CLAA06H3 Final: Part C

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Classical Studies
Yuriy Lozensky

Part C: 1. p.72: Hesiod’s Theogony on the Castration of Uranus: written by Hesiod, in Theogony. Uranus throws all of his children into Tartarus, inside Ge. Ge realizes his evil, and she creates a great sickle. She asked all of her children for help killing Uranus, and only Cronus answered the call. She gave him the sickle, and when Uranus came to Ge looking for love, Cronus used the sickle to cut his genitals off. From the blood that fell to Earth, Giants and nymphs were born. And the genitals landed in the sea, which frothed and the goddess Aphrodite was created through the foam. This is Hesiod’s telling of the Divine Myth of the myth of succession, as the son defeats the father with the help of the mother. This also shows a theme of animism vs anthropomorphism, as Ge and Uranus are known as both the sky and Earth, and her children are literally cast inside of her. But, they have anthropomorphic forms, enough to make love and have genitals. 2. P.103: Ovid’s Metamorphoses on Deucalion and Pyrrha: Written by Ovid, in Metamorphoses. Zeus created a huge flood to wipe out humanity after the Prometheus myth. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha sat atop a raft to save themselves from the flood, which ran aground on a mountain. No man was more devoted to justice than Deucalion, and no woman was more reverent toward the gods as Pyrrha. Zeus saw this and spared them, by asking Triton to call back the waves. Deucalion and Pyrrha went to the temple of Themis to pray. She said to throw the bones of their mothers behind them as they walked, and as they did so, the bones grew and became new humans. This is comparative mythology to other religions around the world, in which there is often a Great Flood, with a man and a woman surviving and repopulating the Earth. Deucalion would be the Greek version of Noah. 3. P.126: Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite on Ganymede: Written by Homer, in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite. Zeus, as an eagle, took prince Ganymede because of his beauty, to become the wine-pourer of the gods. Ganymede’s father, Tros, had no idea where Zeus took Ganymede, and Tros wept every day. As recompense, Zeus gave him brisk-trotting horses which carry the gods as a gift. Hermes delivered a message to Tros about how Ganymede would become immortal, and Tros rejoiced. The myth represents a spiritual calling from a god and a call of duty that many heroes had to take. Zeus was supposedly attracted to the prince; him and Ganymede were alluded to having a homosexual relationship together as well, which shows almighty god Zeus exhibit an anthropomorphic trait. 4. P.131: Homer’s Odyssey on Aphrodite and Ares: written by Homer, in the Odyssey. In the passage, Aphrodite and Ares lay in Aphrodite’s husband Hephaestus’ home, because Hephaestus had a broken leg and Ares was handsome and had all limbs working. Helius, the Sun, witnessed their lovemaking, and told Hephaestus. Hephaestus lay a trap of invisible unbreakable chains in his bed, and pretended to journey far away. Ares went to his bed with Aphrodite, and both were trapped to the bed. Hephaestus came in and was pissed af. He summoned all the gods to the bed to look upon the two trapped ones. The gods all laughed, except for Poseidon, who begged for their release. Hephaestus accepted, and the two gods fled. This myth is significant because it gives a lesson that the lame Hephaestus, using his intelligence, outwits the nimble and powerful Ares. This attributes to the reoccurring greek moral that the pen and intelligence is mightier than the sword. One other idea that we can take from this story is that Hephaestus only invited the gods to acknowledge this act of shame and not the goddesses. This tells us that in the Greek society of then, women were not to acknowledge vile and shameful acts and were protected from such actions. 5. P.143: Xenophanes: Written by Xenophanes, but not in a specific piece of poetry. Moreso, the passage speaks of his opinions on anthropomorphic gods. Xenophanes thinks that Homer and Hesiod describe the gods as very human, using mortal sins such as stealing, adultery, and deception. Mortals think that gods are born and wear clothes and have a voice just like them. If horses had religion, their gods would look like horses. This passage is significant because it sums up the foolishness of over anthropomorphism. To think that gods look and act just like humans, other than immortality and power, implies that gods aren’t much different than humans, which is hubris to think in greek religion. 6. P.183: Ovid’s Metamorphoses on Arachne: written by Ovid, in Metamorphoses. Arachne became a wool weaver who was as skilled as the goddess Athena. Athena became jealous of Arachne’s skill. Athena had trained Arachne herself, and when compared, Arachne said “let her compete with me.” Athena disguised herself as an old woman and tried to teach Arachne, but the woman rudely refused advice. Athena revealed herself, and foolishly Arachne still accepted the weaving contest that Athena challenged. Arachne embroidered perfectly, so Athena beat her ass until Arachne tried to hang herself. It was then that Athena turned Arachne into a spider. This didactic story exemplifies hubris; defying the gods because of pride. In greek society, one must never think they are better than a god. It also shows etiology, on how the first spiders came to be. 7. P. 204: Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite: written by Homer, in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite. The hymn speaks about Aphrodite. She can ensnare any being with love, except for the three virgin goddesses, Athena, Artemis, and Hestia. These three cannot be swayed by the goddess of