CLAA06H3: Chapter 16 (Theseus, Myths of Athens)
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Department
Classical Studies
Course
CLAA06H3
Professor
Alexandra Pohlod
Semester
Summer

Description
Chapter  16     Theseus,  Myths  of  Athens   • Latecomer     • Myths  are  confused  and  pale   • Theseus  becomes  their  “hero”  almost  artificially   Cerops,  Erichthonius  and  the  Daughters  of  Cecrops       • Three  different  versions  of  the  origins  of  the  Athenians:   – Descended  from  Athena  (?)   – Autochthonous  (from  the  earth  itself)   – Descended  from  Cecrops   • Great  founding  ancestor,  who  brought  laws,  civilization,  proper  worship  of  the  gods   • Born  when  Hephaestus  tried  to  have  his  way  with  Athena   • “The  man  of  wool  and  earth”   • Given  in  a  concealed  basket  to  the  daughters  of  Cecrops  (Aglauros,  Hersê,  Pandrosus)   • Only  Pandrosus  refrains  from  looking  –  Aglaurus  and  Hersê  driven  mad  and  jump  to  their  deaths   from  the  Acropolis   Observations   • Festival  of  the  Dew  Carriers  and  the  Erechtheum  on  the  Acropolis  in  Athens.  (Fig.  16.1)   • Yearly  ritual  of  the  Arrhephoria  (“dew  carriers”)  in  late  March   • The  two  arrhephoroi  lived  on  the  Acropolis   • Wove  a  robe  for  a  statue  of  Athena   • Sent  at  night  to  Aphrodite’s  grove  (near  the  Acropolis)  with  baskets,  to  return  with  a  mysterious   object   • Fig.  16.2  Birth  of  Erechthonius     • Fig.  16.3   – Athena  and  Erechthonius     Procris  and  Cephalus     • In  another  myth,  the  daughters  Aglaurus  and  Hersê  survive  the  jump   • Hermes  lusts  after  Hersê,  and  at  first  Aglaurus  agrees  to  act  as  a  go-­‐between  for  gold   • But  Athena  afflicts  Aglaurus  with  jealousy,  and  ties  to  deny  Hermes  passage   • Hermes  turns  her  into  a  stone  and  continues  on  his  way   • Hersê  becomes  pregnant  with  a  son,  Cephalus   • Cephalus,  being  a  beautiful  boy,  is  carried  away  for  a  while  by  Eos,  nymph  of  the  dawn   • Cephalus  marries  Procris,  a  daughter  of  Erechthonius,  soon  giving  way  to  jealousy   • To  test  her,  he  approaches  her  in  disguise   • When  once  she  gives  in,  she  is  banished  to  Crete   • There  Minos  lusts  after  her,  but  his  wife  Pasiphaë  had  cursed  his  sexuality   • Procris  gives  him  an  herbal  remedy,  and  in  thanks  Minos  gives  her  Laelaps  and  a  magic  spear   • Procris  starts  to  fear  Pasiphaë  and  returns  to  Athens  disguised  as  a  boy,  with  the  gifts   • Cephalus  lusts  after  this  “boy’s”  gifts,  and  the  “boy”  offers  them  in  exchange  for  sex   • He  agrees,  but  the  “boy”  then  reveals  “him”self,  and  they  live  happily  ever  after  –  for  a  while   • But  Procris  fears  that  Cephalus  is  still  seeing  his  former  girlfriend,  Eos  (Lat.  Aurora),  a  forest   nymph  of  the  fresh  winds  of  the  dawn   • She  hears  a  report  that  he’s  been  calling  out  to  “Dawn,”  so  one  day  she  follows  him  on  his  morning   hunt.  She  hears  him  calling  “Dawn,”  she  thinks  he’s  having  an  affair  and  jumps  out  of  the  woods  to   confront  him   • Thinking  he’s  being  attacked  by  wild  animal,  he  kills  her  with  the  magic  spear  she  gave  him   • Fig.  16.4  Death  of  Procris   • Cephalus  forced  into  exile  by  the  Areopagus  and  he  flees  to  Thebes   • Thebes  being  plagued  by  a  “fox  that  can  never  be  caught.”   • Sends  his  dog  against  it   • Zeus  “resolves”  the  contradiction  by  turning  both  to  stone   Procnê  and  Tereus   • Pandion,  a  son  of  Erichthonius,  has  two  daughters   – Procnê   – Philomela   • And  two  sons   – Butes   – Erechtheus   • Pandion  (king  in  Athens)  gives  his  daughter  Procnê  to  Tereus,  the  king  of  the  Thracians  for  his   help  in  a  war  against  Thebes   • Procnê  and  Tereus  have  a  son,  Itys   • After  a  time,  Procnê  wants  Tereus  to  go  to  Athens  and  bring  Philomela  back  for  a  visit   • But  Tereus  lusts  after  Philomela  when  he  sees  her   • On  arrival  in  Thrace,  he  rapes  her   • To  keep  her  from  talking,  he  cuts  out  her  tongue,  hides  her  and  tells  Procnê  that  her  sister  died   • Keeps  her  locked  in  a  mountain  house   • In  her  cell,  Philomela  weaves  the  story  of  what  happened  in  a  tapestry  and  sends  it  to  Procnê   • Procnê  understands  the  message   • In  revenge,  they  kill  Itys  and  serve  him  to  Tereus   • In  the  end,  they  all  turn  into  birds   • Fig.  16.5   – Philomela,  Procnê  and  Itys.     Observations   Ovid’s  Literary  Myth   • Ovid's  retelling  of  the  Greek  myths  emphasize  the  moral  and  psychological  effect  of  a   metamorphosis.     • Though
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