I Speak but No one Listens!

Have you ever said something so profound or honest in your convictions and not believed? It happened and still does, though I’d like to think we are more broadminded and perceptive. I am however reminded of the story of Peter and the Wolf, and the whoppers he told. There’d be a lesson, one for Peter and the village! (Pardon the grammar ;D) Can you then imagine what it would be like to see the tragic end of your family, people and city? Cassandra didn’t have a choice, she saw it all and could not do a thing about it!

Cassandra Evelyn De Morgan (1898?)  Wikipedia
Evelyn De Morgan (1898?)

The Greeks had their own seer who they relied on and so did the Trojans except they didn’t heed Cassandra’s dire warnings. Her role in the story was as tragic as Briseis, the way she was treated by her own family and then later as spoils of the war. Also known as Alexandra, she was the most beautiful of King Priam and Queen Hekuba’s daughters. There are two versions as to how she received her prophetic ability:

1. Apollo fell in love with her and he gave the gift of prophecy but she refused him, so he condemned her to a life of giving predictions but not believed.
2. She and her brother Helenos were left in the Temple Thymbraean Apollo overnight and when their parents checked on them, they were asleep with serpents wrapped around them, which flicked their tongues into their ears. Afterwards they were able to divine the future. Later, when Cassandra was older, she spent a night in the temple, was visited by Apollo who desired her. She refused him and hence her foresights were no longer believed.

The most interesting aspect about the character of Cassandra, she is only mentioned once in the Iliad and nor does Homer mention her power to predict the future. It is in later stories we learn more about Cassandra and her prophecies. In spite of being considered mad for raving on about the doom of the Trojans, she had a few suitors. Priam did accept an offer.

‘Drawn by the news of the war, this man was a newcomer to Troy who had asked Priam for the hand of Cassandra, the most beautiful of his daughters. Instead of giving him gifts for his bride, he had promised to do great things and offered to drive the Greeks from his shores, whether they liked it or not.’
Book 13, Lines 366-369

Othryoneus, the prospective husband, was killed in battle. Her story continues after the destruction of Troy. Aiax, the lesser, found Cassandra in the Temple of Athena clutching the statue. In some accounts he raped her and then dragged her out of the temple; in others he abducted her. Her fate was to be linked with Agamemnon as his concubine. He took her back to Mykenae where they were both slayed by Klytaemnesta’s lover.

Ajax the Lesser raping Cassandra. Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup, ca. 440-430 BC. Louvre Museum  Photographer: Bibi Saint-Pol, Wikipedia
Ajax the Lesser raping Cassandra. Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup, ca. 440-430 BC.
Louvre Museum
Photographer: Bibi Saint-Pol,

So why is Cassandra an important character? Her role escalated to such esteem by later bards, as a woman who had voice yet wasn’t heard. Insight how women were treated at the time and their role of subjugation thereafter.

What are your thoughts? Love to hear from you. Thank you for visiting and reading.

Further reading:
Cassandra, Greek and Roman mythology
Cassandra, Greek mythology link
Cassandra in Greek Mythology, Mythography
The Myth of Cassandra, Greek myths and Greek mythology


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Add Yours
  1. jameswhoddinott

    The magic of stories and of the Greek Myths are to teach us lessons and to help us understand. This story can make us think about women who have no voice or all those that are voiceless in the world. Thanks for sharing and having a voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul Gauchi

    Yes I remember this story of Cassandra. Hers is a tail of those who are seen but not listened to in society. In the ancient world women were seen but not heard. In other societies others such as the slaves of Rome or the African Americans who were freed from slavery but not until the 1960’s were they given the right to vote.

    In some ways I have lived the life of Cassandra working as a teacher. I am in the minority as I am a male in a predominantly female profession. I remember warning the teachers and others that full day kindergarten will come soon and it will change the way childcare and teaching will be taught. Many ignored me or blew me off as a doom say’er because ‘I am a man and I am out numbered’ (direct quote). But low and behold I was proven right when the government instigated the program.

    The minority is always ignored because they are seen as not important to the grand scheme of things. Not until it is too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adam Alexander Haviaras

    Great Post, Luciana!
    She really is a tragic character that deserves more attention. What a story! I saw a production of The Trojan Women in Athens a few years ago and the character of Cassandra in Euripides’ play is certainly intense.
    Thanks for writing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aquileana

    Wonderful post…
    King Agamemnon,´s lover, she was also one of the only survivors after the greeks Greeks came off the wooden horse, slaughtered the Trojan, killed alsmot all women and desecrated their temples.
    Thanks for sharing dear Luciana .
    Best wishes, cara Amica, Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rosarymcquestion

    Perhaps Cassandra’s function was to greatly add to the dramatic irony. If everyone knows the legend of Agamemnon, and knows his fate, maybe that sense of dramatic irony is keenly heightened with Cassandra who does everything she can to alert the others to the impending tragedy, and yet is unsuccessful.

    Avere un giorno meraviglioso bellissimo! xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. jmmcdowell

    Years ago, I read a historical novel about the Trojan War that was told from Cassandra’s point of view. For the life of me, I can’t remember the title, but it was an enjoyable read and an interesting perspective. There have been times when I’ve felt like no one has listened to me, and I was right all along. But luckily not on anything of great significance!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. courseofmirrors

    Thanks for the post. A fascinating theme. Cassandra, in an archetypal sense plays a decisive part in our cultures, in both men and woman. The scene is set early on, when a child starts believing they wont be heard, feels rejected and becomes convinced that their thoughts and feelings have no value. Conviction falters and the environment obliges. A pattern difficult to break. In the meantime the such dis-empowered are tricked by all too self-confident prophets that populate the media.

    Liked by 1 person

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