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Midterm

Midterm 1 Notes

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA204H1
Professor
Jarrett Welsh
Semester
Fall

Description
Classics Midterm 1 Notes Introduction to Classical Mythology Mythology: One thing is certain: There is no single theory of myth that can cover all kinds of myth. Definitions of myths will either be too limiting or too broad General definition: a widely accepted story that is actually false o Derived from the Greek word muthos meaning word, tale, and speech. It is a narration consisting of a beginning, middle, and an end. A story that is ultimately an entertaining speech o The antonym is logos which is a persuasive speech. Myth is a traditional tale with secondary partial reference to something of collective importance. It is a traditional story typically involving supernatural beings or forces, which embodies and provides an explanation or justification for something such as the early history of a society, religious belief or ritual Myth is a many faceted personal and cultural phenomenon created to provide a reality and unity to what is transitory and fragmented in the world. It is a way of comforting people from what would be the unbearable world. Myth and fact are not exclusively different: o A story embodying eternal values may contain what is imagined to be scientifically correct in every factual detail. At the same time, another may form a myth that is far from being factually correct Myth is the highest reality Since there are no specific definitions, myth can be divided into various categories: 1. True Myth versus Saga/Legend: True Myth: defines stories that concern gods/ humankinds relations Saga or Legend: has a perceptible relationship with history, whether it is true or not. 2. Folktales and Fairytales These refer to stories of fantastic beings with magical powers or special talents Folktales main role is for entertainment. Fairytales are shorter forms of folktales 3. Myth versus Religion Both are inextricably entwined. A tale may be believed by others both factually and spiritually. Greek and Roman religious ceremonies and cults were given authority by myths. This is seen with the worship of Zeus at Olumpia, Athena in Athens and Demeter at Eleusis. Historical Background of Greek Mythology For a long time, it was believed that Greece had not been inhabited before the Neolithic period; however, new evidence shows that the country was settled in the Paleolithic times (before 70 000 B.C) From evidence, it is clear that religion was very important. Many female idols were discovered with their sexuality exaggerated by swollen breasts, butt and bellies. Bronze Age This was the era of most importance for the rise of mythical stories and beliefs. It was the time of the development of cities. The Bronze Age is divided into 3 major periods: Early Bronze Age (3000-2000 B.C) This was the period of early Minoan Era in Crete Middle Bronze Age (2000-1600 B.C) Minoan civilization grew to maturity and grew to greatness during this time. Cnossus was the main location of the Minoan civilization. It was the capital of sea-power. This extended from the islands of Aegean to mainland Greece It was a place with no walls, suggesting their confidence in security of the sea and ships. The civilization had highly developed religion of fertility mother- goddess. They had introduced the importance of labyrinth- which may have meant double ax. Power of Minoans collapsed around 1400 B.C, where power shifted to mainland Greece. Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 B.C) Dominated by Mycenaean civilization (Greeks) Invasion by Indo-Europeans on mainland Greece gave them the title as first Greeks. It is believed that a lot of their advancements and arts were adopted from the Minoan era. Palace was surrounded by cyclopean walls (believed to be built by the giant Cyclopes of myth). They had to tholos tombs for the dead, which signifies their belief of the afterlife. Their religion worshiped a sky-god, Zeus. But there is a good compromise of Minoan religion also existed. Linear B: These were baked clay tablets that told stories about the era A lot of the facts and ideas derived from these Through these, names of mythical gods and potnia (mistresses/lady) arose. Michael Ventris was first to decipher the tablets. Insight on Troy and Trojan War: Hisarlik is believed to be the site of ancient Troy There were nine settlements believed to be Tory on Hisarlik Hill., beginning from the Early Bronze Age. Troy was a revered site of Greek honor and glory. 7 of these settlements took place during the Minoan Mycanaean period o Troy 2: Interesting because archeologists believed to have found the location of Priam and Trojan War but they were wrong. Also found treasures= Gold of Troy/ Priams Treasure. o Troy 3-5: occurred from early to middle Bronze age o Troy 6: Another archeologist believed this was the actual site of the Trojan War because of all the destruction found. However, many believe that the destruction was due to an earthquake o Troy 7: Many evidence point to this location to be the actual Trojan War (Tory 7a) because of the destruction by fire and siege. It is believed that Troy was a major centre for commerce and trade. As well issues of the economy may have been the major reason leading up to the Trojan War. The end of the Bronze age and beginnings of Age of Iron is believed to have occurred because of the destruction of Troy 7 Myths of Creation There are many theories on the creation of myths. Stories arising from Homes, Hesiod and Ovid all present many variations: HOMER Believed that Titans Oceanus and Tethys are responsible for the origin of the gods Believed the world was a flat disc surrounded by ocean with a dome around representing the Heaven and the underworld. HESIOD He wrote a book called The Birth of Divinity Theogony meaning the birth of divinity. This book begins with Zeus daughters, the Muses, teaching Hesiod the song of how the origin of gods, earth, river, and sea began. The beginning formed from Chaos (yawning void). It is not merely empty space; yet rather space big enough to be impacted by the heat of Zeus thunderbolt. Gaia refers to the disc-shaped Earth Tartarus is what is beneath the Earth. It is a dim, murky place. It goes as far beneath the earth as the Heavens is above, taking 9 days to reach the bottom. Erebus is the gloomy darkness of Tartarus. Eros, also known as Cupid by the Romans, represents love, desire, and physical emotion. It is the generative force of procreation through mating. Without it, other generations of gods would not exist. OVID Wrote a book of poems called Metamorphoses. They focused on stories involving transformations of some sort. His idea also starts with Chaos. However, Chaos here is not a gaping void but rather a crude and unformed mass of elements from which a higher power creates order. Ovid was Roman and did not understand the earlier conceptions. Marriage of Uranus and Gaia Uranus was the sky god and the son of Gaia (mother earth and first deity according to Hesiod). They are believed to be of equal power. Together, the sky and earth are responsible for the regeneration of new citizens. This scared, or holy union is referred to as hieros gamos in Greek. She mated with her son and produced: o 12 Titans: Some were important individually but they were most powerful as a group 6 Males and 6 FemalesNames: Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Tethys, and Cronus. Cronus was the youngest and the worst one, as he hated his father, Uranus. A lot of sibling mating: Oceanus and Tethys: produced 3,000 daughters and 3,000 sons. Hyperion (God of Sun) and Theia: Produced Helius, Selene and Eos. Helius is also God of Sun. Cronus and Rhea: Again they were gods of Sky and Earth. They gave birth to Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. Cronus found out that one of his children will be mightier than him and take throne. To prevent this, he swallowed each of his children as they came out of the womb. She secretly gave birth to Zeus and instead gives a stone to Cronus to swallow.
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