Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting a Grip On Gorgons, Griffins and Gryos-Good Golly!

ABC Wednesday is a word meme with participants from around the world. This fabulous meme was created and hosted by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt who hails from Great Britain. Over time, others have joined in to help host this wonderful and informative meme. We are now in our TENTH round! Some of the participants have been with this from the very first round; others have joined in along the way. Each week we are taken across the globe to see the varied and exciting contributions people have taken the time to discover and capture. We start with the letter, "A" and each week we post something in regards to the next letter of the alphabet. This week's letter is, "G".


 (image source: http://mythology.wikia.com/wiki/Perseus)
I have several books on symbols, one being a dictionary of symbols (written by J.E Cirlot). Why? Because symbols are an integral part of our lives whether or not we 'buy' in to them. And, they appear everywhere-particularly in art (be it visual or written) and architecture. In my book, I came across the word, 'gorgon'. It defined it as a symbol of the fusion of opposites, such as the lion and the eagle, bird and serpent, and so on. Which, in turn, leads to a Google quest. Here's what Wikipedia had to say:

"In Greek mythology, the Gorgon (plural: Gorgons) (Greek: Γοργών or Γοργώ Gorgon/Gorgo) was a terrifying female creature. The name derives from the Greek word gorgós, which means "dreadful." While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld it to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and was slain by the mythical demigod and hero Perseus."

Aha! So, Medusa was a mortalized gorgon! Bet most of you did not know that. I know I didn't! However, if you are further intrigued and would like to delve deeper, be sure to click on both the links for Wikipedia and for the image source.


(image from 123rf.com/stock photo)

And, while we are on the mythical creature bandwagon, why not add the Griffin to the mix? Here's what Wikipedia says about Griffins:

"The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of the creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.[1]"


Well, it's all Greek to me! So is the gyros-although the same dish in other regions are also known as shawarma,  doner kebob (Turkish), el pastor (Spain)...

And, once again, Wikipedia to the rescue, describes gyros as:

"In a prepared dish, seasoned meat is stacked on a vertical spit in the shape of an inverted cone. It is turned slowly, cooking against a vertical rotisserie. A tomato, onion or pineapple may be placed at the top of the stack for additional flavouring. The meat is cooked by charcoal, wood, cast iron, electric, or gas burner. If the meat is not fatty enough, strips of fat are added so that the roasting meat remains always moist and crisp. The rate of roasting can be adjusted by varying the strength of the heat and the distance between the heat and the meat, allowing the cook to adjust to varying rates of consumption. The outside of the meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. While cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, an electric knife or a small circular saw, dropping to a circular tray below to be retrieved."

Many find gyros to be good food!

(by the way, I took these images the same day I took last week's sidewalk fractals in downtown Albuquerque.You can find about 4-6 Greek eatery establishments within a 3 mile stretch on Central Avenue.

And, a bit of eye candy for you all:


Pretty, huh? I am so grateful to those artisans who are glass blowers.


Meryl said...

I never got into gyros, seemed too messy and high caloric... Love the blown glass though.

Roger Owen Green said...

I LOVE gyros. How do YOU pronounce that? A Greek lady I knew said Ghee ro, not JI-RO.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Carver said...

Very interesting information and great illustrations to go with it. Carver, ABC Wednesday Team

Reader Wil said...

You have found excellent G-words. Thank you for this informative post!
Have a great week!
Wil, ABC Wednesday Team.

photowannabe said...

I do love Gryos even if they are messy to eat.
Paula, you always out-do yourself on these posts. Its an adventure to come here and feast on the photos and information.

chubskulit said...

These are all new to me, thanks for sharing Paula!

Gold and Green
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team.

EG Wow said...

For sure I didn't know Medusa was a gorgon. I used to love gyros, but I'm vegetarian now. :)

EG Wow said...


Are you wondering how to say Gwillimbury? It's easy:

Gw as in Gwen
Gwill rhymes with Will, Jill, Bill

im rhymes with him, Jim, rim

bury sounds like berry

Accent on the first syllable

GWILL-im-bury ;))

Kay L. Davies said...

So many interesting words and facts, Paula.
I like gyros, but not too fond of gorgons. Griffons I can look at, but not that Medusa-hair. Grim!

Leslie: said...

I'm now in the mood for a gyro! :D

abcw team

Rajesh said...

Wonderful. Only word that I had any idea before is "Glass".

Spadoman said...

Very cool as usual Paula... My Grandson knows a lot about Greek Mythology. I'll show this post to him today and have him weigh in. He'll be delighted that an adult is talking about Medusa.
As far as the Gyros goes, it is delicious! I didn't know there were Greek restaurants along Central. I'm always looking for New Mexican food when I'm down there. My Greek taste buds get tickled in Chicago, even though they do have Gyros up here in Minneapolis. To watch a real pro slice it off the standing roast with precision is a work of art in and of itself. Love the Tzadziki sauce!

Peace to you

Shooting Parrots said...

They're doner kebabs where I come from. Amazing that they weren't invented until 1971!

Joy said...

Must be a first to link Gryos to Griffins, LOL.
I always think of Ray Harryhausen's stop go action Medusa in Clash of the Titans, wonderfully serpentine.


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