Cla204 – lecture 7 – feb 14
- Enigmatic: hard to pin down the original source. Because the legends that surround have been
tangled with folk tales
- Acrisius king Argos: he goes to an oracle
o Acrisius descended from the dainaids (50 daughters of Danaus)
Dainaids: In the most common version of the myth, all but one of them kill their
husbands on their wedding night, and are condemned to spend eternity carrying
water in a sieve or perforated device.
o Acrisius goes to the oracle, “you will have a male heir, this son will also kill you”
o He will be killed by the son of his daughter (Danae)
o He locks danae in a bronze prision
o However, Zeus catches hint of this, sees her and he falls in love with her, because she is
beautiful and she comes to her. He rapes her. He changes his form into showers of gold.
She becomes preg and has Perseus
o Zeus puts them in a chest and sends them away in sea
o They are rescued by a fisherman at the place called Seriphos by Dictys
o He brings them home
o Polydectes falls in love with Danae, she does not want to marry him
o He will say “i will stop harras you” if you get your son to bring the Gorgons
- The gorgans are monsters, they are immortal and only one is mortal (Medusa)
- Wings, wide eyes that turn into stone,
- No body turns out alive with the account of these ladies
Perseus and medusa
- Perseus is equipped with magic weapons given by Athena and Hermes
- He gets winged sandals, a cap of visibility, a sword, a shield, and a special Gorgans head carrying
- Shield: he uses it as a mirror
- He keeps her head, he uses the shield to look at her reflection
- It turns out, at the moment he does this, medusa is pregnant by Poseidon
- Two creatures are born from her neck, 1 (Pegeuses) winged horse, 2 ( Chrysaor)Hero of Golden
- Medusa was raped by Poesidon, in Athens temple
- She is punished with snakes as hair because Athena punishes her
- In another version of the story: (oviD), he doesn’t go straight home. He is flying home over
Ethiopia. He looks down, and sees the beautiful princess. The only way to stop the flooding is to
sacrifice the princess (Andromeda). She is very beautiful. He falls in love with her. He saves her
and he marries her. He has to fight with her former suitors.
- How does he defeat all the suitors: he pulls the Gorgan head out (from the pouch). And they
immediately get turned into stones. Cla204 – lecture 7 – feb 14
- From that island they go back to Argos, where Acrisius is the king. He accidently kills Acrisius at
the game. Throwing the discus and hits the foot. This means that the oracle has come true.
- He is shamed for accidently killing the king
- he rules at Terrance instead: he trades positions with Terrance with the king of Argos
- Medusa’s head: he returned all the tools. He thanks Athena for helping him and gives her the
head. (remember she doesn’t like medusa)
- She attaches to her breast plate and wears it in the battle.
- Why on her breast plate: to scare her enemies.
- Apotropaic: intended to ward off evil
Perseus as a hero
- In relation to hero: saves Andromadora
- He has negative things: he kills all of Andromadora suitors who is at the wedding reception
o He does kill his own grandfather
- Very ambiguous relationship
- He also displays attributes that are not typical of Greek heroes
- Folk tale/fairy tale elements: young women locked up in a prison, one dimensional hero, there is
no internal conflict,
- He brings home the princess and then dies, and Athena puts him up in the stars constellations
(after he dies)
Depictions of this myth
- No evidence
- Perseus circulated informally, more of a children story than an epic
Perseus in Ovid
- The hero is a serious figure in Greek culture, but that does not mean he cannot be mocked
- Even the Gods get made fun of
- He makes him a hero of mock epic:
o Epics: always start in the middle of the action,
o Perseus already got the head, and is about to see Andromeda
o There is a graphic description of battles: epics have battles
o There are extended similes in this battle. Perseus is compared to a tigress
o Depicted in a broadly comedic way
o Heroism is undercut. Wings get wet so he cant fly (as example)
o Andromeda suitors: string of ridiculous wet. Blood makes the floor slippery
- The tale of perseus and Andromeda Cla204 – lecture 7 – feb 14
- The quest to rid the land of the monsters is followed closely
- The sea monster is going to eat her and going to continue to terrorizing.
- Great Athenian hero
- First king of Athens in Cecrops : was born in earth. From half human and half snake. Snakes are
associated with the ground (associated with earth). His successors were also said to be Earth
born. (ex. Erecthonius. Born from hypestias’ seman, when he tried to rape Athena, and she just
wiped it off).
- Eventually they took on human
- Theseus is completely human
- The oracle gives him a criptic response
- He continues to travel, and pithius is famed for his wisdom
- Aegeus+ Aethra (+Poseidon) = Theseus (there are 2 dads because the mom slept with 2 people
right after one another... so it was a mix)
- Similar to Hercules birth.
- Theseus was not originally an Athenian hero, he was born in Trogons. His father goes to meet
the wise men to interpret the oracle.
- When Aegeus he leaves Aethra with instructions (do not tell anyone who the father is), he also
has hidden a pair of sandals and a sword under a stone. When Theseus was grown up he was
strong enough to move the stone.
- On route to Athens, Theseus kills of series of wrong does who were blocking his way
- He makes the punishments fit for the crime
- Theseus tortures the travelers. If he is a tall person he gives a small bed and cuts off the body
parts that hang off
- Early in his carrier, he is a paragon in his justice.