Lecture 3 Notes.docx
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CLAS203 Lecture 3 Notes
Mytos: a traditional story with collective importance
o No Identifiable author
o Many variants of the same myth possible: the ‘myth’ is the complex of all
o Culturally important to the people who told them and listened to them
Logos: a reasoned account by someone who stands by it, taking responsibility for the
truth of what is said
Myth-ology: a reasoned inquiry into the topic of myth
Myths reflect the society that produces them and in turn help determine the nature of
The study of myth:
o Understand myth’s significance within culture that produced it
o Understand the myth’s broader human significance
Historical Sketch: (Will not ask to relate date to time period but to know events in text and
correspond them to dates)
Neolithic Age (6500-3000 B.C.)
o Farming villages
o Pottery, domesticating animals
o The area that is now Greece and that part of Mediterranean was inhabited
Bronze Age Early (3000-2100 B.C.) – Minoan Period
o The island of Crete and its capital Cnossus (Knossos)
o Minoan were powerful on the sea, they were a thalassocracy; relied on trade
o They used Linear A, a writing system recording that is non-Greek (language)
o Matriarchal religion?
o Ruled by women?
Bronze Age Middle (2100-1600 B.C.)
o In 1630: eruption of Thera. It was the greatest volcanic eruption and blew out
the center of the island. It is too simple to say the Minoan fell because of the
eruption but can be a factor.
o Between 2100-1900, the first wave of Indo-European invaded (migration) the
area that is now Greece. They spoke the language that is still spoken today; Indo-
European becomes Greek. They brought their own myths.
o Male-dominated gods: located on Mt. Olympus
o The Indo-European must have come into contact with Minoans and borrowed
their language system. Linear B, a system similar to Linear A was a writing
system recording early form of Greek. We call this Mycenaean Greek.
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