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Lecture 18

CLAS 203 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Amymone, Serifos, Tiryns


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLAS 203
Professor
Margaret Palczynski
Lecture
18

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Lecture 18 – Heroic Myth – Perseus and Myths of the Argive Plain
Perseus is connected directly with Heracles (descendent of Perseus).
Perseus is the eldest of all the heroes.
Sagas- focus on hero
Hero
-well born, noble warrior (Homer)
>normally the son of a god or goddess
-marvellous gure of the distant past
>love hearing the tales of these people
>admire and look up to these people
>give the ordinary Greek a sense of pride in this “historical” past
>overlap with Near Eastern mythology
>many deal with dangerous wild beasts
E.G. Gilgamesh strangling a lion
-Near Eastern sources for heroic myth: Epic of Gilgamesh
*we don’t know where the origin of the word “hero” is or what it means exactly, but
we know
what it identies as
Heroes of epic: worshipped as powers
-dwelling beneath the earth: chthonic
-heroic cults associated with heroes
>heroa = cult places for worship and focused on what was assumed to be
the tomb for heroes
(c.800)
>focused on ancient tombs (tumuli)
>associated with hero of myth
>encouraged by the spread of heroic texts
Common motifs of heroic myths
-hero distinguishes himself from the very start
-some kind of parentage or birth that distinguishes him from the ordinary men
>divine parent; miraculous birth
>hero strives for immortality (life is something he must ght for in the very
beginning)
-great physical strength; menace to those around him
>great strength, height, etc  something to separate them from average
people
>heroes can be very dangerous to those around them (even to those closest
to him)
-faithful male companion
>possible sexual relationship, but this fact is secondary
>like a sidekick
-hero is threatened
>you can’t prove you are heroic unless you have obstacles to overcome
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