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CLA232H1 Lecture Notes - Haruspex, Know Thyself, Tiresias

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Victoria Wohl

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Greek- Lecture 4
o Prometheus (sacrifice, fire, woman); Zeus just came to power and
Prometheus challenges him. Prometheus is a civilization hero (giving writing,
medicine, and mining, etc for their civilization). Prometheus plays a trick to
see what Zeus can do for the ppl. Prom kills the cow, taking ll the good pieces,
then he wraps it in the stomach, then the bad parts he wraps in the fat. Prom
ask Zeus what he wants; Zeus takes the bad wrapped in the fat
o This is aetiologically; Greeks always gave sacrifices to the Gods
o Zeus is angry at this trick so he hides fire from the mortals; Prom steals it
back, Zeus is again angry
o So Zeus punishes civilization by giving them WOMEN aka Pandora
o She is the for all men’s suffering
o This tells us of our origin, and these elements define mankind (sacrifice, fire
and woman)
o Shows our relation to the gods (smoke from the burning sacrifice)
o Always have to work for fire; tend for the fires (like our lives)
o Our human condition is defined by woman; we must pro-create
o Hesiod, suggests that Zeus knows when he is being tricked
o Epidmetheus is told by Prmoethus not to take any gifts from Zeus (but he
does, Pandora)
o Prom; means thinking ahead, Epimetheus is “after thought”
o Oedipus the king; mortals are ignorant about: their fate, parentage, didn’t
know about the truth about the murder, and the origin of the plague, doesn’t
know who is cheating him, unknown past, present or future
o How do humans try to learn the answers; ask the Gods, ask an oracle,
o Prophecy Teiresias, Seer; not defined by a relationship to Gods but by
technical ability; can see signs, omens and metergolocial things (eclipses,
storms), or dreams
o MOST interpreting sign; birds!
o They look at the part of the sky, direction, types, formations; would tell you a
sign for the future
o Another popular form; is hepatoscopy; examining the living and entrails; and
the seers would tell you what they “say” or whether the sacrifice will be
o Oracles Delphi and Pythia
o Delphi was the most important one; come to consult Apollo at Delphi; the
“navel of the world”
o You could go as an individual (“should I do this?”); cities could also send an
ambassador to see Delphi (“should we overt throw the democracy?”)
o Pythia; Gods would speak through her and the priests would write it down
o Was their a toxic fume that would help her to speak?
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