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Lecture 4

CLA236 - Lecture 4.docx

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Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA232H1
Professor
Victoria Wohl

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Look up founding of Rome (Romus vs Remis and the birds) Look up prophecy by liver? I can’t pay you back today, not enough dots on a liver Used things to try and predict the future. Like we use the horoscopes today. Oracles  Also used oracles to predict the future. So one site is Delphi (the myth something about Zeus spitting?? Look up) o There you can ask personal questions. Why haven’t I had a child? Should I go on a trip o Or civil questions: Should the city go to war etc.  Another one is Pythia (Apollo had to defeat to become the king of something and pythia was his priest? Look up). A picture of her sitting on a three legged chair (used for sacrifice but also prizes). o The theory was that there were fumes there that made people high. However, more recent geological excavations proved this untrue.  Another explanation is that she chewed enough basil leaves to get her stoned. o Pythia was an illiteral young girl from the village. And she is told that the god will enter you and he will speak to you. So this worked on her imagination and she went crazy and would say stuff. The priests would charge for these prophecies. And make money of her. The GREEKS were completely certain that it would work. They thought they would know the will of Zeus through Apollo, his son. o However the answers that they gave were often very ambiguous. And the people who received them couldn’t always interpret them. They couldn’t always use this knowledge. o On the temple it was inscribed “Gnothi Seauton” which means know thyself, which means by definition that you are human.  There is an extended idea of this in Oedipus. He doesn’t know that he started the plague, married his mother etc. So the play is about coming to know THYSELF.  Thebes is suffering from a plague in the beginning of the play. The crops aren’t good. High mortality rate.  Thebes was being tormented by Sphinx. They posed a riddle to the Thebians, and if they got it wrong they were dying. o Oedipus answers the riddle and gets rid of sphinx. o He is a problem solver. This is why he is king.  Also Oeda in greek could be interpreted as “I know”  Now he wants to solve the riddle of the plague. o So he went to oracle. There was a murder in thebes of the last king Laius, and the murderer wasn’t punished, so there is a pollution in thebes.  Even then the murderer needed to be punished. Fairity o At this point he says, “I send a curse of the murderer. And if the murderer lives inside my walls, I shall suffer the same curse. I shall find him or them and banish them all and make them all suffer for eternity” o Teiresias is the classic SEE-er. He can see into the future, despite that he is blind.  He says. YOU are the murderer you seek. You with your eyes do not see the truth. You do not know who you are, who your parents are, from what you are born.  So new question: Who is Oedipus. o Turns out he was born to Laius and Jocasta ( the oracle said that he is bound to kill his father and sleep with his mother).
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