PRIVS • DOMINATVS

PROJECT • DESCRIPTION
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PriusDominatus is a project honoring the ancient Greek contributions to modern democratic-style civilisation.

In Latin, "Prius Dominatus" is "Before Domination". This project is a study of tyranny, defined literally as "the rule by fear", and the contrasting leadership styles of matriarchy and patriarchy. Set in a fictional classical period setting of a time in Hellenistic Greece just prior to the conquering by Rome.

PriusDominatus invites the viewer to ponder the fall of Democracy, the nature of the sexes, and the influence of fear. This large-format oil painting re-imagines the moment Rome conquered Greece and fear overcame reason.

The United States of America is founded on the Democratic principles of mutual respect and consent passed down from Ancient Greek principles. This work combines my experience of these concepts into an allegorical accumulation. Tyranny was the greatest aversion and rallying cry in colonial America, and while the aversion has been modified to accommodate modern principles, it yet rings. My concept embodies this important truth, and adds into it all the scientific accumulation of human observation since ancient times; these concepts of inalienable rights as inherent to the importance of the understanding of why fear is the deadliest form of manipulation and oppression, and why observation and agreement in conjunction with the experience of every individual is crucial to the survival of humanity.

At some point in ancient history, Tyranny, the "ruling with fear", overcame the participatory rule of reason, discussion, debate, and Democracy. The force and fury of a few came to dominate- and drowned out the compassion of the masses, and indeed, inundated the will of the individual. Eventually, an Empire of the will of one man enslaved the population of most of the inhabited continents of the planet Earth. In recorded history the hatch-ling notion of the rule by reason and agreement of all, was tentatively structured in ancient Greece. It was immediately devoured by a crouching dragon-fire of rage and the irrational attempt by one man to think for all.

PriusDominatus takes one back to this moment and searches blindly through pre-recorded history to find notions of a time before Empire; a time that had a civilization so different in contrast, so opposite in nature, that it inevitably inspired a vehement reactionary, tyrannical fight, which sent groups of men forever screaming up a violent path of sexist, misogynistic, masochistic, sadist, impossible, and apparently unsustainable heights.

Heights they climbed forged the Gods of Olympus-- a small, esoteric group embodying all arrogance, aristocracy, myopia and greed. Later it would alter those they re-named, so that they became unrecognizable, before ultimately murdering them to discover two new Gods to worship-- Gods of extreme distance and depravity-- and a new structure of government as well, defined by the extremest nature of the worst of the two.

This Devil defined authority and authoritarian nature in no more empirical a fashion, and charged categorical observation and communication with vengeance, censorship and imprisonment. Indeed, the legacy of Empire is that same pure, unbridled insanity. For all who attempt it; from its imitated form in those participant nuclear family units, to all of bureaucratic composition itself; have inevitably gone "king-crazy", and as unmanageably mad as old King George. Humanity may yet learn directly to end that barbaric effort of the attempt to burden one man with the lives of many, and in doing so, surrender the impossible practice which leads all humankind to believe they must live and think as one.

From the paranoia of Emperor Qi, through the brutality of Caligula, to the madness of King George III, this repeating horror eventually inspired a renaissance of reason; the rise of the Enlightenment birthed a fledgling new force upon whose principles a new country was founded -- and, on trembling young limbs, America stands still reeling.

Feel free to contribute to the completion of this project.

CAST
Photographer Erik Oginski
photographer erik oginski
Photographer Erik Oginski

"Erik Oginski is a Los Angeles-based photographer whose work currently focuses mainly on editorial, events and street photography. Erik has a background in journalism and spent 13 years working in broadcast news before transitioning into marketing. Photography has played a significant role throughout his career and his work has been featured in international publications and media."
-StudioOG.com-

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Model Karley Blake as Athena
athena-more-dress-photo
Model Karley Blake
(Makeup artist/Hair Stylist Brenna of Brenna Bones Artistry)

"Karley Blake is a model and actress from Los Angeles, CA. Her main focus is on art projects, but her portfolio also encompasses fashion, commercial, and editorial modeling. In her spare time, she volunteers and advocates for animal welfare."

Model Maura Evelyn as Prostrate Female
prostrate-female-photo
Model Maura Evelyn
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Photographer Christosomos Kamberlis
Acropolis at Dusk by Christosomos Kamberlis
Photographer Christosomos Kamberlis, Photographer and Travel Advisor from Trip and Trail (tripandtrail.com)
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PROGRESS
Cover for Research Book
PriusDominatus front and back cover
Forward (from book)

PriusDominatus as a research documentary embodies a twenty-first century democratic ideal in both in practical effort and reference material sourced. Many of the source documentation is derived from a competition between feminist revolutionary perspective, and an authoritative male establishment perspective. In combining these two markedly different academic accounts of the classical period; the former delving into humane reconstructions of motivations and a deep understanding of the relevance of the human condition as humanity is battered through history, and the latter being mainly a listing of achievements and points on a map in a timeline; one hopes to reunite these two disparate methodologies in one work, so that what clearly broke the past, may not break the future.

