Richard Armitage and Apollo concentRAte

Sometimes things just seem to come together.  I was scrolling through some images last night and found one of the Greek god Apollo that resonated with a screen cap of Richard Armitage from “Hood Academy” that I’d seen resurface on Tumblr this week.  Here I am to share it with you.  If you’ve come across any classical mythology in your travels, you’ll probably have learned that the Greek gods often have Roman equivalents:   Greek Zeus = Roman Jupiter, Greek Aphrodite = Roman Venus, etc.  Such is not the case with Apollo.  For the Greeks, and later the Romans, Apollo had numerous areas of influence.  He was associated with art, music and literature and is often depicted playing a lyre.  The nine Muses who govern all things artistic and intellectual reported to Apollo.  He was also associated with light/the sun, as well as with healing and prophecy.  There was no god like him in the Roman pantheon, so the Romans simply worshiped Apollo as Apollo.

Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, the goddess of the hunt were also associated with the bow.  Interestingly, Apollo’s association with the bow and archery was connected to neither hunting nor military use, but rather with the skill and concentration required for accuracy.  One famous story about Apollo and his bow is depicted on the kRAter below (BTW…I am not singling out the kRAter shape… rather the RA related material I find turns up on them…fate?)

Apollo takes aim at a Niobid Source: Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

Apollo takes aim at a Niobid
Source: Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

According to myth, a human woman named Niobe had bragged that since she had fourteen children, she must be superior to the nymph Leto who had borne only Apollo and Artemis.  This kind of boasting was guaranteed to earn Niobe a swift and harsh punishment.  The Greeks valued achievement, but perceived that there was a fine line between being proud and being too proud.  Those who were too proud were prone to hubris and almost always met a bad end at the hands of one or another offended deity.  This vase painting shows us Apollo and Artemis avenging their mother’s reputation by shooting down all of the Niobids (the children of Niobe).

apollo niobid close up

In the detail above we can see the steady determination of Apollo, depicted here as an unbearded youth, as he takes aim at a Niobid.  I thought this image seemed familiar, and then I remembered that earlier in the week, I’d seen this one:

Richard Armitage at Hood Academy Source:  www.richardarmitagenet.com

Richard Armitage at Hood Academy
Source: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

I’m fairly certain that Richard Armitage is not taking aim at a Niobid, or any other living thing, but his focus on the target is just as fixed as that of Apollo’s in the vase painting above.  Armitage and Apollo:  concentRAting archers.  There is one possible similarity that I cannot confirm…

tongue of concentration

Does Apollo employ the Tongue of ConcentRAtion too?

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51 comments on “Richard Armitage and Apollo concentRAte

  1. marieastra8 says:

    Great catch. Nice association of RA Hood Academy with Apollo. Those screencaps are among my favorite RA photos ever! Thanks for the interesting post!

    • obscura says:

      My pleasure! I really like the HA caps too. I’d been thinking about Apollo connections, and this one leaped out as I was idly looking through images with something else entirely in mind. Serendipity 🙂

  2. […] Is there such a thing as Apollo concentRAte? If so, Richard Armitage’s definitely drunk it dow…! […]

  3. Servetus says:

    This is really a fantastic catch. There’s also a cap somewhere from archery practice for TH, Armitage with McTavish, where he has a similar look iirc.

    There’s something SO AMAZINGLY SEXY about concentration.

    • obscura says:

      I was really just doing some Armitage theRApy to keep from firing off a terse respnse to a student question when I found the Apollo pic – crisis averted. I’ll have to beat the bushes for TH pic…then find a bearded Greek archer 🙂

      I agree RE concentration being sexy…part of that foosball pic that was so devastating to me was this same look of focus on the task.

  4. fitzg says:

    CLASSIC Armitage!

  5. guylty says:

    I love those shots of RA at the archery practice and I reblogged them last week, too, so I am really glad you have taken this up here in your post. RA makes quite a good Apollo, I agree. (And I had to laugh out loud about your little aside up there… Pity we can’t corroborate any of that *ahem*) On a general level, I was musing with a friend what it is about bows and arrows? Do they count as phallic symbols???Or is it more about the physicality of the use – flexing the bow, calming down to take aim, fixing the gaze before the shot… It’s archaically masculine, I suppose. Possibly reinforced by depictions on those classical urns? And because it is a highly skilled sport, I suppose we admire anyone who can aim and hit…Or is it also the image/depiction of Eros who sets the lovers’ hearts on fire with his arrows?

    • Servetus says:

      I especially admire anyone who can aim and hit with such a flimsy recurve 🙂

      • guylty says:

        Weeeeell – I guess Armitage was speaking the truth when he said in the 60 second interview that he wished he had a better aim as an archer…

      • obscura says:

        Yeah, that bow looks like it might just snap if he pulls back much further 🙂

        • Servetus says:

          I think of that scene in “Crocodile Dundee” where someone pulls a switchblade on Mick and he says, “you wanna see a knife, I’ll show you a knife” and then I fantasize about my brother with his big heavy compound bow going up to Armitage and saying, “let me show you THIS bow.”

