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Lecture

greek lecture Oct 2nd & 4th

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA232H1
Professor
Victoria Wohl
Semester
Fall

Description
Oct 2nd Greeks vs. Barbarians/Non Greeks: what makes Greeks Greek? • • they all speak a dialect of the same language • • pan Hellenic activities: Olympics, Oracle at Delphi etc. • • Also the Theogony gave them a connection • • We may be different, but we are more similar to each other than foreigners • • the foreigner helped to define the Greeks as Greek • • how did they know who was a foreigner? • • 1. Geography: Hellespont- Dividing line between Europe and Asia • however there were Greeks living in Asia Minor (Turkey) • 2. Language: barbarian comes from barbaroi (an onomatopoeia meaning that all the non Greek’s speech sounded like bar-bar- bar-bar-bar) • 3. Cultural differences: minor diffs like what you ate or war, or major like your government or laws • • however it was not so clear cut, much to the Greeks dismay: some Asians would use Greek customs; and Greeks would use Persian culture (letters, some art, maybe even the concept of the polis!) • • Greeks didn’t really racialize foreigners; such as physical appearance • • Greeks did define race: “genos” • • they thought Ethiopia was closer to the sun, which is why Ethiopians were so dark (fucking awesome) • it didn’t matter if you were black or white, but it mattered who you served, how you thought etc. • • the watershed moment for the divide between Persians and Greeks was the Persian Wars (490-480 BCE) • before the war the Greeks had contact with Asia • • the Trojans were the ancestors of the Persians • • however where the Trojans were viewed as human and not anti- Greek, the Persians were (xenophobic, bad, scary etc.) • • Greece won the battle! took great pride in that • • Greece kind of came into the scene later culture wise; so this was kind of the tipping point for them, they gained respect etc. • • Herodotus wrote about this war, and also about their interactions before the war. cultural contact, how they came to know each other etc. • • he’s going to tell about the conflict, but also about each side’s accomplishments; look at the cultural differences that led to conflict • • how does Herodotus describe the Hellenos and the Barbaros • • Herodotus says the wars started because of cultures stealing each other’s wives (women snatching) • this could be another form of “women causing all the problems” or that if one race could fall in love with another, so they might not be so different, or stealing princesses could hurt the other race • • marriage can be a connector between cultures; but rape and stealing is a rift creator • • did Helen get raped and kidnapped? was Helen a slut? did she fall in love with a foreigner? • • according to Herodotus Io fell in love/ was raped by a Phoenician; Medea; Helen • • Herodotus was known as the father of history and the father of lies • • no clear boundary btw the personal and the political differences • • Herodotus: the Persians blame the Greeks for the Trojan war; getting Helen back was a matter of pride and honor for the Greeks; the Trojans don’t think that’s so cool • • Hero doesn’t just tell the history form one perspective, but from all sides, more or less equally- his method is to give you multiple opinions on the same event, and juxtaposing them “I heard this from the Delphians, but here is what the Persians say…” • • ultimately he rejects that the women snatching is the start of the war; says instead that the sacking of Lidia was the start • • Croesus and Solon: Croesus (King of Lidia, lived two generations before the Persian war) was the first king to come in contact with the Greeks (alliance etc.) came into contact with Solon (a Greek lawmaker) • • Croesus himself was conquered by the Persians (attacked by Cyrus); we can say Croesus the first main victim of Persian aggression • • Croesus is both an opposite and an analogy of the Greeks • • Hero: during the 6 th century there were a lot of wise men wandering around: Solon was a lawmaker and politician in Athens; he established the laws that led to democracy • • the Greek representative was a lawmaker (laws were important to Greeks); he had sworn the Athenians to uphold the laws for ten years and then leaves for Sardis (on purpose) • • Solon and Athens a parallel, both are rising (Bane) • • Solon comes to the palace of Croesus, and Croesus offers xenia (hospitality to foreigner; “xeno” means foreigner) • • xenia was important to Greeks, Persians, Ethiopians etc. it was guaranteed by Zeus himself (like in Euripides’ Cyclops, lack of xenia on both sides) • • the whole Trojan war can be seen as a lack of Xenia (Menelaus offers Troy Xenia, then they steal his wife! WTF man) • • xenia, like marriage, is a positive cross cultural connector • • back to Croesus, shows Solon his palace and wealth; Croesus asks Solon who is the happiest (olbos) man on earth (wants him to say Croesus, of course!) • • Croesus is soo rich and powerful, he MUST be the happiest. this is a Greek perspective of Asians’ form of happiness • • Persia is supposed to be very rich compared to Greece • • “Persians have the money, Greeks have their piety and bravery” • • Solon responds: “some Athenian Tellus, his city was prosperous, he had fine sons, had grandkids, fought for his country and died, given a public funeral (a long life and an honorable death), epitatheos: puts patriotism before wealth; next these two brothers Cleobis and Biton: lived in Argos near Sparta, comfortable, their physical strength was awesome, yoked themselves to the wagon and took their mother to temple, mother prays to Hera to give her sons the greatest gift to mortals, they go into temple and die (being humble and pious), look to the end count no man happy until he’s dead (Oedipus reference, Croesus doesn’t listen to Solon, sends him on his way)” • • Croesus has a cynical attitude to religion/oracles; thinks he can buy them off; sends messengers to oracles to see if any of them are truly psychic (randomly boils a turtle and a helmet and sees if they know what he is doing). Delphi wins and he starts sending so much wealth there • • Croesus interprets prophecies that he will take down his enemy Cyrus, but instead is captured and burned alive; groans out Solon’s name, Cyrus hears the whole story, realizes he shouldn’t be burning another mortal man, and orders to stop the fire. the fire won’t go out, but Croesus prays to Apollo, who sends rain. Croesus becomes Cyrus’ advisor • • Croesus accuses the gods of misleading him, but the oracle tells him it was fate that Lidia would fall in his generation (Croesus great
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