America is founded on the ideas of mutual respect and consent passed down from ancient Greek Democratic principles. Prius Dominatus as a work of art combines a subjective, personal experience of these concepts, and re-crafts them into a multi-faceted artistic expression which includes a large-scale oil painting, a poem in dactylic hexameter, the style of Homer, and this historical research. This book is an analytical study of how the rule of fear impacted leadership and gender dynamics in the last days of democracy and the first days of empire, and the major role philosophy played in this happening. Tyranny, literally the rule by fear, was the greatest rallying cry in colonial America, and while that colonial aversion has been altered to accommodate modern principles, it yet rings. The project in its entirety embodies this important truth, and factors into it all the scientific accumulation of human observation since ancient times. Its purpose is to conclude and reinforce that same, crucial truth arrived at incontrovertibly through so many generations of bitter, memorable, and often-repeated tragedies: that those inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental to the understanding of why fear manipulation is the most insidious and unsustainable form of oppression.




Introduction
E Pluribus Duo

The Ancient Greeks failed to wholeheartedly embrace democratic methods in practice, in exchange for rapidity and ease in experiments involving military dominance and technological superiority. The inclusion of slavery, misogyny, and racism eroded hard won democratic gains, demonstrated by a slow series of name-changes, compromises, and an increasing tendency toward sensationalism -- along with a marked desensitization towards violence and cruelty. This trend continued, markedly increasing throughout the Hellenistic period, until all semblance of democratic inclusionary will was lost. A main exhibitor trend of this destructive motivation is clearly displayed by certain inherent aspects of philosophical interpretations and their subsequent influences on leadership methodologies originating within Stoic religious codification. After the absorption and domination of other more popular cults for political gain in the early Roman Imperial period, Stoicism was renamed as Christianity. This, the final formal Roman Empire, led to its brief portrayal as the Holy Roman Empire, and shortly after adopted the nomenclatures simultaneously, of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church… of the many, became two, E pluribus duo.

The emergence of democratic methodology and its attempts at institutional incorporation led to a flowering of humanity, only to devolve in the span of three-thousand years into delightfully fresh forms of tyrannical innovation, until the Enlightenment philosophical movement drove a small group of European aristocrats to turn against their own privileged way of life, and make the leap to a new start on a new continent; an action that would be similar to interplanetary colonization in twenty-first century terms. This attempt at democracy was the foundation of the United States of America, and led to another flowering of humanity, followed closely by a similar, yet exponentially quicker, more intensive, and more violent period of technological innovation. A new empire was produced more rapidly than any before, the American Empire -- and with it came the fastest digression into tyranny that history has ever witnessed.




Athena as Woman (last chapter)

Athena was an ancient social relief-valve. Without gods like Athena, Artemis and Hestia, fifty-percent of the population of Greece would have revolted much more quickly and overtly than as happened. The excruciatingly slow and clandestine female revolution, which has taken place throughout western-derivative civilizations since then, is, in exchange, preferable to violent overthrow, one imagines. Many other conciliatory mechanisms were put in place throughout history to mitigate and mollify the vast scope of female oppression. But the concept of powerful, yet non-resistant women, in positions of authority, enabling a severely patriarchal society to function by appearing to patronize the female underclass, is apparent. In any patriarchal society, in any time period, the simple virtue of being female while in power, does not produce a matriarchy. In fact, the opposite may be true.

"No one would call Renaissance Britain a Matriarchy just because of the reigns of Mary Stuart, Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth."
Pg. 23; Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, Sarah B. Pomeroy

Athena became an inspiration and a justification for the unending Greek wars, as well as providing the guiding example of why women should raise young men to be soldiers. As the wise goddess of the loom, justified war by putting on her armor and becoming the feminine centerpiece of artistic, political, and religious life in Athens; that exceedingly aggressive, and warlike ancient Greek city-state; she began the long, slow digression into the absolute debasement of every noble ancient aspiration.

An enduring piece of extremely manipulative propaganda, lauded through centuries as an anti-war tour de force, is Aristophanes’ play 'Lysistrata’. From the odd reference to the real-life priestess of Athena Polias, the subtle yet important name change from Lysimache, “the dissolver of strife”, to Lysistrata, “the dissolver of armies”, Aristophanes makes a play for the hearts and minds of the child-rearing contingent of ancient Greek society.

