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Lecture 8

CLA204H1F Lecture 8

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA204H1
Professor
Jarrett Welsh
Semester
Fall

Description
CLA204H1F L8; Nov 01, 2012 Way that stories of Thebes & Mycenae told concept of miasma driving stories o Shows way they thought about guilt What matters about characters shows what mattered in society Penelope Odysseus defeats Polyphemus by outwitting him Counterpart to Odysseus & his cleverness o Hard to understand Odysseus w/o what Penelope tells us about him o As clever, or more clever than he is Waiting at home, resisting suitors attempting to hold her hostage Odysseus away for 20yrs Penelope: circumspect (periphron) o Using her intelligence to achieve what she wants & what she thinks is best BF amphora o Tests Odysseus: Gives order for the marriage bed to be Perseus and maidens moved into the hall, doesnt want to share w someone The Leagros Group Ca. 510-500 BC who is not her husband New York, Metropolitan Museum 41.162.179 But the bed is connected to the house (a living olive tree) & cannot be moved w.o destroying the house Hero stands in centre, wearing white hat, carrying large bag over left arm (hidden behind left leg), tremendous sword in Odysseus knows this right hand to attack the fleeing panicking maidens Gets confirmation of his identity, & that he is worthy of her (on her level of intelligence) o Attacks the Gorgon Medusas immortal sisters Artist represents gorgons as beautiful maidens, not terrifying Other noteworthy qualities: Issues raised: o Xenia treating strangers as a friend Tolerating the suitors eating their way thru her o Why are the objects included important? What do they tell us about Perseus? home, property, money o Why are these maidens rather than monsters? The suitors do not uphold the idea, behaving like boars so her adherence to it is even more striking o How much can we attribute this to artistic choice? Not o Fidelity quite comparable in virtue to Odysseus enough evidence to answer this o Whats involved in presenting Perseus in this way? Admirable Excelling in fidelity to the excellence of a wife & Attacking maidens, wearing a cap of invisibility, women (stewardship of the home, weaving accels carrying a bag Great # of unlegendary moments in the broader fabric of this at all of these) story what do they do to the version of the story we have? o A general sense of arete in several areas Household duties o Seems like folktale instead give illustration of flexibility of legendary narrative & how it can be written The contrast w Clytemnestra (another nostos) A flexibility seen most often in Greek legends o The unfaithful, murderous wife of a dif kind of hero o Both waiting for long-absent husbands to return from the Some tells about miasma, some about xenia, some about more childish ways, etc. war so can compare & contrast Looking at the process more than the results o Penelope emerges as someone even more laudable, virtuous, because of what we know happened to other Vase gives reminder of flexibility involved wives in the Nostos o Perseus can attack both monsters like the Gorgons, and beautiful women o Issues of choice & evidence shaping what we can say about it how a story would differ if had dif legends about it Argos & Its Legends Legends connection w human history & places Historically: Myceneaen interconnected w economy, society, culture of city of Mycenae 1 of the leadings cities of the Argolid (region) o Northeast corner of Peloponnese Important cult of Hera, centred at what is now called the temple Argive Heraeum o Role of gods in this story o But not Hera who figures in this cycle of legends as much as Athena Athens overrepresented in the stories we have o Ask yourself: What are the gods doing in these stories, how do they matter, and why is it strange to us? Lineage (simplified, see pg 551) Inachus Io, Phoroneus Io 4 generations Abas twins Proetus (King of Tiryns), Acrisius (King of Argos) o Twins brothers always either the best of friends or absolute worst of enemies o Proetus & Acrisius fought in womb, fight civil war divide kingdom into 2 Acrisius Dana Perseus o Told by an oracle that Dana will produce a son that will kill him locks Dana in underground room in palace Danae & Zeus RF kalyx krater Dana and the Golden Rain The Triptolemos Painter Ca. 490-480 BC St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum 1602 Beautiful enough to attracted eye of Zeus enters th room as a shower of golden rain impregnates her Perseus To protect him hides him in underground chamber w her for 4 yrs Wouldve been successful except Acrisius heard Perseus playing w a rattle one day Black-figure lekythos Perseus escapes with the head of Medusa The Diosphos Painter Ca. 500 BC New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art 06.1070 Red-figure hydria Carpenter completing the chest for Dana and Perseus The Gallatin Painter Ca. 490 BC Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 13.200 Acrisius tries to absolve himself of making the decision Puts them into a chest & puts them out to sea o But they were alive the last time they saw him legally Acrisius at far left, giving directions; thinks the chest will think Another pic: grandfather consigning daughter & grandson to death out of self-interest o Danae & Perseus in chest, looking at Acrisius w sadness Chest floats away lands on nearby island of Seryclis? o Could be due to Zeus, Poseidon Found by good (as a person) fisherman Dictes (net) shelters them live there for many years Already: Divine parent, unusual circumstances of birth, exile; now becomes more complicated Dictess brother Polydectes: his opposite Polydectes falls for D
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