love. Aphrodite has even swayed the heart of Zeus to mate with mortals. Yet, Zeus put longing for the mortal Anchises into Aphrodite’s heart, and she fell in love with him. When Anchises first saw Aphrodite, he believed her to be an immortal or a goddess because of her beauty. She told him that she is just a mortal princess and that she would like to marry him. Overcome with love created from Aphrodite, Anchises lay with her right there, thinking she was mortal. When he woke he revealed that he knew she was immortal, but he asked to stay with her. She denied, but said that their son, Aeneas, will rule Troy. She warned him not to tell anyone who the mother is, and to say that his mother is a nymph. This myth has a theme of anthropomorphism, how gods and goddesses can fall in love and act like normal humans. There is also a warning of hubris; Anchises was warned not to boast about laying with Aphrodite. 8. P. 222: Sappho’s Aphrodite: written by Sappho, nameless poems on Aphrodite. In it, the writer Sappho prays to the beautiful love goddess to help a woman fall in love with the female Sappho. Aphrodite heard her pleas, and performed what she wished for; soon the woman will love Sappho. This is interesting because in ancient Greek society, gay/lesbian relationships would be considered sinful and against the wishes of the gods. The only time it would be acceptable is if a god was performing the act, such as Zeus, or a god approved of the act, such as Aphrodite. 9. P. 237: Euripides’ Hippolytus speech of Aphrodite: written by Euripedes, in Hippolytus. It is an Aphrodite speech in response to learning about Hippolytus not thinking she is beautiful. She announces that she is the most beautiful of all the gods, and can put everyone at her mercy. She says Hippolytus renounces sex and marriage, and that he thinks Artemis is the greatest of the gods. Likewise, he thinks Aphrodite as being the worst of the dieties. As revenge, Aphrodite made Hippolytus’ step mom fall in love with him. This is an example of hubris; denouncing the gods and openly announcing that one god is the worst of them. In other cases of myths, the gods exact revenge on those who oppose them. 10. P. 252: Homeric Hymn to Apollo Delos accepts Leto: Written by Homer, in Hymn to Apollo. This is about Apollo’s birth, where Leto, Apollo’s mother, has been impregnated by Zeus and was looking for a place to give birth. Finally, the island of Delos accepts them, and builds a temple honoring Apollo. Delos was afraid at first of harboring Apollo, as Apollo was rumoured to be one of the strongest gods in existence. The people of Delos are afraid that the god will sink their island. Leto swore upon the river Styx that this place will be sacred to Apollo and that he will honor them. The significance of Leto’s oath is how binding it is. Swearing on the River Styx is the greatest and most binding oath in Greek mythology, and in greek religion, oaths are most always upheld, or great tragedy would occur to the oathtaker. Also, Delos becomes the sacred place for Apollo, and in other myths he retains his ties to the island. 11. P. 286: Homeric Hymn to Hermes Hermes invents the lyre: written by Homer, in Hymn to Hermes. Child Hermes saw a tortoise waddling along, and picked it up and killed it. He removed the corpse of the tortoise from its shell, cut reeds into different sizes and stuck them onto the inside of the turtle shell. He attached 7 strings of sheep gut, and created the first lyre. He played it and quickly became a master, singing about Zeus and his renown at Hermes’ birth. This is significant because it attempts to explain the invention of the lyre, one of the most used instruments in greek society (etiology). Something that important to the Greeks is stories to be made by the gods, not by humans. 12. P. 320: Euripides’ Bacchae death of Pentheus: written by Euripedes, in the Bacchae. Pentheus is the king of Thebes who defied Dionysus and wanted the god to serve him. Dionysus brought pentheus to a forest where Dionysus’ maenads lived, but Pentheus couldn’t see them. Dionysus perched pentheus on a tree, and called for the maenads to bring vengeance on him for mocking them and dionysus himself. The women uprooted the tree and tore him limb from limb. This is one of the most horrific and gruesome ends to come of those to commit hubris. Pentheus mocked Dionysus and the creatures of the forest. 13. P. 346: Homeric Hymn to Demeter reunion with Persephone: written by Homer, in Hymn to Demeter. Hermes asked Hades to give Demeter back her daughter Persephone, as Hades has stolen Persephone for himself and Demeter has been creating droughts for humans on Earth. Hades agreed to give her back, but forcefully had her eat pomegranate from the underworld. Upon reunion with Demeter, the goddess asked Persephone if she ate anything while down below. Persephone said yes, and so she had to stay in Hades’ realm for one third of a year, and was allowed to stay on Olympus with her mother for the other two thirds. Persephone tells her story of how she was kidnapped, and Demeter restores fertility to the world. This is significant because it shows the anthropomorphism of a mother crying for her daughter, just as mortals would. It also has themes of gender in Greece, if a man wanted a woman, he could usually have her regardless of her or her mother’s opinions. Etiology of seasons. 14. P. 362: Homer’s Odyssey meeting with Achilles’ shade: written by Homer, in the Odyssey. This tells of Odysseus’ heroic journey into Hades, and meeting Achilles’ soul. Achilles asks why Odysseus ventured into the underworld, to which Odysseus replied that he is looking for the seer Tiresias so Tiresias can lead him back to Ithaca. Odysseus gives Achilles praise, but the hero denies it, saying he’d much rather be a living slave than a dea
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