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Lecture 6

CLA204 Lecture 6.pdf

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA204H1
Professor
Michael Carter
Semester
Fall

Description
-compromise-> important theme for midterm -reciprocity:do to others what you would have them do to you;cyclicality:things repeat itself over time Procis and Cephalus (Aurora vs.Aura) -story involves Cecrops' daughters (the ones who open the basket when they're not supposed to and jump off a cliff b/c of what they see) -in a diff version of the myth told by Ovid,one of Cecrops' daughters is alive and has a son named Cephalus -Cephalus=handsomeAthenian man,attracts the attention ofAurora (means sunrise),the personified goddess of sunrise -they have an affair -then Cephalus settles down to become the king of athens and marries Procis -Cephalus is nervous that his new bride may be unfaithful to him in the future so he goes on to test his wife to see if she's susceptible to temptation -he appears to her in different disguises,but every time Procis pushes him away -the last time,he offers her a golden crown and she accepts it in return for sex -Cephalus flies into a fury and Procis flees to the island of Crete -when she arrives on the island,the king Minos falls in love with her but he cant be with her b/c his wife has cursed him -> if he has sex w/ anyone but his wife,he ejaculates spiders and scorpions -however,Procis cures him of his curse -Minos in return gives her 2 gifts:a hunting dog that always catches what it chases and a magical spear that always hits what its thrown at -Procis then decides to go back to athens to try to patch things up with Cephalus -however,she has a trick.she disguises herself as a boy and approaches him (with her gifts) and offers him one of her gifts in return for sleeping with her (as a boy) -Cephalus agrees -> Procis catches him being unfaithful and then they have a reconciliation;they each recognize that the other was just trying to be faithful all along and so they forgive and forget -however,Procis is still concerned that her husband is still being unfaithful b/c he goes out at dawn every day and goes out by himself into the woods and he keeps talking aboutAura (about how he lovesAura andAura's caresses;Procis was also doubly suspicious becauseAura sounds likeAurora,Cephalus' previous lover) -Procis sneaks into the woods and spies on him.Cephalus thinks it's a boar rustling in the woods and throws his spear at her unknowingly (the gift Procis gave him in exchange for sleeping with her as a boy).She dies as the spear finds its target and she realizes thatAura was just the breeze -they both mistrust each other even though there is no grounds for the mistrust and they suffer quite a bit b/c of it -theme of helping friends and harming enemies:if somebody does you a kindness,you should feel an obligation to do them a reciprocal kindness -> this is also seen in the principle of xenia (guests owe their hosts good treatment if the hosts ever come to visit them) -there must be a balance -the flip side is the principle of harming enemies;if somebody does something bad to you,you are strongly compelled to take vengeance ->Cephalus pressures Procis into committing adultery,Procis does the same thing to him -reciprocity is not the idea of the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you);this is more sinister-> you are also encouraged to do nasty things who harm you;an eye for an eye Tereus and Philomela (sister of Procne) -Procne=granddaughter of Erichthonius,autocthonous ancestor ofAthens -Procne gets married toTereus,king ofThrace -greek custom=wife goes to live with husband inThrace -Philomela,sister of Procne,stays inAthens -marriage is happy but Procne misses Philomela and makesTereus bring her sister to them -Tereus consents but on the way back home,he is seized with lust for Philomela.he drags her into the woods to rape her and he cuts out her tongue Tereus and Philomela in a cave so that she cant tell anyone what happened -Tereus goes home to Procne and tells her that her sister was sick on the way to them and died -Philomela escapes from the cave and weaves a tapestry to tell her sister what happened -Procne realizes the truth and wants to take vengeance onTereus -she is so angry that she thinks that he deserves the worst punishment;she ends up taking her own son (Itys) and chops him into pieces and serves him toTereus for dinner -then she tellsTereus what happened so that he can experience the horror of what Procne felt