THE FOES OF THE GODS
IAXS Research Project #228
By Virginia Carper
Copyright © 1997 held by author
VOLCANOES OF XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (02-04)
GODS OF VOLCANOES (05-07)
XENA AND PELE (08-10)
SANTORINI, A GREEK VOLCANO (11-13)
VOLCANIC EXPLOSIVENESS INDEX (VEI)
FOR MORE INFORMATION
In New Zealand, 1996, Mount Ruapehu erupted, its vast ash cloud disrupting air traffic and forcing many would-be skiiers to holiday elsewhere.
Photo permission and courtesy Gerald Speers.
 The Volcano, that most ancient of primordial forces, is a remorseless old foe. None can escape its rages. What god could overcome the fury of an explosive volcano? Is it no wonder the Gods of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS are wary of the volcano?
VOLCANOES OF XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
 In A FISTFUL OF DINARS (#14), Xena, Gabrielle, Petracles (the warlord), and Thersites (the assassin) search for the treasure of the Summerian temple. They find it in the bowels of an awakening volcano. While inside, they hear the rumbling of an imminent eruption. When the rocks fall around them, Xena cautions the others, "We had better finish our business before the mountain erupts." After she retrieves the ambrosia, the food of the gods, Xena throws it into a nearby lava pit, where the volcano disposes of the ambrosia.
 The Eye of Hephaestus, the God of Fire, and the doors of black basalt of a dormant volcano holds Ares, the God of War, prisoner in THE XENA SCROLLS (#34). Hephaestus, also the God of Volcanoes, forged the lock that only Xena's chakram can open. Once Xena, in the body of Melinda Pappas, and the others close the heavy doors, Ares is powerless to escape. His godly powers are no-match for the sleeping volcano that remains his tomb.
 The true god in A NECESSARY EVIL (#38) is the erupting volcano. The fast flowing river of a'a lava absorbed the two fledgling gods -- Velasca and Callisto. Could any god escape from such a lava flow? The rapid flow of a'a lava breaks the volcanic crust into many rough jagged pieces. An a'a flow brings forth from deep within the Earth's mantle, diamonds, the hardest mineral on Earth. A'a flows often form lava tubes that lead under the ocean floor. Between the intense pressure of the ocean floor and the extreme temperatures of the a'a flow, a god has little chance of mobility, if not survival.
A molten river awaits newbie goddesses Velasca and Callisto
in A NECESSARY PLOT DEVICE (#38)
GODS OF VOLCANOES
 Typhon, with the hundred horrible heads, drooled lava and spat out red-hot stones from his gaping mouths. In his pursuit of Typhon, Zeus, the King of the Gods, threw thunderbolts at Mt. Etna of Sicily, awakening Aetna, the goddess of that volcano. After Zeus imprisoned Typhon under Mt. Etna, that mountain belched forth fire and smoke, and also oozed lava.
 The force that destroyed the gods, Velasca, and Callisto, is Pele, the Hawai'ian Goddess of Fire. She makes her home in Halema'uma'u, the fire pit on the floor of Kilauea's caldera on Hawai'i, the Big Island. Erupting continuously since 1983, Kilauea is the most active volcano in the world. To the people of Hawai'i, Pele is the true primordial force; wild and destructive, and yet creative and fertile.
 Unlike the ill-tempered Pele, Hephaestus was the steadiest and kindest of the Greek gods. The peace-loving Hephaestus preferred to craft fine works of iron than to rain down lava on the land. The island of Lemnos was his forge. Mt. Olympus was his home, where he lived with his fellow gods. Ever restless, Pele moved across the Pacific Ocean, building island after island until she found a new home far from the other Hawai'ian gods. Hephaestus was content to be known as the God of Creativity, whereas Pele became known as the god who created land.
XENA AND PELE
 According to Hawai'ian tradition, Pele walked among the people as a young girl. To those who offer her hospitality, she protected. To those who rejected her, she killed. In THE RETURN OF CALLISTO (#29), Xena saved a red-haired girl from Callisto. Caught between the raging fire and the murderous Callisto, the girl had nowhere to run. Later, quicksand swallowed Callisto whole, while Xena made a miraculous escape.
 Xena saved another red-haired girl from being killed by a massive log in DESTINY (#36). Later, Autolycus, acting as Xena, recovered Xena's body from the flames of the Amazon funeral pyre in THE QUEST (#37). When Xena needed to destroy the insane Velasca and the psychopath Callisto, she found an erupting volcano (A NECESSARY EVIL, #38). Before Gabrielle fell into the lava river, Xena caught her.
 Is Pele protecting Xena? She can feel an affinity with Xena's plight. As Callisto viciously hounds Xena, so does Pele's sister relentlessly purse Pele across the Pacific. Namakaokaha'i, the Goddess of the Sea, floods Pele's home, forcing her to find a new one.
Santorini in modern and considerably more placid times.
SANTORINI, A GREEK VOLCANO
 Over fifty volcanoes dot the Mediterranean, but none of them are in A NECESSARY EVIL (#38) and A FISTFUL OF DINARS (#14). Those volcanoes are of a Hawai'ian shield variety. The Greek volcanoes are more explosive -- the most famous being Santorini in the Aegean.
 In the Late Bronze Age, Santorini, a complex of overlapping shield volcanoes, erupted spreading ash over Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean. Before collapsing into a caldera of forty-two square miles (eighty-three square kilometers), Santorini shot a lava column twenty-three miles (thirty-six kilometers) high into the sky. The destruction from Santorini has never been exceeded in 10,000 years. Many volcanologists and historians strongly suspect that the eruption of Santorini was the source of the legend of Atlantis.
 What god could survive a force such as Santorini? If the God of War, Ares could be confined by a sleeping volcano, how could any god be victorious against a raging one? The volcano shows no mercy toward them. Xena and Gabrielle are wise to rely upon the volcano as an ally.
A large, gentle sloping volcano that is built of thin lava flows. (Hawai'ian).
A combination volcano that erupts both cool, viscous lava and ash. (Mount St. Helens)
A fast lava flow with rough angular fragments of crust. A'a lava usually flows in an open channel. The temperature of an a'a flow is 2140 degrees Fahrenheit (1200 degrees Centigrade)
Dark-colored, fine-grained volcanic rock. Basalt also forms the ocean floors and great lava plateaus.
A large basin-shaped volcanic depression formed by the collapse of the volcano.
Jetting a fountain of fluid lava from a central crater.
Explosive water and heated rocks interact to produce a violent explosion of steam and pulverized rocks
A steady, turbulent stream of magma and gasses released at high velocity from a vent
VOLCANIC EXPLOSIVENESS INDEX (VEI)
1. gentle Hawai'ian --- 2. explosive Strombolian --- 3. severe Phreate Mount St. Helens 4. cataclysmic Phreate --- 5. paroxysmal Plinian Mt. Etna, Vesuvio (Vesuvius of Pompeii) 6. colossal Plinian Santorini
FOR MORE INFORMATION
AGENTS OF CHAOS, Stephen Harris
MYTHOLOGY, Edith Hamilton
THE LEGENDS AND MYTHS OF HAWAI'I, King David Kalakaua