CLAA06 Midterm Notes (Nature of Myth, Myths of Creation, Pantheon Gods, Fertility, Death, Gilgamesh, Perseus, Myths of the Argive Plain & Heracles)

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Classical Studies
Alexandra Pohlod

CLAA06 Ancient Greece/Rome Mythology Notes Ch. 1: The Nature of Myth Types of Myth Divine myth-remote setting, principal “actors” are supernatural beings->gods/goddesses, demons & other lesser supernatural beings, personified abstracts ->associated with control, can take on animal shapes, superior in looks/powers ->usu. explain some element of the world-etiological myths->Greek: aition: “cause” ->often justify religious practice Legend-principal actors are human-usu. extraordinary heroes/heroines, may have some divine ancestry ->mostly performed in familiar world, fit into Greek understanding of human chronology, can also serve etiological function Folktale-principal actors are ordinary human beings->doesn’t serve to explain world->takes place outside of historical time, draw on universal human experiences & beliefs ->folktale types: familiar pattern of events repeated in stories from diff. cultures, ex. Cinderella ->folktale motifs (magic helper, wicked stepmother)->smaller elements that can be combined & recombined in order to form folktale types ->legendary figures don’t exist, characters can be ppl. unrecognized & then stunning reversal of fortune allows them to live happily ever after… ->most common in folktales are quest Etiological tale-creation myth that explains causes that brought world into existence *recall from CLAA05 myth is a traditional story usu. concerning some being or hero/event, with/without determinable basis of face of natural explanation, esp. one that’s concerned with deities/demigods & explains some rite of passage, collective social importance ->doesn’t have single meaning, determine common frame of reference to avoid being insensitive Mythology: mythos + logos (account) =study of myth ->collective importance->stories hold meaning for group, link with past (no specific authors necessarily), models of behaviour -myth is not religion Chapter 2: The Cultural Context of Classical Myth -Ancient Greece consisted of mountainous/dry landscape; rivers were too narrow to navigate by boat, small pockets of land where agriculture flourished ->wheat, barley, olive trees, grapes grew in abundance Boeotia (cow land) is region in the south of Balkan Peninsula -the plains of Attica lies southeast of Boeotia, Athens is capital Peloponnesus-peninsula connected to mainland, consists of several regions including Achaea, Elis, Arcadia, Messenia, Laconia (territory around city of Sparta) & Argolis -natural resources in Greece included silver in Attica, iron in Laconia, clay, limestone/marble in Euboea- >east of mainland, these resources were extensively traded overseas with Asia Minor (modern western Turkey) Aegean Sea-avenue of communication with world beyond mountains that enclosed isolated Greek communities The Cyclades (circle of islands)-lie around central island of Delos Greek History Early/Middle Bronze Age (3000-1600 BC) ->birth of Minoan civilization, palaces were important, no defensive walls; they were elaborate centres of power ->Crete, King Minos, Pre-Greek, syllabic script called Linear A ->military & religious kings ruled, language unknown but there’s evidence of pictures symbolic of words ->the bull was an important religious symbol, sacrificed ->new ppl. began to migrate from Central Asia who were called Indo-Europeans, almost all western European languages were adopted from the language of the Indo-Europeans ->Indo-European society divided into 3 categories of ppl: kings & priests at the top, warriors in the middle & food producers at the bottom ->people were devoted to war, some think basic patterns in Greek myth go back to Indo- Europeans Late Bronze Age (Mycenaean Age 1600-1150 BC) ->Indo Europeans continued to fortify palaces/kingdoms, Greek speaking Indo-Europeans took over stone citadel of Mycenae in 1600 BC ->Mycenaean Greeks may have called themselves Achaeans (men who attacked Troy) ->there was depiction of war in art, syllabic script called Linear B, wasn’t used to create literature ->Minoans destroyed, Mycenaean’s took over Dark Age (1150-800 BC) ->few archaeological records have survived during this period ->refugees from Peloponnesus took possession of central Aegean islands & central sector of western coast of Asian Minor-known as Ionia -> widespread migration & cultural upheaval, myths transmitted orally ->economic collapse, poverty, trade was halted except in Euboean settlements, Greek alphabet first appears in Euboea, starting the Archaic Period Archaic Period (800-480 BC) ->Greek alphabet invented (Phoenician writing) ->lots of poetry, rise of polis (independent city states), economy recovers due to polis ->citizenship, coined money which led to new social classes, aristocracy still largely responsible for creation & patronage of arts ->Greece starts to colonize Italy, Sicily & Northern Africa ->Homer was Great Epic poet, literature in Western culture based on Homer ->Homer was considered historical author of Iliad & Odyssey until early 20th century Classical Period (480-323 BC) ->democracy begins to develop, Greeks cooperate to fight off Persian invaders ->the unification of culture & language lead to Greeks calling themselves Hellenes, they didn’t become one whole country though ->when Persians became less of a threat, Greeks turned on each other, there were 2 large leagues, Spartans (military state ruled by old-fashion aristocracy) & Athens (democracy), this conflict was known as the Peloponnesian War Hellenistic Period (323-30 BC) ->Alexander the Great dies in Babylon, he managed to conquer Persian Empire & invade as far as India ->period when Greek culture, beliefs/customs & language spread to the East ->mainland eventually taken over by Romans ->integration of philosophical/scientific ideas into poetry Greek Society Pederasty-young men (in their 20’s) gathered together to admire prepubescent boys, courted them through gifts/poetry, boys were expected to control themselves, aspect of Greek preparation for manhood, war ->thought to refine moral qualities of loyalty, respect, affection & courage Hoplites-citizen soldiers of Greek states, armed with spears & shields, derived from hoplon which means shield or armor Parthenos-female virgin, during her period b/t first menstruation & marriage, considered to be great danger, thought to wild like goddess Artemis, a woman had option to overcome authority & demands of pleasing husband sexually/bearing him children by living a private life away from others ->men wanted to marry Greek parthenos as soon as possible (after first menstruation) Beliefs and Customs Miasma-contagion associated with childbirth, it was considered a moment of personal crisis b/c many women died from it (bloody/other gross fluids), extended idea that only women could touch dead body to clean it for burial ->Greek myths filled with events surrounding birth/death & special power of women to withstand these 2 crises (which every human being must pass) -also means blood guilt, haunts murderers (b/c he/she was pursued by spirit that lived in spilled blood), although spirits/ghosts can be persuaded to stop via rituals/sacrifices -distinctions b/t human & natural world were not obvious Narcissus-youth of tremendous good looks->parents wanted to know if he would have a long life- >prophet predicted he would live very long provided that he doesn’t look at his own face ->Narcissus grew up & saw his face reflected in a spring (water), reaching for his reflection, he fell in & drowned (vanity kills him), body changed into flower that represents his name Greece and Rome Roman Period-dated from 30 BC when Egypt (Hellenistic cultural centre) became part of Rome, start of the Roman Empire ->Romans adopted Greek legends & learned from poets in Hellenistic Period Etruscans-lived in independent city-states like the Greeks, spoke a non-Indo-European language, took over Greek alphabet, separate from the Romans who spoke Latin, took over Rome in 6 century BC Ch. 3 The Development of Classical Myth Potnia Theron-term used by Homer often to describe female divinities with animals “lady of the beasts”, refers to goddess Artemis, basically generic term for any female associated with animals The Influence of Near Eastern Myth Mesopotamia-Greek term for “the land b/t rivers”, origins of some stories in Mesopotamia have come to Greece during Bronze Age Sumerians-land of civilized kings, ancient civilization of Sumer in southern Mesopotamia, during early Bronze Age, created first known city states, supported by irrigation agriculture Sumerian/Semitic Myth An-sky god, supreme authority, kingship from heaven, important figure in Sumerian creation Innana-“queen of heaven”, goddess of sexual love & war, like Aphrodite in Greek myth Enlil-“lord of the storm”, king & agent of An on earth, personally involved in earthly events, possessed the Tablets of Destinies (by which fates of gods/humans were decreed) ->can be beneficial by bringing rain to fertilize agriculture or destructive by creating floods, like Zeus in Greek myth Enki-“lord of earth”, ruled sweet groundwater found beneath soil, active fertilizing principle, trickster, crafty, also god of wisdom & magic (in crafts), similar to Hermes but also shares features with Hephaestus, Prometheus, Poseidon & Dionysus Semites-seminomadic ppl. inhabited Arabian desert, pushed constantly against river cultures of Mesopotamia, Semitic-linguistic group & its associated cultural patters, Semitic Akkadians-named after capital, Akkad, took over southern Sumerian cities, adopted Sumerian culture ->An was known as Anu, Innana was known as Ishtar, Enlili was known as Marduk & EnkiEa -the Hebrew were the best known of the Semites, the Hittites were non-Semitic ppl. who controlled central Asia Minor & Upper Mesopotamia Greek Myth in the Archaic Period Homer-one of the greatest poet of Ancient Greek epics-long narrative poems celebrating deeds of heroes Hesiod-Greek poet who lived around the same time as Homer (around 750-650 BC), credited for major source of Greek mythology & early economic thought, evident through his poems Works and Days & the Theogony Homeric Hymns-collection of anonymous Greek hymns (religious songs) celebrating individual gods Greek Myth in the Classical Period Humanism-since the gods were not necessarily a sort of truth, Greeks invented ethics, a way to tell right from wrong without divine judgment, no poet in Ancient Greece was able to promote an official version of myths, they were transmitted orally Choral song-lyrics of poems memorized for public presentation (group of 12 boy/girl dancers), derived from choros, meaning dance Tragedy-derived from tragoidia, meaning goat-song (could be taken from song sung during sacrifice of goat in god’s honour), the script of tragic play was not meant to be read but to serve as guide for live performance, all of Greek literature was meant to be heard, not read 3 of the 1 ancient Greek tragedians of classical Athens: Aeschylus-loved long & elaborate descriptions esp. of foreign lands, advanced metaphorical language, used myth to explore grand moral issues as conflict b/t individual will & divine destiny, divine motivates action Sophocles-likes to show divinity of human beings in conflict with superior, often divine forces, a noble person caught in overwhelming crisis, heroes lonely & learn too late how they should act, influenced by folklore & in all his plays a prophecy/oracle predicts unexpected outcome, fate underlies events Euripides-most modern of the 3 tragedians, more of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus & Sophocles together, his characters are often deflated