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Lec 4.pdf

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Daniel Thornton

Lec4 Tuesday,July19, 2011 6:10PM Female Olympians The Role ofThe Female divine (ingeneral)  Humanbeings worshipped a powerful GH’ goddess (30,000BCE)  This is basedon archaeological records as far eastas Serbia.  “MATRIFOCAL” =mother-focusedworship  “MATRIARCHAL” =mother leading worship  possibly these cultures had gender-mutual relations  Primordial entity is GAIA (mother earth) in many cultures there is the importance of the primeval goddess, suchTAIMANT(starts the universe by breaking off portions of herself that become the gods and goddesses)  There mayhave beena time in human history when reproduction wasn’tunderstood fully and therefore  The vegetative myth: a goddess who embodies a piece of or is the mother goddess, mates with a male and the taskis deadly to him. Oftenrituals accompanythis myth where a male would be chosen. Some suggest thatthis is basedon the lunar cycles (but this is speculative) However these theories are found in the work of James Frazer’s “The Golden Bough”  the goddess and consort are there,the consort must literally or ritually die in his studies.  The motif of dying reappears in other myths but is strong in the vegetative myth.  Sumaria hadthe goddess Inanna and her consort was Dumuzi  this myth is an archetype and other myths canbe tracedtoit. Severalmyths are associatedwith these two.  InPrehistoric times it appears thatInanna presided over grain. Dumuzi hada character of date palms (both representedby ‘vegetative things’). According to Frazer the coming of the two was celebratedwhere the King of Sumaria copulated with a priestess of Inanna to enriches/bless crops  Hieros Gamos = mating of gods.  Sometimes the goddess will go to the underworld to try and retrieve the consort. Females inthe GreekWorld  Females are notof greatimportance  The views are incomplete  The myths often raise more questions then answers  There are female figures in Crete,identified as mother-goddess but there is no concrete confirmation of this fact.  Textualevidence from Greek world does not paint the life of the female as a happy one. Generally she is confined to the house, controlled by male counterparts, etc.  Womenare oftenactive in the religious sphere.  Whendealing with the female divine it is important to remember we are not dealing with ‘women’ MinoanCulture  Some elements suggestfemale worship  There are fragments andobjects (linear A) that can’tbe read  Whatis known: Minoan culture was polytheistic and it seems pretty clear that it was a matriarchal society.  The female dominated the religious sphere in Minoan Crete, therefore manyscholars believe that the inhabitants of Crete are not Indo-European  Minoans did not seemto develop a male divinity. Some suggest that the legacy of a feminine divinity canstill be seenpresentday (The Virgin Mary = Theotokos = god bearer)  The female divinity was a mother-goddess which makes the relationship betweenoffspring distinct.  The artistic representation have led to twotheories: 1 = she is one entity or 2 = there are multiple entities  entities  One female entity seems torise above the rest:“POT(Power)NIA Theron=the lady of the beats (she whohas power of animals). She is often depicted as dominating nature (such as twolions at either side of her, where she rests her hands upon). Other depictions show her holding up two snakes,with bare breast(this may be a different goddess, no one is sure). Snake goddess appears at multiple sites throughout Crete (Knossos and Gournia are twoexamples) suggesting both fertility andnature domination  The Snake goddess seems only to appear in private homes (small shrines), leading to question if she is a domestic goddess, with snakes as totems?  Inseveralof these small shrines, there are depictions of birds (dove-like) with human heads  this is similar depiction to the Egyptian ‘Ba” the soul, asking another question if these depictions are “Ba’s”  Whatis known is thatCrete was veryreligious world.  Minoan mythological figure seems to incorporate demonic figures depicted lower then other leading scholars to believe thatthey are lowly/evil  The bull is another character thatis always seenin Minoan. Sometimes the depiction of the bull is with females. Bull leaping was a sport (frescoon walls show depictions of women leaping over the bull). Even on the wall paintings, there seems tobe some reflection of whatcomes in later myths.  The lastfigure in Minoan culture: mythic amalgon (many parts) which seems to be thereoanthropomorphic. She is female figure, but has the hands, feetandtail of a lion.  Scholars are not sure whatthese figures mean(cannot translate Linear A) but there is some ritualistic aspecttoit  There are severalfemale entities representedbut not just maternalentities. The Female Olympians  Mostcharacters are associatedwithfertility and/or domestic life  Greekmyth was told by and for Greek males**  With the exception of a few (Demeter,Athena and Aphrodite) theydon’t do much  Compromised pantheon? Olympian (Sky) VS Chtonian (earth) gods.  