Lecture 1-3

9 Pages

Classical Studies
Course Code
Jessica Higgins

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MYTHOLOGY MIDTERM LECTURE NOTES Lecture 1: A Brief Intro to Ancient Greece • Mountainous and dry landscape • Rivers are too narrows to navigate by boat • Major crops grown: wheat, barley • Olive trees and grapes grew abundantly • Goats, sheep, pigs; cows are rare due to lack of pastureland; horses rare and prestigious • Regions - map on p. 19 Powell • Boeotia = "cow land" • Attica = athens is located • Peloponnesus (a peninsula) with several regions - Achaea, Elis, Arcadia, Argolis, Messenia, Laconia Euboea - an island east of the mainland • • Cyclades - "circle islands" around Delos • Bodies of Water • Mediterranean • Natural resources of Greece o Silver in Attica (Laurium) o Iron in Laconia o Clay and limestone in Euboea o Traded overseas with Asia Minor (around modern day Turkey), Italy, southern France, Black Sea area and even North Africa. A Brief History of Greece • Early/Middle Bronze Age - 3000 - 1600 BCE o Centred around island of Crete o Minoans (King Minos) o Palaces - Knossos, Phaistos, Mallia, Zakros o Bulls (symbol of power) and double axe (religious symbol) o Migration of Indo-European ca. 2100 BCE = Middle Bronze Age. o Indo-Europeans are the ones we refer to as the Greeks o 3 categories of people • Kings and priests • Warriors • Food producers (women/men, didn’t hunt and didn't go to war) 3000 BCE - Early/Middle Bronze Age 480 BCE - Classical Period 1 BCE 1 CE/AD 2011 CE/AD - us Late Bronze Age (Mycenaean Age) - 1600 - 1150 BCE • Mycenae on Peloponnesus • Greek speaking Indo-Europeans (1650 BCE) • Thlol tombs • Other centres of power: o Thebes o Orchomenus o Athens o Pylos • 1450 BCE = destruction of Minoan civ. • Linear B --> Michael Ventris • 1400 BCE - Mycenaean palaces (Minoans were gone) • Wanax • Megaron Dark Age - 1500-800 BCE (little archaeological records) • Invasion by Dorian Greeks? • Other Greek populations pushed eastward • Disorganized • Depopulation • Poverty • Some civilizations survives on Euboea Archaic Period - 800 - 480 BCE • Invention of the Greek Alphabet - beginning of Archaic period • Polis system emerges; poleis = plural • Agora - marketplace, centre of polis • Greek colonization (Italy and Sicily and some of Northern Africa) • Homeric epic (Homer, the great epic poet) o Talks about the Bronze age but incorporates the Dark age and the Archaic age) Classical Period - 480-323 BCE • Development of democracy • Demos = people; kratos = power/rule • 490 BCE - Persian invasion; Marathon • 480 BCE - victory of Spartans at Thermopylae • Hellenes/Hellas • Time of great artistic achievement in literature, sculpting, painting, architecture • Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE) - Sparta vs. Athens Hellenistic Period - 323-30 BCE • Begins with the death of Alexander the Great • Alexander's successors - Ptolemy, Seleucus, Antigonus • Various forms of government - monarchies, leagues and city states • Widespread knowledge of Greek throughout East from Greece to India What is Myth? • "a traditional story with collective importance" - Powell p. 2 • Mythos = stories; logos = an account; mythology = the study of myth • Story = plot and narrative structure (beginning, middle , end) • Characters - gods, goddesses, humans, animals • Settings - distant past or time outside of human chronology - for example "In a place faraway, long, long ago…" • Trado = to hand down (Latin) • Collective importance - meaning for group • Description of patterns of behaviour, examples of morals and how people should act, explains the world Types of Myth - Divine Myth, Legend and Folktale Divine Myth (True myth, myth) • Supernatural beings - main characters • Myth vs. religion o Myths are stories o Religion is characterized by believes, rituals • Religion = set of beliefs that motivates a course of action • Etiological - how the world came to be, origin, creation of things (Greek = aition = cause) o Sorta like modern science, but based on explanations that Gods are the cause of many things • God/Goddess often associated with some realm of influence (wind, sea, beauty, love) Legend (saga) • Heroes/heroines and their great deeds • Events of human past • Moralizing • Sorta like history to us (about people of high class and kingdoms, prince and princesses) • To the Greeks these people existed in the past • May or may not be true, but most are based on some truth Folktale • Ordinary people or animals • Purpose is to entertain or teach/justify customary patterns of behaviour • Folktale types - patterns in folktales that are repeated in many cultures ex: Cinderella type; the quest • Folktale motifs - smaller elements which make up folktale motifs • People of Folktales were not real Lecture 2: • Structure of this class 1. "Divine Myth, Legend or Folktale" game 2. Sources of Myth 3. Development of Classical Myth 4. Challenges to Myth 5. Break 6. Classical creation Myth Sources of Myth • Oral tradition - stories passed on by word of mouth Literature - epic poetry, tragedy, hymns • • Archaeological record - painting, sculpture, mosaics, inscriptions, architecture Development of the Classical Myths Myth begins in the primordial past • • Oral composition - Parry and Lord studies o Serbian folk singers, use data to object to Greek oral tradition • Mesopotamian influence on Greek culture o Mesopotamia - mesos = middle; potamos = river • • Study of oral culture of how myths was transmitted and evolved The Beginnings of Greek Myth • Catal Huyuk Venus statues • • Cycladic goddess figurines • Cultural comparisons • Found lots of statues or figurines with enlarged sexual organs • Shows fertility Historic period = After writing came along Pre-historic period = Before writing came along in the civilization ^ Different for different civilizations Fertility was very important due to infant mortality rates, health of women, so venus statues would be put in households to help. Indo-European worships sky god because Zeus - light, brightness The Influences of Near Eastern Myth • Cuneiform - wedge-shaped writing found in inscriptions form the Near East • George Smith o Deciphered the tablet that talked about the flood • Noah/Pyrrha and Deucalion • Enuma Elish o Christian creation story borrowed from this Greek Myth in the Archaic Period • Homer - Illiad and Odyssey = earliest Greek literature and mythical accounts (8th/7th C BC) • Homeric Question o Did Homer exist? o He might be fictional o Due to the strong oral traditions of the stories • Aoiodoi (Composed poems, singer or poet) and rhapsodes (Not the actual composers of the poems just went around singing) • Epic - "epos" = song • Hesiod - Theogony and Works and Days o 2 long poems, written in the ___________ if its not written in the __________ its not a epic song/poem • Homeric Hymns - ca.7th-6th C BCE o Not by Homer, attributed to Homer instead o By followers of Homer in the same style as Homer o Orally composed o
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