CLA204 Lecture 9 Notes

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23 Apr 2012
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CLA204 Lecture 9 Notes
The Trojan War
- site of Troy (Hissarlik) ancient stronghold in Northwest Asia Minor
- excavated mound in Hissarlik in 1870-1890 accumulation of debris more excavation in
1893-1894 layers representing different areas of occupation
- layers 46 different layers, 10 major layers
layers 1-5 early bronze age
layers 6 middle late bronze age
- Troy I
seat of ruler, fortified stronghold
lasted
- Troy II
shows marked advance in grandeur and importance
- Troy V
very wealthy, gold jewelry
gold, copper, bronze
- Troy VI
the horse, great builders
three successive fortification walls war
at least four grand gateways, two of which were surrounded by massive towers
Temple of Athena
large freestanding houses
outside of acropolis
demolished by earthquake around 1300 BCE
- Troy VII
rebuilt the same modest settlement
ruined by fire around 1250 BCE violence may have accompanied the disaster
Troy VIIA in 13th c. BCE Mycenaean Greece
Troy VIIB Troy in broader Greek myth
- Troy VIIB
leadership, power, wealth
flourished at this time
archaeological discoveries historical truth behind Greek myth
Causes of Trojan War
Thetis
- fated to bear a son mightier than his father
- disclosed by Themis Prometheus told Zeus
- gave her to the most deserving mortal, Peleus
Peleus
- son of Aeacus, king of Aegina
- Peleus ‘man of Pelion’ – transfer to folktale motif kills and goes into exile
- mother Endeis
- brothers Telamon, Phocus
- said to have killed his half-brother Phocus with Telamon
- went to Phthia
- by Eurytion marries Antigone
- accidental murder of kin Eurytion father in law
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- went to Iolcus, purified by Pelias, took part in funeral games wrestled with Atalanta
(Atalanta won)
- wife of Acastus Astydameia
- Astydameia falls in love with Peleus he resists
- angered Astydameia tells Antigone that Peleus is going to marry her daughter Sterope
Antigone hangs herself
- tells her husband that Peleus raped her so Acastus takes Peleus hunting on Mt. Pelion and
leaves him to be killed by centaurs hides his sword while he is sleeping
- centaur Chiron brings Peleus his sword
- Peleus goes to kill Astydameia rewarded by gods with wife Thetis
- Potiphar’s wife motif – Bellerophon and Proteus’ wife Stheneboia, Hippolytus and his father
Theseus’ wife Phaedra
- to marry Thetis, Peleus must wrestle her and win Thetis is immortal took animal and
elemental shapes/forms during wrestling match
snake
lion
fire
- he succeeds hangs on tight to her victorious in the end masters/’tames’ her for
marriage
- wedding all the gods are invited except Eris/Discord
- in epic cycle hear Zeus deciding to relieve earth of many mortals and begins Trojan war
allows Eris to crash the wedding
- Eris comes to door, throws in apple inscribed “for the fairest”, or says that the fairest
must pick it up Apple of Discord
- claim to the apple made by Hera, Athena, Aphrodite
- Hermes leads them to Paris who is chosen to decide which is the fairest
- choice influenced by what each goddess offered
Hera royal power
Athena prowess in war
Aphrodite most beautiful woman
- hero must choose between prizes motif judgment of Paris
- choses Aphrodite gives him Helen
- problem Helen is already married
Helen
- daughter of Zeus and Leda (mother of the Dioscuri)
- sister Clyemnestra (by Tyndareus and Leda)
- always the daughter of Zeus, but not always the daughter of Leda sometimes of Nemesis
“retribution” – laid an egg which Leda then took care of (incubates)
- Euripides 3rd c. BCE Spartan myth earliest story of hatching from an egg
- remanants of egg are supposedly in Sparta
- thought to be a “faded” goddess whose divinity was forgotten over time – turned into a
human in myth reference to the egg suggests a pre-Greek Minoan divinity
- ancient pre-Greek goddess vegetation, fertility
- bird shape of Minoan gods Helen hatches from an egg
- possibly pre-Greek goddess from Laconia
Homeric Helen
- Menelaus, king of Sparta does not die, ends up in Elysium because he is married to Helen
- Helen is carried off as a child by Theseus stories fit a goddess of vegetation think of
Persephone
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- later carried off to Troy by Paris treated as a legitimate wife of Paris
- throughout the epic - embarrassed sides with the Greeks most of the time, but is
sometimes pro-Troy
- in classical literature the seduction of Helen and their secret departure is also a trigger of
the Greek war
- many reasons for war Helen was wooed by all the heroes/great chieftains of Greece and
they all swore to protect her rights by her husband before her husband was chosen
- before the end of the war Helen marries second son of Priam Deïphobos
- Menelaus originally wants to kill her but takes her back
- story of Helen the phantom in Euripides’ Helen Paris did not take her to Troy at all, only an
idol that could speak and move the real Helen spent the entire Trojan war in Egypt
unbeknownst to everyone
- sons of Atreus Menelaus and Agamemnon
Paris
- in classical myth has two names Homer normally calls him Alexandros/Alexander
- son of Priam and Hecuba
- exposed as an infant
- not brought up in the Trojan royal palace
- in Euripides’ Alexandros Hecuba has a dream before giving birth
- dreamt that she had given birth to a firebrand folktale motif
- interpretation of the dream the child will bring about the destruction of Troy
- he is given to a shepherd to expose and athletic games are held in his memory
- brought up by herdsmen and eventually competes in the games held in his memory
- brother Daïphobos is angry that Paris beat them wants Hecuba to kill him
- sister Cassandra/Alexandra recognizes him as the exposed child fortels destruction
- nothing Cassandra says is believed said to be a curse by Apollo because she refused him
after he gave her foresight as a gift in exchange for sleeping with her
- Paris is recognized as an heir/prince welcomed
- Philoctetes’ Little Iliad Paris is killed at Troy
- early stage of myth Paris is a principle warrior on the Trojan side
- in Homer’s version this is not the case – although effective on the battlefield, is considered
to be inferior to his brother Hector charmer
- brother Hector is the principal warrior on the Trojan side
- seen as a pretty boy his weapon is a bow guided by Apollo he is the cause of death of
Achilles bow is not seen as a heroic weapon fights from the sidelines, not in the midst of
battle not a true warrior
- defeated in a duel by Menelaus and is rescued by Aphrodite in the 3rd book of the Illiad
- defeat of Paris by Menelaus prevented from killing him
- other version Athena harms Menelaus by Pandarus does not want the war to end
Menelaus
- inferior to Agamemnon
- holds himself back in battle to prevent from diminishing Agamemnon’s leadership
- mythographers Menelaus met Paris at Delphi, oracle had warned him but they had not
understood
- in Crete he is warned by Iris when Helen is taken to Troy tells of this in Cypria, and of his
reunion with Helen after the sack of Troy
- phantom, ‘eidolon’ – Menelaus goes to Egypt with the phantom Helen and encounters the
real Helen visited Theoclymenus, son of Proteus taken refuge in tomb, as she was being
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