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Pharos

Doing Justice to the Classics

Greek Myth (Pharos Surveys of Appropriations)

Screenshot of the beginning of the Gates of Vienna webpage displaying their banner with the text "Gates of Vienna," the title of the article, a classical painting of the Rape of Europa featuring Europa, Zeus as a bull, and several nude male and female figures in the ocean.

This page collects examples of articles on prominent white supremacist websites that invoke Greek Myth in support of hateful politics. In connection with the recommendations on our “How to use Pharos in the Classroom” page and our recommended discussion questions, they are intended to spark discussion and further research about the ways that ancient history is used to legitimize hateful beliefs, and about the historical and ongoing complicity of the discipline of Classics in providing the basis for these beliefs through the promotion of an idealized and/or sanitized version of that past. We have provided links to PDFs of the articles extracted from the sites on which they appeared. Links to archived versions of these articles are available to instructors upon request at pharsoclassics@vassar.edu.

Content Warning: The links below lead to articles with explicit and harmful messages of white supremacy, homophobia, sexism, and other hateful content. Such material can be triggering, especially for those against whom this hateful rhetoric is directed. Please be advised and view at your own discretion.

Gates of Vienna

Gates of Vienna has been online since 2004 and has been called a “key player on the international Islamaphobia scene.” It takes its name from a 17th century military conflict between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire that white nationalists believe should inspire Europeans to oppose the migration of Muslims from Africa and the Middle East to Europe. The Norweigian terrorist and mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik is known to have read and commented on articles on Gates of Vienna.

The Rape of Europa — The Myth that Became Reality” interprets sculptures portraying “The Rape of Europa” outside several European Union governmental buildings as an allegory for the violent threat that the author believes Islam in general poses to European civilization and that Muslim men in particular pose to white European women. The placement of these sculptures outside governmental buildings fuels the author’s belief in the conspiracy theory that E.U. leaders actively seek the replacement of “white” civilization by an Islamic one. Scaremongering about the threat of rape is a favorite tactic of xenophobic movements. Note that the Gates of Vienna author uses the term “rape” whereas the official names of the sculptures in question employ euphemistic language such as “Europa Riding the Bull” and “The Removal of Europa.”

Types of Hate: Islamophobia, White Supremacy, Misogyny
Key Topics: Zeus, Europa, The European Union

Screenshot of the beginning of the Gates of Vienna article webpage displaying their banner with the text "Gates of Vienna," the title of the article, a classical painting of the Rape of Europa featuring Europa, Zeus as a bull, and several nude male and female figures in the ocean.
  • “In Brussels, outside the Council of the European Union headquarters, as well as outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg are statues with identical motif; a woman riding a bull. In this time of ignorance only few know what the iconic symbol really represents, and could care less. Thereby they are turning their back on the key that opens up to the insight regarding what the EU Elite has in store for Europe…the political establishment of western Europe deliberately opened up the gates for the Muslim invasion — evidently an army of testosterone-crazed Barbarians, who presently are free to violate the indigenous women and children.”
  • “Princess Europa was Phoenician, according to legend, which means that Zeus therefore must have kidnapped her to Crete from the area of present-day Lebanon and Syria. It was the war in Syria, created by decree of the Elite, which gave the entire Third World their excuse to invade Europe — assisted with detailed maps, which appeared as mysteriously as the Twitter campaign “Refugees Welcome”, and which guided them en masse along the best routes into Europe… One of these was to the Greek islands, therein Crete.”

PDF Text: “The Rape of Europa — The Myth That Became Reality”

Pharos has documented a three-part series at Gates of Vienna claiming to find parallels between the so-called “Fall of the Roman Empire” and the supposed decline of contemporary Europe.


AltRight.com

AltRight.com, which went offline in October 2021, was one of several online platforms operated by Richard B. Spencer and funded through the white supremacist National Policy Institute think tank.  Spencer emerged as one of the major thought leaders in American white supremacy in 2016. He has a particular interest in ancient history, making Greco-Roman antiquity the basis of white identity and calling for a white ethnostate in North America modeled on the Roman Empire. Although Spencer’s influence has waned amid ongoing legal problems, his sites represent one of the first attempts at achieving mainstream respectability for explicitly white supremacist content. 

