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Midterm

CLA160H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Trifunctional Hypothesis, Rex Nemorensis, Fereydun


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA160H1
Professor
J.Ramsay
Study Guide
Midterm

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Golden Bough (Branch)
- Virgil’s golden bough is compared to that of Grove of Nemi
- Aeneid overview of bough
- Happens at midpoint of epic, which is v. Dark. A lot of bad stuff happened
- He needs to complete katabasis in order to receive enlightenment from dad
- To do so he needs to get the golden bough and sacrifice misensus in a massive pyre
- The bough is compared to mistltoe because its life-force does not wither
- It is used to tame Charon, so life masters death
- Time Virgil is writing in and comparison to Augustus
- Old Troy is gone, just like old Rome
- Renewal and destruction - fundamentally an epic of rebirth and renewal
- Grove rituals still meaningful
- All adversaries at allegories for Rex Nemorensis, who needs to be swept aside to bring
about a rebirth, and for the enemies of Augustus, who need to be swept aside for a new
political awakening
- All are killed as a sacrifice, so both aeneas and augustus are doign the duty of priest
- Frazers 3 theories and how it ties in
- Sacred king: homeopathic and contagios magic: controls the world for good or ill.
Latinus is compared to Rex because he lives in the grove, who is compared to Pompey.
He is weak and out of touch so...
- Dying King/God: he needs to be killed to bring about rebirth. Fire has an important
quality here, like the pyre of misensus, and that of Caesar. Caesars spirit ascends in the
comet, and Augustus adopts his name in essence, becoming caesar
- Mistletoe: Virgil compares his golden bough to misteltoe, and it is “golden” because it
does not wither in winter and thus connected to the sun, which is fed via bonfires.
Frazer compares this to myth of Blader, who is killed by misteltoe. Misteltoe acts as
external soul, just how the armor of the deceased comrade worn by Turnus gets him
sacrificed by a “spear” (bough), who represents Antony. They aren’t old but are standing
in the way of progress - belong to an older regime. Thus they deserve to be killed like
the Rex
- recurrign pattern, which highlights th eimportance of death and rebirth
- Use of contagious magic
- Understand myth as patterned, relating to the dying god
- Myth as ferility
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Trifunctional Hypothesis
- Georges Dumezil
- 3 functions: Division reflected in religion and mythology of many diverse indo-european
cultures
- 1) sovereignty
- 2) warriors
- 3) producers
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- Reflect india’s caste system
- 1) Brahmins
- 2) Kshatriyas
- 3) Vaishyas
- extended to gods, allowing comparison across the board
- E.g., Zeus = Jupiter, Athena = mars, Dioscuri = Quirinus
- procrustean bed
- Issues of societal overlap and funcitonal slippage
- Ishtar
- Thor
- Dumezil identifies pattern of war between 1st and 2nd with the 3rd as a foundational narrative
- E.g., Aesir-vani
- E.g., Sabine
- But this cannot really be applied to a Greek foundational narrative. The trojan war,however
does fit this, but rather than foundational for Greece, it strongly confirms the trifunctional
hypothesis In its origin, course and consequences. Iliad explores what happens when 1st and 2nd
are cut off from 3rd:
- Judgement of paris: goddess and functions; compare King of Iray, Fereydun
- This has consequences
- Greek camp: 1st and 2nd; Troy 3rd , catering to Paris
- Troy is outmatched and fatally crippled
- Greek camp is a bunch of alpha males, women are needed (with agency, not just prizes):
outburst between Agamemnon and Achilles, nestors mediation
- Achilles shield
- Achiles returns to humanity with desire for 3rd function, and fights under Agamemnon
- Lucretius - posits opposition between fertility and healthy sexuality vs. Sovereignty and
war
- Ultimate denial of third function
- Odyssey explores what happens when you break up the functions
- Odysseus as sovereign, Ithaka’s public life withers
- Unable to guard family through physical force as warrior
- And he is incomplete without wife and child
- Stable order when two opposing factions are permanently reconciled and integrated
- This shows the importance of all three functions, and their role with one another
An enduring stable order is created when these two opposing factions are permanently reconciles
and integrated, such as in Sabine. This shows the importance of all three functions, and their role
with one another. A society cannot survive on only one (or two) function. The opposing cultures
are in need of one anothers “functions”, and total destruction is spared by the 3rd function game-
changer, women, who appeal to their fertility, which is a reminder of the need to propogate,
where fertility opposes destruction. Ultimately this underlying pattern teaches the importance of
all aspects of life in both the personal and societal spheres, and warns against living without
balance.
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