“In 1955, David Lewis boldly suggested that this historical Lysimache served as the model for the leading character in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. In this, Lewis followed Papadimitriou, who had earlier associated another character in the play, Myrrhine, with the historical Myrrhine who served as priestess of Athena Nike at the end of the fifth century. Both Myrrhine and Lysimache were priestesses on the Acropolis in 411 B.C., the year in which Aristophanes’ play was first performed…. He pointed to the similarity in form and meaning between Lysistrata, “Dissolver (or Disbander) of Armies,” and Lysimache, “Dissolver (or Disbander) of Battle (or Strife). He cited Lysistrata 554 as an outright admission of the Lysistrata/Lysimache association. Here, Lysistrata proclaims: ‘I believe that one day we will be known among the Greeks as Lysimachai (Dissolvers of Battle).’”
Pg. 62-3; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

As no society so hatefully beset upon one another in a continual state of war, recognizing the need for armies, would associate un-ironically with the movie-star priestess of the day, known as “peacemaker”, being renamed as “disbander of armies”, by a comedian playwright, the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm could not have been more obvious. Aristophanes more likely was cautioning a conservative male population and chiding the females by presupposing publicly, that a real potential threat -- of women withholding sex and refusing to raise soldiers instead of sons -- was a ridiculous farce, (or not), but that it also wouldn't be possible any longer because the women had been psychologically beaten back in public and everyone was now on the alert against the possibility.

By publicly acknowledging the power women could exact by utilizing sex as a weapon; to withhold it to purpose; the Greek patriarchy, through the art of the day, reinforced the limitations of a woman's function as a sexual object, confining her to it, while at the same time planting those seeds of the destruction of intimacy and distorting the purpose of the sexual act itself. Praised throughout history as a selfless act of desperation to bring end to a particularly devastating war which Athens seemed destined to lose, it was no more than another divisive effort by a warmongering state, to manipulate women to raise soldiers without guilt for their eventual child sacrifice. This was the context within which Athena occupied.

“And it was Praxithea, whose very name means “one who does things for the goddess”, who set a shining example for all that a Greek priestess should be. Born to a noble family, generous beyond measure, she famously placed the communal good of Athens above the lives of her own children. When called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice and offer her daughter to save the city, Praxithea did not waver. Her response was that of a selfless guardian and steadfast citizen: ‘Our common heritage is at stake and no one will ever obtain my consent to cast out the ancient laws our fathers handed down’ (Erechtheus frag. 360.43-45).”
Pg. 280; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

“For at least seven centuries, Athenian women proudly took up the sacred office that was modeled on the ideal of Praxithea's service to goddess and city. Priestesses of Athena Polias, and priestly women like them across the Mediterranean world, assumed responsibilities, performed rites, made benefactions, instructed in traditions, and received substantial honors in return. As we have seen, these tributes included statues, crowns, theater seats, grave monuments, and the collective esteem of their communities.”
Pg. 281; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

Athena was the lost last hope of a peaceful, adaptable, scientifically-motivated, inclusive human civilization, but when she left her loom and held up her shield, Greek mothers accepted war; aspiring to be Athena by being masculine and free, desperate for any relatable illusion of strength and justice in their own oppressive circumstances, they so raised their young sons to be murderers, and lead them to unending slaughter.

"In the Athenians' visual representations of their patron goddess they were confronting the paradox implicit in a patriarchal society's worship of a powerful male deity. Often the difference between Athena and ordinary mortal women was emphasised by highlighting the goddess's more masculine qualities, so that she was identified as a special case rather than a role model."
Pg. 191; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

"On entering the sanctuary, a visitor was immediately confronted by a thirty-foot (9 metre) bronze statue of Athena Promachos (Champion) complete with shield, helmet and spear."
Pg. 191; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

"Inside the temple this difference was vastly augmented. Here the spectator came face to face with Phidias's Parthenos, a gold-and-ivory statue which was over forty feet (12.3 metres) in height. The discourses of the methods were repeated in the decoration of this colossal image: Greeks versus Amazon's were depicted on the outside of her shield, Gods versus Giants on the inside; while Lapiths and Centaurs waged war around the rim of her mighty sandals. This is the Virgin Warrior, the daughter who in the idealised world of the gods does not have to be given away in marriage. The need for marriage has been displaced downwards, on to an imperfect world: the relief on the state's base represented the creation of Pandora, the first woman and, of course, the first wife. In Athena, the dangerous femininity of Pandora's daughters has been transformed, to produce a goddess who is loyal to the male in all things -- apart from marriage."
Pg. 193; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

"Athena presided over the library; the Gigantomachy is also an Attic theme: it was woven into the robe which was presented to Athena at her Athenian festival, and a Gigantomachy was carved on the eastern metopes of the Parthenon and on the inner side of the shield of the Athena Parthenos herself; for the Athenians in the fifth century it symbolised the triumph of discipline over violence, which was also exemplified by the Greek victory in the Persian wars."
Pg. 115-116; T.B.L. Webster, The Age of Hellenism

"The Artemis of classical Greece probably evolved from the concept of a primitive mother goddess, and both she and her sister Athena were considered virgins because they had never submitted to a monogamous marriage. Rather, as benefits mother goddesses, they had enjoyed many consorts."
Pg. 6; Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves; Sarah B. Pomeroy

Reinforcing this horrible practice by setting patterns of behavior to be followed by example, was a yearly spectacle, and new initiate priestesses were required to carry piglets some distance, wash them and care for the highly intelligent, human-like baby animals before sacrificing them, in an epic display of pageantry, as well as a fundamental aspect of State-sponsored religious practice. “In September of every year, she would set out from the great sanctuary at Eleusis and March in procession some eighteen miles to the center of Athens. Accompanied by other priestesses, she carried the hiera (holy things).”

“Here, they were kept for four days, during which the start of the Mysteries was announced to the general public. Those to be initiated bathed in the sea off Phaleron and washed piglets for the sacrifices that followed.”

“The special relationship of the sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis and the City Eleusinian at Athens has been seen to reflect a bipolar model that connected periphery with center, articulating the relationship of the Eleusinian cult to Athenian state religion. This would support the view that Eleusis and it's cult were part of the Athenian polis from the beginning, rather than having been introduced through annexation later on. The ritual procession of the priestess of Demeter and More provided an important visual link between these two locations and reflected the age-old relationship that the two sites shared.”
Pg. 64-5; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

Athena and her priestesses were the Hollywood actors of their day. Their influence was pervasive. Their actions became daily habit to their fans. The behavioral patterns set by the smallest, most mundane imitations of the goddess by her priestesses had millennia-wide ripple effects on society and culture. Women tended to the house, but how they did it, how they looked and acted while they did it, was methodically programmed. How ancient society, and, in fact, the government, determined one should look and act while doing anything, was all set, practiced, predetermined, and mechanically and synchronistically performed until dying day by this wealthy, for-profit, Hollywood-esque Priestess System, with Athens’ Athena Polias sect at the fore, and this all stretched deep into the very beginnings of ancient Greek culture.

“When the tired musketeers who had brought the “holy things” up to the Acropolis asked the priestess if they could have a drink, she jested that she was afraid to oblige them, lest her action become part of the ritual. Plutarch thus paints a picture of a clever, fun, wisecracking Lysimache. The personality of an individual woman may thus emerge from the sources to provide insight into the impact of an individual priestess within her public Arena. So central were priestesses to Athenian society that their names were household words and they were fair game for jokes and for portrayal in theater.”
Pg. 63-4; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

“Not only did goddesses impersonate priestesses, but priestesses clearly imitated the goddesses they served.”
Pg. 106; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

“Divine imitation is well attested for priestesses of Athena. Polyainos (8.59), writing in the second century A.D., tells how the priestess of Athena at Kelleher was the fairest and tallest maiden in town. It was customary for her to dress in full armor, including a helmet, on festival day. When the Aetolian invaders saw the girl, they thought she was Athena and retreated.”
Pg. 106; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

“Nonetheless, this story attests to the power of divine impersonation already in the Archaic period and prefigures the use of sacred dress-up as an effective device within later ritual theater.”
Pg. 108; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

“The gods, Patton maintains, are not just the objects of cult but the very source of cult, the origin and catalyst for human religious behavior. The Olympians thus reinforce ritual by performing it themselves.”
Pg. 109; Portrait of a Priestess, Joan Breton Connelly

After the fall of Greece, Athena's legacy continued on. The ideas she manifested lurked on through the ages, encouraging female submission, allowing unchecked militarism and expansion, leading to those most horrific human abuses of humanity, and the destruction of the habitable capacity of planet Earth.