In “Cultural Appropriation and the West,” John Bruce Leonard comments on the casting of a Black actor, David Gyasi, to play Achilles in the BBC/Netflix miniseries Troy: Fall of a City. Departing from the typical white supremacist claim that such casting constitutes an “erasure” of “white history,” Leonard claims that such casting confirms the cultural superiority of white Europeans. Leonard is editor-in-chief of the white nationalist publishing house Arktos and author of a book entitled The New Prometheans, which promises “a new cultural and socio-political vision” for “the European spirit which has guided entire continents of the world for long centuries.”

Types of Hate: White Supremacy
Key Topics: Homer, Iliad, Black Achilles

  • “Let us be clear: we are not speaking of a work of ‘world literature,’ which is one of these uncharacterizable and nebulous concepts like ‘humanity’ and ‘equality’ that everyone knows how to mouth, and no one to define. It is obvious that the works of Homer might be admired by non-Westerners, might with profit be studied by them, and might even in exceptional cases be lived by them, but these works do not belong in spirit to the ‘world’; they belong in spirit to the West alone, in precisely the same way that other parts of the globe have a right to Confucius, to the Buddha, to the Upanishads. We of the West have spiritual access to The Iliad, at least potentially, in a way that other peoples do not and cannot. It does not matter if we are born in Athens, in Berlin, in San Francisco, in London or Paris or Rome; this work is a work of our blood, of our Western Culture.”
  • “It is evident that to truly appropriate a culture in this sense, the appropriating culture itself must be powerful. Weak ‘cultures’ do not have the luxury of such appropriation; they must resort, as all weaker parties, to infiltration. And indeed, this term would be much fitter description for this new ‘Iliad‘ series, and like minstrelry: not cultural appropriation, but cultural infiltration, a slow invasion which can come only from within. Cultural appropriation indicates conquest by means of supple and form-giving powers; it indicates the work of a culture potent enough to subsume other ways of life into its own and to reinterpret them by its own standards and in the light of its own ideals. Appropriation is the right of the strong.

PDF Text: “Cultural Appropriation and the West”

Pharos has documented another essay by Leonard at AltRight.com. We have also published a series of essays on Troy: Fall of A City.


The Daily Stormer

The Daily Stormer is the most notorious neo-Nazi website in the world. In contrast to white ethnonationalist sites that cultivate a sheen of academic respectability, articles published by The Daily Stormer employ racial slurs, viciously denigrate women and the LGBT community, and openly call for the genocide of Jewish people. Its founder Andrew Anglin, who is currently living in hiding, has been found liable for nearly twenty million dollars in damages for the site’s targeted harassment of individuals.

Screenshot of the beginning of the Daily Stormer article featuring a painting of Ulysses tied to the mast of his ship surrounded by sirens.

In “Will you be a Lotos-eater or will you be Ulysses” Anglin presents the texts of two poems on Classical themes by the nineteenth century British poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “The Lotos-Eaters” and “Ulysses.” Anglin believes these poems encapsulate a “dichotomy between a life and apathy and fear and a life of full-maximum-overdrive.” White supremacists like Anglin often argue that contemporary men are weak, cowardly, effeminate, and therefore unable to fight to preserve the “white” race against the supposed threat of multiculturalism.

Types of Hate: Toxic Masculinity
Key Topics: Ulysses, Odysseus, Homer’s Odyssey

  • “[These poems] present the dilemma that each and every European man faces: should he simply sleep through life, taking what pleasures may come while avoiding struggle of any kind, or should he seek out adversity so that he may overcome it, and become something greater than himself? … Read them and ask what it is you want for yourself.”

PDF Text: “Will You be a Lotos-Eater or Will You be Ulysses?”

Pharos has documented an essay that Anglin wrote about ancient Greece as “the place where Western Civilization was birthed,” as well as several other pieces with Classical content at The Daily Stormer.


