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Lecture 13

CLA204H1 - Lecture 13 - Hermes.docx

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Vichi Ciocani

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1 CLA204 – Lecture 13 – Hermes Monday, February 4, 2013 - Combines different symbols associated with Apollo o Tripod – Chair that Pythia uses to deliver her prophecy o Lyre o Arrows o Wings  Wings = normally associated with Aphrodite, tonic creatures from earth, + Hermes  Can the wings also mean distancing himself from the mortal world?  NB – Apollo = god of distance o Fish?  Dolphins!  Dolphin myth = recorded in Homeric Hymn to Apollo: Apollo changed his form into a dolphin + inadvertently misled ships  Dolphin  DELPHI o Dolphin = “dolphinos”  Aristotle: dolphins = the only animals whose testicles aren’t visible  connection to Apollo? o Apollo isn’t a “manly-man” (has difficulty approaching nymphs) Hermes (Roman Mercury) - From Greek herma = pile of stones, boundary marker o NB:  Zeus’ creation myth: stone eaten by Cronus, who thought it was Zeus  NB – trickster aspect taken by Hermes!  Stone falling at Delphi (temple of Apollo) o Stones at temples, cemeteries 2   Religious sacrifice  Herm = highly religious, marks property, offers them sacrifices to be protected during travel (Hermes protects travelers)  ~415 BC – Herms in Athens = mutilated at night  disaster! o People took it as a bad omen for the Peloponnesian war o ∴ Herms were imp - Hermes o Fertility god o Role as a messenger/herald of the gods and especially Zeus o Represented as wearing caduceus, traveler hat (sometimes has wings), winged sandals, walking staff with 2 serpents (pelitheus), + traveling cloak  o The god of crossroads, travelers, trips  Associated with the role of marked boundaries o God of thieves and merchants  Commerce + thievery go together o Inventor figure/culture bringer (lyre, fire, pipe) – invents:  Lyre  Gives Apollo the lyre  Fire for mortals  ∴ 3 gods associated with fire: Prometheus, Zeus, Hermes  Pipe  ∴ inventor of musical instruments o God of shepherds (that play the pipe), guardian of flocks o Psychopompos “guide of the souls”  “Psych-“ – soul  “-pompos” – sending  ∴ Hermes sends souls to the Underworld when people die 3 - Charon sails people/souls to the margins of the Underworld to Tartarus - Hermes grasps the woman’s arm  gesture of what men do when marrying women o ∴ Hermes = god of crossing boundaries: up to Heaven + to the Underworld  Akin to what thieves do, which = crossing properties o Connection to art of interpretation: Hermes = messenger for gods + translates messages into other forms + interprets them  This = different from what Apollo does  he = god of prophecy - Hermes often called Argeiphontes “the killer of Argos” (the myth of Io and Argus) o Myth of Argos (Hermes killing Argos):  Argos = monster (eyes cover body); bears the name of the city associated with Hera  Hera places Argos to guard Io (priestess of Hera who = in charge of the Argos temple + holds the keys)  IO = about to be seduced by Zeus  Hera changes her into cow + Argos protects her  Hermes = sent by Zeus to kill Argos: Hermes puts Argos to sleep + kills him (∴ Argos = deceived  NB – reminiscent of when Odysseus tricks Polyphemus in order to escape from his cave!) + Io crosses to Asia Minor + visits Prometheus on the way  Prometheus, acting as a prophet, tells her what will happen  Io goes to Egypt where she encounters Zeus, who touches her  Io turns back into a maiden + delivers baby (Epiphus) o Epiphus has 50 granddaughters + 50 grandsons (Danaids)  ancestors of Hercules + Perseus  Danaids = punished for killing their partners on their wedding night  ∴ Hermes = on Zeus’ + not on Hera’s side o - Death + weddings = associated Hermes’ birth and deeds (in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes) 4 - Son of Zeus and Maia (nymph), daughter of Atlas (holds the heavens) and mother (disputed) Pleione (nymph of stars) - Protector of Arcadia, the locus amoenus (“pleasant place”, a poetic convention in pastoral poetry) in central Peloponnesus (et in Arcadia ego, “I have also been in Arcadia”) o At the moment of his birth, Maia lives in cave, associated with Arcadia (in Peloponnesus) (associated with beauty, pleasure, quietness) - “for the child whom she bore was devious, winning in his cleverness, a robber, a driver of cattle, a guide of dreams, a spy in the night, a watcher at the door” o Devious, clever, robber, driver of cattle, guide of dreams (brings dreams to people  ∴ ex. of
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