"The Virgin Mary may not in her function resemble the virgin Olympians, but in one respect there is a similar pattern of thought behind her characterisation. Like Athena, Artemis and Hestia, the Virgin holds out the promise of a fertility that does not involve sexuality, and does not therefore threaten men with feminine power or feminine passion beyond their control."
Pg. 46; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

Further on in the future, the father of Stoicism, Zeno, began to formulate his legacy of religious authoritarianism. Though only in its infant stages, it would, in time, paradoxically, and with quite determined, patient machinations, precipitously press and ring logic from the minds of billions, and flush humanity into the pitch of a labyrinth of masterfully constructed tunnels, bricked thoroughly with constrictive pseudo-reason, winding endlessly upon its own superstitious, cannibalistic intentions. Zeno uses the patterned exemplar formula of the infallible Greek priesthood in his effort, arguing that ritualistic, daily effort becomes legal proof of a good or bad person. Essentially, that a person is only the sum of their behavior, unworthy of forgiveness and incapable of change. This was the entire perception of the aristocratic priestly class, that the appearance of their behavior, largely inherited from noble birth, excluded them from blame and raised them to a higher, godly plane of existence.

“Zeno says that a cause is 'that because of which’. That of which it is the cause is an event [or accident]. And the cause is a body and that of which it is the cause is a predicate. It is impossible for the cause to be present and that of which it is the cause not to be the case. What is said amounts to this: a cause is that because of which something comes about, for example, prudent thinking occurs because of prudence, living because of soul, and temperate behavior because of temperance. For if someone has temperance or soul or prudence it is impossible for there not to be temperate behaviour, life, or prudent thinking.”
-Stobaeus, Anthology 1.13.1c, vol. 1 p. 138.14-22 W-H (SVF 1.89)
Hellenistic Philosophy: Introductory Readings; Inwood & Gerson, pg 169

“As to natural ability and noble birth, some members of this school were led to say that every wise man is endowed with these attributes; but others were not. For some think that men are not only endowed with a natural ability for virtue by nature, but also that some are such by training, and they accepted this proverbial saying: 'practice, when aged by time, turns into nature.’ And they made the same supposition about noble birth, so that natural ability is a condition congenial to virtue which comes from nature or training, or a condition by which certain men are prone to acquire virtue readily. And noble birth is a condition congenial to virtue which comes from birth or training.”
-John Stobaeus, Anthology 2, 5-12 (pp. 57-116 W-H.)
Pg. 227; Hellenistic Philosophy, Inwood & Gerson

“And only the wise man is a king and regal, but none of the base is. For regal rule is not subject to review and is supreme and is superior to all [other forms of rule].”
-John Stobaeus, Anthology 2, 5-12 (pp. 57-116 W-H.)
Pg. 228; Hellenistic Philosophy, Inwood & Gerson

In conclusion, if one were to reach even further back in time, most ancient peoples on the far fringe of observable historical archeological evidence had some form of prominent female deity, talisman, or charm, to an exclusive degree. Since there is no legible extant documentation describing these female sculptural forms as religious deities, one must assume from the legacy of Athena that these sculptures were a similar form of deification, or mental focal point for the imagination in physical form. If Athena provided soldiers for warmongering militarism, then it stands to reasonable assumption that the buxom, fatted appearance of these prehistoric charms, in full-figured health and reproductive capacity, may have provided an ideal, or goal for men in those outlying times, perhaps to a less extreme degree than the later development of the famous cult of Athena. Men in those pre-ancient times may have used testosterone’s potent strength as motivation to construct and provide a bounty of food; appetizing and seasoned well enough so as to incite the eager palate, while also having a high protein and fat content; likely must have been an achievable goal in prehistoric times, judging from the vast number and commonality of these small sculptures.

So one concludes, that even more ancient societies than the ancient Greeks were not pursuant of war and hoarding, but were led that way by ignorance and depravity. Before them, people had achieved what has become increasingly absent and improbable, perhaps even impossible, until the modern technological age... an egalitarian largesse for all.

"According to this hypothesis, before the arrival of the Greeks on the Greek mainland, in about 2000 BC, the native population consisted of settled agriculturalists, who worshipped deities who were primarily female and were associated with the fertility of the earth. The Greeks then brought with them a set of strong male deities more suited to their own way of life, which hitherto had revolved around warfare, pillage and the use of horses."
Pg 17; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

While there may never have been a matriarchal reality, there is a great deal of new evidence from female scholars and researchers to shed the brightest of illumination on the true path of humankind by revealing historical realities hidden to the purely male perspective and understanding. Humanity needs the female perspective.

"There is no clear evidence to prove that Matriarchy ever existed as a historical reality. Many feminist scholars today, while accepting that some prehistoric societies were much more egalitarian than later historic ones, reject the notion of outright female dominance."
Pg 18; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

"Here, there is no division into active and passive partners: each woman is both the subject and the object of thought. The pattern of conquest and domination which characterises the male lyricists' idea of love is replaced in Sappho's verse by a model founded upon reciprocity;"
Pg. 87; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

"It appears, for instance, that in the last thirty years of the sixth century BC a large number of 'korai' figures were erected in the sanctuary of Athena on the Acropolis at Athens. These images surely must have served to create a very feminine atmosphere, which nowadays is absent from the site, and indeed seems largely to have disappeared in the course of the fifth century. The statues were damaged when the Persians sacked Athens in 480 and 479 BC, and were replaced in the main with figures of male athletes and heroes."
Pg. 92; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

And through this female perspective, humanity may well achieve other perspectives heretofore disguised from human consciousness, and truly harness our adaptable nature: to embark upon new, more alien challenges... no longer so far out of reach.