The Apollonian Transmission

The Apollonian Transmission is the antisemitic website of someone using the pseudonym “Mark Brahmin.” The site interprets myth, religion, and art — from the bible to Marvel superhero movies — as propaganda aimed at the maintenance of racial purity. Brahmin argues that a Jewish conspiracy has suppressed myths that promote the reproduction of the “Aryan” race. In his essays he argues for the existence of this conspiracy and offers his own interpretations of myth that promote white racial consciousness and solidarity.

The Cult of Apollo Part I: A Eugenics Cult” explains how the figure of Apollo provides what Brahmin calls a “racial ideal” for white people. In this Brahmin joins a long tradition of white supremacist thinking about that deity: the head of the scultpure known as the Apollo Belvedere, for example, was used in mainstream works of the 19th century to illustrate the supposedly superior beauty of Europeans over that of Africans and, more recently, appeared on the promotional posters of the white supremacist group Identity Evropa.

Types of Hate: Antisemitism, White Supremacy
Key Topics: Apollo, Eugenics

  • “Apollo is also the Kouros or rather a God of youth.  But this is not to say he merely represents an image of individual youth but also of racial youth.  In other words, Apollo, the founder, and most ancient racial type, at least within the civilizational context, was also the most racially youthful, least aged or degenerated.  This ‘racial aging’ is obvious in any cursory comparison of, say, Nordic and Semitic types. The former is fair, neotenous, fine-featured and the latter, dark, large featured, drooping. Indeed, within the individual human such a transformation takes place during the course of a life.  So it is likewise with a race when its health is neglected and racial death approaches.”
  • “This worship of Apollo, occurring in the ancient world, and representing an effort to breed a higher type, goes a long way in explaining a hatred of idol worship among Jews and Christians. Indeed, as mentioned, we perceive this hatred of Aryan eugenics in Jews to this day whom move in every single instance to check its development. For here the Jewish or Semitic type found himself disparaged, inadequate and disadvantaged in a mating competition, especially for fair Aryan ‘Kore’ or ‘Venus.’”

PDF Text: “The Cult of Apollo Part I: A Eugenics Cult”

Pharos has documented an article by Brahmin, published at Richard Spencer’s Radix, arguing that the Roman festival of the Saturnalia and, by extension, the modern holiday of Christmas commemorate an ancient period of supposed Jewish domination of “Aryan” people.


Return of Kings

Return of Kings was one of the most prominent misogynist websites until Amazon, Paypal, and advertisers cut off its revenue streams in 2018. Its content remains available online.

Alpha Fux Beta Bux even held true in the times of Ancient Greece” argues that the story of Aphrodite’s adultery with Ares, most famously retold in Homer’s Odyssey, confirms one of the foundational beliefs of the contemporary misogynist movement that describes itself as “the Red Pill.” This belief holds that all women are by nature self-serving and duplicitous and should be expected to choose to marry wealthy but weak men (in the parlance of contemporary misogynists, “Betas” who have “Bux/Bucks”) but then to seek sexual satisfaction (“Fux”) outside of that marriage with more powerful men (“Alphas”).

Types of Hate: Misogyny, Toxic Masculinity
Key Topics: Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Ares

  • “Ancient Greece has always fascinated me. Their cultural achievements are the offspring of a more ruthless era when the virtues of masculinity—rationality, competitiveness, boldness—determined life and death. We don’t live in physically brutal times, but with the constant assault on manhood perpetuated by feminized elites, we’ve got our own problems to deal with. I’ve found that one of the best guards against this is consulting ancient thought.”
  • “The Aphrodites? All of them acknowledged Ares wasn’t exactly the best choice for a long-term partner, but they would never humor Hephaestus as anything more than a friend. From an objective point of view, both guys wanted the same thing: getting laid. Yet it was their methods that separated desirous intrigue for one and condescending amusement for the other.”

PDF Text: “Alpha Fux Beta Bux held true even in the times of Ancient Greece”


On Becoming Immortal: The Life of Heracles” invites modern men to turn to the ancient Greek hero for “encouragement” and “inspiration,” despite the fact that Heracles murdered his teacher, his children (and in some versions, his wife), the queen of the Amazons, and his fiancé Iole’s family. The Return of Kings author may in fact consider these acts of violence worthy of emulation as well. The essay includes an image of “Heracles and Omphale” but the author does not seem to be aware that Heracles enslaved himself to her and dressed as a woman while in her court.

