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Chapter 19-21

CLAA06 Ch. 19-21 Notes (Jason, Myths of Iolcus & Calydon, Trojan War & Aftermath)

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Classical Studies
Alexandra Pohlod

CLAA06 Ancient Greece/Rome Post-Midterm Textbook Notes (2) Ch. 19 Jason and the Myths of Iolcus and Calydon Thessaly-widest plain in Greece, located on NW mainland ->in Homer’s tale of Trojan War->birthplace of Achilles, in SE Thessaly was mountainous peninsula called Magnesia->highest peak in Magnesia is Mt. Pelion->at the base was the BronzeAge city of Iolcus-this is where Jason & theArgonauts set forth on rd their journey->Apollonius of Rhodes-author of epic poem, the Argo Nautica (3 century BC Hellenistic Period) Phrixus, Helle, and the Golden Fleece Jason-son of Aeson, who was a descendant of Aeolus, eponym of Aeolids (tribe in north/central Greece) ->Aeolus was king of Magnesia & grandson of Deucalion & Pyrrha->Aeolus had 7 sons, including Athamas->whenAthamas grew up, he migrated south to Boeotia & became king of town of Orchomenus (BronzeAge capital of northern Boeotia) ->Athamas’first wife was Nephele (cloud)->Athamas + Nephele = 1 son: Phrixus & 1 daughter: Helle, but eventually tired of Nephele, married Ino (daughter of Cadmus of Thebes) ->Athamas + Ino = 2 sons: Learches & Melicertes, Ino, jealous of Phrixus feared he might inherit the throne so she persuaded local women to start a famine/drought (parch grain) ->in reaction:Athamas sent his messengers to Delphic Oracle for what to do but Ino intercepted them & bribed them to report that Apollo saidAthamas must sacrifice Phrixus to end the famine ->asAthamas was about to kill his son, Nephele helped her threatened children by sending them a winged, golden ram->Phrixus/ Helle climbed on the ram, soaring away to the east ->during the flight, Helle fell off the ram to her death (into the sea that was later named after her Hellespont, or sea of Helle); the ram flew on & Phrixus landed safely in the town of Colchis (land ofAea (earth) at eastern end of Black Sea)->the tyrant Aeetes ruled Colchis; he was a son of Helius (sun god) ->Phrixus sacrificed ram to Zeus & gave its fleece toAeetes, who hung it on a oak tree in a grove ofAres; in turnAeetes gave Phrixus one his daughters to marry Pelias and Aeson -Salmoneus (Athamas’brother) had a daughter named Tyro, who became Jason’s grandmother ->Tyro was married to Cretheus (king of Epirus) but was in love with Enipeus (the patron god of the river), but Poseidon, filled with lust, disguised himself as Enipeus & had sex with Tyro ->Cretheus + Tyro =Aeson & Pheres, Poseidon + Tyro = 2 twins sons: Neleus & Pelias ->Pelias, arrogant/intolerant, wished to gain supreme power over Thessaly so he banished Neleus (Neleus migrated to Messenia in SW Peloponnesus where he found royal dynasty of Pylos) ->Pelias married & had several daughters (including Alcestis, who married Admetus (son of Pheres & whom Heracles brought back from the dead as part of his 12 labours)) ->Pelias kept his half-brother,Aeson, locked in the dungeons of Ioclus;Aeson married while in the dungeon & together they bore a son; but fearing his life, they sent him to the Centaur Chiron on Mt. Pelion, Chiron named the boy Jason ->Chiron taught Jason arts of civilized life & raised him; Pelias, meanwhile was warned by Delphic Oracle to beware a man with one sandal that would one day bring about his downfall ->when Jason grew to maturity, he went to Iolcus to take the throne->along the way he helped an old woman cross a rain-swollen stream; Jason, however, was too excited about the throne & rushing as he did, he lost one of his sandals but regardless he continued on, not realizing that the old woman was Hera in disguise ->Hera hated Pelias b/c he didn’t honour her so she decides to destroy him through Medea, the witch & daughter of Aeetes->Jason’s kind act proved to Hera he was capable of bringing Medea to Greece, who would punish Pelias (hence Jason was a part of Hera’s elaborate scheme) ->Pelias, seeing Jason, realized he was the one sandal man; frightened, Pelias asked Jason what would he do if he were faced with a man he knew would be his downfall-> Jason said he would send the man to retrieve the Golden Fleece->thus, Pelias ordered Jason to do so & so begins the Argonautica journey The Voyage of theArgo -Jason summonedArgus (swift, son of Phrixus) to construct the largest ship ever made, Athena inserted bow of ship with a talking wooden beam, cut from a sacred oak of Dodona (town in Epirus in NW Greece); the ship was called Argo ->Jason called on the best fighting men of his day to help him, among them included: Heracles, Orpheus (husband of Eurydice, