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Gods' Smile, Gods' Grin

             " For Thetis looked for what she thought defined the humans on her shores. First for gracious sacrifice and second for the pleasurous dancing and the games they played; of a lively, appreciative existence above and below the many hallowed gods. But what she saw wrought in the iron when Hephaestos had finished was the story of the relationship and meaning between the mortals and the immortals. Wound round in a perfect circle, the god-touched metal depicted those fundamental pieces that keep the cycle between the two preserved.
             Redolent of the continual flow of time, a river rings the shield's edge, serving to remind us of the ever-present distinction between the mortals and the immortals; the immortals as the preservers of life, and the mortals as those organisms the immortals provide for. Within this ring of preservation lies the 3 most pronounced characteristics of the mortal world - included are cattle, sheep and dance. Cattle serves to represent desire for wealth - what kind of wealth has not yet been said - while sheep represent the love attributed to mortal families as well as the sacrifices offering love to the gods above and below. Lastly there's dance, representing the celebration and gaiety that Thetis was looking for originally.
             Working inwards, the third ring is telling of hard labor and its profits throughout the working year. The mortals first plough the land in spring so as to reap its rewards in the summer crops. Come fall, the year and Demeter are celebrated with the seasonal yield of wine. As the herd is watched throughout the cold months, cattle lends also to the winter.
             Finally, we reach the inner-most ring. Surrounding a core of celestial power lay two cities: one wrought of the workings of war, the preparation and onset of battle and the other lying in peace, depicting festive occasions and moral contemplation. The happenings in these two rings relate closest to the deities because they represent the seriousness of human condition.

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