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Lecture 3

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Victoria Wohl

Lecture 3 Jan 16th 2011 Lecture 3 - Men, Gods, Beasts -Greeks like to tell myths and legends about -Mortals are ALWAYS inferior to Gods -Arachne was a rival Athena in weaving -> Athena so mad she turned her into a spider -by comparing to superiors, lets you think about own limitations -> help the Greeks to define what it is to be human (hardships and sufferings) -gods were similar to and different from humans -differences: gods have ‘ectar’, don’t eat normal human food, eat ambrosia, gods are ALL powerful (in their specific domain and the human world -> they can do anything they want) and live forever (immortality = athanatoi; humans = thnatoi = those who will die) Ex:Eos (dawn) fell in love with a human man Tithonus. She asked Zeus to give Tithonus eternal life, Zeus says yes BUT she forgot to ask Zeus o give tit eternal youth so he gets older and older until he was basically just a crackling dried out voice -> illustrates that human beings can’t live forever, aging and death apart of natural exist- ence -similarities: anthropomorphic -> represent the gods in human shape, human de- sires, motivations and emotions etc (see this in the Illiad -> have gods fighting on olym- pus for their fav. Team (invested in human affairs, but DO NOT suffer for them in the same way) and on ground humans fighting in Trojan war. Zeus can be human like or the upholder of justice (is literally the father of justice) (in trojan war-> weighed the life of Hector and AChilles on scales of life -> hectors was lighter so it was time for him to die so it was Zeus’ job to ) Ex: Sarpedon -> son of Zeus, about to be killed, Zeus stopped the battle -> takes Sarpedon from the battle, but Hera tells him that all the gods have kids on the battlefield, if you save Sarpedon, everyone will want to save their kids so Zeus let his son died “wept tears of blood”; so Gods feel for humans BUT there is a huge difference as to how they are affected Lecture 3 Jan 16th 2011 Ex:- Achilles complains about being dishonoured, goes to his mom a river goddess, so she goes to Zeus -> flirts with him so that Trojans win for a while so Greeks realize they need Achilles Hera scolds him -> Zeus yells at her (very human scene). Uses sex to get her own way -> borrows lingerie and perfume from Aphrodite. So gods are similar to humans (quarrel, make up, have sex, have desires etc) -Gods could enforce justice/morality BUT that doesnt mean they were moral them- selves. Greeks thought that the Gods were there to be ADMIRED but not to be emu- lated. They thought that ethics was a human responsibility (because you were good and were respectful of your fellow human being) -Greek thinkers: a) Xenophanes -> humans makes gods in their own image, by doing so -> we are projecting ourselves onto the gods so they are our own view of mankind. B) Protagoras: “man is the measure of all things” -Hesiod Theogony -gony = birth of gods; theo = gods -recites the birth of gods -start w/ nothing then gradually populate -Exhaustive detail -> names all the gods -made a good poem in the late 8th century (end of dark ages) -if composing and saying from memory all these gods and nymphs and etc its an impressive feat so detail - virtuosity in poetry -also, all the poleis started to communicate -> emphasis on the things that unite them ...= Panhellenism -Panhellenism = movement at begning of archaic period where greeks think of themselves as a whole instead of many parts; thing that comes out of this = the Olympics! -Panhellenic impulse -> Hesiod went to all the poleus and gather all the local myths and traditions and combined them together into one version that all greeks could agree them -line 370 -> all the greeks live near a river and to them its a god so I’m trying to name them all but there are so many I can’t name them all. Lecture 3 Jan 16th 2011 -Religious explanation: polytheistic -> believed in multiple Gods who are always represented as a community. Zeus is the leader of this comunity BUT never the ‘single’ god (kind of like the CEO) -divine life = sleeping w/ each other, partying together etc (shows ) -Olympics -> 7th century -every four years compete and worship Zeus communally together -Punishment for Gods if break oath: year long coma then other gods ostracize them -Pervasive part of humans, never separate from humans -envy, old age, justice, memory, rivers, mountains -> have a god for them, so when any humans envoke this a god is involved. Could also explain why the poem is so long! -Giants, typhoons, Pegasus, Echidna -> monsters gods (very different from us) -Earth, Heaven, Helios, Oceans -> natural element god -justice, oath, starvation etc -> abstractions gods all very diff from us BUT there are some similarities... -reproduce like humans do & have all the problems that come along with a fam. -very power hungry, very competitive (struggle b/w father and son for power) -At core of poem -> reproduction and struggle for power. -is a story of three generations of gods -succession myth (handing down of power via conflict from one generation to an- other generation) -story of violent conflict b/w 3 generations of father and son -starts w/ the muses and ZEus and their greatness -> clue as to how the story is going to end -AT the beginning... -Cha
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