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April 6 Lecture

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University of Toronto St. George

CLA204 April 6, 2011 Interpretations of Myth Lecture 11 A. Allegorical Interpretations Attacks against Homer -Heraclitus of Ephesus, Xenophanes of Colophon (6 5 BCE) criticized anthropomorphism of Greek pantheon in Homer -Xenophanes: Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods everything that among men is cause for reproach and blame: thieving, adultery, deceiving one another. -pre-Socratic thinkers had problems with the ways the gods were portrayed in a moderate, civil society Theagenes (525 BCE) -characters, places, actions of myth mean something else -gods are allegories of conflicting natural forces (hot vs cold, dry vs. wet) -ApolloHelios vs. PoseidonScamander = celestial fire vs. water -Artemis = Moon, Hera = Air Heraclitus (The Allegorist) -1 century AD -Homeric problems responded to Pre-Socratic criticisms of Homer -allegory: saying (agoreuein) different things (alla) but meaning something other than what is said -Odyssey BK8: Homer recognizing Empedoclean philosophy in story of AresAphrodite (strifeLove) -Ares and Aphrodite caught in bed, Hephaestus ties chains around them and the other gods laugh at them; shows love is conquering strife, something is being reconciled: brought together; product is Harmonia, harmony; his interpretation -Hephaestus succeeds in trapping a mightier male divinity Alcaeus of Mytilene -I cannot figure out the winds direction. A wave rolls in on this side, then on that. And here we are in the middle, tossed about on our dark ship, hard-pressed by the great storm. The bilge-water is up over the mast-hole; the sail is now all tattered and there are huge holes in it; the anchors are coming loose. describes strife in Mytilene Archilochos of Paros (7 century BCE) -Lord Glaucos! The sea is now troubled, its waves high. Around Cape Gyrai theres a vertical cloud, sign of the storm. Fears gotten to me, and I didnt expect it. expressing fear through an allegorical way -there is ample evidence for using allegorical expression, says Heraclitus th th Herodorus (5 -4 BCE) -allegory of punishment of Prometheus: -Prometheus was king of Scythians, punished by his people because of the river Aetos (eagle) -Heracles diverted the river into the sea and released Prometheus from his chains different interpretation of the tale of Prometheus being punished by Zeus B. Rationalizing Myth: Herodotus (5 century BCE) -prologue of Histories (Inquiries): myth as explanation of east vs. west and how their strife began through snatching -Phoenicians took Io (princess of Argos, stolen by Zeus as a cloud, she turns into a cow, sets horsefly on cow forever until she gives birth), Cretans took Europa from Tyra, Greeks took Medea from Colchis, Paris took Helen from Sparta -myth becomes history Helen in Egypt? -Histories 2: Paris and Helen stranded in Egypt, Helen held by King Proetus, Paris expelled -Trojans deny possession of Helen, Troy besieged, Greeks cant find Helen -Menelaus goes to Egypt, Topic of Palinode (Recantation) of Stesichorus (6 century BCE) -Topic of Euripedes Helen (412BCE)
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