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Lecture

January 9 Notes.docx

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Department
Classics
Course Code
CLASS102
Professor
Craig Taylor

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CLASSICS 102 Lecture Notes January 7 MYTH IN WESTERN CULTURE why do we study myth? ● tells us something about ancient culture ● understanding daily references (planets, literature, folklore, etc) ● Eros (Cupid in Rome), his mom is Aphrodites ● Heracles (Hercules in Rome), has nothing to do with pegasus, nor does perseus—except when he slays medusa and it flies out of her body, perasus actually has to do with Bellerophon overview: INTRODUCTION DIVINE MYTHS ● CREATION OF WORLD; BIRTH OF GODS; CREATION OF HUMANS ● THE GREEK GODS: OLYMPIANS AND OTHER DEITIES then MIDTERM (final is non-cumulative) LEGENDS ● HEROES AND HEROINES; LOCAL SAGAS FOLKTALES ● FANTASTIC & MAGICAL ELEMENTS +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ THEORY WAYS THAT SCHOLARS HAVE TRIED TO BREAK DOWN MYTH TO UNDERSTAND WHY IT OCCURED MYTHOS meaning Story, Word, Speech, Tale LOGOS meaning Word, Speech, Reason GREEKS WERE THE FIRST TO QUESTION THEIR OWN MYTHOLOGIES - HOMER and HESIOD (8c) - believed their myths were not falsehoods - PINDAR (5C) - didn't believe the myths he was telling were true. didn't tell us why he didn't think that. - PLATO (4C) - entertain and impress by image and narrative, argued that myths were meant to entertain us (through song, narrative, art, image, dance, etc) - ARISTOTLE (4C) - believed that if myths were broken down you would get to a special purpose. Myths have a plot, beginning, middle and end, which seems obvious but he was the first to say this. Believed myths had some reason for their resonance. MODERN DEF. OF MYTH MYTH - a traditional story, plasedfrom generation to generation, explanatory in nature. it refers partially to something of collective importance. ● early on they were told orally but they can also be narrated, sung, painted, danced, etc. The various versions particular to each group were imagined to be true amongst the group that believed their own story. MYTHS MAY EXPLAIN: ● THE SUPERNATURAL ● NATURAL PHENOMENA (NATURE MYTHS) ● ORIGINS OF FACTS, OBJECTS/PLANTS/STARS (ETIOLOGICAL MYTHS) etiological - creation of facts ● RITUALS (why certain animals are sacrificed to certain gods etc) TYPES OF MYTH: 1. LEGEND OR SAGA ● HUMAN PAST, IMAGINARY OR NOT (TROJAN WAR) ● CHARACTERS USUALLY AREN'T DEMOCRATIC, THEY ARE USUALLY ARISTOCRATIC IN ORIGINS ● HEROES & HEROINES (MOST HAVE SUPERHUMAN QUALITIES — NOT FLY OR SEE THROUGH THINGS, BUT MOST HONOURABLE OR MOST BRAVE OR FASTEST, ETC) ● USUALLY TOLD IN LONG PROSE NARRATIVE ● USUALLY HAVE ROOTS IN HISTORICAL FACT ● EXAMPLES: hercules, troy 2. FOLKTALE ● GENERIC IN NATURE, TALES OF ADVENTURE ● TOLD FOR PURE ENTERTAINMENT ● INTERWOVEN IN A MYTH ● INCLUDES FAIRYTALES AND FABLES ● FABLES: LESSONS. USUALLY HAVE ANIMALS OR INANIMATE OBJECTS AS CHARACTERS. IE MIGHTY DUCKS 1 2 3 JK MEANING OF MYTH PHILOSOPHERS CRITICIZED MYTHS ● XENOPHANES, ONE OF THE FIRST TO CRITICISE HIS MYTHS. HE NOTICED THAT EVERY CULTURE HAS DIFFERENING IDEAS AND DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SAME MYTHS. ● PLATO, THESE MYTHS ARE JUST STORIES. TO PROVE A POINT, HE MADE TWO OF HIS OWN: THE MYTH OF ER AND THE MYTH OF ATLANTIS. DID THIS AS A LESSON TO HIS FELLOW GREEKS. MYTHS CONTAIN ALLEGORIES ● ALLEGORY - DETAILS OF STORY ARE SYMBOLS OF UNIVERSAL TRUTHS THAT ARE SHARED BY EVERY CULTURE. ● THE ATTEMPT WAS TO BREAK DOWN ALL THESE MYTHS AND FIND THE ORIGINAL SYMBOLS ● FIRST ALLEGORY WAS PHYSICAL ALLEGORY ● THEAGENES 6C WAS FIRST TO IMPOSE A PHYSICAL ALLEGORY INTERPRETATION: MYTHICAL BATTLES REPRESENTED CONFLICTS AMONG