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Lecture 14

CLA204H1 - Lecture 14 - Dionysus.docx

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA204H1
Professor
Vichi Ciocani
Semester
Winter

Description
1 CLA204H1 – Lecture 14 – Dionysus (Roman Bacchus/Liber) Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - NB – Monday’s class: Hermes (Roman Mercury) o Many depictions of Hermes with beard in particular contexts; some depictions show him without beard  Why? o Deity of artistic creation  Artistic creation uses violence  Seen in creation of panpipes  NB – the Syrinx myth: Syrinx changed herself into reeds to escape Pan’s advances, but Pan cuts up the reeds (Syrinx herself) o NB – Pan also pursues the nymph Echo + (un)willingly destroys her; her voice is the only thing that remains  There’s also another myth about Echo: she loved Narcissus, who loved himself. Narcissus was so consumed with himself that he drowns and dies when trying to look at his reflection in the water (I think there’s also another version that says he stabbed himself)  Act of violence against maidens doesn’t reflect social reality - There’s a correlation between nature + culture o Culture must recognize its roots o Opposition of nature + culture fuse - With different versions of myths, we must be able to extract the important points and figure out how they relate (if they relate at all) - Hermes’ flaw in not being able to overthrow Zeus o He’s in between of everything  the “middle man” (he makes connections between different realms + people) o He creates lyre, but gives it away (to Apollo) - Pan (offspring of Hermes + Dryope (oak tree nymph)) = fertile element of Hermes Dionysus (Roman Bacchus/Liber) - Represents unrestrained male sexuality - “Dio-“ – god - “-nysus”  Nysa – place - “The twice-born” son or the “god of Nysa” (unidentified mountain) - 2 births (born twice in 2 different versions of his birth) o 1) His parents are Zeus and Semele, daughter of Cadmus, the founder of Thebes, which is close to Athens  Athenians also loved Dionysus  Dionysus = a foreign + new god  Most commonly came from India  Cadmus = brother of Europa (NB – Europa captured by Zeus in the form of a bull)  Cadmus had 4 daughters: Semele, Ino (will talk about other 3 later)  Semele is tricked by Hera and burnt to a crisp by Zeus  The baby Dionysus is saved and sewed into Zeus’ thigh  After birth he is taken by Hermes and entrusted to Semele’s sister, Ino, to be raised (as a girl) or the nymphs of Nysa  Semele = tricked by Hera (who = jealous; disguises herself as old woman) into asking Zeus to reveal/show himself in his full form to her (Semele)  Semele (pregnant) = burned to death  Dionysus = saved from her womb by Zeus  Zeus takes + sews him into his thigh b/c Dionysus = still too small to be taken + raised by the nymphs) 2  o Dionysus born 2 nd time from Zeus’ thigh  Double birth of Dionysus: Semele’s womb + Zeus’ thigh  After Dionysus’ birth, Hermes takes him to either Semele’s sister, Ino (where he’s raised as a girl so that Hera wouldn’t find him), or to the nymphs of Nysa  NB – story of Achilles = reminiscent to Dionysus’ upbringing as a girl: Thetis tries to protect Achilles (prophecy says that he’d die in the Trojan War if he partakes in it). She sends him to (this river place – forgot what Prof said) + hides him among the maidens (he dresses up as a woman). But Odysseus finds Achilles + convinces him to join the war. Achilles joins  dies  NB – Dionysus = demigod, whereas both Hermes + Apollo = divine  Dionysus struggles to be accepted among the immortals + to replace Hestia in Olympus o Also: Hera wanted to kill him b/c she doesn’t like demi-gods (explains why she wanted to kill him + not, for example, Hermes who, like many of the other gods/goddesses, has a different mother (not Hera’s son)) o 2) The Orphic version of the birth of Dionysus (aka Zagreus)  Zeus and Persephone conceive Zagreus  Zeus + Persephone (his daughter; mother = Demeter; goddess of the Underworld (husband = Hades))  offspring = Zagreus  The baby Dionysus is being raised by Nymphs and the Curetes  NB – Curetes – “young men”
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