          I mean, we learned to shoot with recurves in high school but basically because it was something a girl could do. Even in medieval Europe they had better bows than that.

          w/r/t wanting to shoot a perfect shot, I think it’s also some kind of eastern meditation / yoga contemplative martial arts connection, isn’t it?

          • obscura says:

            *snicker*. It does look a bit like the plastic bows I gave my kids to shoot suction cup arrows :). Those compound bows probably shoot right through a regular target. I know a guy who bow hunts black bear…I doubt any modern hunter would try that with the RH bows. (personally, I don’t want to shoot a bear with less than a Howitzer, but that’s just me 🙂 ) I suppose they didn’t want anyone actually hurting themselves.

            There is an intersection in eastern archery techniques to include meditation…makes sense, the Zen archer…calm, cool, etc. for the perfect shot. I’ve never shot…I may need to take out the old bow (not a compound one) and go to the range.

          • Servetus says:

            We had this junior year class in high school that everyone who wasn’t a jock took to fulfill the Phy Ed requirement: “Lifetime Sports.” A month, iirc. That’s my only personal exposure to archery. It was fine. Not very interesting, I thought. Not in comparison w/the compound bows my bro and cousins had. (The guys in the class were also always making fun of it.)

          • obscura says:

            The bows they are using now are almost out of control…do you really need enough force to shoot the deer to a tree? I’ve tried to interest my son in archery…he is largely disinterested in sports, but sunlight hitting his flesh once and awhile would be good IMO. Archery seems like more of a “thinking man’s” sport than most. It went over like the magic wand he got when he turned seven – it didn’t work like it does in video games. *sigh* maybe golf 🙂

          • Servetus says:

            Golf? We had golf in Lifetime Sports as well. Somehow … I’m doubtful … although I don’t know your son.

            I’m trying to remember what I did enjoy in Lifetime Sports. Bowling. Volleyball.

          • obscura says:

            Me too..I’m running out of ideas 🙂 Family bowling horror stories…All conference volleyball (I’ve got the bad ankles and knees as “trophies” of a stellar high school athletic career 🙂 )

          • Servetus says:

            I think the thing w/Phy Ed instruction in school was that it made everything fun about sports not very much fun. If you remember that story we were talking about with regard to the kid who got pushed down on the basketball court — it really took me back to Phy Ed in school and the level of abuse associated with it that came from the teachers. Seriously made me not interested in those things. If they could find a way to just make exercise enjoyable, which is what they claim to want to do …

          • obscura says:

            I know…they do more varied things now, rollerblading, cycling, etc., but there is still a stigma placed on the non athletic by some of these teachers. I get it, you like fitness and you want kids to be fit – so do I, but just as you wouldn’t ridicule a kid who struggles in math, you shouldn’t do it to one who can’t hit a baseball. Don’t even get me started on rope climbing – boy am I glad I learned that in gym..I use it all the time! All that humiliation was definitely worth it!

          • Servetus says:

            or the endless hours of practice of those “President’s Test of Physical Fitness” things …

          • obscura says:

            “Flexed arm hang”. Sounds like an Inquisition method! (Felt like one too)

          • Servetus says:

            That’s exactly what I was thinking of!

            And the running between the blocks.

          • obscura says:

            How either of those is a measure of “fitness” I don’t know…fitness for what was always my question.

          • Servetus says:

            I read about it much later — Kennedy instituted it and so I imagine that it had something to do with the Cold War. Being able to hang onto the edge of a building if a Russian was trying to push you off it or something.

          • obscura says:

            Makes sense…

          • Servetus says:

            Oh — and i think the point with those huge bows is that they actually can kill with just the shot. If the shot is on target and you don’t gutshot the deer. The issue with the smaller bows is you wound the deer, then you have to track it, and finally you have to kill it yourself with a knife. Not something for the faint of heart. Not that any of those things would necessary trouble my male relatives, but I can see the point of not wanting to track. (Even if you shoot it with a gun you’ll possibly field dress it anyway).

          • obscura says:

            True…if you hit it in the right spot. My husband may just be a lousy shot, but I know he’s had to track a gunshot deer in the past. Hunting is definitely not for the squeamish…field dressing is revolting, but it does make them a lot lighter to drag out. Hubs doesn’t hunt anymore since he can’t drag them out on his own. Son refuses to go – daughter might be the hunter…he’s already used her as a bird dog 🙂

          • Servetus says:

            yeah, you also have to aim correctly with a rifle. But even a great shot with a less powerful bow would entail tracking.

            we’re getting to that age with my nieces in a few years — my SIL hunts so I suppose they will, too — I have mixed feelings but if it’s something they can do with their dad, it’s a good thing.