Types of Hate: Toxic Masculinity
Key Topics: Heracles

Screenshot of the article on ReturnOfKings.com featuring a statue of a nude Heracles brandishing his club and wrestling the Nemean Lion.
  • “Heracles was also quite the ladies man. He was married four times and always acquired a lover wherever he went. One famous story has him arrive at the court of King Thespius, who asks him to kill a lion that has been ravaging the countryside. He does this and as a reward, King Thespius offers that he can make love to his daughters, all fifty of them! Heracles doesn’t hesitate and makes love to all of them, in one night!… If you need a hero to look up to, if you need to a bit of encouragement, if you need a bit of inspiration to work hard and overcome challenges, think of Heracles.”
  • “Heracles also served as a prime example of ‘andreia’. This word can only be translated as ‘manliness.’ ‘Andreia’ meant the essence of the man, his raw strength and energy. As such, it was to be cultivated and grown. It is also the love of hard work and toil, always struggling to come out victorious. For a man has to struggle and work hard in order to be a man. There is no other way.”

PDF Text: “On Becoming Immortal: The Life of Heracles”

Pharos has documented several articles on Return of Kings and published a response by scholars to “The Roots of Masculinity in Ancient Rome.”


A Voice for Men

A Voice for Men is one of the oldest, still-active, misogynist websites in the world. Its founder, Paul Elam, has written “A man hitting you back after you have assaulted him does not make you a victim of domestic violence. It makes you a recipient of justice. Deal with it.” Fundamental to its philosophy is the belief that women in the contemporary world enjoy more rights, receive more respect, and wield more power than men.

The One True Masculinity” condemns what it describes as “feminist ideas of ‘masculinities’ with the convoluted and unscientific hierarchies of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ instances of masculinity” and argues that “classical models” are better at describing how masculinity is expressed because “people relate to them, and tend to agree with them.”

Types of Hate: Toxic Masculinity
Key Topics: Dionysus, Ares, Pan, Apollo, Zeus, Hephaestus

  • “Viewing masculinity as plural can be as simple as returning to ancient Greek culture, or to any other classical culture, or even Bible-based cultures for that matter in which varieties of masculine styles are showcased. The Greeks for example had many gods, each expressing a different archetypal face of masculinity. Those expressions ranged from effeminate Dionysus to macho Ares, from instinctual Pan to the ordered and intellectual God Apollo. There is Zeus and his concerns for leadership and hierarchy, and Hephaestus with his labor consciousness, and so on and so forth.”
  • “A contrast between feminist and archetypalist views is that the latter admits that archetypal styles arise from biology even if they are socially manipulated; that they are not socially conferred onto ‘blank slates’ by society, as some sociologists might view it. Our biology-based archetypes may lay dormant if not facilitated by culture, or they may arise at certain stages and phases of life, and of course we are each born with our peculiar masculine predilections, or style, that may not be the lot of the next man. Despite that complexity, biology remains a fundamental factor in the theory of archetypes – and yes, environment remains important too.”

PDF Text: “The One True Masculinity”

Pharos has documented A Voice for Men and a different essay from this site appears in our Misogyny and Gender survey.


Counter Currents

Counter-Currents, founded in 2010, is the website of the “North American New Right.” Its editor Greg Johnson has a PhD in Philosophy and has recorded many lectures on ancient Greek philosophy. The content of the site is eclectic but one major focus is the promotion of the work of European nationalists whose thought marks the evolution of fascism following World War II. Johnson claims that more than 320,000 unique people visited Counter-Currents in August, 2020.

Mars & Hephaestus: The Return of History” is an essay by the French nationalist Guillaume Faye (died 2019), one of the most influential figures in European nationalism and an advocate of ethnic cleansing, race war, and totalitarianism. He was convicted in France of incitement to discrimination, hatred, or violence for the views expressed in one of his books. This essay, one of many that Counter Currents has translated into English, uses Greek mythological figures as allegories for the apocalyptic “clash of civilizations” that Faye believes will characterize the twenty-first century, as well as for the supposedly unique characteristics of white European culture.

