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Lecture 4

CLA204 Lecture 4.pdf

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Michael Carter

-cosmic order:the world is made up of opposites but there is room for compromise -ex.olympus vs.tartarus (olympus is mostly on top,but then when olympians make oaths by styx [the river flowing into tartarus],they get a horrible punishment-> olympians aren't always on top) -ex.father vs.son (father is on top,but sometimes sons plot and overthrow their fathers) -ex.zeus and hera (husband vs.wife,men vs.women,strength vs.cunning) and death GODS OFTHE UNDERWORLD Hades and Persephone -these are the two major gods in the underworld -the underworld gods are very separated from the Olympians -there were diff.rituals for the underworld gods than for the Olympians (ex.libations [liquid offerings to the gods]=liquid poured into pit for underworld gods an altar for Olympians.for animal sacrifices,black animals were used for underworld gods whereas white animals were used for olympians) -Hades=ruler of underworld,"the one who is not seen" (this is an euphemism for him b/c its very unlucky to call the god of the underworld by his name and also,this euphemism for Hades can be taken literally as well since he isn't represented very frequently in artworks) Thanatos (Death) and Hypnos (Sleep) ->> hypnosis -Thanatos and Hypnos=other deities in the underworld -they often show up in stories when people die ->gods don't cause death;gods likeThanatos and Hypnos just respond to humans when they die -Sarpedon,Zeus' son,dies atTroy-> the picture depicts him being carried away byThanatos and Hypnos,with Hermes leading the way -Zeus wanted to save Sarpedon but Hera convinced him otherwise,b/c there is a big cosmic order that must be followed (you dont want other gods Thanatos and Hypnos carrying intervening to save their children as well) Sarpedon away,with Hermes leading the way Greek Death Ritual Prosthesis,Ekphora,Burial -the process of dying was believed to put the dead in a state of limbo -the relatives of the person who died would grieve (and thus were no longer completely living their lives so to speak) ->the point of having death rituals was to return people to their proper places (bring the living back to the world of the living and take the dead to the underworld) 3 phases of a Greek funeral: -Prosthesis:laying out of the corpse;women take care of the corpse by washing it,placing garlands on it -expressions of grief are very dramatic (beating at chest,pulling at hair) -Ekphora:moving the body from the house to the resting place (in the Homeric world-> the body is burned on a pyre,but in classical Greece-> the body is buried) Burial/Offerings: offerings are made ex.libations,offerings of fruit,blood sacrifices,etc. ->sacrifices are made to show respect for the dead and to provide for the person in the afterlife -if death rituals aren't followed properly,problems can arise for the dead -w/o rituals,it is difficult for the dead to make it to the underworld ex.from Illiad:Patroclus dies (friend ofAchilles) andAchilles is devastated-> withdraws from life -ghost of Patroclus visitsAchilles and asks him to perform a funeral for him so he can get to the underworld Charon -ferryman who has a boat transporting dead people across the river of styx to the underworld -in some versions of the myth,Charon requires payment from the dead to cross the river-> thus families of the dead placed money in the mouths of the dead so that they can pay Charon to cross the river -the river styx serves as the first layer of protection to ensure that no living people make it into the underworld Cerberus -three-headed dog -guard dog to the underworld;second layer of protection to ensure that no people make it into the world of the dead -(aside) one of Heracles' tasks was to retrieve Cerberus from the underworld and bring him to the world of the living Rhadamanthys,Minos,Aeacus -these were mortal people who were just,fair and honest in their lifetimes ->after death,they were chosen to be judges of the souls of the dead -in the early versions of the myth,they only settled disputes between the shades (ghosts) -later versions say the judges decided where in the underworld people ended up -most people didn't have a particular place to go in the underworld (the land is mostly featureless) -> most people just end up floating around,doing nothing -if you were an extremely moral person in your life,then the judges would send you to the Elysian Fields (Champs Elysees)-> this was reserved for an exceptional few,like heroes Elysian fields Tartarus -this is the place where extremely terrible human beings go;people are sent here to be used as deterrents for others -> they probably tried to break the world order (ex.hierarchy of humans vs.gods,man vs.woman,etc) Prisoners ofTartarus 1.Tantalus -first prisoner ofTartarus -punishment:perpetually hungry and thirsty,but surrounded by things that can satiate him (ex. fruit trees & rivers) -crimes:stole nectar and ambrosia from the gods,revealed secrets of Zeus,tested the divinity of the gods -> he invited gods to his home for dinner:he killed his child and put him on the dinner table Tantalus to test their divinity (if the gods knew they were being served human flesh,then they passed the test) -all the gods noticed except for Demeter,who was still grieving for the loss of persephone,and she took a bite of the child -Tantalus ultimately gets sent toTartarus for this last crime -Tantalus' child gets revived b/c the gods felt sorry for him,but he is revived with a bite mark on his shoulder (the gods give him an ivory shoulder to compensate for this) 2.Ixion -punishment:rotate for eternity on a burning wheel of fire -crime:testing divinity of gods -he was in love with Hera,and Zeus tested him by sending him a cloud in the shape of Hera -Ixion tries to rape the cloud and this gets him sent toTantalus Ixion -mortals cannot initiate romantic relationships with the gods,but the gods do not have this restriction 3.Tityus -punishment:chained