whenTereus harmed her sister -the gods took pity on all of them and turned them into birds and their song was their perpetual lament ex.Procne-> nightingale which has a mournful cry -this was part of Ovid's Metamorphoses:stories about people changing from one thing to another -this story:strong sense of reciprocity The two sisters Procne and Philomel->the idea that any deed should be paid with a similar deed and Itys -this is very typical in the families of greek mythology;intra-familial tensions. reciprocity in this sense refers to what people of the same generation do to each other -however reciprocity can also be seen over a longer time frame ex.generation after generation-> happens a lot in tragedies;families are cursed and repeat the same violent acts against each other -back to oedipus:good example of cyclicality where each generation makes the same mistake and repeats the mistake of the last generation -laius gets an oracle that tells him that his son will kill him -laius tries to get around the prophecy by leaving oedipus on a mountain but oedipus kills him anyway laius makes the mistake in thinking he can get around the predictions of an oracle -oedipus does the exact same thing;he does all kinds of things to avoid his oracle: marrying his mother and killing his father -in trying to escape the oracle,he ends up falling prey to that same oracle -this is continued in the next generation:the sons polyneices and oedipus kills laius eteocles who both ask their father to help him in the war against each other -instead,oedipus curses both of them if they fight -even though they know they are cursed,the sons fight anyway Oedipus' curse:polyneices and eteocles kill each and end up falling on the battlefield -this continues with creon,who is told by tiresias that he has to bury polyneices b/c the gods are unhappy and terrible things will happen -creon ignores this advice and ignores antigone's pleas,and ends up losingAntigone,his son and his wife -family ends up making same mistake over and over again;think they can ignore piety and oracles and every time people end up dying -city of thebes suffers with them as well -laius' stupid decision to have sex with his wife (when he knew that if she bore a son,it would kill him) results in this amplified,chaotic mess that cannot get its act together -Sophocles explains that the cycle doesnt end until there is nobody left to punish Creon killsAntigone Gyges and King Candaules -king Candaules of Lydia is a boastful man,boasts about his attractive wife -he has a close friend/advisor whose name is Gyges -Candaules says to Gyges that he should see his wife naked to truly appreciate her beauty -Gyges is uncomfortable with this but Candaules insists and Gyges goes along -Gyges is made to hide in the corner of the room while the queen is getting queen getting undressed undressed at night -the queen catches him and says he will either be denounced and executed or he can kill the king and takes his place -Gyges decides to kill the king and replace him -Gyges,in doing so,has committed an awful crime although he was manipulated to do so -this is the crime that hangs over the family of Gyges -however,Gyges isnt punished for it and it isnt until five generations later that the gods decide to punish the family -five generations later:Croesus,descendant of Gyges,is a king of Lydia as well -he is a good king -he is the king who goes to the oracle and asks if he should attack persia -he reads the oracle incorrectly and thus his own empire of Lydia falls -this is the gods' punishment for the family -Croesus in battle gets captured by the persians and the king Cyrus decides to burn him alive for trying to take Persia -at the last moment,Cyrus changes his mind but it looks like its too late -Apollo sends a rain shower and Croesus is saved -Croeus becomes a wise advisor figure to Cyrus.he joins up with Cyrus on his military campaigns and gives him advice -Croesus becomes the wise advisor that Gyges should'e been to Candaules five croesus on the pyre,about to be generations earlier;Gyges should've told the king that his idea was bad lit -this drive to have balance and reciprocity is very strong in greek mythology and this story is a good example of that -reciprocity works more in the short-term ex.i host you,you host me -cyclicality=patterns stemmed over time;is easy to see in mythological families w/ their whole histories displayed (one generation does the same thing that previous generations did) -reciprocity and cyclicality is also seen