heroes, characters lean toward abnormal mental states, irrationalism->celebrates power of emotion over reason, loved bloody scenes, hated happy endings Greek Myth in the Hellenistic Period Apollonius of Rhodes-author of epic poem on Jason & the Argonauts (later in Ch. 19) Library of Apollodarus-ancient Greek compilation of myths & heroic legends, straightforward & one of best source of Greek myth The Roman Appropriation of Greek Myth Vergil-ancient Roman poet who told the epic Aeneid, one of the fullest descriptions of underworld, account of battle at Troy & Hercules battles against monster Cacus Ovid-most important author or early Roman Empire, best known for his epic Metamorphoses-narrative poem consisting of +250 myths, chronicles history of world from creation to worship of Julius Caesar Ch. 4 Myths of Creation: The Rise of Zeus Cosmogony-story that explains origin of the world (cosmos = world in Greek), for Hesiod, it’s the same thing as theogony-story of origin of gods & their rise to power (theos = god) ->Hesiod’s Theogony is an instructional poem that describes origins of the universe (cosmos or cosmogony) & complicated genealogies of Ancient Greek gods & underlying stories (mostly concerns the rise of Zeus & his supremacy) ->composed around 700 BC, one of earliest works in Greek mythology along with The Iliad & the Odyssey ->to explain Zeus’ supremacy over the world, Hesiod explains in the beginning, there was Chaos (chasm or the nothingness in which first objects came to existence) The Children of Chaos -Chaos’ parthenogenic (reproduced asexually) children were: Gaea (or Gaia “the Earth”), Eros (sexual desire & the force that brings sexual beings together to produce more offspring), Tartarus (the underworld), Erebus (darkness) & Nyx (night) ->what Hesiod might have thought: Chaos is an abyss, Gaea is the foundation of everything, Tartarus is the underside of the foundation & Eros represents sexual attraction that guarantees future generation & change->these 4 represents independent aspects of primeval things from which world emerged The Children of Gaea: The Titans and Their Cousins -Gaea had children (bore asexually): Uranus (sky), Ourea (mountains) & Pontus (sea) ->Uranus & Gaea reproduced to create 3 sets of offspring: 1. The 12 Titans (race of powerful gods, 6 males & 6 females)-Oceanus (represents water, river flowing around earth), Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetos, Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Tethys & Cronus-last born ->Cronus is the youngest Titan that later contends with Uranus for power, him & Rhea later bore the 12 Olympians, which include Zeus (eventual king of gods) ->according to Homer, the watery male Oceanus & female Tethys gave birth to all gods, they gave birth to 6000 Oceanids (spirits of sea, rivers & springs) 2. The 3 Cyclopes (race of one-eyed giants)-Brontes (thunder), Steropes (flasher) & Arges (brightener) took raw iron from depths of earth (i.e. Gaea) & made Zeus’ weapon of victory: lightning 3. The 3 Hectaonchires (mysterious hundred-handed giants even more powerful than the Titans)-Cottus, Briareus & Gyes ->Uranus was disgusted with the Hectaonchires so he pushed them back into Gaia’s womb ->Gaia begged Titans to punish Uranus, only Cronus (youngest & most driven of 12 children) willing to do so Rhea-with Cronus, later produces the 12 Olympians: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes & either Hestia, or Dionysus. Hyperion’s Children: Sun, Moon, Dawn -the Titan, Hyperion, is the father of more well-known sun god Helius (also sun god), Selene (the moon) & Eos (dawn) ->side story: Helius & Clymene (an Oceanid) bore son Phaethon-> despite the fact Clymene was married to Ethiopian king, she assured Phaethon that Helius was his father ->Phaethon wanted to confirm this so Clymene told him to journey to Helius & present himself as his son->upon reaching Helius, Phaethon was granted a wish by his father to prove it, Phaethon’s wish was to drive the chariot of sun across the sky ->Phaethon lost control of the chariot, almost setting the world on fire; Zeus saved him by blasting him off chariot into Eridanus river ->Selene fell in love with the shepherd Endymion, bore 50 daughters & at her request, Zeus placed Endymion into eternal sleep, so he can never grow old ->Eos had many love affairs but loved Tithonus-Trojan prince, Tithonus eventually turned into a cicada (locust) Cronus against Uranus -Cronus castrated his father with Gaia’s sickle, Uranus’ blood splattered onto the earth, producing the Erinyes (ferocious female spirits that haunted kindred/related blood), the Giants (“earthborn ones” later battling against Zeus & his Olympian siblings) & the Meliai (race of tree nymphs) ->after Uranus was castrated, Gaia married Pontus & they reproduced sea gods, nymphs & monsters which included: 1. Nereus (old man of the sea) descended from the Nereids, the 50 nymphs of the sea which included: Cassiopeia, Amphitrite (Poseidon’s wife), Galatea & most well-known: Thetis-shape shifter & mother of Achilles 2. Thaumas (father of Iris, the rainbow) who also bore 2 winged spirits Aello (storm wind) & Ocypete (swift-flying); Aello & Ocypete were known as the Harpies (snatchers), there was also a 3rd Harpie named Celaeno (murkiness) 3. Ceto (hideous sea monster/goddess) ->Ceto’s descendants included the Sphinx (human-headed lion with wings, known as “strangler”, deadly spirit of plague haunting Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes), Cerberus-three-headed dog who guarded Hades’ realm & Chimera-(“she-goat”) creature with lion body’s, with snake’s tail & goat’s head Zeus against Cronus: The Battle with the Titans st -after overthrowing Uranus, Cronus became the 1 king of the world, he feared his children & swallowed them (the Olympians who would eventually divide the power for the world among themselves) Titanomachy-“battle of the Titans” (mache