Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Speaker: Dr Emma Stafford
On Thursday, 18th January, U3A Todmorden’s monthly meeting’s guest speaker was Dr Emma Stafford, a Senior Lecturer in Classics at Leeds University and author of the guidebook to Todmorden Town Hall. Her subject was the Greek goddess, Nemesis.
But what did – and does - Nemesis stand for?
Nemesis certainly still inhabits our imaginations: in Germany, their national football team is regarded as England’s ‘alten Nemesis’, and in France, Sir Alex Ferguson has been described as Arsène Wenger’s ‘éternel Némésis mancunien’.
Alton Towers has a ride called Nemesis, and one of the favourite characters in the video game, Resident Evil, is the Nemesis, an undead, bio-manipulated Tyrant – something ‘coming to get you.’
But why should someone come to get you? The ancient Greeks associated Nemesis with ‘hubris’ or the excessive pride that leads mortals to get above themselves, and the goddess was there to keep you in your place.
At first, she was envisaged wearing white because she was pure and justifiably indignant at mortal behaviour. And, being pure and blameless, she was considered qualified to represent justice, so her images came to show her with a set of scales.
As an agent of retribution, she is seen in vase paintings pointing to what will happen to you if behave outrageously. Statues and coins show her with a measuring rod and a horse’s bit, directing us to ‘do nothing beyond measure, nor be unbridled in speech.’
In her developing role as the goddess who urges us to think before we act, she comes also to be given a rudder and a wheel, symbols telling us to ‘keep on track’.
And if we fail to heed her, then, as one statue shows, she will trample on our heads and set her bird of vengeance, a griffin, on us.
Christian Europe developed the concept of a corrective Nemesis in ‘emblem books’. Thus an image of Nemesis with rod, bridle and wheel carries the motto ‘Harm no one in word nor deed’; and an engraving of Hope and Nemesis together declares ‘Do not hope for what is not allowed.’
This was a learned and enlightening talk, giving us an insight not only into Nemesis, but also into the world of academic research and its relevance to our own lives.
Our January showcase speaker was Myrna Beet, convenor of the Quiz Group. Meeting on the 4th Thursday of the month, they work in random teams to do a 60 question quiz set by a member. Members also take it in turns to provide the refreshments. It must be fun, as several members have been going for years!
U3A Todmorden’s next meeting will be on Thursday, February 15th 2018, and our speakers will be Peter Thornton and Ray Riches with their talk ‘The Pathways Story’. Our contact details are www.u3atod.org.uk (website), email@example.com (email), or 01706 812015 (phone).
Many thanks to Anthony Peter for this report
Previous U3A reports on the HebWeb
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HebWeb News: Professor Scott Scores a Euro-Hit with speaker Professor Derek Scott of Leeds University (10 May 2017)
HebWeb News: Old Flames and Steamy Memories. With speaker Granville Dobson (9 April 2017)
HebWeb News: Titus Salt – Philanthropic Paternalist or Capitalist Villain? With speaker Maria Glot (2 March 2017)
HebWeb News: Shaking Hitler's Hand (by proxy) - with speaker Alun Pugh (12 Feb 2017)
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HebWeb News: Volunteering in Palestine and Guatemala - with speaker David Gilman (9 Aug 2016)
HebWeb News: Snow, Permafrost, Insects, Iron - with speaker Dr Frank Nicholson (7 July 2016)
HebWeb News:Stranger in a Strange Land - with speaker Gill Russell (7 May 2016)
HebWeb News:Life with polio and a career as a TV and Radio presenter. with speaker Jane Shepherd (12 June 2016)
HebWeb News:Small in a Tall Person's World with speakers Hamish Willis and Penny Dean OBE (31 March 2016)
HebWeb News:In the Footsteps of Norbert Carteret (22 February 2016)
HebWeb News:Gallivanting on Public Transport - a Bus Pass from Berwick to Land's End (30 September 2015)
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HebWeb News: Summat a' Nowt - talk by Steve Murty (28 April 2015)
HebWeb News: My Convict Ancestors (12 April 2015)
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HebWeb News: University of the Third Age: Music and the Deaf (12 February 2014)
HebWeb News: University of the Third Age: Psychology and You - Part Two David Groves made a welcome return as a speaker at the October Todmorden U3A (26 October 2013)
HebWeb News: Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, A Short History was recounted by Ray Riches to the University of the Third Age. (28 Aug 2013)
HebWeb News: John Sheard, retired land agent to the Duke of Devonshire, gave his third talk to members of the U3A, this time on Sir Joseph Paxton, Knighted Gardener (26 July 2013)
HebWeb News: Off Stage Choices: Andrew Rawlinson recounts his theatre experience from Tod Operatic to General Manager of a leading Theatre Group. (18 July 2013)
HebWeb News: The Story of the Hebden Bridge Calendar (April 2013)
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HebWeb News: Cancer from Both Sides (Nov 2012)
HebWeb News: Steve Halliwell outlined the history of the Woodland Trust (Sept 2012)
HebWeb News: Ray Riches talks on Walking the Pacific Crest Trail (Aug 2012)
HebWeb News: Pitch and Pythagoras - Pulse and Prison (July 2012)
HebWeb News - Lord Shutt explains the workings of the House of Lords (May 2012)
HebWeb News - Claire Benedict talks acting to Todmorden U3A (April 2012)
HebWeb News - Kate Moreton-Deakin spoke about her day job as Associate Director - Corporate Social Responsibility with Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. (Feb 2012)
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HebWeb News - Gail Allaby, U3A's Queen of the Underworld (Dec 2011)
HebWeb News - September meeting report - Report of meeting about Walking the Pacific Crest Trail
HebWeb News - August meeting report - Bolton Abbey
HebWeb News - May and June meeting report - Keep Learning: Live long and prosper and the role of the Lord-Lieutenant
HebWeb News - April meeting report - Belt and Braces - An Everyday Guide to Risk and Chance
HebWeb News - March meeting report - Growing Old in the Twenty-First Century