CLA204H1 Lecture Notes - Hieros Gamos, Eileithyia, Ephebos

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5 Feb 2013

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CLA204H1 Lecture 04 Zeus and the Twelve Olympians
Monday, January 14, 2013
Today’s lecture:
1) Pandora’s jar continued
2) The myth of the five races and the myth of the flood
3) Zeus and the Pantheon (12 Olympians)
3.1 Hestia
3.2 Hera (and her children with Zeus: Eileithyia, Hebe, Hephaestus and Ares)
Pandora’s jar
Pandora brings from Zeus a deceiving jar (pithos). Epimetheus, Prometheus’ and Atlas’ brother, marries
her. Pandora opens the jar and all the evils come out, except for hope (elpis) which remains with
Pandora is the first parthenos (virgin/maiden), in the process of becoming a gyne (woman/wife) right after
Epimetheus “marries” her. In this sense the myth is an etiological account of marriage as social institution.
- Pandora = given gifts by all of the gods/goddesses; she = the gift to Epimetheus (Titan) for
- Pandora:
o Mostly connected to gift given to her: the jar
o Connected to social dowry
Dowry of bride, in Greek tradition: cups, jewellery, clothes (anything meant for
the bride to keep)
o Hope (elpis) stayed in jar with Pandora
Can be understood as a blessing
About Hope
Aeschylus, Prometheus bound, 248-252:
“Prometheus: I stopped mortals from foreseeing their fate.
Chorus: What sort of remedy did you find for this plague?
Prometheus: I planted in them blind hopes.
Chorus: This was a great advantage that you gave mortals.
Prometheus: And besides I gave them fire.”
- Describes pains of Prometheus before his liberation thanks to Hercules
- Prometheus gives humans hope with fire
o Also gave them “blind hopes”
- In Hesiod’s account, Zeus exchanges human’s hope with fire (?)
o Zeus gives hope to humans because Prometheus gave them fire
Fire related to male erotic; imagery = fennel stalk (wherein Prometheus hid the
fire in before giving it to the humans)
- Elpis fem. word in Greek
Theognis (6th c. BC lyric poet)
“Hope is the only good god who remains among mortals; all the others left to Olympus.” (1.1135 ff.)
- All good fortunes went to Olympus
- Hope went to humans
The creation of Pandora. White-ground cup, ca. 460 BC. British Museum, London
- Hephaestus + Athena create Pandora
o Connection between Athena + Pandora = strong
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The model of the Athenian Acropolis from ROM, Toronto; the Parthenon,
the Erechtheion, the Propylaea (front gates), the temple of Athena Nike
o Connected to parthenos (place of virgin)
o Largest place of worship for Athena
Model of the interior of the Parthenon with statue of the Athena Parthenos.
ROM, Toronto
Athena holds in one hand Victory (smaller goddess)
Depiction of Pandora’s myth = on the base/pediment of the statue
The creation of Pandora. Base of Hellenistic Athena Parthenos from
Pergamum. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Base depicts story of Pandora
o Athena = one of the most worshipped goddess
Athena, a virgin, creates the 1st virgin + = intrinsically connected to Pandora
Aphrodite isn’t a virgin, but does disguise herself as one to seduce, for example,
Anchises (Aeneas’ father); she = opposed by the virgin goddesses
The Myth of the Five Races
In Hesiod, Words and Days: gold, silver, bronze, heroes, iron
Ovid (Metamorphoses) only mentions four of them (he omits the heroes)
The constant degradation of human race
- Iron age = most degraded
- Motif in other religions + anthologies
- Motif for human progress (maybe?)
The myth of the flood
In Ovid, Metamorphoses
- Not mentioned by Hesiod
Zeus comes to earth disguised as mortal, encounters Lycaon (lack of piety + human sacrifice)
Deucalion (son of Prometheus) and Pyrrha (daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora) survive
The Titaness Themis advises them: “toss the bones of your mother behind your back”
One of the sons was Hellen, the eponymous ancestor of Hellas and its people, the Hellenes
- Parallel myths to other Near-Eastern mythologies
o Resembles myth of Noah (Bible) + Uta-napishtim (The Book of Gilgamesh)
- Zeus comes down to humans, disguised as a mortal, + = horrified by the barbaric behaviour of
the mortals
o Zeus decides to destroy the human race w/ flood
Only survivors: Deucalion (son of Prometheus) + Pyrrha (daughter of Epimetheus
+ Pandora)
- For human reproduction, Deucalion + Pyrrha ask advice from Thetis (Titaness)
o Advice: “toss the bones of your mother behind your back”
o 2nd creation of humanity: stone (when Deucalion + Pyrrha throw stones behind them
- One of the sons = Hellen
o Hellen = eponymous ancestor of Hellas + its people, the Hellenes
Eponymous gives name to entire race
Zeus and the twelve Olympians (the Pantheon)
Cronus and Rhea’s offspring
- Pan-: all; -theon: gods
- Zeus divides power w/ his two brothers:
Both conflict each other
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