CLA204H1 Lecture Notes - Seashell, Cinyras, Myrrh

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CLA204H1 Lecture 09 Aphrodite (Roman Venus)
Friday, January 25, 2013
- NB Athena:
o Main goddess of Athenians
o Opposes Aphrodite, Ares + Poseidon
They come to Greece from foreign lands
Athena transforms some powers of those gods + goddess
Ex: Ares, god of war; Athena, goddess of strategy
- Aphrodite:
o Eastern goddess
o Similar to important goddess in Babylonian + Assyrian traditions
Overlapping of Greek perception + religions
Aphrodite’s Birth
Theogony 156-206
“As for the genitals, slashed away by the sickle of steel,
Their impetus carried them out from shore to the tide of the sea.
For years the waters swirled them about, as white foam kept oozing
From out the immortal flesh. Within it there grew up a maiden
Who drifted first to holy Cythera, then on to Cyprus.”
- Places of worship: Cyther + Cyprus (farther east)
- Theogony reflects important places of worship for goddess
- Birth: out of sea shell
- Presence of Eros (sometimes represented as her son) +
Hermes
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- Depiction of Aphrodite’s birth
- One of the Horae (season) / one of the Graces
o Woman on shore, waiting to clothe Aphrodite
- Depiction of winds (left side) moving Aphrodite to shore of
Cyprus / Cythera
- Plato (Symposium) distinguishes between Aphrodite Urania (and Eros as principle of cohesion) and
Aphrodite Pandemos (and Eros as the naughty boy with arrows)
o Aphrodite’s division reflects from the creation of Eros
Eros = one of the 1st creatures to show up after Chaos gives birth to deities
Eros = also known as the winged-boy
Dichotomies of Eros + Aphrodite
- Aphrodite Pandemos (“common Aphrodite”) is the daughter of Zeus and Dione
o Dione = fem. of Zeus
- Socrates claims that he learned the true nature of Eros from a woman otherwise unknown, Diotima
o Socrates: met wise woman, Diotima
Diotima taught Socrates Eros’ nature as being ambiguous
Eros = between 2 states of rich + poor
o Eros:
Androgynous
Constant strife to become something else / to improve oneself/become
wise
Need to be ignorant to be willing to become knowledgeable
Drive of satiating feeling of being empty
Freud’s theory of sublimation: need to get rid of/suppress drives
to create cultures by sublimating drives
o Reproduction + culture drives = the same; there = desire
to become more than one is
Appearance and attendants of Aphrodite
- Usually clothed in vase-paintings, particularly early (6th-5th c. BC)
o NB clothing = related to Athens
o Aphrodite = represented as clothed in Greek culture, whereas in Babylonian + Assyrian cultures, she’s
depicted as being naked
- Following Praxiteles’ (4th c. BC) full standing statue Aphrodite of Cnidus (not extant), often represented
nude
o NB important to remember that art has transformed from Archaic to Hellenistic art
- Crown of myrtle leaves, magic girdle, geese, doves, sparrows
o Associated to: birds (dove, geese, etc.), vegetation (myrtle leaves)
o Her magic girdle:
NB story of Zeus being seduced by Hera
In Iliad Hera doesn’t want Zeus to take the side of the Trojans, so she seduces him,
using Aphrodite’s magic girdle, + he forgets war
- Eros, Peitho (Persuasion), Horae (the Seasons) and the three Graces
o Graces (in Greek) clothe Aphrodite to make her more alluring
o Many attendants surrounding Aphrodite
Eros “cupid” in Latin
Eros:
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o 1) Son of Chaos, created asexually after Eros, all creations = created sexually
o 2) Son of Aphrodite
Love = war between genders
Eros represents this conflict
Peitho goddess, “Persuasion”
Horae (seasons) + 3 Graces clothe her
All trying to make her more attractive to attract men
- Her festival is Adonia
o Festival dedicated to her in Athens: Adonia
Related to myth about her lover, Adonis (Semitic name; origin: The Lord)
- Original = not preserved
- @ center: Aphrodite looks like Virgin Mary (intentional)
- Eros blindfolded, throwing arrows
- Graces often dance ( can distinguish them from Horae);
“dance’, “Grace”
o Shows up a lot in description of weddings
- Hermes
- Associate Graces with (vases?), choruses
- NB black-figure technique = older > red-figure technique
- 2 male players:
o 1) plays double flute
o 2) plays lyre
- Iconography of Graces stems from images of women dancing
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