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Lecture 12

CLA201H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Anchises, Odysseus, Potestas

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Jody Cundy

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Week 12 Vergil
Using myth to express what the empire should be, uses Greek myth to talk about Roman
events (new political order)
Julius Caesar becomes a god in the iron age after his death
Appropriation Greek cultural idea technique of writing poetry, history, make sculptures,
architecture imported and appropriated by the Romans. 146 BC mid 2nd century, early
Latin authors are heavily influenced by Greek texts
Roman Myth
- Adaptation of Greek and Etruscan myth
o Roman views
o Historical events and individuals
o Concern with the state Roman ideals what Rome ought to be
- Like much of Roman culture, Roman myth is eclectic
- Located in the present
- Aeneas is not a Roman invention, he is a character from Greek myth.
Transformation of Greek Myths
- Ambiguous, open ended Greek myths become teleological
- Subjugation of the world under Roman gods and law
- Pax Romane a new state of peace, new Golden Age
- Focus on the city and its history
- Patriarchal perspective
- Demythologizing tendency
Historicizing Myth
- Tie myths whenever possible to real names, dates, places and events
- Precisely located in time and explained as realistically as possible
- Didactic function to teach Roman values how to be a good Roman in this new political
- The name O is used to denote the first Roman emperor, Augustus, in the period between
his testamentary adoption by Caesar in 44BCE and his assuming the epithet Augustus in
27 BCE (holy one)
- Battle of Actium 31 BCE
- Establishment of the Principate (Princeps: think prince, “first among equals”)
- Sculptures - No shoes, heroic nudity (nipples on breast plate), trend to make sculptures
lifelike like a god. Cupid lineage from Venus to Aeneas to Iulius to founding of
Rome to Caesar. Manipulating tropes that come from Greek myth
Numen/ Numina
- The nodders, divine spirit, gods inhabiting all of the spaces around them, need their
permission to do things
- Sacrificium
- Contractual agreement do ut des I give. Asking something from the gods and giving
something back (ritual sacrifice) getting what you want. Performing the rituals correctly
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