Who is Pandia

pandia about us

When Kate Johnson first began Pandia Press, she searched for a name that would represent the goals of her new publishing company. She knew she wanted an inspiring name from mythology that would connect to the company’s mission: to develop a well-researched, engaging, secular, multi-disciplinary curriculum that would not only give students a solid academic education, but also mentor the knowledge and skills necessary to be life-long learners. She wanted students to experience education in meaningful and fun ways. While reading one day, she came across the name Pandia, and the rest is history (and science, and the humanities)! But as Pandia Press has evolved, so has the company’s relationship to the goddess it is named after. A deeper look at the origin and symbolism of Pandia reveals the possibilities we all see here at Pandia Press, from editors to writers, in how we approach our work. 

In some ways, Pandia is a challenging figure to study. There are only a few references to Pandia in ancient Greek and Roman literature, and those that do exist sometimes contradict each other or are vague. The most widely accepted texts are the Homeric Hymns, which were written around the 6th or 7th century BCE. According to most sources, Pandia, or Pandeia, was a Greek goddess born of Zeus and Selene. Her name means “all brightness” (sometimes translated to “all gifts” or “all divine”), and she was a personification of light and brightness, the full moon, and possibly the sun as well, as it shines down on earth.  According to the Homeric Hymn 32, “To Selene”: 

 “Once Kronides was joined with her in love; and she conceived and bore a daughter Pandeia, exceedingly lovely amongst the deathless gods.” 

There are also other sources that verify this lineage, including Pseudo-Hyginus’ “Preface” and the Nemean Odes of Pindar. According to Virgil, however, it was Pan who seduced Selene by luring her to earth with a shining lamb’s fleece and implying that Pandia was the result.  Despite the few references to Pan, most Classics scholars align with the Greek sources that name Zeus and Selene as her parents. Besides texts, there appear to be other references to her, such as a temple dedicated to her at Nemea (Argolis, in Southern Greece) and possibly in Phlios. An Athenian festival of the full moon seems to be connected to her as well. 

Despite the sparse information on her, Pandia is a member of the ancient Greek pantheon and, more specifically, part of a group connected to the moon that also includes goddesses such as Selene, Artemis, and Hecate. If we view her as a symbol of the brightness of the light that shines on the earth, whether from the moon or the sun, we can start to explore how she could represent our relationship to the world. Another way to look at Pandia is through her parents, for whom we have a more extensive collection of ancient documentation. Her father was Zeus, the king of the gods. He was the deity over the sky, weather, justice, fate, and leadership. Her mother was Selene, the Titan goddess and a personification of the moon. Her name literally means “moon,” and she was often depicted riding a horse side-saddle or driving a chariot pulled by a team of winged horses. The combination of the two deities is intriguing, provoking imagery of not only the presence of light, such as the moon or the lightning bolt, but also the movement of light: the lightning bolt from sky to land, the moon’s orbit or path across the sky, and the moon’s phases. From Zeus, this light could be dramatic and decisive. From Selene, this light could be cyclical and influential. Combined, it makes sense that Pandia’s name means “all brightness,” for she encompasses the gifts of both parents. In addition, the ancient Greek words for light are often used in connection with the concepts of knowledge, wisdom, insight, and virtue, sometimes through metaphor and at other times as a direct comparison. It would not be inconsistent then to look at Pandia and her symbolism from this lens as well. 

Like any figure in mythology, Pandia has her own history and a relationship with the people who worship her (or research her) based on time and place. But mythological gods and goddesses can also serve as archetypes or symbols, even today, representing that which we see in ourselves as humans. When we look at the mission of Pandia Press, we see a connection between the historical symbolism the goddess Pandia embodies and what she means to us today. Through our curriculum, we are perpetually trying to shine a light on all the pieces of world history and the humanities, especially those previously untold, and see the story of humanity from every perspective we can through engaging narratives and profound inquiry. We are illuminating the field of science with experiential learning and critical analysis to understand the world we live in and how it intersects with human culture. Our publications offer the opportunity to make choices and dive deeply into specific interests and provide a broader, themed view of each field, lighting a path towards both greater academic skill and self-knowledge. Most importantly, just as Pandia was “exceedingly lovely among the deathless gods,” Pandia Press strives to be a purposeful and personal experience of education within the unending and constantly evolving fields of history and science. Through the educational journey of the students who use our materials and the direction and priorities of the company and its authors, Pandia continues to be both a guiding light and a mirror that reflects it..

 Homeric Hymns, translated by Hugh Evelyn-White

 Virgil, Georgics 1-2, translated by H.R. Fairclough

 Inspired by the quote by Edith Wharton in “Vesalius in Zante,” (1902): “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

Category: Pandia Press No Comments

Comments are closed.