aren’t up to much, don’t you think?
The food’s beautifully presented
Pink’s my favourite colour
With a lot of luck, these may become moths and butterflies!
Are we related?
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Tagged bats, birds, Caterpillar, colour, crawling, creeping, Europe, garden, GoogliBug, Greek mythology, Ionian sea, kids, knitting, leaves, moths, Pelion, threat, Underworld, worms
The burial mound at Amphipolis, near Thessaloniki in Greece, has been very much in the news recently but now that an ancient skeleton has been found the excitement has reached peak levels. Thanks to modern science we’re accustomed to the fact that age, sex, height of skeletal remains can be determined, but it’s astonishing that scientists fully expect to learn details such as colour of hair and eyes of the person buried in this tomb. He or she was certainly of great importance as indicated by the splendour of the burial chambers, though the tomb has unfortunately long since been looted.
The pomegranate – known since antiquity
The mosaic floor is of superb quality. Only imagine the skill and expertise required to carry out the back-breaking work of assembling the scene. I wonder if the pebbles were collected and sorted for the artist by helpers? One would think so. This National Geographic article gives a brief description of the mosaic.
Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus, featured prominently in Greek mythology, though the concept of a goddess responsible for the rebirth of plant growth in the spring has a history which predates the latest versions of the Greek myths; birth and death have always preoccupied Man’s mind.
Needless to say, after all the skulduggery and trauma of being dragged underground, Persephone was more than a little anxious to return to her mother from the Underworld. In one version of the Greek myth, Hades agreed to free her if she hadn’t eaten or drunk anything while in his underground kingdom.
Winter fruits: Apples and pomegranates are frequently mentioned in the Greek myths
But he tricked her, of course – Greek myths are big on tricks and treachery!
He fooled her into eating some pomegranate seeds, with the result that her freedom came with certain conditions: six months on Earth, six months with him as Queen of the Underworld. Thus did the ancient Greeks explain the seasons.
Some years ago I knitted my friend a shawl in what has become my signature style, using many colours and textures of yarn; the original shawl is featured in my first book (2000).
Jason’s quite cosy in warm winter colours
We were photographing this one in late Fall before Aeolus, that normally nimble god of the wind, had dispersed all the Bougainvillea blooms, and together with a bowl of pomegranates on the table – the colours were irresistible. So much fun setting up the pictures!
Persephone is a lovely classical name, not often heard nowadays; Persa is the common pet name. Persephone, a favourite subject of artists and sculptors, is frequently depicted delicately draped in floating wraps and shawls.
Highlighting the colours
Worn by an antique olive jar
Did she knit brightly coloured shawls to cheer her through the dark dismal days in Hades?
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Tagged Aeolus, antique, apples, Bougainvillia, Centaurs, colours, Demeter, Greece, Greek, Hades, Jason, knitting, olive jar, Persephone, Pounda Paou, seeds, shawl, Thessaloniki, Underworld, winter