|Baby Helen Says Hello|
I have been amused by the painfully Little-Englander-middle-class spat between Anglicans, Cadbury and the National Trust over the secularisation of egg hunts. What is needed to reclaim the egg for longue-durée Human Studies is clearly a brief homily on Ovates in Classical Greek Art.
|Leda perturbed by finding a gigantic egg on the temple altar|
|"I'll smash it with my mallet and pour the contents into your bucket"|
|The Dioscuri, Literal Egg-Heads|
|Nemesis' Egg at Disgraced Theme Park|
|Lady Gaga hatching at the Grammys|
The tradition of Helen’s egg had a spectacular potential, as Lady Gaga knows well. This made it a popular theme on the ancient Greek stage. Vases show Leda’s stupefaction at the gift Nemesis has deposited for her; others comically depict various spectators puzzling over the egg’s contents, wondering whether to smash the eggshell with a mallet, or watching Helen actually emerge.
|Terracotta Egg (ᾠόν) |
Alternatively, Greeks could buy a painted egg, made from pottery, perhaps showing Paris and Helen in a chariot, in an allusion to Helen’s birth. Some terracotta eggs were made, like prototypical Kinder-eggs, with a sweet little baby girl crouching inside.