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CLA204H1 Study Guide - Alcmene, Galanthis, Silenus

Course Code

of 8
March 27th 2012
Lecture 11: Ovid Metamorphoses 8-11
Book 8
Story of Cephalus comes to an end, then Scylla and Minos.
Scylla and Minos
Scylla is daughter of King Nisus
Looking down at warriors, like Helen when she looks down the walls of Troy
Seeing Minos, she falls in love with him
Is torn between love for Minos and loyalty towards her family (because Minos is her enemy, she
should not be helping him)
o Like Medea, helping Jason and doing wrong to her family- pattern we have encountered
o She is glad that the war is going on, because she would not have met Minos
o Her father’s one lock of hair is Purple, all the power of the city is represented by this
lock of purple hair if you cut off the lock Megara will be defeated.
Just like Samson in the bible his long hair is the source of his hair, as soon as it
is cut off by Delilah, he is defeated. Important parallel here.
Scylla cuts off her father’s hair, brings it to Minos to prove that she loves him
He is disgusted, because it is a sign of great treason, that he cannot embrace
He does capture Megara but he rejects Scylla, he leaves her with nothing
because she cannot go back to her father and she cannot have the man she
Minos takes his troops and goes away
She runs after him, jumps off the cliff and into the sea, tries to hang on to his
ship, at that point she is transformed into a bird, Ciris. Ovid takes this name
from Keiro “to cut off” in Greek.
Scylla, no wonder why your wife goes sleeping around with bulls you’re much
more animal like than such a creature
Minos comes back home, finds out that his wife had given birth to a Minotaur half bull, half
o “semibovemque virum semivirumque bovem” - “half-bull man, half-man bull”
Minos orders Daedalus to create a labyrinth to house Minotaur.
Minos, in order to take revenge for the murder of his Son, asks for sacrifice for the Minotaur
that every nine years an Athenian youth is to be sacrificed in tribute to the monster
o Athens’ burden: send 14 humans (boys and girls) to feed the Minotaur every 9 years
(modern day example The Hunger Games)
o Theseus volunteered to go as a sacrifice (Theseus and Minotaur) and that’s why he goes
to Crete and skips over the most important part.
Goes into the labyrinth with string given by Adriadne, Minotaur’s daughter, who
was in love with Theseus
Beats Minotaur
Comes out by following the string back up
Theseus takes Adriadne like he promised, but leaves her in the island of Naxos
while she sleeps
She wakes up, Bacchus comes, love
He transforms her crown into a star, casterorism
Daedalus and Icarus
Daedalus, a very talented man, built wings for them to escape the island where they were in
Tells Icarus not to go too low (wings will get wet by the ocean) and not too high (wings will get
burned by the son)
Icarus goes too high, gets burned, falls and drowns in the sea. Icarus is an innocent child, who is
Ovid goes tells Icarus fall and his death in a very short phrase
Ovid then tells us why Daedalus has been exiled
o Had an apprentice, his nephew, Perdix
o Was more talented than Daedalus, he becomes jealous and so he threw Perdix off the
Acropolis and kills him and Perdix is transformed into a partridge (a bird that cannot fly)
o Icarus death is in a way the punishment Deadalus pays for the death of Perdix.
o ontological (?) note the way Ovid brings sympathy first and then tells us about Deadalus
and what he did
o Was forced to live in exile because of this sin
Meleager Calydonian Boar Hunt
It is very epid, includes all the VIPs of the age, they all gather to kill the boar
How does the boar come about? King Oeneus sacrificed to all the gods except Dianna
She got so mad that she sent this boar to devastate his land
They were so helpless, that they gathered all the heroes to hunt it
Leading hero in the story: THESEUS, although the people of Calydonian they had Meleager
Meleager is mentioned in the Iliad
o Achilles draws back from the battle
o Tells story of Meleager and the Boar, similar situation as Achilles.
o Nestor in the Iliad is very old: he tells stories about his youth
In the stories, he always says “I was so brave, I could do everything, I’m not as
strong as I used to be”
However in Ovid, he uses his spear to help him get up a tree to escape the boar
The first person to actually wound the boar is Atalanta (only female in this hunt)
Meleager, who likes her, praises her
In the end Meleager kills off the Boar
They have the head of the boar, Meleager wants to give it to Atalanta
However, his two uncles, don’t approve, and tries to take the head away
from Atalanta, because they don’t think she deserves it.
Meleager gets so angry that he kills his two uncles, which he shouldn’t
have done because his mother is angry
She is mad at Meleager for killing her brothers, but she also loves her
son very much
Meleager's mother, Althaea, avenges their deaths by burning a log that
was given to Althaea at birth, its fates is linked to Meleager's mortality.
Yet again got a female that is torn between loyalty and love. She kills
her son, then kills herself. (picture Althaea buring the log)
Meleager's sisters are so distraught that Diana takes pity on them and
turns them into guinea fowl (meleagrides in greek)
Theseus and Anchelous
Anchelous is the river god. Ovid says that Theseus is on his way home with his men, when they
came to a swollen river- they could not pass because it was swollen
Anchelous invites them to a cave, and they tell stories
Water imagery can be seen on a potalogical (?) level. Pure fountain vs. Muddy water. River
swollen symbolizes epic story (which refers to the boar hunt), the small stories that they are
about to tell next are Callimachean. Ovid plays with potalogical (?) imagery, once again.
Tells them about nymphs who got turned into islands because they ignored him.
Ovid stages a readers reaction, one character that is present at Anchelous feast actually
comments on it. Half way through the metamorphoses we have a staging of an individual’s
response, to the kind of stories that Ovid has been telling us. Person who doubts this can be
true (this is portrayed outrageous) and the others that believe these stories are true.
Philemon and Baucis
Lelex tells us a story, Jupiter and Mercury disguise themselves into mortals and go down to
earth to see if people will let them in, but no one wants to take them in.
Theoxeny stories gods coming to earth, knocking at someone’s door, and being welcome there
They go to Philemon and Baucis’ house, they welcome them so much that they are willing to
slaughter their only goose
Jove and Mercury is very touched, so when the gods destroyed their town (by a flood), they
saved Philemon and Baucis, and made their house a temple
The two asked to be the guardians of the temple (be priest) and to die together at the same
When their time came, they both became trees, who shared their trunks
Ovid says, this tale moved the men, Theseus especially, (plays with the reader and previous
Erysichthon and his Daughter
Very wicked man, who cut down a sacred tree, and not listening to the tree nymph’s pleads
(picture on slide)
Diana is angry, wants to take revenge, asks Hunger to inflict herself upon Erysichthon
o For constant hunger, and is never satisfied
o He will eat and eat and eat but still never be full, therefore never satisfied
o Hunger is another personification (encountered one before in Ovid, which is envy)
o He became so desperate, that he sold his daughter into slavery to get money for food
o Then he sold her as a cow
o She has the ability to change her shape, ability given to her by Neptune
o She’d change her shape to get away from the person who bought her
o Still his hunger was not filled, so he ate himself