Study of View from Acropolis
view from acropolis study
Study of View from Acropolis from photo by Christosomos Kamberlis.

Greek Photographer Christosomos Kamberlis, Photographer and Travel Advisor from Trip and Trail (tripandtrail.com), travelled to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece to photograph the background view for PriusDominatus.

Acropolis at Dusk by Christosomos Kamberlis
'Acropolis at Dusk' by Christosomos Kamberlis
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Athena Study from Reshoot

The success of the study from the reshoot was resounding and cannot be overstated. Using the newly developed wet-fabric simulation process with fabric soaked in a high concentration mix of polyethylene glycol and water developed by myself and Erik, a perfect approximation of Classical Hellenistic drapery was acheived throughout the photography to painting conversion process. This large-scale oil study was painted in a style in imitation of surviving Roman murals and frescos, especially seen in the wet-in-wet brushwork of the fabric.

athena reshoot study
Athena reshoot study.
athena reshoot owl
Athena reshoot owl.
athena reshoot head
Athena reshoot study head detail.
Athena Reshoot

In order to better capture a Hellenistic period sculptural 'wet fabric' style in the statue of Athena, further research demanded a reshoot of the Athena character. After several studies of the initial photograph of Athena it became evident that the anatomy of figure would become obscured upon conversion into a sculptural form. Using Nike Athena as a reference point, a new process was developed to treat certain fabric to best approximate the delicate transparency as well as the intricate wet folds clinging to the skin surface.

"The hypothesis about the Voyerism of Greek males may be borne out by the emergence, in the second quarter of the fifth century B.C., of large-scale paintings intended for public viewing that depicted women in transparent or wet, clinging drapery."

Pg. 144; Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves; Sarah B. Pomeroy

nike samothrace
Nike Samothrace By Lyokoï88 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Prostrate Female
prostrate-female-study
Oil Study of Maura Evelyn as 'prostrate female' from photo by Erik Oginski

The centerpiece of the composition and central figure is informally referred to as the 'prostrate female'. Both the name and languid pose denote stereotypical female vulnerability in extreme and dramatic gesture; inherent in and complimentary to; the diametric opposition displayed in this work's concept dynamic between male and female, matriarchy and patriarchy, as displayed by the two main characters of this piece. This figure, with bared neck, exposed midsection, and lack of firm or natural support and connection to the very ground beneath her, exemplifies a familiar female vantage constructed within a patriarchal society. This common stereotype and socio-economic construct best exhibits a universally relatable concept: that of one human's domination over another. In the simplest and most extreme sense, this pose is instinctively evocative of one who has been removed of dignity, grace, and formality; it is extreme submission. This artistic rendering however, adds a twist.

Hellenistic funerary wall painting
Hellenistic funerary wall painting

In ancient classical painting, the male figure is always colored with a deep bronze skin-tone, as seen in surviving wall-paintings and tile mosaics from ancient Hellenistic Greece and Rome. Women are painted using a series of light gray tones and are much more pale in comparison to the deep, reddish-brown coloring used to indicate males.

"The Homeric epithet "white-armed" and Bronze Age frescoes that show women with white skin and males with suntanned flesh both testify to the indoor orientation of women's work."

Pg. 30; Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves; Sarah B. Pomeroy

"A White complexion was considered attractive, since it proved that a woman was wealthy enough not to go out in the sun."

Pg.83; Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves; Sarah B. Pomeroy

"Nowadays, there seems little doubt that sexual segregation did at least exist as an upper-class ideal. Xenophon ('Oeconomicus 7.30' (italics)) produces a classic statement of it when he puts into the mouth of Ischomachus the words, 'S it is deeply for a woman to remain at home and not to remain out of doors; but for a man to stay inside, instead of devoting himself to outdoor pursuits, is disgraceful'.

Pg. 135; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

This is a result of ancient tendencies toward sexual distinction both in everyday life and in art which is challenged by the foundational concept of PriusDominatus.

"More pervasively, since democracy created a growing dichotomy between activities which were public and collective, and those which were private and individual, it accentuated the disparity between males and females. Increasingly, men in the democratic state were defined by their active involvement in political life, and women were defined by their exclusion from that sphere."

