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Terms and Proper Names for the Midterm

Course Code
Regina Höschele
Study Guide

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Midterm Prep
Actium (battle of)
The battle was a naval battle of the Final War of the Roman Republic fought between the forces
of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII
Took place in 31 BC on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman province of Epirus
vetus in Greece
hieros gamos
Meaning ‘the holy marriage
A sexual ritual that plays out a marriage between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted
by human participants representing the deities
Does not presuppose actual performance in ritual
Simulate union to promote fertility
These are “songs of praise
Often performed before the recitation of epic
E.g. The Hymn to Demeter, which is attributed to homer (as are most, if not all, though doubtful
“he” wrote it)
iambic poetry
It is said that Iambe is the founder of Iambic meter poetry
She was an old servant who tried to cheer up Demeter at the house of King Celeos by showing
her genitals and making lewd jokes
This type of poetry is always containing some form of attack (laying blame, being obscene or in-
Iambe is also called Baubo
Invective poetry lays blame; it is a poem of attack and denigrates the subject
Usually women are the subject
E.g. The Hymn to Demeter is an example
Hatred of women
A sacred narrative usually etiological (explanatory) either of the world, or how humankind came
to be in its present form
In a very broad sense the word can refer to any traditional story
Usually involves supernatural characters
Can be overelaborated accounts of historical events, allegory, or personification of natural phe-
Transmitted to convey religious or idealized experience, to establish behavioral models, and to

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Midterm Prep
A myth can be told several different ways, with different details. They have very basic skeletons
and the details vary
ab ovo
Literally meaning “from the egg”
Refers to telling a story from the very start
Derivative of Helen’s birth from the egg
Instead of Homer beginning the story of the Iliad from her birth, her starts in the tenth year of the
Trojan war, thus not ab ovo
Later Greek writers assert that even in the 2nd century AD the shells of an egg were still present
in Spartan temple
The Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes tells of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts to re-
trieve the Golden Fleece from Colchis
Colchis is non-greek (Barbaros) and is therefore threatening
King Aeetes refuses Jason’s request, tells him to do x, y and z before he’ll give over the fleece
(and the tasks are impossible)
Jason fulfills the tasks with the help of Medea, the daughter of Abets, who has fallen in love with
Together the flee with the golden fleece and bring it back to Greece
During the voyage back she cuts up her brother and throws the pieces overboard
She has betrayed her own family by helping Jason, her only option was to go with him
The Argonautica consists of four books which tell of the journey of the Argonauts and how
they fled from Aeetes
Greek ‘barbaros
So named because their foreign tongue sounded like ‘barbarbar’ to the Greeks
Greek comedy is raunchy and perverse, full of obscenities
Actors often wear big fake phalluses
Vase paintings depicting Comedic scenes are quite suggestive
A genre of teaching
E.g., Works and Days by Hesiod is a didactic epos
It primarily addresses Hesiod’s brother, Perses
Teaches Perses how to be good and work for his livelihood
Meaning “praise
Essentially the mortal version of praise (a song of praise of anthropoi)

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Midterm Prep
Epics/epos are long narratives which most often deal with wars
Palin = again; ode = song
“the again song”
Essentially where you take back what was said before
E.g., the Greek poet Stesichorus writes a song in which he blames Helen for the Trojan war. For
his slanderous poem he loses his eyesight (courtesy of her brothers)
He then recants a song saying she is not to be blamed
This is part of a tradition to the blame away from Helen
Potiphar’s wife motif
Exemplified in Hippolytus by Euripides
In revenge for Hippolytus failure to worship her, Aphrodite makes his stepmother fall in love
with him. She sends her nurse to entreat him. He refuses her, and she turns the story around to her
husband (he came at me) in a letter to her husband and then kills herself, leaving her husband to
punish his son
The name of this motif is taken from the bible when the wife of Potiphar makes an attempt on
Joseph, and at his rejection she turns the story around to her husband
Genre of theatre
Doesn’t necessarily have a bad ending, just a serious subject matter
E.g., Euripides Helena
According to plato there were originally 3 sexes: male, female, and androgynous
Androgynous was one part male and one part female
Had a negative connotation in Plato’s day
When Zeus split the androgynous the result was adulterous men and women
“warding off evil” function attributed to the phallus
Institutionalized way of thinking
E.g., sexuality relating to power where the male is active and the other is passive
Means “penetrator”
The lover and older man in a pederastic relationship, active in politics, military and head of
Doesn’t usually have a wife when in a pederastic relationship - they marry quite late (30s)
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