NATURAL FORCES. EVENTUALLY THESE FORCES TAKE ON CHARACTERISTICS AND GODS ARE ATTRIBUTED TO THEM: FIRE - APOLLO, WATER - POSEIDON ● GREEK STOICS (4C) USED PHYS. ALLEGORIES TO EXPLAIN MYTHS. ET. GOD CRONUS = CHRONOS (TIME). CRONUS RULE WAS LIMITED, LIKE CRONUS, TIME IS LIMITED. ● PROBLEMS - THESE ALLEGORIES COULDN'T ALWAYS APPLY OUTSIDE GREECE SINCE CERTAIN GODS DIDN'T ORIGINATE ALWAYS IN GREEK CULTURE, THEY HAD THESE GODS PASSED ONTO THEM ORALLY WHERE THEY CAME TO MEAN DIFFERENT THING. OTHER ALLEGORIES HISTORICAL ALLEGORY ● EUHEMERUS 3C BELIEVED THAT THESE MYTHS, IF BROKEN DOWN, WERE HISTORICAL TRUTHS. THESE MYTHS CAPTURED EARLY HISTORY. THE GODS WERE ALL ONCE HUMAN KINGS AND SUCH. THIS IS CALLED EUHEMERISM MORAL ALLEGORY ● ADVICE ON GOOD AND BAD BEHAVIOUR ● TRUTHS ABOUT HIGHER DOMAIN ● ATHENA - WISDOM ; APHRODITE - DESIRE, read the myths as these morals at work and learn what to do and what not to do. MEDIEVAL & RENAISSANCE THEORIES ● EXPLAINED AWAY MYTHOLOGIES AS SILLY OLD PAGAN WAYS WHO DIDN'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING ● BUT IN THE 1700'S THIS STARTED TO CHANGE ENLIGHTENMENT THEORIES 18C ● FONTENELLE: MYTHS DIDN'T EXPLAIN THE ENVIRONMENT WELL BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY TRIED TO DO: MYTH WAS A PRODUCT OF ERROR FOR THESE UNENLIGHTENED PEOPLE ● VICO: CAME UP WITH 3 GREAT CYCLES OR AGES OF MAN: 1. AGE OF GODS - activity was limited to physical struggle for survival 2. AGE OF HEROES - social institutions begin to emerge, the great heroes and legends are finally born 3. AGE OF MAN - the age of reason in which Philosophy comes and helps to explain things. ROMANTIC THEORIES 19C ● CREUZER 19C BREAK DOWN MYTHS AND YOU WILL FIND SYMBOLS THAT STAND FOR UNIVERSAL TRUTHS ● PROPP 19C FOLLOWED IN HIS TRAD AND SAID MYTHS ARE LINEAR AND FIXED. HE LOOKED AT 100 RUSSIAN FOLK TALES AND FOUND 31 SEQUENTIAL EVENTS THAT HAPPEN IN EVERY SINGLE FOLK TALE. YOU DIDN'T NEED ALL 31, YOU COULD TAKE SOME OUT BUT THE COMPONENTS THAT WOULD BE THERE WOULD STILL BE IN THE SAME ORDER. ONLY REALLY WORKS WITH RUSSIAN FOLK TALES ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORIES ● TYLOR BELIEVED EVERYTHING HAD A SOUL AND MYTHS WERE CREATED AROUND EVERYTHIGN TO GIVE THEM FUNCTIONS AND ACTIONS ● FRAZER LINKED ALL MYTHS TO SOME SORT OF RITUAL MANIFESTATION. BUT NOT ALL MYTHS ARE LINKED TO RITUAL, HAHA! ● MALINOWSKI ARGUED THAT MYTHS EXPLAIN THINGS THE WAY THEY ARE IN THE PRESENT DAY IN WHICH THEY OPERATE, JUSTIFYING SOCIAL STRUCTURES AND CUSTOMS AND CULTURE AND SUCH. MYTHS CHANGE TO REFLECT THE WAY THINGS ARE. LINGUISTIC THEORIES ● MULLER ARGUED FOR A THEME OF LIGHT VS DARKNESS. THE ORIGINAL MEANIGN OF LANGUAGE WAS MISUNDERSTOOD AND MISINTERPRETTED. THIS IS WHY THE VERSIONS CHANGED. HIS THEORY IS CALLED SOLAR MYTHOLOGY. PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES ● FREUD AND JUNG RELATED MYTHOLOGY TO DREAM. FREUD EMPHASIZED SEXUALITY (ESP. INFANTILE SEXUALITY). WE DON'T UNDERSTAND OUR DREAMS SO WE CREATE A MYTHOLOGY TO EXPLAIN OUR DREAMS AND THOUGHTS AND MAKE OUR EXISTENCE MORE TOLERABLE IN THE REAL WORLD. PHALLIC SYMBOLS. HERACLES REPRESENTING MANLINESS ETC. OEDIPUS COMPLEX. OEDEPUS & THE SPHINX after he kills his father and before he marries his mother. STRUCTUALIST THEORIES ● LEVI-STRAUSS SAW MYTH AS A MODE OF COMMUNICATION. LIKE MUSIC, THE SOUNDS MAKE SENSE ONLY AS A STRUCTURE. THE SYMBOLS, WHEN PUT TOGETHER, MEAN SOMETHING. ANALYZE AND BREAK DOWN MYTHS AND FIND THE ORIGINAL SYMBOLS. NO ONE VERSION OF THE MYTH IS THE TRUE VERSION. MYTHS ARE CONSTANTLY CHANGING. IT IS A LIVING ORGANISM. THE MEANING IS INDEPENDENT OF ANY PARTICULAR VERSION. HE SAW THE MIND AS BINARY AND WORKING IN OPPOSITES, IT WAS THE FUNCTION OF MYTH TO RES
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