means battle in Greek), Themis was the only Titan along with her son Prometheus, willing to side with Zeus & his siblings ->Zeus learned from Gaia that he could win the battle only with the help of the Hectanochires, he released them & the Cyclopes from Tartarus (Uranus imprisoned them b/c he feared their power), the Cyclopes made the thunderbolt which helped Zeus defeat/cast Titans into Tartarus Atlas-titan of astronomy & navigation, who was the son of Titan Iapetus & Clymene, was condemned by Zeus to live at the edge of the world, separating the sky & earth Zeus’s Battle with Typhoeus -Gaea, enraged by the Titan’s defeat, together with Tartarus, bore Typhoeus (deadliest monster in all of Greek myth), in the Typhonmachy (battle of Typhon), Typhon overcomes Zeus in first battle, but eventually, with the help of Hermes, Zeus defeats Typhon & traps him under Mount Etna (in eastern Sicily) Zeus’s Battle with the Giants -despite defeating the Titans & Typhoeus, Zeus’s reign over the world was not secure b/c according to the succession myth, he would eventually be overthrown, since Cronus was more clever than Uranus & Zeus was more clever than Cronus, Zeus decided to marry cleverness herself: the Oceanid, Metis, daughter of Oceanus & Tethys ->but b/c of prophecy, Zeus swallowed Metis but Athena, who Metis was already pregnant with, was born out of Zeus’ head, the child who have overthrown Zeus (after Athena’s birth) was never born & this Zeus defied prophecy ->another story that Hesiod does not mention is the attack of the Giants on the Olympians Gigantomachy (“battle of the giants”) ->the mortal, Heracles, joined the Olympians in the war b/c according to an oracle, the gods can’t win without mortal assistance ->after defeating the Giants, the 3 male gods (Zeus, Poseidon & Hades) finally divided the world among themselves, Zeus took the heavens, Poseidon the sea & Hades the underworld, the earth & Mount Olympus was shared among them all Some themes: Progression of Male Powers: sexuality & reproduction Uranus severed genitals, Cronus swallows/regurgitates children &, Zeus gives birth to Athena Concealment & Intelligence: Uranus & Cronus, Zeus swallows Metis, Athena (intelligence/strategy) as masculine goddess Social Realities-necessity of reproduction, threat of reproduction, patriarchal society, oikos (mini-polis), threat of female sexuality (potential of male children to inherit property), control of women, authority & justice (Zeus is father of Olympian family) The Babylonian Enuma elish: (notes from CLAA05)-in the beginning, there existed undifferentiated water (or chaos), 2 gods are then created, Apsu-god of fresh water & Tiamat-god of salt/ocean water->union of both gave birth to many younger gods ->the younger gods make too much noise so Apsu wants to kill them but Tiamat disagrees ->Apsu's vizier (messenger), Mummu, agrees to kill the children but Tiamat warns Ea (Enki), the oldest/most powerful child/son ->Ea uses magic to put Apsu to sleep & kill him, from his remains, Ea creates a home & later marries sister-wife Damakina to give birth to Marduk-great god of Bablyon/hero) ->Tiamat becomes enraged that younger gods killed Apsu so she seeks revenge & creates 11 monsters, she consults with a new husband, Kingu & makes him king/leader of the world & given tablet of destinies (controls future, power over universe), replaces Apsu as her husband ->Marduk swears he can defeat Tiamat so everyone goes to war & he manages to defeat Quingu & kill Tiamat by shooting her with an arrow (splitting her into two), her eyes become Tigris & Euphrates rivers, two halves become earth & sky ->Marduk takes the tablet of destinies to Anu (sky god), legitimizing his reign Ch. 5 Myths of Creation: The Origins of Mortals Prometheus, Maker of Mortals Prometheus-(“forethought”) trickster & champion of mortals, took Zeus’ side in Titanomachy, credited for creation of man from clay, known for stealing fire from Zeus & giving it to humans Prometheus, Protector of Mortals -in his plan to fool Zeus, Prometheus gives him a choice between two piles of meat, one with fat covered bones & the other made of edible bits (Zeus is supposed to choose fat covered bones) ->plan fails, Zeus manages to distinguish the two piles of meat & as punishment, he hides the legacy of fire, (the division of sacrifice is an etiological myth of separation b/t men & gods) ->as punishment, Prometheus is chained/impaled in Caucasus Mountains where his liver his eaten by an eagle daily, but regenerates by night, eventually freed by Heracles ->Prometheus manages to steal fire back & give it to mortals->consequently, Zeus orders the creation of Pandora-first woman (earthly hardship disguised as an amazement to man), etiological myth explaining origin of woman & suffering in the world ->Pandora is sent to earth with a jar (pithos) & her curiosity to open it releases all the evils of the world & plunges humans into chaos, only hope (elpis) remains ->the jar is symbolic of agriculture (holds grain that men worked hard for) & reproductive capacity (shaped like uterus) ->women are economic liabilities, risk overbearing children that can overtake father’s rule of household The Five Races -ages of men or an alternate explanation for necessity of hard work, as follows: 1. Gold: the days where everyone lived under Cronus, alongside the gods, no need for agricultural toil, ppl. were immortal, similar to life before Pandora was sent to earth 2. Silver: children would only live up to 100, adulthood was short, ppl. fought with one another & didn’t sacrifice or worship gods, upon death, Zeus hid mortal under earth & became spirits (underground) 3. Bronze: race created by Zeus, from ash trees (where shafts of spears were made), mighty, violent, warlike; weapons & houses made of bronze, at death, descended into Hades’ realm dwelling in darkness 4. Heroes: warlike demigods who though at Thebes & Troy, some heroes never died at all but transported to Isles of the Blessed (under Cronus’ rule), which resembles the golden age (no labour, no sorrow) 5. Iron: current age (Hesiod’s), constant toil but not all bad (getting worse), reflects radical social/economic change in Greece, political & legal systems began to crumble & increasingly unjust Lycaon, Deucalion and Pyrrha Deucalion-Prometheus’ son & her wife Pyrrha-daughter of Epimethius (foolish brother of Prometheus, “afterthought”), survived destruction of human race (great flood like Noah’s ark) Hellen-child of Deucalion & Pyrrha, gave his name to whole Greek race (known as Hellenes) ->Hellen had 3 sons, Dorus, Aeolus & Xuthus, Dorus & Aeolus founders of Dorians & Aeolians (who speak 2 of the principal Greek dialects) rd -> Xuthus had son, Ion, from who descended Ionias (3 Greek principal group which included Athenians) ->figures are eponymous ancestors of Greeks as a whole & 3 principal ethnic groups among Greeks->eponym- a person after whom a discovery, invention or place is named or thought to be named (giving one’s name to something) Themes in Classical Stories of Human Origins : human mortality separated from gods, women & integration with humanity, sacrifice, delays & beginnings, agriculture & clay Ch. 6: Myths of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon and Hades Zeus-(father of gods & men), also known as Dios (shine/sky), in Latin known as Jupiter; he is the dispenser of justice, rules among the immortals, associated with weather, pictured in art enthroned Zeus, Lord of the Sky -Zeus’ powers & iconography include: ->thunderbolt (keraunobrontes), this was used to overcome Titans, Giants & Typhoeus ->aegis (goat skin)-acts like a shield, symbolized storm cloud, artistic representation is shield with snake-headed tassels ->Zeus Horkios (of oaths): exposed liars Zeus, God of Justice -Zeus Xenios (of guest friendship): protected the custom of xenia (formal institution of friendship) which enabled Greeks to travel safely to distant lands where other Greeks lived ->relationship was established when in comes a wanderer into household, the wanderer is entertained & given gifts (a similar reception should be expected should host one day visit wander’s home) -divine children of Zeus: Athena (by Metis), Hermes (by Maia), Aphrodite (by Dione), Dionysus (by Semele), Apollo & Artemis (by Leto), Persephone (by Demeter), Polydeuces (by Leda) ->other children of Zeus includes: Heracles (by Alcmene), Perseus (by Danae), Minos & Rhadamanthys (by Europa), Epaphus (by Io), Zethus & Amphion (by Antiope) ->Helen (by Leda)->Dioscuri, Castor & Polydeuces Zeus and Fate Moerae-(fates) children of Zeus & Themis, incarnations of destiny on humankind, Hellenistic times portrayed as 3 old women: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) & Atropos (unturnable) Some Other Loves of Zeus Graces-children of Zeus & Eurynome, personify feminine qualities that make young women attractive, often portrayed in company of goddess Aphrodite -in addition to his relations/affairs with women (mortal & divine), Zeus also loved boys->fell in love with Ganymede-most beautiful or mortals & prince of Trojan royal house ->Zeus kidnaps him, in the form of an eagle to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus (serving same function as did handsome boys in Greek symposium) Hera, Queen of Heaven Hera-(feminine version of hero) identified with Roman goddess Juno, goddess of marriage/motherhood/fertility, cow was her special animal (boopis or cow-eyed according to Homer) ->sometimes associated with daughter Eileithyia, Artemis associated with childbirth; Hieros Gamos (sacred marriage)->sky is fertilizing earth ->sites dedicated to her include Olympia, island of Samos (Argos) & Sparta ->Hera’s association with Argos reflected in eager sponsorship of Greeks in Trojan War, Homer called Greeks “Argives” (men of Argos) ->iconography: crown of polos, cuckoo ->she was known for her jealousy/vengeful nature against Zeus’s lovers & offspring Heracles and Punishment by Zeus -Ixion-attempted to rape Hera but Zeus found out his intentions & made a cloud in the shape of Hera, tricked Ixion into coupling with it; union of Ixion & false-Hera cloud created race of Centaurs Poseidon, Lord of the Deep Poseidon (earth shaker or Asphaleios-he who keeps things steady, known as Neptune in Roman)-god of the sea, caused earthquakes; iconography: depicted as male with curly hair/beard, portrayed carrying trident ->not associated with civilization but rather natural forces, Amphitrite is his wife, fought giant Polybotes, resemblance to Zeus, portrayed carrying trident ->has much in common with Zeus, admires women, imposes them against their will (b/c of similarity, only way to distinguish Poseidon from Zeus in art is his trident) ->children of Poseidon: Theseus (by Aithra), Arion (by Demeter), Pegasus & Chrysaor (by Medusa) ->Polybotes was a giant (son of Gaia) who fought Poseidon during Gigantomachy; Poseidon defeated Polybotes by ripping part of the island of Kos with his trident, hurled at him (which ended up forming island of Nisyros) Hades, King of the Dead Hades (known as Pluto in Roman, “the invisible”) rules in the underworld, does not live on Olympus, married to Persephone ->iconography: helmet of invisibility, bearded holding scepter, hard to differentiate in terms of physical appearance, scene from underworld The Underworld (katabasis)-Heracles, Orpheus, Aeneas, Odysseus, Charon (ferryman), 5 rivers: Styx, Acheron, Lethe, Cocytus, Tartarus/Erebus vs. Elysium/Islands of the Blessed -life on earth is preferable, underworld not necessarily punishment and reward Observations: Greek Anthropomorphism -influenced by Mesopotamia, Greeks portrayed their gods as beings in shape of men/women who act/think like human beings-known as anthropomorphism (attribution of human form/characteristics to anything other