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Lecture 4

CLA204H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Poseidon, Homeric Hymns, Trojan War

Course Code
Lee Sawchuk

of 15
The Olympians
Apollo, Artemis (Leto) Athena (Metis)
Ares (Hera)
Hermes (Maia)
Dionysos (Semele)
o Hephaestos
Hestia (originally an Olympian)
Aphrodite (considered and Olympian as the daughter of Zeus)
Nature of the Gods
o Idealized
o Nagatives:
Passions and anger is stronger, weaknesses
o Omnipotence
Under the influence of Zeus
Even Zeus sometimes appears to be in
conflict with the fates
o Omniscience
Zeus appears to know anything sometimes,
Apollo sometimes appear omniscient only
when speaking through the oracle for Zeus
o Immortal but can be injured
o Polytheistic and Monotheistic
Many gods
BUT dominance of Zeus’s reign
Sometimes rule is threatened and he needs help
Name comes from Di shine or sky
o Juputer Diespiter (Latin)
Deus = god, dies = day
o Conquests in Indo-Europe brought back a belief in a sky
o Eudia fair weather (Greek)
o Germanic Tiu -> where we get Tuesday
o Indic Dyaus Pitar sky god
o Filler names of gods to make syllables fit in poems
o Zeus
Thunderer on high
Hurler of the thunderbolt
Father of gods and men
o Mountain tops (where clouds gather for storms)
Mt. Olympos
Mt. Ida
Mt. Lykaon
o God of Sky
Thunderbolt and lightning
Zeus Kataibates “Zeus Descending”
Irresistible strength
Aegis (protective magic cloak
Loans to Athena often
"Hear me," said he, "gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as I am
minded. Let none of you neither goddess nor god try to cross me, but obey
me every one of you that I may bring this matter to an end. If I see
anyone acting apart and helping either Trojans or Danaans, he shall be
beaten beyond the limits of universal order [kosmos] ere he come back
again to Olympus; or I will hurl him down into dark Tartaros far into the
deepest pit under the earth, where the gates are iron and the floor bronze,
as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth, that you may
learn how much the mightiest I am among you. Try me and find out for
yourselves. Hang me a golden chain from heaven, and lay hold of it all of
you, gods and goddesses together - tug as you will, you will not drag Zeus
the supreme counselor from heaven to earth; but were I to pull at it myself
I should draw you up with earth and sea into the bargain, then would I
bind the chain about some pinnacle of Olympus and leave you all dangling
in the mid firmament. So far am I above all others either of gods or men.“
Iliad bk 8
During Trojan war gods wanted to take
Zeus threatens them because he wants
them to remain neutral in the war and not
help help children, particularly
o God of Justice
Head of family
Zeus Hikesios
Zeus the guardian of supplicants
Protection of those who ask it
Zeus Horkios
Guardian of oaths
Zeus Xenos
Guardian of host and guest
Xenia institutionalized guest-friendship
Reciprocity and generosity
Zeus + (<3) Themis (Law and Order)
Eunomia (lawfulness), Dike (Justice), Eirene
Homeric Hymn 23: “…who holds constant counsel
with Themis…”
o Zeus’s Sluttiness
Uncontrollable sexual appetite
Hesiod: inappropriate but Hesiod spins it to make
it look good because of the reproductive benefits
Immortal children:
Apollo and Artemis (Leto), Hermes (Maia),
Persephone (Demeter), Athena (Metis),
Ares, Hebe, Eileithyia (Hera)
Mortal Children:
Heracles (Alcmene), Perseus (Danae),
Minos, Rhadamanthys, Sarpedon (Europe),
Arcas (Callisto), Epaphos (Io)
Ovid (Metamorphoses)
Zeus falls in love at first sight, he
transforms himself and tries to woo, they
resist, he rapes, Hera finds out and
punishes the women, eventual reconciliation
between Hera and Zeus, reward for woman
o Relationship to Fate
Fates in Theogony
Children of Nyx
Fates are daughters of Zeus and Themis
Zeus has ability to change fate but chooses
not to
“Most dread son of Cronos, what a word hast thou said! A man
that is mortal, doomed long since by fate, art thou minded to
deliver again from dolorous death? Do as thou wilt; but be sure
that we other gods assent not all thereto. And another thing will I
tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart: if thou send Sarpedon living
to his house, bethink thee lest hereafter some other god also be
minded to send his own dear son away from the fierce conflict; for
many there be fighting around the great city of Priam that are
sons of the immortals, and among the gods wilt thou send dread