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McGill University
CLAS 206
Martin Sirois

CLAS 206 MIDTERM REVIEW Lecture 1 - Reception: modern reflexes e.g. imagination, investigation, analysis o Appropriation & adaptation of ancient Greco-Roman culture/literature in modern media o Different meanings for film scholars and for classicists  Film scholars: “audience response”  Classicists: the use, adaptation, reshaping of classical paradigms (themes, motifs, characters) - “Classics”… Historical period between 800 BCE – 200 CE - “Modern media”… publishing (textual), music (audio), cinema, TV, theatre (audio-visual), etc. o Any form of expression in conventional or artistic form o Contains a significant historical or cultural message o Communicated through oral, textual, or visual means and transmitted on a material or digital medium - Compared to “Ancient media” … o Textual: manuscripts, epigraphy o Material: archaeology, sculpture, architecture (visual), wall paintings, etc. - Classical reception studies: how and why ancient Greco-Roman culture has been received, adapted, refigured, used and abused in later times and places o How the culture has been received:  Translation: material gets lost in translation, therefore adaptation becomes important  Adaptation: reworking “mythemes” and ideals from one culture into another (e.g. value, honour, relationships)  Reorienting: new usage (inherent message) o Why they have been received in modern media/culture:  ROME (parallels to America):  Political & military ideology  Corruption & moral decline  Spectatorship and games at amphitheaters  Imperialism (political AND cultural)  GREECE (less similar to the US)  Super-heroism (e.g. Hercules)  Female tragedies  Difficult subjects (philosophy) or cultural taboos (homosexuality)  less popular in American culture Lectures 2 & 3 - Reception studies: the representation of classical antiquity in pop culture o Modern reception = idealization or subversion of antiquity? o Intertextuality – does reception shed light on the (modern) receiving society but not on the ancient text or context? i.e. modern culture can create new ways of thinking of ancient works - The “open work” o A work to be re-read, re-interpreted, and transformed: a perpetual work in progress, morphing into new media over the centuries (e.g. Homer and the Odyssey) - Classical tradition vs. Classical reception o Tradition is necessarily reception  Chain of influence (e.g. Homeridae – group who performed Homeric works and poems after his death) o Reception suggests tradition  Isolated appropriation (movie 300 – clearly a reception, however not really a traditional, historical take)  Parallels with ancient works (Odyssean reading of a movie) o Example: Homer the poet  tradition or reception?  Overlap of the terms  Tradition = diachrony (spans over time) vs. Reception = synchrony (here and now in a particular time) - The “Democratic Turn” – modern media (i.e. the Internet) exposes classics/antiquity to the mass public, rather than academics and the elite - Universal values from classics to present: fate, honour and loyalty, morality, etc. - ARISTOTLE (384 BCE – 322 BCE) o Wrote the first text on dramatic theory (Poetics)  Attended Plato’s Academy, tutored Alexander the Great, became head of the Academy after Plato’s death, later started his own school (Lyceum) - POETICS (~335 BCE) o Poetry = forms of IMITATION (contra Plato) o 3 aspects in which poetic genres can be distinguished:  1. The medium through which they present their imitation  As painters use colors and shapes, poets use rhythm, language, and harmony  2. The object of imitation/representation  Poetry is the representation of the actions of human beings (ex. tragedy: morally superior men; comedy: morally inferior men)  3. The mode or manner of the imitation  Narrative (story told by a narrator)  Drama (actions enacted by actors) o Definition of tragedy: “tragedy is an imitation (representation) of an action [not a narrative] that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude… with elements that should arouse pity and fear, so as to accomplish the purgation (catharsis) of such emotions” o Six parts of a tragedy:  Plot (mythos)  Most important element; unity and probability  Goal of tragedy: catharsis (relieving of emotions) o Accomplished through fear and pity  Plot has 3 parts: o Reversal of fortune o Recognition o Emotion  Character (ethos)  HERO: good, propriety, true to life (relatable), consistency o Hamartia (tragic flaw): hero mistakenly brings about his own downfall because he does not know better  Thought (theme) – not developed by Aristotle  Diction – reflects character (social level, education, personality)  Song/music – chorus: “the greatest of pleasures”  Spectacle (opsis) – depends more on the art of staging than the poet - HOMER o Who was he? Unitarians: single poet-author; Analysts: multiple poets  Homer was likely a link in a chain of many poets who adapted the Homeric works over time and generations o The Odyssey: did Odysseus tell Penelope the truth about his odyssey?  Odysseus: known for his cunning and intelligence, use of language, street smarts, etc.  “My name is nobody” – my name is Not-Someone (outis) o 2 negations: “ou” and “me” o “Someone” = tis o Outis = Metis = Nobody = cunning Lecture 4 Women in Ancient Greece - Penelope’s ruses: message to the suitors, shroud of Laertes, Odysseus’ garments (sign that maybe Penelope knew the beggar’s true identity), contest of the bow, test of the bed = the recognition - 3 paradigms of marriage: o Helen & Menelaus (Iliad) – Helen was “kidnapped” by Paris OR she followed him “willingly” o Clytemnestra & Agamemnon (Iliad) – Murder of Agamemnon; revenge of Agamemnon’s son Orestes o Penelope & Odysseus (Odyssey) – faithfulness? Telemachus = Orestes? In Hades, Agamemnon warns Odysseus of Penelope Lecture 5 & 6 9/11 and the Classical World – Part I Roman Empire in 69 AD - Vespasian 67-79 AD (fairly good) o Fights off rebellions, has the biggest army and most respect… brings order back to Rome  Shows that Rome is healthy again by going back on the
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