than a human being) Nymphs-“young women” refers to married women who haven’t given birth; in myth: minor female deities typically associated with particular location/landform, regarded as divine spirits (sort of like fairies in European folklore), although they can give birth to immortal children if mated with god, they themselves weren’t necessarily immortal Chapter 7: Myths of the Great God Apollo Apollo-god of knowledge, music, prophecy, sun & also associated with sailors/colonization, son of Zeus & Leto, twin sister is Artemis, iconography: represented as an archer god despite not being god of hunters, kouros (ideal beardless, athletic youth), tripod was Apollo’s symbol of prophecy Delphi-important Greek site where Zeus wanted to find Gaia, also where the Delphic oracle is located ->Apollo decided to establish his oracle in a temple at Delphi, later became the site of the Pythian Games The Birth of Apollo on Delos -when Leto was pregnant, she was pursued by Hera, who wanted to seek revenge for having an affair with Zeus, she drove Leto from land to land finding a place to rest & give birth ->eventually Leto settled on the poverty-stricken island of Delos, palm tree was thought to be the location of his birth, the island then became secured to the sea-bed by 4 columns to give it stability & from then on it became an important sanctuary to Apollo Observations: The Delphic Oracle -the Delphic Oracle is also known as Pythia-the prophetic priestess at the temple of Apollo who was initially a young virgin, her name is derived from Pytho, which in myth, was the original name of Delphi ->pytho =”to rot” represented by the earth-dragon Python of Delphi, shown as a serpent in art, Apollo killed beast with bow & arrows, taking charge of the oracle & rid the neighbouring countryside of widespread destruction caused by the Python ->after taking possession of the oracle, the god of light (Phoebus) became known as the Pythian Apollo Apollo’s Unhappy Loves Cassandra-prophetess of Troy, she demanded Apollo to give up his oracle powers in exchange for sexual favours ->Apollo agreed but Cassandra refused to sleep with him so he added a condition/curse: although Cassandra would always speak the truth, no one would believe her; eventually leads to the destruction of Troy Sibyl at Cumae-similar story to Cassandra, the Cumean sibyl wished to live for as many years the grains of sand she held in exchange for sex ->Apollo agrees but Sibyl refuses his advances so he cursed the sibyl by taking away her eternal youth, she eventually withered into a cicada & was kept in a jar Daphne-nymph who rejected Apollo->he pursued her into the mountains ->to escape, Daphne pleaded to her father for help, who turned her into a laurel tree, etiological story explaining why laurel is Apollo’s scared plant, given to crown victorious athletes in games at Delphi Asclepius-god of healing, son of Apollo & mortal woman Coronis ->while she was pregnant by Apollo, Coronis had an affair with a man named Ischys ->a crow informed Apollo of the affair & enraged, he sent Artemis to kill her ->she did & with her body burning on a funeral pyre (structure for cremation), Apollo removed the unborn child & took him to the centaur Chiron, who raised Asclepius ->Asclepius later became the greatest doctor that ever lived, iconography: pictured with a serpent on a staff (snake has ability to restore health by shedding its skin) Ch. 8: Myths of Hermes, Pan, Hephaestus and Ares Hermes, God of Wayfarers Hermes (“he of the stone heap”, Roman: Mercury) god of travelers, protector of merchants & orators thievery & heralds, most importantly, he is the messenger of the gods, crosses boundaries of sleep/wakefulness, life & death ->iconography: represented by traveler’s cap, cloak & winged shoes, statue with erect phallus wards off evil ->caduceus-staff carried by Hermes which is intertwined with 2 snakes copulating, touching person with staff put he/she to sleep & vice versa as well, also a symbol of commerce & negotiation Psychopompos-soul guide/escorter of souls, Hermes leads the dead into Hades’ underworld ->he is also connected with bringing dreams to mortals -Hermes is also the slayer of Argus, a hundred-eyed giant who lived in the region of Argolis in the Peloponnese, the giant was sent by Hera to watch over Io (one of Zeus’ mistress) ->Hermes was sent by Zeus to rescue Io, he charmed is flute & as Argos slept, Hermes cut off his head with a sword & released Io, after this he was known as Argeiphontes-slayer of Argus The Homeric Hymn to Hermes -theft of Apollo’s cattle: when Hermes was an infant, he stole Apollo’s cattle & hid them in her mother’s cave, using the intestines from one of the stolen cows & a hollow turtle shell, he invents the lyre (stringed instrument) Maia-daughter of Atlas & an Oceanid, Zeus discovered & made love to her, eventually giving birth to Hermes, the cave she resided in was on Mount Cyllene-in the northeast corner of Arcadia in the Peloponnesus ->theft of Apollo’s cattle: Apollo protests to Maia, to return back the cattle->Hermes began to play his lyre which enchanted Apollo ->he offered Hermes to keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre (later became one of Apollo’s symbols) ->Hermes was also credited for inventing the flute, which Apollo also desired so he traded him the caduceus for it (in other versions, Zeus gives Hermes the staff) ->interpretation: Apollo with his fine herd of cows is rich & established, Hermes is seemingly a helpless infant in a cave with nothing -iconography: part man & part goat, pointy ears & hooves of goat, wrinkled, hairy body with prominent chin, thick beard ->he was a rural deity (outside of civilized world in Arcadia) & greatly worshipped in Athens ->invents panpipes after falling in love with the nymph Syrinx, who was transformed into bed of reeds->Pan uses the reeds to make panpipes (music making in a rural