Whenthe Indo-Euro’s come along they bring the sky-gods and military technology. The Olympians are imposed on the Chtonian and the Chtonian’s are reducedin status, and the female goddess demises. These challenges lead to the suppression of female goddess and supplanted by male gods.  Marduk(male god) slays Thiamat. His creation is ‘arranged’ rather than born. This is how things develop.  The suppression of the goddess by the male gods wsa seento be a good thing (throughout the majority of the 20 century) and showed development in the culture. Some more modern scholars has questioned this and thought it was not so great.  Apollo supplants himself killing Pytho (Gaia, a mother-earthgoddess transformed into a monster) andclaims Delphi for himself. One way to dealwith the mother goddess is to demonize her and transformher into a monster (either literal or not, such as Pandora andEve)  Females transforming into something ‘not pleasant’  **throughout Greek myth there is the presence of ‘monsterous females’ (Maedea) and‘female monsters” (Pytho,the dragon that was once Gaia)**  the prerogative of the solely female actof birth is also supplanted by the male gods (the origin of Aphrodite for example and Athena). The male is able to produce creations from themselves. Male gods usurping the role of female goddess so the male god takes precedentover the female.  There are severalfemale Greekgoddesses  Demeter  Meter =mother (anindo-euro word)  De maybe (Di) as in Zeus or (Ge) as in earthmother  Demeter is the archetype of the mother, she is not known apartfrom being a mother  Her daughter is Persephone:there are severalsuggestions to Persephone’s paternity (Zeus) or (Poseidon). SeveralLinear B tablets are dedicatedto Poseidon and the 2 Queens (the 2 Queens  (Poseidon). SeveralLinear B tablets are dedicatedto Poseidon and the 2 Queens (the 2 Queens could be Demeter andPersephone)  Persephone alsonamedKore (means ‘girl’).  The storyis thatPersephone is out with her friends in the fields, Hades appears,seizes her and brings her to his realm. Zeus does nothing because itappears to be an arrangedmarriage. Persephone goes into the underworld with Hades. Noone saw the abduction exceptfor Helios (the sun) and Hekate (representative of everything dark and mysterious of the woods, sometimes associatedwith witchcraft,a darkgoddess). Demeter did not see the abduction so she wentballistic, going across the world (Greece) looking for her lost daughter.  Eventually Demeter arrives at Eleusius, sitting ata well weeping  Demeter is the goddess of the harvestandbecause she is depressedthe harvestis poor. She is approached by the daughters of Eleusius who offer the position of nanny to their new infant brother ‘Demophoon’. Because Demeter is brokenheartedshe partakes in human life (human mothers must eventually saygoodbye totheir daughters so Demeter is exhibiting humanity). Demeter decides to make Demophoon immortal which involves the ritual of ‘burning awaythe mortality/humanity’. The mother, Metanaira walks in on Demeter dosing her baby in fire, drops the baby and Demeter through various events reveals her divinity. Instead she teaches the locals agriculture. Eventually Demeter finds out from Helios where Persephone has gone. Zeus strikes a bargin with Demeter that Persephone will spilt her time betweenHades andDemeter  Anetiological myth that explains the seasons  One of the few gods thatcanemphasize with humanity Hestia  Goddess of the hearth(where the fire burns, the hearth of the home) The goddess of the house  She doesn’tdo much but tend the hearth  One of the first generation goddess  Consideredto be a ‘spinster’ like character  She is both the ‘oldest and youngest’ Olympian  First born of Rhea and Cronos  Whenonce made a ritual offering it began with Hestia  Hestia prote (Hestia first)  She has a very important role in the religious sphere but no role in myth  BothApollo andPoseidon pursued her but she retained her virginity  Hestia is given honour instead of marriage Hera  The protector of married women and family  Wife of Zeus  Archetype of the union of marriage (despite the disaster of her own marriage)  While associatedwith marriage and the product of marriage she is not the obvious ‘mother’ figure, nomother connotations with her.  Acts as more of persecuting Step-Mother. She makes like hell for the children of Zeus who are not hers. Whenshe is not doing this she produces monsters  Typhoesus  some stories suggestthat he was producedby Hera tochallenge Zeus. Hera gave Typhoeus to Gaia to raise.  Easier tohate someone/something when you demonize it**  Inmyth, you are meantto detestHera  Samos  oldest temple in Greek world (The Herion) dedicated to Hera. Soin religion she is very important  Her transformation in myth is another wayof supplanting the goddess  Hera =hora (hour) = she is in the hour of marriage, the age of producing offspring  Epithets: Argos, Samos andmost importantly Hera Boopis (cow-eyed)  this perhaps points to thera-po-morphic and may have been a cow goddess. Hera alsois associatedwith the Egyptian
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