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GREEK NOTES.pdf


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTHROP 2G03
Professor
John Colarusso

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Identity
-non-slavic Balkan peoples (would characterize the Albanians also)
-pre-IE Greece: many odd words, place names.
1st wave IE (c. 2500 BCE): Pelasgians, Pelastoi (Baltic like), Centaurs, Tyrsenians (Lemnians)
(Hittite-like)
2nd Wave IE:
1. 2a: Mycenaean Greeks (c. 1800 BCE), Bronze Age, wrote in Linear-B, destroyed
Minoan civilization (2500-1200 BCE) of Crete. Fought Trojan War (1250 BCE).
Continued by the Ionian Greeks (eastern mediterranean and west coast of Anatolia)
2. 2b: DOrian Greeks from north (1200-1100 BCE). Mycenaean and Dorian together are
now called Hellenic. Shared Balkans with Illyrians, Epirotes, Thracians, Mysians, Brygi,
Macedonians, Dacians, and Getae. Had many cultural influences from Anatolians (1st
wave).
Characteristic Features:
-Gods, both Olympians and non-Olympians
-Titans
-Nymphs: female godlets
-Demi-god: (half god) heroes
-fertility and eroticism
-divine meddling in human affairs
-natural order and fate (prophecy) and violations thereof
-rapes, violations and punishments
-trickery and wit
-war, dynastic strife
-place names, names of nations
-travelogues
-genealogies and dynasties
-cultic centers
-”recycling of peoples and nymphs into plants or stars etc
-tragedy and irony as forms of fate working in the lives of mortals
-psychological profiles
-deviant acts: incest, cannibalism
-extreme pride, hubris, and its disastrous effects
-nightmarish scenes and episodes
-greek myths explore the darker aspects of the human spirit as few other traditions do
CREATION:

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-first formless chaos
-night and erebus (depths of death) formed
-night laid a wind born egg in the bosom of Erebus
-love (Eros) hatched out
-Love gave birth to Light and Day
-earth rose up
-Earth first bore the starry heavens
LAYOUT OF THE UNIVERSE:
-the world was empty after the struggle of the Titans and the Gods
-Earth was divided equally by the Mediterranean and Black Sea
-ocean ringed the earth
-the far shore of Ocean was home to mysterious peoples
-the Cimmerians dwelt in eternal night and mist
-at the back of the North Wind (Boreas) blissfully lived the Hyperboreans (Beyond-Boreas)
-the Muses lived near to them
-in the south lived the Ethiopians whom the gods joined at banquets
EARLY GENERATIONS:
-Gaea (Mother Earth) and Ouranos/Uranus (Father Heaven) begot:
-3 Hundred Handed Fifty Headed ones
-3 Cyclopes
-Titans (some say these are from the Boreas, hte North Wind, who mated with
Eurynome, the daughter of Chaos; Eurynome laid a “Universal Egg”; the titans hatched out
-the Titans paired off:
-Theia-Hyperion Sun (Godly-High one)
-Phoebe-Atlas Moon
-Dione-Crius Mars
-Metis-Coeus Mercury
-Themis-Eurymedon Jupiter (Passionate - Wide Counsel)
-Tethys-Oceanus Venus (ocean)
-Rhea-Cronus Saturn (flow-time)
THEOGONY, SUCCESSION
-Ouranos imprisoned the 100 hands -50 heads in the earth

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-Gaea sought the help of the Titans to free her first children
-Cronus led revolt. The castrated Ouranos with a sickle and threw his father’s genitals over his
left shoulder.
-Cronus reigned with his sister queen Rhea (flow, river)
-therefor Cronus ate his children: Hestia (hearth), Demeter (god’s mother), Hera (year), Hades
(self knowing reunion), Poseidon (lord of rivers)
-Rhea hid Zeus in Crete. She gave Cronus a stone to swallow. She bathed him in the River
Neda. She hung his golden cradle from an ash, Adrasteia, neither in heaven nor earth. Guarded
by her sons, the Curetes, who clashed their weapons together to hide his crying.
-Rhea gave Cronus an emetic. The vomited his children up. Zeus freed the 100 hands and the
50 heads. Together with the Cyclopes they fought Cronus and the Titans.
-Cyclopes gave a thunderbolt to Zeus, a helmet of darkness to Hades and a Trident to Poseidon
-Hades stole Cronus’ weapons, Poseidon diverted him with the trident, and Zeus slew him with
the thunderbolt
-100 hands-50 heads pelted Titans. Goat Pan chased them away with a shout
-Titans thrown down into Tartarus, the brazen (bronze) walled. Their leader Atlas was made to
carry the sky. Prometheus was spared, but punished later.
MYTH OF THE AGES:
-the gods made humans, men first as:
1. Golden Age: god-like men living in abundance; died and became guardians of
humankind.
2. Silver Gae: stupid and hurt themselves, and so passed away.
3. Bronze Age: terrible war-like men who eventually killed one another.
4. Heroic Age: noble-god like heroes who passed on to the land of the Blessed Dead.
5. Iron Age: present humans, evil, locked in toil and strife, abused by their leaders, growing
ever worse, to be destroyed by Zeus when they reach ultimate baseness.
THE TWELVE OLYMPIANS
-named after Mount Olympus, the highest peak in Greece
-often associated with typed of trees and certain mammals or birds
-Zeus: supreme leader, law-giver, shining, shape changer, husband of Hera, philanderer, god of
the storm cloud, wields lightning, carries aegis, demands right action and truth, associated with
eagles, and with oaks. His grove of oaks at Dodona was scared.
-Companions of Zeus: Themis: divine justice, right. Dike: human justice. Nemesis: righteous
anger. Aidos: humility, empathy
-Hera: cow faced, resentful and suspicious wife of Zeus. (sister to Zeus). Seeks vengeance
upon women whom Zeus loves. (nursed by 4 seasons; received wedding gift of golden apples
from her mother Gaea. Supports heroes only in the Golden Fleece adventure. Ilithyia was her
daughter and helped in childbirth.
Demeter: (god’s mother) - goddess of corn, daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Her daughter
Persephone was abducted by Hades. Demeter searched in sorrow for her daughter while the
world entered a blight. In Eleusis, she found refuge with a peasant family, 4 girls, a young
boy, their mother Metaneira and father Celeus. Metaneira extended hospitality to Demeter not
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