setting) ->he also falls in love with Ekho-etiological myth of echoing ->Ekho was too talkative & greatly distracted Hera from trying to watch over Zeus from frolicking with nymphs, she punished Ekho with the impediment of being only able to repeat the words of others, she eventually fades to an “echo” Hephaestus, God of Smiths Hephaestus (Latin: Mulciber, Roman: Vulcan)-god of craftsmanship, son of Zeus & Hera ->iconography: bearded man holding hammer & tongs, riding a donkey, he is known as the lame god, born weak & crippled ->he was born from Hera alone, which was a response to Zeus giving birth to Athena alone ->Hera ashamed & displeased by the sight of Hephaestus throws him down from Olympus into the sea, he was then rescued by Thetis & other Nereids ->in a 2 version, Hephaestus, attempting to rescue his mother from Zeus’ advances, was thrown by Zeus from the heavens, he landed on the island of Lemnos, where he was cared for & taught to be a master craftsman by a local tribe ->Hephaestus was the only Olympian to have returned to Olympus after being exiled, in revenge against Hera for rejecting him; he made her a magical golden throne ->when Hera sat on it, it didn’t allow her to stand up, the other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus & let her go but he refused ->Dionysus went to fetch him & shared his wine, making Hephaestus drunk & took him back to Olympus on a mule, eventually letting Hera go ->in the Iliad, Hephaestus had a wife called Aglaea, who was one of the Graces ->in the Odyssey, he was married to Aphrodite, Hephaestus became suspicious of Aphrodite committing adultery so to catch her being unfaithful, he made an extraordinary chain link net which was so strong no one could escape it ->he surprised Aphrodite with the war god Ares sleeping together, exhibiting them naked together in front of the gods, he asked for retribution but instead the gods laughed, after which the naked lovers were allowed to go free Ares, Incarnation of Blood Lust Ares (Roman: Mars)-god of war, battle lust, civil order & manly courage, son of Zeus & Hera, he represents the physical/violent aspect of war, in contrast to Athena, who functions as the positive aspect of war (i.e. military strategy) ->iconography: armed, shield, helmet, no specific attributes though which makes him hard to identify in Greek art ->he was despised by all the gods, even his father Zeus, due to his cruel/war-like nature, his sons with Aphrodite were Deimos (terror), Phobos (fear), Eros (cupid, personification of sexual attraction)& Harmonia (the goddess of harmony) ->see above for the myth on adultery Ch. 9 Myths of Aphrodite, Artemis and Athena Hestia, the Hearth Hestia (Roman: Vesta)-virgin goddess of the hearth (fireplace), architecture, family household & domestic life, eldest sister of Zeus & oldest daughter (& child) of Cronus & Rhea ->swallowed by her father at birth, Zeus later forced him to disgorge Hestia & her siblings, as the first to be swallowed; she was also the last to be disgorged ->when Apollo & Poseidon sought for Hestia’s hand in marriage, she refused & asked Zeus to let her remain an eternal virgin, he agreed & Hestia took her place at Zeus’ royal hearth ->iconography: holding flowered branch, veiled with kettle Aphrodite, Goddess of Sexual Love Aphrodite (Roman: Venus, “foam” from Uranus’ genitals), goddess of beauty, love, sexual attraction ->according to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus was castrated by his son Cronus ->Cronus threw severed genitals into ocean which began to foam, from the sea foam (aphros) formed Aphrodite ->the sea carried her to either Cyprus or Cytherea (both places said to be where Aphrodite first came to land after rising from sea foam), hence why she is also referred in literature as both place names ->iconography: often appears in accompaniment of swans & doves, richly adorned with jewels, looking in mirror (in concern with beauty) Hermaphroditus and Priapus Hermaphroditus-young male with female organs, son of Aphrodite & Hermes ->according to Ovid, he was once a handsome young male who attracted the love of a nymph named Salamacis, Hermaphroditus ran away in confusion ->later, he was attracted by the clear water of a spring & decided to take a bath, Salamacis sprang out from behind a tree & jumped into the water, forcibly kissing Hermaphroditus & clinging onto him, she prayed to the gods that they would never part ->her wish was granted & their bodies became one being (woman’s breasts but male genitals) ->at the same time, the spring acquired the property of making men who bathed in its waters soft & effeminate Priapus-patron god of gardens, viniculture, sailors & fishermen, portrayed wearing long dress with enormous erect phallus (representing garden fertility, wards off evil), child of Aphrodite & either Hermes or Dionysus, popular in late Hellenistic times & Romans Pygmalion Pygmalion-king of Cyprus & talented sculptor, one day he chose a beautiful piece of ivory & sculpted it into a statue of a beautiful lady, he named it Galatea (sleeping love) ->he then went to the temple of Aphrodite & prayed for a wife just like the statue ->Aphrodite heard him & went to see the statue, she was delighted b/c it looked a lot like her so she brought it to life ->Pygmalion & Galatea got married & they both were blessed by Aphrodite with happiness & love Aphrodite’s Mortal Loves -Pygmalion & Galatea gave birth to a son named Paphos ->Paphos in turn gave birth to Cinyras, king of Cyprus & high priest of Aphrodite ->Cinyras’ wife boasted that their daughter Myrrha was more beautiful than Aphrodite ->as punishment for such an arrogant claim, Aphrodite caused Myrrha to fall in love with her own father, luring them into a dark chamber; they slept for 12 nights ->upon discovering the truth, Cinyras pursued his now pregnant daughter with a sword, but the gods transformed her into the myrrh