Season: 5, Episodes: 2, Faction: N/A
Theresa Spencer was Daniel Faraday’s research assistant and girlfriend during the physics professor’s brief tenure at Oxford University researching time travel.
5×14 – The Variable
Theresa was introduced to Faraday’s mother Eloise Hawking at Daniel’s graduate commencement, but Ms. Hawking was dismissive of Theresa and her son’s relationship with her, preferring that her son focus only on his research work. (“The Variable”)
After Faraday tested his experimental time apparatus out on himself, he permitted Theresa to act as an experimental subject, and she eventually succumbed to the effects of temporal displacement.
On the mainland (2007)
5×03 – Jughead
Though she survived (unlike the rat Eloise), Theresa was chronically affected and became an invalid, requiring constant home care by her sister, Abigail Spencer, and a nurse. During her occasional moments of lucidity, she described being a young child or having just been with relatives long deceased. Having previously funded Faraday’s research, Charles Widmore financially provided for Theresa’s care.
Because of what happened to Theresa, Faraday fled Oxford for the United States, and the university expunged any reference to him from their records. When he abandoned his laboratory, he left behind on the floor a photograph of the two posed together on the Oxford University campus. (“Jughead”)
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“Ox”ford University (Ox/Bull)
An ox is a bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle (castration makes the animals more tractable), but cows (adult females) or bulls (intact males) may also be used in some areas.
Cattle are venerated within the Hindu religion of India. According to Vedic scriptures they are to be treated with the same respect ‘as one’s mother’ because of the milk they provide; “The cow is my mother” (Mahabharata) They appear in numerous stories from the Puranas and Vedas. The deity Krishna was brought up in a family of cowherders, and given the name Govinda (protector of the cows). Also Shiva is traditionally said to ride on the back of a bull named Nandi. In ancient rural India every household had a few cows which provided a constant supply of milk and a few bulls that helped as draft animals.
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In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician woman of high lineage, from whom the name of the continent Europe has ultimately been taken. The name Europa occurs in Hesiod’s long list of daughters of primordial Oceanus and Tethys. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story; as Kerényi points out “most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa”.
Europa’s earliest literary reference is in the Iliad, which is commonly dated to the 8th century BCE. Another early reference to her is in a fragment of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, discovered at Oxyrhyncus. The earliest vase-painting securely identifiable as Europa, dates from mid-7th century BCE.
The etymology of her Greek name (ευρυ- “wide” or “broad” + οπ– “eye(s)” or “face”) suggests that Europa as a goddess represented the lunar cow, at least on some symbolic level. Metaphorically, at a later date her name could be construed as the intelligent or open-minded, analogous to glaukopis (γλαυκώπις) attributed to Athena. However, Ernest Klein suggests a possible Semitic origin in Akkadian erebu “to go down, set” (in reference to the sun) which would parallel occident.
Astarte and Europa
In the territory of Phoenician Sidon, Lucian of Samosata (second century CE) was informed that the temple of Astarte, whom Lucian equated with the moon goddess, was sacred to Europa:
“There is likewise in Phœnicia a temple of great size owned by the Sidonians. They call it the temple of Astarte. I hold this Astarte to be no other than the moon-goddess. But according to the story of one of the priests this temple is sacred to Europa, the sister of Cadmus. She was the daughter of Agenor, and on her disappearance from Earth the Phœnicians honoured her with a temple and told a sacred legend about her; how that Zeus was enamoured of her for her beauty, and changing his form into that of a bull carried her off into Crete. This legend I heard from other Phœnicians as well; and the coinage current among the Sidonians bears upon it the effigy of Europa sitting upon a bull, none other than Zeus. Thus they do not agree that the temple in question is sacred to Europa.”
The paradox, as it seemed to Lucian, would be solved if Europa is Astarte in her guise as the full, “broad-faced” moon.
Sources differ in details regarding Europa’s family, but agree that she is Phoenician, and from a lineage that descended from Io, the mythical nymph beloved of Zeus, who was transformed into a heifer. She is generally said to be the daughter of Agenor, the Phoenician King of Tyre; the Syracusan poet Moschus makes her mother Queen Telephassa (“far-shining”) but elsewhere her mother is Argiope (“white-faced”). Other sources, such as the Iliad, claim that she is the daughter of Agenor’s son, the “sun-red” Phoenix. It is generally agreed that she had two brothers, Cadmus, who brought the alphabet to mainland Greece, and Cilix who gave his name to Cilicia in Asia Minor, with the author of Bibliotheke including Phoenix as a third. After arriving in Crete, Europa had three sons: Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon, the three of whom became the three judges of the Underworld when they died. In Crete she married Asterion also rendered Asterius. According to mythology, her children were fathered by Zeus.
There were two competing myths relating how Europa came into the Hellenic world, but they agreed that she cameto Crete, where the sacred bull was paramount. In the more familiar telling she was seduced by the god Zeus in the form of a bull, who breathed from his mouth a saffron crocus and carried her away to Crete on his back— to be welcomed by Asterion, but according to the more literal, euhemerist version that begins the account of Persian-Hellene confrontations of Herodotus, she was kidnapped by Minoans, who likewise were said to have taken her to Crete. The mythical Europa cannot be separated from the mythology of the sacred bull, which had been worshipped in the Levant.
Europa does not seem to have been venerated directly in cult anywhere in classical Greece, but at Lebadaea in Boeotia, Pausanias noted in the second century CE that Europa was the epithet of Demeter— “Demeter whom they surname Europa and say was the nurse of Trophonios“— among the Olympians who were addressed by seekers at the cave sanctuary of Trophonios of Orchomenus, to whom a chthonic cult and oracle were dedicated: “the grove of Trophonios by the river Herkyna. …there is also a sanctuary of Demeter Europa… the nurse of Trophonios.”
mythographers tell that Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her, the two being near-equivalent in Greek myth. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father’s herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus and three additional gifts: Talos, Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus. Some readers interpret as manifestations of this same bull the Cretan beast that was encountered by Heracles, the Marathonian Bull slain by Theseus (and that fathered the Minotaur). Roman mythology adopted the tale of the Raptus, also known as “The Abduction of Europa” and “The Seduction of Europa“, substituting the god Jupiter for Zeus.
According to Herodotus’ rationalizing approach, Europa was kidnapped by Minoans who were seeking to avenge the kidnapping of Io, a princess from Argos. His variant story may have been an attempt to rationalize the earlier myth; or the present myth may be a garbled version of facts — the abduction of a Phoenician aristocrat — later enunciated without gloss by Herodotus.
The story may also have evolved from the remnants of oral history about the settlement of the island. Cretans were of course great sailors, as all islanders must be, and must have come from some mainland area by raft or ship. They must also have brought their cattle and other livestock with them, since bulls figured prominently in their sports, arts and religious imagery. In the mythological transformation of history, however, roles are reversed, and the bull provides the transportation for the founding mother of the Minoan people.