to a rock,eagles eat his liver perpetually (like prometheus) -crime:tries to rape Leto when pregnant with her twins,Artemis andApollo Tityus 4.Danaids -set of 50 sisters -punishments:have to carry vessels of water to fill up a bigger holding container -their vessels are full of holes-> their task is impossible -crime:murdering their 50 cousins on their wedding night Danaids -their cousins were egyptian and the danaids were biased against egyptians -> reversal of hierarchy of man vs.woman 5.Sisyphus -punishment:has to roll a boulder up a hill -crime:betrays Zeus' affairs,breaches the rule of hospitality,hits on Odysseus' mom,violates the dividing line btwn life and death -> he knows he is about to die but he doesn't want to,so he tells his wife to not give him a proper burial -once in the underworld,Sisyphus tells Persephone that since he wasn't given a proper burial, he begs her to send her back to the land of the living so that he can get his affairs straight -once he goes back up,he escapes -he gets caught and dragged back toTartarus Sisyphus ---------------------------------------- -there is a very rigid line between life and death -however,heroes are sometimes able to cross this boundary ->heroes are mortal,but have a god-like quality,and some even become gods upon death -if you are a hero,you can get around some of the strong rules that govern life and death -heracles has labours to perform,one of which is to get cerberus -he did it by just asking persephone for permission to take it -this sets a precedent for other heroes-> going down to the underworld and coming back (katabasis) becomes a necessary part of a hero's journey ex.Odysseus is told that he has to consult withTiresias,who will be able to give him advice on how to return home -Tiresias is dead so that's why Odysseus has to travel to the underworld -while in the underworld,Odysseus meetsAchilles,who tells Odysseus that he would rather be a living slave than be leader of the shades in the underworld ex.similarly, Aeneas (child ofAphrodite),while on his journey,needs advice from his fatherAnchises who is already dead -he is told by Sybil,a priestess,that all he needs to cross into the world of the dead is to pluck a golden bough (from a tree) -if you weren't a hero,it was hard to cope with the idea of death -crossing the divide btwn life and death was terrifying -cults emerged in Greece to help people cope with death (with rituals and such) Orpheus and Eurydice -Orpheus:married to Eurydice -on their wedding day,Eurydice dies because she's being chased by a bee-keeper who wants her -Eurydice,being a good greek wife,runs away (doesn't want to give away her virtue) and while running in a field, she is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies -Orpheus goes to the underworld to try to get her back -Orpheus has a special talent:a beautiful musician,and so he starts to sing about his worries to Hades -everyone is mesmerized by him (including the Furies,Cereberus,etc.) -Hades and Persephone are swayed and allow him to take Eurydice back on one condition:he can't look back while leaving the underworld,he has to trust that she's following behind him as they leave -Orphesus however catches her scent just before entering the light and turns around,forgetting the condition -thus Eurydice is lost and returns to the underworld -Orpheus is in grief and goes through the wilderness,singing about his sorrows -he encounters and is killed by Maenads (followers of Dionysus) and his head floats out to sea,and sings a prophecy -> his prophecies inspire a cult,Orphism Orphism-GoldTablets -his prophecies were written on gold tablets which became the scripture for orphic religion -you could figure out how to have a good afterlife if you followed orpheus' prophecies -in the orphic religion,creation of man is different than the story described in Hesiod's 'Theogony' -Zeus is overthrown as ruler of the Olympians by Dionysus (child of Persephone and Zeus) -Hera is jealous and sends the titans to kill Dionysus,which they do -as revenge,Zeus kills the titans with a thunderbolt -out of the ashes of the titans,mankind is born -zeus then has sex with a mortal,Semele,and Dionysus is born again from this union -you worship Dionysus in Orphism b/c you'll have an ally in the underworld (Dionysus' first mother, Persephone) -two things people had to do to make this happen:you had to be initiated to the Orphic Mysteries (you had to do ritual activities and something is revealed to you at the end which gives you a special status) and had to follow certain rules: -> you had to be a vegan,you couldn't have sex except for special circumstances,couldn't eat beans [purity of mind and spirit] -if you practice Orphism,you believe in metempsychosis which is reincarnation -the long term goal of Orphism is to escape this cycle of rebirth and your soul can escape from the prison of your body (you can draw parallels with buddhist ideas) Plato -talks about the idea of reincarnation in his work 'The Republic' -he tells a story about the underworld and Er -plato is concerned with justice and moral goodness,which he believes is what people get judged on after death -Er dies,but somehow gets to come back to the world of the living and serves as an Plato:The Myth of Er apostle for what happens in the underworld -Er tells the story of what happens:judges judge you based on how you acted in your life (you get either1000 years of reward or1000 years of punishment,after which you choose how you want to be reincarnated) -after this,you go to the river Lethe,the river of forgetfulness -once you drink the water,you forget everything about your previous life and get reborn -Er didnt have to drink the water from the river-> which is why he remembers this process -plato believes that living the life of a philosopher enables your soul to escape the prison of your body (same end goal as the Orphics) Eleusinian Mysteries -most famous and successful cult of the ancient world -take place at Eleusis
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