Pg. 129; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

The 'prostrate female' displays a posture of inherent weakness -- while at the same time being colored in a tone usually reserved for males. Men spent their days outdoors in the heat of the sun and women were 'kept' indoors.

"While there is general agreement that politically and legally the condition of a woman in Classical Athens was one of inferiority, the question of her social status has generated a major controversy and has become the focus of most recent studies of Athenian women. Opinions range from one extreme to the other. Some scholars hold that women were despised and kept in Oriental seclusion, while others contend that they were respected and enjoyed freedom comparable to that of most women throughout the centuries-- we may add, "at least before the advent of the women's movement." Still others think that women were kept secluded, but in that seclusion were esteemed and ruled the house.

The first position is succinctly stated by F.A. Wright in a book published in 1923 and obviously influenced by the wave of feminism which culminated in the passage of the Nineteenth Ammendment. This book was reissued in 1969 and now appears quaint in its blatant polemicism:

'the fact is-- and it is well to state it plainly-- that the Greek world perished from one main cause, a low ideal of womanhood and a degradation of women which found expression both in literature and in social life. The position of women and the position of slaves-- for the two classes went together-- were the canker-spots which, left unsealed, brought about the decay first of Athens and then of Greece.'"

Pg. 58; Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves; Sarah B. Pomeroy

"Women of all social classes worked mainly indoors or near the house in order to guard it."

Pg.72; Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves; Sarah B. Pomeroy

"More pervasively, since democracy created a growing dichotomy between activities which were public and collective, and those which were private and individual, it accentuated the disparity between males and females. Increasingly, men in the democratic state were defined by their active involvement in political life, and women were defined by their exclusion from that sphere."

Pg. 129; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

"Nowadays, there seems little doubt that sexual segregation did at least exist as an upper-class ideal. Xenophon (Oeconomicus 7.30) produces a classic statement of it when he puts into the mouth of Ischomachus the words, 'S it is deeply for a woman to remain at home and not to remain out of doors; but for a man to stay inside, instead of devoting himself to outdoor pursuits, is disgraceful'.

Pg. 135; Women in Ancient Greece, Sue Blundell

The exaggerated musculature, especially in the thighs, adds another indicator of strength further complicating the paradox, challenging the ancient and modern sexual stereotype. The archetype for the pose specifically, is also an affront to age-old assumptions about power.

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Antonio Ciseri. The Deposition of Christ (c. 1883)By SIKART dictionary and database, Public Domain
Peter Paul Rubens. The Descent from the Cross (1617–18), (Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille)
Peter Paul Rubens. The Descent from the Cross (1617–18), (Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille) By Photo taken by Remi Jouan, Mars 2007, Public Domain
Fra_Angelico_073.jpg
Fra Angelico. Deposition of Christ, Fra Angelico (1437-1440). Tempera on wood, 176 x 185 cm. Museo di San Marco, Florence By The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain
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Caravaggio. The Entombment of Christ (1604). Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome By The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain

The historical reference for this character is not only Hellenistic period Greek and Roman painting, but also a popular Renaissance motif. This pose is an interpretation of the religious theme popularized by the Catholic church known as the 'Descent from the Cross', whereby Jesus is supported and cradled from the cross by a devoted group of his followers. Here, a more modern observation is revealed, and the female -- poised as the epitome of vulnerability and sacrifice -- levitates unsupported. This gender-swapping of the typically male sacrificial role further challenges ancient assumptions regarding domination and the interpersonal gender power dynamic.

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Rogier van der Weyden. The Descent from the Cross. (c. 1435) Oil on oak panel, 220 x 262 cm Museo del Prado, Madrid By The Prado in Google Earth: Home - 7th level of zoom, JPEG compression quality: Photoshop 9., Public Domain
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Jean Jouvenet, The Descent from the Cross (1697). Musée du Louvre, ParisBy Own work, Public Domain

Levitation of the figure references modern technological innovation as the inevitability of Her salvation. She floats upwards, bisected by a red laser beam to reinforce visually the presumed harm to which she is subjected. This concept is taken directly from a little known theoretical spacecraft propulsion method called 'photonic propulsion'.

Photonic Propulsion on YouTube

Photonic Propulsion powers a spacecraft with a laser beam and solar panels. It is theorized that such a spacecraft would be lighter, needing no fuel storage, and traveling faster due to the nature of the medium, arrive at Mars in just three days.

An actual NASA test in a lab on YouTube

In this metaphorical interpretation, skin and body surface area of the 'prostrate female' represent solar absorbtion material which generates power. The laser beam appears viscerally as a wound, but completes the power cycle of the metaphor when united with scientific understanding, raising this craft eventually above and beyond the looming power of tyranny and patriarchy as it is represented; the hope of all humankind.