Types of Hate: White Supremacy, Xenophobia, Fascism
Key Topics: Mars, Hephaestus, Apollo, Dionysus

  • “The twenty-first century will be the one in which European civilization, Promethean and tragic but eminently fragile, will undergo a metamorphosis or enter its irremediable twilight. It will be a decisive century… will the beginning of the twenty-first century be difficult? Are all the indicators in the red? So much the better. They predicted the end of history after the collapse of the USSR? We wish to speed its return: thunderous, bellicose, and archaic. Islam resumes its wars of conquest. American imperialism is unleashed. China and India wish to become superpowers. And so forth. The twenty-first century will be placed under the double sign of Mars, the god of war, and of Hephaestus, the god who forges swords, the master of technology and the chthonic fires.”
  • “The efflorescent foliage thus follows the Apollonian principle. But watch out: if it grows inordinately and anarchically (like European civilization, which wanted to become the global Occident and extend to the whole planet), it will be caught by the storm, like a badly carded sail, and it will pull down and uproot the Tree that carries it. The foliage must be pruned, disciplined. If European civilization wishes to survive, it should not extend itself to the whole Earth, nor practice the strategy of open arms… as foliage that is too intrepid overextends itself, or allows itself to be smothered by vines. It will have to concentrate on its vital space, i.e., Eurosiberia. Hence the importance of the imperative of ethnocentrism.”

PDF Text: “Mars & Hephaestus: The Return of History” [link]

Pharos has documented Faye’s essay in a post for the website Antiquipop.


Against Nihilism: Julius Evola’s ‘Traditionalist’ Critique of Modernity” is a review by a now deceased English professor (originally published on an Islamaphobic site) of the work of Julius Evola, an Italian writer who lived from 1898 – 1974 and has been described as “the leading philosopher of Europe’s neofascist movement.” His work has been translated and published by Counter Currents, Arktos, and other white supremacist outlets. Evola has become influential among contemporary white supremacists primarily for his rejection of modernity as degenerate. This outlook prompts Evola to turn frequently to Greco-Roman antiquity as one source of the “traditional” values that he believes are superior to contemporary ones.

Types of Hate: White Supremacy
Key Topics: Hesiod Works and Days, Plato, Atlantis

  • “Evola draws heavily on James G. Frazer, Franz Cumont, Georges Dumézil, Fustel de Coulanges, and other scholars who, without prejudice, had attempted to understand primitive and archaic customs and institutions, as it were, from the inside out. Evola admires ancient and historical societies for the virility of their structures – royalty, aristocracy, priesthood, warrior, worker, and serf – which, in his view, allowed people to integrate themselves in a meaningful, living arrangement with others, including their superiors, with a minimum of invidious friction. Every station in the hierarchy has its privileges, but every station also has its obligations to the stations below it, just as each has its duties to the whole.”
  • “[Evola] takes seriously, for example, the archaic poet Hesiod’s five phases of humanity from the didactic poem Works and Days; he takes seriously Plato’s “Atlantis” story from the tandem dialogues Timaeus and Critias, and he admits as respectable similar model polities or societies that the variety of myth and literature locates in an antediluvian age. In the Hesiodic scheme, the earliest men were those of the Golden Race after which came the Silver, Bronze, Heroic, and Iron Races. Hesiod famously vows that he wished he did not belong to the degenerate Iron Race, so wicked and unsalvageable is it. In Plato’s “Atlantis” story, the original Atlanteans are demigods, who live in a technically and morally perfected state; but their descendants become gross, materialistic, and degenerate… unlike the ideologues whom he criticizes, who place their Social Justice or their Master Race in the indefinite future, Evola places the irreproducible model-polity in an irretrievable past, from which locus it can justify no reality-altering agenda; it can only serve as a remote measure for conscientious persons who seek standards other than contemporary ones.”

PDF Text: “Against Nihilism: Julius Evola’s ‘Traditionalist’ Critique of Modernity”

Pharos has documented several articles appearing on Counter-Currents and Johnson was the subject of Pharos director Curtis Dozier’s annual newsletter in 2021.


