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Lecture 8

CLAS 203 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Aeschylus, Cronus

Course Code
CLAS 203
Margaret Palczynski

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CLAS203 Lecture 8
Prometheus ‘forethinker’; ‘heroic trickster’: maker and protector
o Maker, protector of humans
o The trick at Mecone (Prometheus teaches humans how to interact with gods by
sacrificing animals as a tribute to the gods; cuts animal into two unequal parts.
Zeus sees through trick but still picks bad parts. Zeus then hides fire from
humans to teach them hardship)
o Stealing of fire (‘hybris’) (Prometheus steals fire, hides it in a hollow stock of
fennel and gives it to human beings)
o Punishment: Caucasus Mountain (Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound)
o Reveals threat to Zeus from Thetis (married to mortal Peleus, son Achilles)
o Freed by Heracles
The punishment of human beings:
Pandora: woman is man’s greatest affliction (Hesoid)
o ‘pan’: ‘all’, ‘dora’: ‘gifts’
o Created by Hephaestus, gifted by Athena (weaving skill), Aphrodite (beauty and
attraction), Hermes (heart of a bitch and the mind of a thief)
o Carried a box carrying all the woes of humanity which she releases into the world
because of her curiosity
Epimetheus: ‘hindsighter’ (‘dummy’)
o The meaning of Hope
o Represents all of humanity
o Motif: ‘violated prohibition’
The *Five Ages of Human Beings:
Gold (best and earliest): Cronus (created by)
o Human beings fashioned out of gold
o They live like gods, do not know trouble, sorrow, or labour
o Earth produces everything
o Live content and satisfied
o Don’t die but will vanish and become spirits
Silver (duller): Olympians
o Age for 100 years with mind of infant and then have a short adult life
o Adult life cut short as a result of their own stupidity because they learn how to
be violent
o Do not honour gods, thus Zeus buries out of site so they become spirits
Bronze (weapons): Zeus
o Humans were violent, fall at each other’s hand
o Like the metal, terrible, warlike, uses bronze weapons
o Goes to Hades when they die
*Heroes: Zeus
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