Nomen Omen: ARGO

Why the name ARGO to the project?

To tell the truth, it was the very name which made us choosing it.
We were walking along the Greek lands, in the air we could breath a meaning that wanted to be pronounced. So we looked at each other and this sense was clear: “Eyes wide open, vigilant, to remain faithful“.

So we called it to life: ARGO, and it became a project.

The references connected to “Argo” are quite explicit in our mind, but investigating deep and far they are discovered to be wider than expected.

Almost all of us heard about Argo the dog of Ulysses, famous when young for his strength and speed in hunting, but more popular in our memories as a symbol of loyalty and of the quiet patience that characterizes an unmovable affection.

This creature, after waiting for twenty years, just  before letting himself die, was able to recognize his master as he passed by  even behind the clothes of a beggar, when returned to Ithaca. They did not need many gestures to understand each other:

“[Argo] waved his tail
and let his ears fall back; but now he could not
get closer to his master. And Odysseus
he looked away and wiped a tear
without being seen by Euméo ”
(Odyssey, XVII)

ARGO is also the ship of the Argonauts, the first ship which sailed unexplored seas thus accomplishing something that, in the far echoes of time, was seen as a wickedness: the arrogance inherent in such navigation was felt almost as an act of hubris against the deities.

It was like challenging them!

“The mythical tales were formulated to veil and at the same time to inform those who had open “the eyes of wisdom”. […] ”
“The commander of the legendary ship Argo is Jason, or Jona of the Trojans, Jon of the Scandinavians, Ganesha of India, the Sun. Among the Egyptians the rising sun was Osiris […]. Jason is Osiris, the Sun1.

The author is not entirely wrong. Who, if not the Sun, could guide or show the way in sailing the nocturnal seas of the unknown?

The deities, however, have been compared by different studies to “thought shapes” that defile man and which, in order to preserve themselves, do not accept being overridden by other understandings of reality.

And so the deities would manifest themselves in the human mind as a blind and despotic predisposition to imprint their own “unit of measurement” to reality. Acting like spells, these deities filter reality perceptually, even manifesting themselves as psychisms.

Argo” seems instead to refer to the “divinity” understood as the virtue of the human soul, a characteristic to be conquered; etymologically it is linked to the proto-Indo-European root “arj” / “arg” which evokes the shining of impeccability, and in Sanskrit it becomes arjunas (or argunas): shining white, brilliant; hence the name of the Indian Epic hero “Arjuna”, “the pure one”.

More specifically, “arj” meansto go addressed [ar] straight forward [j]”.

Traces of this etymology can be found in the Greek adjective ἀργός which means “of a brilliant, dazzling white”, as well as “fast, quick.” In Italian, in fact, we have deduced terms such as: arguire (to argue), argomento (argument), arguzia (witt), argento (silver), argilla (clay).

Under the heading ‘Arguire’ (to argue), the italian etymological dictionary “Vocabolario Etimologico della Lingua italiana” (Piangiani, 1907), specifies this origin:

“from the stem ARJ = ARG’; to be understood as to shine, (Sanskrit: ARGUNA, clear) whence the consequence to make clear, to highlight, very homogeneous to the original meaning to prove with evidence, with fine reasoning, attributed to Arguire and nowadays transfused in the Italian Argomentare (to discuss reasoning), (see: Argento, silver)”.

Everything originates from the city of Argos, in the Argolis, inhabited by the Argives (later known as Achaeans), founded by Argos, King of Peloponnese, from whom it takes its name. Argos was the son of Zeus and brother of Pelagos, and his successor is another mythological presence, perhaps less known, but probably for which to honor, so named his dog Ulysses.
To enrich the nuances that the name ‘Argo’ carries with him, and to testify that “owning the eyes of Argo” means to be discerning, we have to talk about Argos Panoptes, a gigantic prodigious being with a hundred eyes pointed in all directions and a great strength.

“Argos of the hundred eyes, the Panoptes which sees everything. […] Its greatest renown comes from the miraculous cleverness he was provided by. […] Argos of the hundred eyes is the Vigilance over all things, everything is noticed, whether you look at the innocence, or you spy and discover the evil. […] The poets will say that one hundred eyes shine on the Argos’ forehead: Morpheus could never close them all at once; if fifty of them yield to his presence, the other fifty open and watch. […] [Considered for this the exemplary guardian], at his death Juno scattered the one hundred eyes of Argos on the tail feathers of the peacock.”
(Tasso, G.  Enciclopedia italiana e dizionario della conversazione: opera originale, Vol. 2. Venezia, 1838)


And so, ARGO starts from these inspirations.
Among so many myths, who can say maybe one of them is fidgetting whithin us? Hope it could give us new intrepid boldness to face our challenges.