The Occidental Observer

The Occidental Observer is dedicated to “the themes of white identity, white interests, and the culture of the west.” It is edited by prominent Anti-Semite and former Psychology professor Kevin MacDonald.

Homer’s Odyssey: The Return of the Father” argues that Odysseus’ voyage and homecoming epitomizes the position and racial obligations of white men in the contemporary world: they must, the author claims, survive invariably hostile and deadly foreigners and protect their “homelands” from the threat of violent takeover and exploitation by outsiders.

Types of Hate: White Supremacy, Xenophobia, Toxic Masculinity, Misogyny
Key Topics: The Odyssey

  • “For Homer, identity and purpose is found in one’s lineage. One acts for the sake of one’s ancestors and one’s descendants. Odysseus and his son Telemachus resemble one another by virtue of their shared blood and must work together to save their family’s status and power. The restoration of paternal and kingly authority in Ithaca is impossible without brutal revenge against the usurpers. And it is only within the circle of such violence that one’s kin can enjoy a secure and gentle life. According to Homer, a happy man has prosperous descendants and the people thrive under a righteous king, for he rules them like a good father.”
  • “Through subterfuge and prowess, Odysseus and his few allies are able to overcome and kill the suitors. They are not the only ones who must pay. While the few in Odysseus’ household who helped the suitors unwillingly are spared, the willing collaborators must pay, notably the servant-women, who are hanged. As Telemachus says: ‘Never let it be said that sluts like these had a clean death from me. They have heaped up outrage on me and on my mother; they have been the suitors’ concubines’ (22.375-466). The punishments are monstrous, but the guilty perpetrated evil deeds, and the gods willed retribution.”

PDF Text: “Homer’s Odyssey: The Return of the Father”


Tragedy and Myth in Ancient Europe and Modern Politics” is an essay by Tomislav Sunić, a member of the board of directors for a white nationalist political party in the United States, a translator of European nationalist thought for Arktos Media and other outlets, and a frequent speaker at white nationalist conventions. He is fluent in several languages and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science. In this essay he argues that modern liberalism, symbolized for him by the Olympian Gods, will be overthrown by a resurgence of what he calls the “Titanic Spirit,” which he identifies with nativist, nationalist, and white supremacist ideals.

Types of Hate: Toxic Masculinity, White Nationalism
Key Topics: Titans, Prometheus, Apollo and Daphne

A screenshot of the beginning of the article on the Occidental Observer featuring a large image of Fancisco Goya’s 1823 painting "Satan Devouring his Son," which depicts Cronus, or Saturn, eating the bloody corpse of one of his children.
  • “The Titans who are now imprisoned in Tartarus are the mirror image of the Olympian Gods. They are are the center of the will to power and each of us who demonstrates this will has a good ingredient of the Titanic spirit. Today, in our disenchanted world from which gods have departed, the Titans remain for all of us an option in our struggle. Titans and Titanic individuals are known to be outspoken about their supreme independence, their aversion to cutting deals, their uncompromising attitude, and their lack of repentance. The Titans were defeated, but they could not be annihilated. They are immortal just like gods. They could not be brainwashed into political correctness. They wait for their times. And the times will soon come when the Titans will be back in town.”
  • “When we were young boys Hercules, a demigod, was our hero. Whether Hercules historically existed or not, is beside the point. He still lives in our memory.  He was the real symbol, the real role model for all of us young White males. Moreover, who among us did not dream about making love to the goddess Aphrodite? Or at least make some furtive passes at Daphne?  Apollo, a god with a sense of moderation and beauty was also our hero as was the pesky Titan Prometheus, always trying to surpass himself with his boundless intellectual curiosity.  Prometheus unbound is the prime symbol of the White man’s irresistible drive toward the unknown, toward the truth, irrespective of the name he carries in ancient sagas, modern novels, or political treatises.”

PDF Text: “Tragedy and Myth in Ancient Europe and Modern Politics”

Pharos has documented two other classicizing essays by Sunić.


Have an idea of a theme for a survey that would be useful in your teaching? Propose it to us at pharosclassics@vassar.edu. Our catalog of surveys is available here.

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