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Lecture 3

Clas 201: Lecture 3 Notes

6 Pages
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Department
Classical Studies
Course Code
CLAS 201
Professor
Nicholas Maes

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Epic cycle – series of myths/legends that involve the Trojan war Must have the concrete spoils to prove you have earned klaos (then people will remember you) Achilles is killed by Paris; then leads to the next poem (little iliad) -theme of brute strength vs. cunning (which one prevails?) -achilles is unyielding (brute strength); Odysseus is cunning (use trickery, etc.) -odysseus defeats ajax (cunning is better than brute strength) Nostoi = means homecoming -tells story of heroes that make their way home -includes odyssey -takes odysseus 10 years in war (away from home) and another 10 years to return home Everyone thinks odysseus is dead (since he’s been away for 20 years) -he’s lost all his fleets of ships -he comes home alone and is disguised as a begger -Athena is fond of odysseus (she is also a trickster) -there are tons of suitors that want to be with Penelope (Odysseus’ wife) -Telemachus (odysseus’ son) is overwhelmed when all these suitors are acting the way they are Odysseus is very human (much more human than Achilles); he is just an “average joe” There is approx. 500 years separating homer from the events he writes about (how did he compose these poems to begin with?) Milman Parry Homer was aoidos -Dactylic hexameter is used to write epic poetry -he learned about the story lines, mythological information, and learning things called Formulae Mycenaean culture collapses -greece was wrought with earthquakes at the time -soil erosion (land was not able to sustain the same number of people) -invasion (Dorian invasion) -enemy is the Dorians: they are related to Mycenaeans (stayed in the North) -when Dorians moved in to the south (where Mycenaeans are) -Mycenaeans fleed to Ionia (Turkey) when Dorians invaded their land; later called Ionians -Greeks are divided into Dorians and Ionians -Dorians: very rigid, harsh, militaristic -Ionians: flexible, experimental, luxury loving -after Dorians move in, population of Mycenaeans decrease, a lot of the culture is lost -during the Dorians invasion, it is considered the “Dark Age” of Greece Dark Age = time of total misery -Hesiod describes his view of history -first, there was the golden race; it disappeared and was replaced by the silver race (not as good as golden, but still good); then replaced by the bronze race; then the race of heroes (Achilles, Hector, etc.); then iron race -he is so pessimistic b/c he lives in such dirt-poor circumstances -food is not a problem in the iliad (surviving on the battlefield is); here, during the Dorian invasion, the world is so much poorer and putting food on the table is a struggle -Hesiod is writing about the concerns of the day -Hesiod (world of the peasant); Homer (heroes, etc.) -Hesiod writes the Theogony -how the universe came to be, how the gods came to be, etc. -when he’s describing the Greek gods, he is doing his best to describe the creation of the universe -world starts in chaos (more of a “gap” than “disorder”) -from chaos came Gaia (earth), Erabus (darkness that surrounds Tartarus), Night (darkness that enshrouds the surface of the earth), Tartarus (deep within the earth?), and eros (sex) -no idea what these gods looks like (unlike Zeus, Aphrodite, Hera, etc.) -eros must be created and must exist for gods to come together and reproduce -romans see eros as cupid -Gaia produces Ouranos (sky) -titans get close to human form -Hekatoncheires and Cyclops are thrown into Tartarus by Ouranos -Cronos grabs his dad’s (Ouranos) testicles and cuts them off and throws them -Cronos now rules the universe with his wife Rhea (now that Ouranos is no more) -Cronos gives rise to gods (Olympians): Zeus, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, Hades, and Demeter -will have 12 olympians overall (6 older ones above, and 6 younger ones) -Greeks see the universe evolving; there is no one god in heaven that controls everything -this is a polytheistic religion (the gods now have taken over earlier, imperfect generations) -there is a clear evolution to primitive to sophisticated (older gods ruled just how they wanted; the later gods ruled by law) -Zeus had to overthrow Cronus, just as Cronus overthrew Ouranos -each aspect of the word has a god responsible for it (ex. trees, violence, fire, love, etc.) -the whole world is subject to different deities that are “pulling the strings” -there isn’t any real myth of creation of man in Greek creation (they are incidental/insignificant to some deg
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