Classical Studies 2200 Lecture Notes - Dactylic Hexameter, Gustave Moreau, Sea Foam

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October 4, 2010
Creation and Evolution of the Universe Hesiod’s Theogony
Boetia ancient city
- theo (god) + gone = birth of the gods
- comogony = birth of the world order
o creation of the world
- divind dynastic succession
- elaborate hymn to zeus
o how zeus comes into power and how he establishes himself as the
everlasting ruler
- oral epic tradition
- near eastern influence
o eg: enuma elish/eic of creation
- genealogy of the Gods
- how the world/was passed down through the different generations of Gods
- epics were passed down as songs
The Ancient Greek Idea of the Universe (p.63)
- Believed the world to be flat
- tartarus = the worst part of the underworld
o underworld of the Greeks = for everyone; good + bad
Features of the Breek Oral Epic Tradition
- dactylic hexameter
- repetition
o allows composer to stress on a certain fact + lead up to next point
- formulae and epithets
o characters have specific adjectives describing the characters
eg. Zeus = thunder gatherer
o formulae = set words / phases that can be used in a number of
o building block to keep he narrative going
- ring composition
o beating around the bush
o takes you back to the point
o another way for the poet to think up about what to write about next in
the story
- catalogues
o display the poet’s ability to remember
o using all /many names of useless ppl to describe something
- invocation of Muses of other god
o getting the stories from a divine source
o Gods have inspired the poet > not just making it up
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Zeus + Mnemosyne (Memory a titan ) = 9 muses
- signified that memory = very important in oral tradition
- they usually dance around the alter of Zeus in his honor
- muses lived on Mt. Helikon where there is a sacred spring
Gustave Moreau > Hesiod and the Muses
- Hesiod is given a crown
- Hesiod’s encounter with the Muses = gives credibility to the story
- Gets the word music from muse
- Their role is to inspire poets + kings + etc
- Muses perform dances on Mt. Olympus to entertain the Gods
- Hesiod claims that the muses taught him speech
o Inspire = breath into someone
o Breathed inspiration to Hesiod through a reed
- Starts out with the Muses saying that they tell great lies + truths > doesn’t
mean the poem is true… or is it?
- Cronion = son of Cronus
- Muses bless the Kings the power of good speech (counsel, speeches, etc)
- How everything comes from Zeus
The Beginning
- first only chaos (absolute nothingness)
- then gaia, tartaros, eros (desire)
o the 4 = primary beings
o eros = divine cosmic principle that sets everything in motion (has
everyone mating with everyone)
- gaia = ouranos (sky, heaven), mountains, sea by asexual reproduction
o gaia’s body = earth
- mating w. ouranos = 12 titans, 3 cyclopes, 4 hundred handed ones
- ouranos does not allow them to be born
o he feared + loathed his children
The Second Generation (Titans)
- Gaia makes a sickle (from her own body) > used in an agricultural implement
- Gives it her last born Kronos (the youngest) for him to castrates and
overthrows his father Ouranos
o Resulting in Kronos = Kind of the titans
- From Ourano’s blood and genitals = furies, giants, Aphrodite
o Furies = goddesses who avenge crimes against someone in the family
o Genitals themselves + sea foam of the ocean = Aphrodite (born of the
sea foam ) > born near island of Cyprus (cyprians = epithets =
adjectives commonly used to the goddess) > closely tied to Eros >
powers of sex + love + flirtation = deceit
The Third Generation
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- Kronos + sister Rheia mate = Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, Zeus
- Kronos swallows them (so that none of his kids will overthrow him)
o Saturn Latin name/Roman name = Kronos
- Rheia tricks Kronos and hides baby Zeus in a cave on Crete (usually where
magical things happen)
o W. help of her mother Gaia
- Gives Kronos a stone in swaddling clothes
- Zeus grows up + overthrows his father > tricking him into vomiting up his
o W. help of wood nymphs
- The stone (omphalos) is placed at Pytho (Delphi)
o Delphi thought to be the center of the Earth (where the two eagles
o Omphalos = naval of the world
- Hestia = first + last born
Zeus Establishes his Rule
- fights many large battles + coming out as victor
- frees Cyclopes + hundred handed ones (imprisoned by Ouranos)
o gain allies
- Cyclopes give Zeus lightning bolts
- Punishment of Prometheus and eventual glorification of Herakles
- Titanomachy (Battle of the Titans)
o Zeus imprisons Titans in Tartaros
- Typhonomachy (Battle w Typhoios)
o Typhoios = dragon w. a hundred heads > child of Gaia + Tartaros
o Could have been the ruler of the Earth had Zeus been late on the
o Dragon is imprisoned under Mt. Edna (volcano in Sicily)
- As king of immortals, Zeus distributes roles and privileges
- Zeus’s children = all good gods + goddesses + etc vs Kronos’s children = bad
Dynastic Succession
1st generation: Ouranos, Gaia
2nd generation: Kronos and Rheia
3rd generation: Zeus and Hera (1st generations Olympians
4th generation: Children of Zeus (2nd generation Olympians)
The Divine Wives and Children of Zeus
- Metis > cunning intelligence (Swalled by Zeus, who then produces Athena
from his head)
o Athena = virgin goddess
o In doing so, she is aligned most closely with Zeus
- Themis > what is right and prope- divine dusticer (Seasons, Justice, Fates)
- Eurynome > broad ruling (a titan) (Graces > brings pleasure and
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