LECTURE 4 - THE MYTHOLOGICAL WORLD
The mythological represents the world of the Greeks at a more primitive stage before they settle
down into polis, were urbanized, and accepted the Rule of Law.
Things we see often in Greek mythology are representative of this world: Cattle wrestling (stealing),
coastal raiding, bridal theft, blood feuds (two families fighting each other).
The Greeks once perceived the world as flat and the heavens as great dome above -- despite the
fact that in 3 c BC that the Greek figured out the world was spherical.
There are rules to the mythological world. Geographically, new places could be added to the earth
(e.g. the Underworld)
The Olympians are immortal and have great knowledge, but they can be wounded and are
not all knowing. Gods can see the future, possess knowledge of the human world and the
divine world, and they lead care-free lives on Mt. Olympus.
Humans on earth are weak and frail, have limited knowledge of the human and no
knowledge of the divine realm.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF MYTH
The mythological world incorpated 5 realms from top to bottoms: Sky (gods), Earth (humans), Hades
(dead), Tartaros (imprisoned monsters and the extremely wicked), Elysion (a paradise for mortals
once they have died).
The Sky is always bright. Hades is in perpetual darkness. Only the earth has a combination of both.
If you fell from the Sky, you would fall for 10 days and then hit the Earth (same from Earth to Hades).
However from Hades to Tartaros you fall for a year.
The Earth consists of 3 great land masses: Europe, Asia, Libya. Anything else does not exist (e.g.
China). The Mediterranean is in between all 3, the Black Sea separates Europe from Asia, the Nile
River separate Asia from Africa. Okeanos is a body of water that surrounds the earthv (it is both
water and a god). He had 6000 children: 3000 sons and daughters, who were the springs, rivers,
lakes. All bodies of water would lead back to Okeanos. Delphi is the centre of the world.
You set out in any direction and you will encounter great wilderness, where