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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 Greek Culture

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

Lecture 5 Greek Culture- September 25 th o Sex was a means of reproducing the human species o Humans defined by limited knowledge (Oedipus the king) o On one side of Apollo’s temple it says “know thyself”; and Oedipus thought was useful as that is, it can be hard to discover oneself o Oedipus doesn’t understand how inescapable his fate is- but is it possible to escape? o What good does it do us to know ourselves- does it profit us? Oedipus cant seem to fix his fate even when he knows it o Nothing one can do to avoid our fate, so why bother (as jocasta believes), why not live at random? o So if his cant escape his fate; then the ethics are put in an unknown position o Odeipus then plucks out his eyes with Jocasta’s broach o Bacchants explores the other encryption on Apollo’s temple “Nothing in Excess” o Back. Will question the possibility and desirability of nothing in excess o How do you know your limits if you don’t test them? What will you be missing? o Together these word on Apollo’s temple mean sophrosume; meaning to think safely o So wisdom that comes from knowing your place or yourself; restrained kind of wisdom o Also knowing your place in society (for women- chastity) o Dionysus was the god of wine, party, drunkenness, and madness o He has a strange status in Greek tradition; has an ambient character, seems to have a mixed gender thing going on o Semele was sleeping with Zeus; but her sisters didn’t believe her; so Semele asks Zeus to visit her in her divine form; burning her to a crisp (he is lighting) o But Zeus reaches into her embers and pulls out the embryo, Zeus placed Dionysus in his thigh and then brings him to term when he is born o “Twice born” born form Semele and Zeus; also another story of Hera having Dionysus killed but Zeus gathers his remains and he is reborn o A god with qualities of a human being o He can bring us a little bit of divinity into our human lives; one way he does that is through wine. He makes us forget our suffering, pain and unhappy lives o When you are drinking wine, you are worshipping Dionysus; libation is an offering to the Gods; drop a bit when drinking to show your libation to the Gods o To drink wine is to erase our hardships that surround us o Ikarios- when Dionysus first came to Greece, Ikarious was hospitable to him, so Dio. Taught him how to make wine, and Ikarios invited his friends and neighbors over, and after the first bit of fun, his friends drank too much (thinking they had been poisoned) and they killed Ikarios o This state of defined madness was exhilarating and scary- but the worship o Bacchants are worshippers of Dionysus o Maenads are the women that follow Dionysus, and worship him, they are “loose” and fun o Dionysian worship allow women to be alone on the mountains which was unusual; go
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