          • obscura says:

            It is such a huge art of the culture here. My mother disliked guns and my Dad swore never to hold one again after he got out of the Army, but my aunt married a major sportsman, so that side of family is very active and my own husband enjoys it. Me, I can take it or leave it, and I don’t particularly like wild game meats.

          • Servetus says:

            I don’t mind eating the game although I remember winters where venison was almost all we ate, so I don’t think of it as a treat, like some people apparently do, unless it’s the backstrap or venison sausage. My ex’s mother always made game / venison on the 2nd day of Christmas and it was fantastic, but I think it might have been a different species than we eat in Wisconsin, and she really made an effort b/c they didn’t eat it that much. As opposed to just having venison chops because you have them and don’t want to waste the meat. Or venison hamburger …

          • obscura says:

            Yuck…it may be mind over matter with me. If I don’t know what it is, I usually don’t have a problem with it – I’m the same way with goat.

          • Servetus says:

            ah, yes, a Greek specialty. I’ve liked goat when I’ve eaten it but it hasn’t been all that often.

          • obscura says:

            If I hadn’t seen it turning on the spit right before it landed on my plate, I probably would have eaten more :). (American!) the goat risotto was delish though! the lamb carcass on the subway was a little much for me too – I was in Athens for Easter one year…I guess it’s the only way to get the Easter lamb home from the market but…

    • obscura says:

      You raise a lot of interesting points. You know, I’d never really considered the phallic connotations…maybe since there’s so much phallic symbolism that jumps right out at you in the Classical tradition – good luck and fertility talismans for the most part.

      I think one of the elements that is so attractive about the masculine archer is that brute force is not the key…careful, deliberate concentration is much more important. Then my mind wanders to that same level of concentration applied to other “tasks” *cough*

      However, one thing that did strike the feminist in me is that the bow is one weapon where women can be as effective as men. If you look at the vase, you’ll see Artemis taking aim at her share of the Niobids.

      Funny you should mention Cupid (Eros in Greek myth)…there’s a great story about him, Apollo and the size of one’s weapon that I’m working on 😉

      • guylty says:

        Oh, don’t start me on “same level of concentration” while brandishing around a picture of a man in the nip!!! Interesting point re. feminist implication. Although that would also apply to shooting a gun, I suppose. But in classical tradition, I am immediately thinking of the Amazons.
        Can’t wait to read what you have to say about Cupid and his *ahem* weapons *ahem*… Does he name his “weapon”, too?

        • obscura says:

          Hehehe…good thing only Apollo is in the nip right? Speaking for myself, I can’t promise any level
          of propriety if RA shows up similarly undraped with that expression on his face!

          • obscura says:

            I got so disRActed I forgot the rest of my reply, then I deleted it…put some clothes on dream RA! Anyway…I think firearms have become a huge equalizing force between genders in the modern world …where earlier, women were at a decided disadvantage with anything beside a bow (or poison I suppose). Amazon post is in the hopper too…have you been reading my mind again? 🙂

  6. Joanna says:

    That concentration and stance 🙂 *ooof*

  7. katie70 says:

    I have enjoyed this post and really liked the comments. Just to add to what Servetus and Obscura have been saying about PE, my 14 year old had rollerblading this year in 8th grade, the 1st day he fell ended up in ER they thought it was not broken and it turned out to be a dislocated wrist. Even after it was better he used the sling until they where done with rollerblading, he didn’t want to fall again. The both of you had more things for PE than I did, no archery in either of the 2 high schools I when to.
    Another one of my favorite pictures of RA, I also enjoyed watching the Hood Academy on the DVD.

    • obscura says:

      I totally resented having to take PE at all…I was a 3 sport athlete in HS, and I could never figure out how hanging from a bar until I dropped was more beneficial to me then the exercise and fitness training I was getting in volleyball or basketball (less so in softball I suppose – although, when I accidentally hit the coach with a pitch, I did have to do a lot of penitential running 🙂

      Here’s the really question – did you have to square dance in PE? WTH?!

      • Servetus says:

        I wasn’t in any sport and I resented having to take PE. Waste of time and nothing but misery.

        We did have to square dance. I always assumed it was a way to get dance in in a community where half the people were anti-dance.

      • katie70 says:

        No square dancing for me but my poor boys had to during girls are gross age, what a trial for them. I have never dance with anyone in my life. Now the polka would be something that would help with my husbands and my Polish side of our family’s weddings.
        I played 3 years of basketball in high school and the running we did in practice was something else. I really did like floor hockey, but I was also watching the Wisconsin Badgers play late Saturday night on WPT. I spent 8 years at the school I graduated from (I started there in kindergarten -4th and back for 11 &12) we had basketball and more basketball. My senior year I took weight lifting to get away from PE.

  8. […] those of the male Olympian deities….Ares, Hades, Poseidon, Hermes, Dionysus, Apollo, Apollo, Apollo…as well as a few heroes and demigods along the way.  There are a couple though, who are […]

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