in the behaviour of the gods -ex.in theogony:sons overthrowing fathers -however,the pattern gets forestalled when zeus learns how to live a balanced life,accommodate opposites The Pelopidae,The House ofAtreus -mythical family that is the perfect example of reciprocity and cyclicality;is the family descended fromTantalus (son of Zeus who gets the ball rolling in terms of the family curse) -Tantalus' crime was trying to test the gods by serving his son to the gods which gets him landed in tartarus (Demeter accidentally eats a piece of the shoulder) -the kid who gets fed to the gods is pelops -> so the household usually gets called the Pelopidae or the house ofAtreus (son of Pelops) -after Pelops was restored to life by the gods after his shoulder gets eaten,Pelops is the one that provokes the curse on the family -begins with a guy named Oenomaus,a king -he has a beautiful daughter named Hippodamia -Oenomaus wants to marry his daughter off to a suitable husband -he decides he's going to do this by holding chariot races;whoever can beat his own charioteer (Myrtilus) will get his daughter's hand in marriage -however,whoever loses to Myrtilus will get beheaded -the races goes on for quite some time -pelops decides he wants to compete for Hippodamia's hand but he does it sneakily.he makes it so that he races against the king Oenomaus himself,not Myrtilus -he also convinces myrtilus beforehand to help him cheat-> he makes adjustments to Oenomaus' chariot;he replaces the axels of the wheels with wax-> when the chariot moves, Pelops races Oenomaus for the hand of Hippodamia withere's friction making the wax melt which results in the the help of Myrtilus wheels falling off -Oenomaus gets dragged to death by his own horses -Pelops thus wins the race and gets to marry Hippodamia -the way Pelops convinced Myrtilus to replace the axels with wax was by allowing Myrtilus to have sex with Hippodamia on their wedding night (first "crack" at Hippodamia) -however,after he wins the race,pelops takes his word back and also throws Myrtilus off a cliff -as Myrtilus is falling,he calls out a curse on Pelops and all his descendants -this results on the cursed descendants of Pelops and gets them the hatred of the gods -however,like Gyges,although Pelops is the one who commits the first crime, he isnt the one who actually gets punished;he lives a happy life with Hippodamia Atreus,Thyestes and Mycenae -Atreus andThyestes are the ones who suffer,pelops' sons -Mycenae,a city,gets an oracle that they should choose a new king amongAtreus and Thyestes -technicallyAtreus is the older one so he has a stronger claim to the throne butThyestes wants the throne as well -Thyestes comes up with a plan to get what he wants:he devises a contest-whoever can show the token of kingship (fleece of a golden lamb) can be king -Atreus has some in his closet and thinks he can win kingship -howeverThyestes has been sleeping withAtreus' wife and convinces her to help him and Atreus,Thyestes she gives him the fleece and Mycenae -Zeus is unhappy with this result and makes the sun rise from the west instead of the east which shows his displeasure;he thinks thatAtreus,the older brother,should be king -> thusThyestes is forced to go into exile andAtreus becomes king -Atreus is still angry and wants to punishThyestes further -> he invitesThyestes back to the palace and puts on a banquet for him ->Atreus does what tantalus did;he feedsThyestes his own children -Atreus keeps the hands and feet and heads separate so that he can show them toThyestes afterwards ->repetition of ancestral crime of tantalus -Thyestes is eager to take his own vengeance and goes to the delphic oracle to find out how he can punish his brother -the oracle tells him the way to do this is to have a child with his own daughter -however,his daughter is nowhere to be found and he looks for her all over the countryside -he comes across a lovely woman in the woods and has sex with her -he makes her pregnant and she turns out to be his daughter,Pelopia (reiterating the Pelopia + Thyestes (her name of her ancestor Pelops) dad)=Aegisthus; -she gives birth toAegisthus Aegisthus kills his uncl-Aegisthus returns to Mycenae and killsAtreus on behalf of his dad Atreus -Aegisthus thus takes revenge for his fatherThyestes and his stepbrothers -Aegisthus still harbours a grudge against this family and goes on to plot againstAtreus' sonAgamemnon -crimes of this Pelopidae family:Tantalus tests the gods by feed
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