CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Counterpoint, Brainstorming, Theogony

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CLA160: Lecture 2
Reading#2: Hesiod’s Theogony
Brainstorming…
The Gods and Greek religion
- Theogony: ‘’ birth of Gods’
- Theos(gods)+gonê( birth)
- The Gods can be spiteful (sons& fathers) & violent.
- Incest (Zeus and Hera for example).
- Even the Gods are bound by destiny.
- They’re beautiful and appreciate beauty.
- Strong relationship with their worshippers (intercede directly).
- The Gods values and social hierarchy reflect human society.
- Immortality is almost conditional contrary to Modern views.
- There is a huge diversity (God of outrageousness, good gods, bad ones, fun ones, quiet
ones etc.).
Anthropomorphic Gods…
A culture reflected by its Gods
- By looking at their Gods, we hope to learn more about Greek& Roman culture. Their
Gods are anthropomorphic, i.e. they have the shape of a human, as well as human
emotions, psychology, mindset etc. Other examples of anthropomorphism: violence,
competition, love, sexuality; they can be fooled and pissed off.
- Anthropôs(human)+morphê( shape)
- The question is, would you like a God like us, accessible, or infinitely better and
inaccessible?
- The essential difference is their power.
- How do you recognize a God? By his/her gleaming neck.
- Other difference: mortality. Mortals are thanatoi, Gods are athanatoi. Thanatos= death,
death-like and a= not.
- The myth of Arachne, who tried to compete with Athena (The God of crafts). Athena
turned her into a spider for trying to compete with her.
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Document Summary

The gods can be spiteful (sons& fathers) & violent. Even the gods are bound by destiny. Strong relationship with their worshippers (intercede directly). The gods values and social hierarchy reflect human society. Immortality is almost conditional contrary to modern views. There is a huge diversity (god of outrageousness, good gods, bad ones, fun ones, quiet ones etc. By looking at their gods, we hope to learn more about greek& roman culture. Gods are anthropomorphic, i. e. they have the shape of a human, as well as human emotions, psychology, mindset etc. Other examples of anthropomorphism: violence, competition, love, sexuality; they can be fooled and pissed off. The myth of arachne, who tried to compete with athena (the god of crafts). Athena turned her into a spider for trying to compete with her. The gods can get attached to human beings and have to watch them die. Sarpedon: zeus let his son die because he was a mortal.

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