Greek Photographer Photographs Acropolis

Greek Photographer Christosomos Kamberlis, Photographer and Travel Advisor from Trip and Trail (tripandtrail.com), travelled to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece to photograph the background view for PriusDominatus.

Acropolis at Dusk by Christosomos Kamberlis
'Acropolis at Dusk' by Christosomos Kamberlis
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Celtic Athena
athena-study
Oil Study of Karley Blake as Celtic Athena from photo by Erik Oginski

In this version of Athena, one must concede that Greek civilisation discovered an increasing tolerance for violence through the Roman period, and may have been the cause for eventual Roman conquest. For this variation, Athena clings more to her legacy of wisdom than of war, holds the torch of freedom, and is companioned by an owl of wisdom.

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Athena with Owl on Ancient Greek Coin By cgb.fr - , CC BY-SA 3.0

She remains un-armored, having no Aegis, a shield bearing the decapitated head of snake-haired Medusa; leaning on no spear, and she holds the torch of freedom in its stead. The Aegis is said to be carried by both Athena and Zeus, and is sometimes depicted as an animal skin, a serpent or serpent skin, or a tattoo or broach. This symbol originated as a response to the age of tyrants in ancient Greek history, which were overthrown by democracy, The Aegis was a reminder of the power of the tyrant, the effect of fear on a person when applied from an authoritative vantage, and a reminder that by the greatest power and wisdom, it should never again be applied to abuse a population. Medusa is an important aspect of that power, as the fear of the sight of her could freeze a person. A wild predatorial animal causes a similar "deer in the headlights", "flight or fright" reaction used by centuries of tyrants, aristocrats, bosses, law enforcement, and parents to intentionally disable and control their prey; to reveal true intentions, intimidate, interrogate, and dominate. Wielding the Aegis funtions to supply courage, give hope and confidence by the mere thought of the gods using it in battle as their talisman and charm. For generations the power of the Aegis taught and reminded the opressed, traumatzed, and abused, to resist, endure, and take heart -- that they might be granted such a power in their own trials of life.

In this depiction, however, there is no tyranny, no deprivation, no ruling class, none of Plato's grand Guardians. The gods had not become personified to forever battle reminders of injustice in the mind. In this age of travel and wealth and equality, this time before the contest between the sexes, uncommon conquest and purposeful degradation; this time before the game of dominance and war, gods were nothing more than statues of foreigners illustrating their unique characteristics, as well as an intuitive visual code to locate their progenitors geographically.

Aegis
Aegis, serpent version.
By commons:User:Shii, edited by 83d40m - Edited version of File:Douris cup Jason Vatican 16545.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Aegis, shield version.

The torch is referenced directly from the French Neoclassical Statue of Liberty. Not visible in this study, these new accoutrement, along with the traditional semi-transparent fabric of her tunic, and her high-wound sandals, combine to form a "Celtic Athena".

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Athena By Tetraktys - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
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Attic red-figure kylix showing Athena slaying the Gigante Enkelados (c. 550–500 BC). By Oltos? (Louvre), circle of Psiax (Mertens) - Marie-Lan Nguyen (2007). Image renamed from Image:Pallas Enceladus LouvreCA3662.jpg, Public Domain

Celtic Athena represents a theory that before Gods were Gods, they were signposts to unite and welcome a global trade network of vastly differing and specific nationalities. As in ancient Rome, a sign for the Fishmonger, was simply a painted fish.

fishmonger
Fishmonger shop in Rome. romeartlover.it

This enabled muli-linguistic commerce directly, with no diplomat, translator, or intermediary faction present. The story of Athena, as springing from her father Zeus' forehead, may be cartographic prose, describing relative global positioning and location. It could be a detailed desciption of an important trading partner, easily remembered and transferrable through time and generations. In a similar light, Athena's owl companion is a symbol of wisdom, but it is also a regionally specific identifier honoring the great Norse shipbuilders.

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Athena springing from the head of Zeus By User:Bibi Saint-Pol - Own work, Public Domain

The Tawny owl found in the southern region of Sweden, Norway, and Finland, in the great bay of the Baltic Sea, where ships, built on commission, and launched to sail around the globe in every nation's fleet, along the pre-ancient trade routes. In this day, not built for war, but for trade. The Tawny owl is perched upon the carved bow of a later-era Norse warship to further reinforce this regional connection. So in this version, Athena is a welcoming beacon of trade for Celtic peoples, and the Parthenon is a foreign embassy.

tawny owl
Tawny Owl