CLA204 Lecture 7 Notes

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18 Mar 2012

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CLA204 Lecture 7 Notes
Greek Heroes II – Meleager, Orpheus, Athens and Theseus
Mycenaean (Bronze Age) Centres
- Athens – Theseus
- CalydonMeleager – met Herakles in the Underworld
- Crete – Minos
Meleager – Calydonian Boar Hunt
- Meleager/Meleagros
- son of Ares of Oeneus (king of Aetolian Calydon)
- in voyage of the Argonauts
- list of heroes in Argonauts – overlaps with list of those in Calydonian Boar Hunt
- mother – Althea – Oeneus – spurns, forgot to sacrifice goddess Artemis – sends
wild boar as revenge
- Homer – Meleager goes to kill boar
- Curetes and Aetolians – Artemis stirs up strife over the head and hide of the
- leads to violent battle – Meleager fought and Aetolians are winning
- Meleager withdraws from battle – angered at his mother – she curses him for
“the slaying of a brother”
- Aetolians do not want to lose – offer gifts to Meleager – many entreat him to
return to the battlefieldMeleager waits too long to agree – wife tells him to
go backno gifts
- killed by Apollo in epic versions – this is the case with Achilles who also sulks
and refuses to battle
- killed by mother in folktale versions
Magical Token
- Moirai (Fates) – predict his life to be co-extensive with log in the fire – will live
as long as the long survives
- mother – Althea – removes log from the fire and keeps it safe
- after Meleager kills her brothers after the boar hunt – Althea returns log to fire
– Meleager dies, burned from within – Althea ten kills herself
- death of Althea’s brothers
accidentally (Bacchylides, Ode 5)
out of love for Atalanta (Ovid, Apollodorus)
Participants in the Boar Hunt
- Argonauts participating
Dioscuri (Castor & Pollux/Polydeuces)
Idas and Lynceus
Ancaeus (killed by boar)
Peleus & Telamon
- one contemporary hero not in Argo voyage but in boar hunt - Atalanta
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- mythical heroine
- variously reported – Schoeneus/Iasus/Maenalus in various versions
- exposed at birth – found by bear
- exposure – way to kill unwanted infants
- creature of the wild – brought up by hunters
- grown up – virgin – companion of Artemis (parallel to Callisto)
- kills two centaurs – Rhoecus an Hylaeus – try to rape her
- participates in hunt of the boar – but turned away from the voyage of the Argo
by Jason – feared fights over her
- Meleager falls in love with her – erotic conflicts
- first to wound the boar – Meleager kills the boar – presents to Atalanta the
tokens of the kill
- tokens are desired by his uncles – strip Atalanta of her prize – Meleager kills
- in killing uncles – enrages mother – seals his doom
- also participates in another contest – funeral games held in honor of Pelias –
Atalanta wrestles Peleus
- Peleus – wresting match – anticipation of marriage to Thetis
Atalanta and the Foot-Race
- marriage contest
- contestants race against Atalanta – marries the man who defeats her
- defeat – death for the man, marriage for Atalanta – “death” of maidenhood
- defeated by Hipponmenes/Melanion/Hippomedon – defeated by golden apples
– three apples thrown in front of her
- Arcadia – closely related to Atalanta – boasts to have the “racetracks of
- Parthenopaeus – one of the “Seven against Thebes” – name means “maiden-
- Atalanta and her husband – make love in the temple of Cybele – in other
versions in the temple f Zeus – shows impiety and they are turned into lions
- lion is sacred to Cybele
Depictions of Atalanta
- at boar hunt – short garment, animal hide – huntress, beyond civilized norm of
- wrestling Peleus – wears bodice
- foot-race is not represented in classical art
- does not go on Calydonian boar hunt
- in voyage of the Argo – somewhat of an outsider – not involved in quarrels
pacifies, soothes – song more than human power
- could not believe that Orpheus could be involved with violent crew of the Argo
- mark of a Greek hero – happy to kill – martial, warrior values – Orpheus is
- myths of Orpheus – not on battlefields – strikingly different from norm – puzzles
- heroes – Herakles, Perseus, Jason, Meleager, Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon,
- son of Calliope (Muse) and Oeagrus – according to Apollonius of Rhodes
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