Every day Prince Hippolytus would train there. He was a disciple of Orphism and hence a vegetarian and a virgin. All he knew about sex was what he saw in plays or statues. The son of an Amazon, he didn’t care about becoming an important person in the town. He expressed amazement when people talked about the ‘sweetness of power.’ He worshiped his books, and the intoxicating fumes of ‘majestic words.’ He exercised, he improved himself, and that was all he cared about. His detractors said he practiced a ‘cult of self.’ But in fact, sealed away in its integrity, his ‘virgin soul’ adored only one being, at once outside himself and intimate: the virgin huntress, Artemis. He hunted for her in the forest, served her as a slave, protected her images.


Roberto Calasso, “The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.” (1988) (Tim Parks translation, 1993).