May 22, 2013
CLA201 Classical Mythology WEEK 4
Creation of Man
Creation of Woman
Ovid creation of Man
Hesiod and Ovid-similar ideas
Ovid confesses doesn’t know where humans were made says maybe Prometheus made
them out of mud or the first god which is not named created them
Prometheus- name=for thought thinking ahead, renowned for being a wise person, could
reason things out. He was a Titan. Prometheus fought on the side of Olympians instead of
the Titans and so he was not sent to Tartarus by Zeus and could have developed men.
The First Sacrifice at Mecone.
Gods and humans get together to have meeting to decide how sacrifice is going to work.
Prometheus represents the humans in these negations, He sacrifices an Ox. He lays out two
portions for Zeus to choose between on one side take gross stuff like intestines and hides
good stuff in there and then in the fat parts hides the gross stuff. The fatty part of the meat
would attract the Greeks. He makes mistake and takes the bad part of the meat, which
Prometheus wants him to take. Zeus sees he’s making a mistake and makes it anyway.
Henceforth, humans would keep that meat for themselves and burn the bones wrapped in
fat as an offering to the gods.
This angered Zeus, who hid fire from humans in retribution. Thus humans can’t cook their
food, they don’t have a good source of protein, and it was a huge problem, crafts ex pottery
and keeping warm in the winter.
Theft of Fire
Prometheus wasn’t happy so he steels fire back and hides it in a fennel stock (fennel is fire
proof) and gives it back to humans. Zeus is pissed cuz his will has been defied, Zeus chains
him to a rock and sends an eagle every day to pluck out his liver and every night his liver
grows back and the cycle continues for ages.
Io turns into a cow, chased all over the world by fly, one place that she goes is to visit
Prometheus, they have a conversation he knows what’s going to happen to her in the future
15 yrs later, Io is going to give rise to Hercules who is going to rescue Prometheus.
Prometheus knows about this women Thetis and Zeus wants to sleep with her, and
Prometheus tells Zeus that if he sleeps with Thetis then their son will kill Zeus. Zeus thus
marries off Thetis to a mortal Achilles. Years later, the Greek hero Heracles (Hercules) slays
the eagle and frees Prometheus from his chains.
Zeus punishes human race through women
Divides worlds into three, gods, humans, and animals. Gods are immortal their life is care
free, beasts are mortal but they don’t know that their going to die, only humans know that
their going to die, so sacrifice all 3 come together, animal dies, human beings are
confronted with idea of death and gods receive benefit and know wont die. May 22, 2013
The Golden Age
Human beings sprang fully formed out of the mud, but way they made their living and
interacted with world was constantly changing. The older the better, the first human beings
had it the best after that it’s been down hill, pessimistic, constant degeneration. For both
Ovid and Hesiod talk about ages of men associating them with metals, first is gold age, no
one gets old they just die.. Ovid talks abt positive things there are no laws or law courts, no
disputes, no sea travel which Romans describe as evil, no wars, perpetually spring time no
winter or harsh summer, no suffering, no work. Not clear why golden age had to come to an
end it’s just that human beings are destined to decline.
Degeneration, Silver, Bronze, Iron.
Silver Age-Increase in suffering and conflict, advent of agriculture warfare, sea fare,
technology –corrupting forces more prone to fight, conflict, suffering. Born, children for
100yrs, 2-3yrs of grown up life and then they die.
Food doesn’t grow spontaneously anymore, have to cultivate the land when silver age ends
Zeus just barriers them.
In the Bronze age both Hesiod and Ovid, becomes very violent, characterized by warfare, no
agriculture cuz so concerned with fighting each other, go from place to place, live off
animals they kill, they come to an end that they just kill each other off.
Iron Age- age that we still live in, not clear what next age is going to be but that their will
probably be another generation. What’s important is that ppl cant relate properly with
each other neighbours aren’t friends with each other, children don’t take care of their
parents, ppl mock man that is just, show no reverence for the gods, sad time to be alive cuz
ppl don’t know how to be good to each other. Men build ships leads to warfare, fight over
land, greater wealth class conflict rich vs. poor, ppl figure out how to mine ore, iron is on
earth so ppl make iron weapons to kill each other.
*Ovid only has 4 races.
Heroes – The Isles of the Blessed
In Hesiod accounts for all myths Greeks told. He needs to explain why. Talks about an age of
heroes who are worthy of the reward that they have earned no longer live in a place where
heroes save you, they have been swift off to an island of the blessed.
Zeus disguised shows sign of god and ppl of Arcadia start worshipping Jupiter/Zeus,
Lycaon tests Zeus by feeding him human flesh (a dish of his slaughtered and dismembered
son), and of course Zeus knows immediately its human flesh and punishes him by turning
him into a wolf, outer form reflects inner beast.
The Great Flood - Deucalion and Pyrr