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[CLASSICS 2D03] - Final Exam Guide - Everything you need to know! (193 pages long)


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLASSICS 2D03
Professor
Graeme Ward
Study Guide
Final

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McMaster
CLASSICS 2D03
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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2- The Nature of Myth
Most important aspect of a myth?
A. Fantastic or supernatural nature of characters, places, or events
B. Its age, or length of time that the myth is removed from our present
C. Helps to explain the origins of a name, thing, or practice
D. The myth’s longevity, or ability to remain well known and relevant
E. Its relationship with ritual or religious practice
- myths can explain things from trivial to important
- myths have endurance, old, last a long time
- myths can have supernatural elements but don’t have to, nature of myths are often religious
and deal with ethics, gods, and things beyond ourselves like creation
- not all myths are religious but almost all ancient religions are mythical
- all 5 of these answers encompass what a myth is
Gods and Goddesses
- we have gods and goddesses in myths
- Thor: god of Thunder, sky god
- Ocyrus – god of the afterlife, Horus, Anubus – humanoid with animalistic qualities
Monsters and Kings
- Nessie, Bigfoot – can be good or bad
- King Arthur – French, Normand
Animals and Fables
- more Eastern traditions and indigenous traditions in North America
- animals that can speak or have human characteristics
- native creation story often involving a sky woman and animals who are critical to creation
which is not so in Greco-roman tradition
Linguistically
- Gr. Mythos
oMeans “Story, speech, meaning, word, idea”
oSome sort of symbol for sayong something or communicating something but generally
means story
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-mythos vs. logos (“truthful account”)
ooften contrasted with logos which means study, reasonable account, scholarly term
oPlato – Greek philosopher – distinguished between myth (caters to emotions) vs. logos
(reason, philosophy, ideas, mind)
Distinction became one of superiority
oReasoned inquiry into a topic (eg. Mythology)
- “Primitive”, oral mythos vs. “civilized” logos
omyth became primitive vs. reason and scholarly logos which was more civilized
- “Myth” vs. “legend/saga” vs. “folktale”
omyth had 3 diff categories  separated religious myth from legend/saga which occurred
in history but have been elaborated over time (King Arthur, the Trojan War) vs. folktale
– fantasy stuff, silly stories commoners think with monsters and giants and talking
animals
- “myth” apart from “reality”
ooccurs in our culture, a modern distinction that myth is something fake and untrue
whereas reality is something factual
Origins and “Truthiness” of Myth?
-Xenophanes (6th – 5th Century BCE)
oGreeks tried to explain myths
oPresocratic
oWe make myths out of ourselves, we make them up on our own
oWe create gods and their stories in our own image
oIf cattle could think and could reason, they would conceive of gods lookling like cows,
scorpion gods would look like scorpions
-Euhemerus (300 BCE)
oDisagreed with Xenophanes, he tins there was some truth to the stories but they were
elaborated over time
oBelieved there was a historical king named Zeus and over time he acquired stories and
myths and powers
oScylla
Female monster lived in a cave near the sea in Syclly.. had many heads and
necks and snatch sailors from ships
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