tree, Cinyras then killed himself for shame over incest ->after 9 months, the myrrh tree split open, emerging the hero Adonis Aphrodite and Anchises Anchises-prince related to the Trojan royal house, he was a mortal lover of Aphrodite ->Aphrodite pretended to be a princess & seduced Anchises for almost 2 weeks of intercourse ->he only learned that Aphrodite was a goddess 9 months later, when she revealed herself & presented him with their infant child Aeneas ->Aphrodite warned Anchises that if he boasted of their affair, he would be blasted by Zeus’ thunderbolt; he did & became crippled Artemis, Mistress of Animals Artemis (Roman: Diana)-virgin goddess of hunting, wilderness & wild animals, Apollo’s twin, both together brought sudden death & disease ->iconography: depicted with crescent of the moon above her forehead, equipped with bow & arrows, known as Potnia Theron (mistress of animals) ->attractive but attainable, spheres on statue symbolize testicles of animal sacrifice or multiple breasts Niobe-queen of Thebes & married to Amphion (king of Thebes or the principle city in Boeotia), together they had 14 children (7 sons & 7 daughters) ->Niobe bragged about her exceptional fertility at a ceremony in honour of Leto, mocking her 2 children Artemis & Apollo ->as an act of revenge, Leto sent her children to earth to slaughter all of Niobe’s children, the children were all killed ->at the sight of his dead sons, Amphion either committed suicide or was also killed by Apollo, Niobe fled to Asia Minor where she turned into stone & from the rock formed a stream from her tears; Niobe became a symbol of eternal mourning Orion and Actaeon Orion-Poseidon’s son, giant hunter & devotee of Artemis, Apollo tricks Artemis into killing Orion, he served King Oenopion of the island of Chios as huntsman but was later blinded & exiled after raping the king’s daughter (Merope) ->Orion then travelled across the sea to Lemnos, petitioning Hephaestus to recover his sight, he then asked his assistant to go with Orion to the rising place of the sun, where the sun god restored his vision ->after he tried to track down Oenopion but couldn’t find him so he began an affair with Eos ->either b/c of his affair or b/c he attempted to rape Artemis herself, Artemis placed a scorpion on Orion’s head, poisoning & killing him ->as a reward for its service, the scorpion was transformed into constellation Scorpio, Orion became constellation, forever fleeing Scorpio ->in another version, Apollo tricked Artemis into shooting Orion after he was displeased with a potential marriage (it was inappropriate for a goddess to involve herself with anyone who wasn’t a god), as Orion was far out to sea, Apollo challenged his sister to hit his head ->Athena, not backing down from a challenge to her abilities as an archer, fired & killed Orion Actaeon-famous Theban hero/huntsman who also fell victim to Artemis’ wrath ->during a hunt, he left his hounds & wandered alone through a forest where he suddenly came upon a clearing ->he saw Artemis bathing in a large pool naked ->upon noticing him, angered, Artemis turned him into a stag (deer) for she refused to let any mortal say that he had seen Artemis naked ->Acteaon moved away from the clearing feeling confused, not realizing what happened him ->only when he came upon his reflection in a river did he realize he was no longer human, his hounds were now hunting him; although he fled, he was eventually overrun & torn to pieces Athena, Mistress of the City Athena (Roman: Minerva)-goddess of wisdom, arts, industry, justice/law, battle strategy & industry, patroness of heroes & also responsible for ship building innovation ->Zeus’ favourite child who was born fully armed from his head, Metis was her mother ->iconography: wearing body armour, helmet, snake-trimmed cloak often carrying spear, her breast plate is the aegis (goat skin) which was the skin of a giant named Pallas, whom she skinned alive in the Gigantomachy, pallas means “maiden” or “weapon-brandishing” ->her companion was the goddess of victory, Nike & she is attributed with the owl (glaukopis) ->Athena & her uncle Poseidon were both very fond of the city of Athens; they both claimed the city & the one that could give the finest gift should have it ->the 2 gods mounted the Acropolis leading procession of citizens; Poseidon struck the side of a cliff with his trident & a spring welled up (however the water was salty as Poseidon’s sea, t/f it wasn’t very useful) ->Athena’s gift was an olive tree, which was better b/c it gave ppl. food, oil & wood, hence why she named the city Athens ->compared to Ares, who is unrestrained violence, Athena represents disciplined battle tactics Arachne Arachne-young mortal girl who offended Athena, believing that her gift of weaving was better ->weaving was a standard activity in the classical world ->Arachne refuses to acknowledge Athena’s superiority so she challenges her to a weaving competition ->Athena accepts, she weaves the scene of her contest with Poseidon for the city of Athens ->Arachne creates a tapestry showcasing scenes of Zeus’ infidelities & gods in sexual scandals (rape) ->angered by this & the choice of her subjects, Athena tore the tapestry to pieces & destroyed the loom, she hits Arachne with her shuttle (weaving apparatus) ->Arachne ashamed, responds by hanging herself but Athena pities her (did not expects he would commit suicide), she brings her back to life as a spider, Arachne & her descendants can then continue weaving in spider form ->Arachne is an etiological myth for existence of spiders (weaving webs) Ch. 10 Myths of Fertility: Demeter Demeter (Roman: Ceres)- goddess of grain, fertility, harvesting crops & vegetation in general, strong associations with death b/c the art of sowing/ploughing can end nomadic existence, daughter of Cronus & Rhea ->thus she is also the godde
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