18 October 2012
- 2 part- focus on the hero
- Focus on legends
- What makes a hero different from another kind of hero?
- Never going to be a pure kind of hero
- Impossible to separate myth and legend; too much overlap, a lot has to do with the way the
greeks thought of their world
o Not an accident that gods are anthropomorphic; impossible to leave gods out of the
- Superhuman heroes
- Europa running along with a bull-> is it a myth, or is it a legend?
o Zeus is involved, so a myth?
o But a story that figures prominently in the legend of Thebes so a legend?
o Cant come to a definite answer.
- Focus more on humans, but are still going to be about the gods.
- Divine parent; miraculous birth; physical stature
- The heros quest
o Impossible tasks performed while under the power of the enemy(opponent)
o Enticing but dangerous woman; often human, but sometimes a like a sorceress or
outside the characteristic human grouping
o Help from the gods, spirits, magical objects, inevitable success
o Return home, atonement for any crimes
- Sits on a ridge
- Not a cool place, kind of the backwater.
Agenor (King of Tyre)
Cadmus Europa Kilix, Phionix, Thasos - Story of Europa
o Zeus abducts Europa by deceiving her, being very beautiful.
o Zeus lusted for her; takes the form of a bull, and fools her into trusting him. (maybe
went along willingly?) carries her away to Crete.
o Agenor -> sends his sons out to look for her, and not to return unless they found her.
Some sons more diligent than the other. Phionix gave up soon, and thus
couldnt go back to Tyre. Founds a new settlement, and gives his name to the
entire area of Phoenicia.
Helix- didnt get far, couldnt go back, and gave his name to Cilicia
Third brother gives his name to a new culture on the island
Pattern- brothers fail in the impossible task.
Cadmus- makes it to Thebes but doesnt find her.
Names very important; rrepresents a Greek idea, a migration from est to west
(from central city of Tyre) and stay in these place farther west.
Story becomes searching for this place called Europa and failing, and
therefore founding new places.
Cadmus asks Apollos oracle, who asks him to give up and was asked to follow a
cow and establish a city where the cow falls from exhaustion
Guarded by snake, kills convenient minions
Cadmus tired of waiting and kills dragon himself, who was guarding a water
Pythia- dangerous and enticing woman?
One real challenge-> foundation of Thebes. How do you found a city?
Takes the teeth of the dragon -> object that helps Cadmus; after getting advice
from Athena, throws the teeth in the field, and these armed warriors spring out
of the earth, and most kill each other. 5 are left, and have the name Spartoi (the
sown). These 5 men became the first ancestors of the royal Thebans. Once you
have this foundation, things will go on forever.
A story that fits the pattern of a quest-> gets help from goddess, performs
Retirement- cant return home coz he doesnt have Europa. So he reigns in
Thebes for the rest his life after making amends for killing the dragon. Gets
married, has daughters. Enjoys rewards for successes; the great civilizer, the law
giver. Gives hallmarks of a flourishing civ to Thebes.
After he rides off into the sunset.
A kind of older hero, in the background of the Theban royal family.
- The big ideas
o Heroic qualities, inside or outside a quest
The failures/failings of a hero? (something that makes them less than perfect)
o The concept of miasma(idea of impurity; if you do bad things you are affected with
miasma) Stain, defilement
The taint of guilt, arising especially from murder
Its a stain, can be gotten rid of. But you can get it again.
Is contagious; everyone who is connected with the person can be affected by
The problem of family
The curse -> problem that plagues a family/household for generations
- Laius (6 king of Thebes, has a son Oedipus)
o Has wife Jocasta
o Had abducted the son of his host; affects him with miasma
o Comes back to haunt him
o Laius eventually returns to Thebes, becomes king, and marries Jocasta.
Jocasta couldnt conceive, so he asked the Delphic oracle why?
Answer- Laius will die of his own son. Thus he kept far away from his wife, to
avoid having kids with her
o gets drunk, and sleeps with her. And she gives birth to a son-> problem for Laius.
o Orders the son be left out to die; also tied the baby to be tied to an iron spike through
his feet on a mountain near Thebes.
o Shepherd takes pity, gave him to a friend who was from Corinth; who gave him to
Polybus, the king of Corinth.
o Polybus and his wife Merope have no kids, so take him in. call him Oedipus (m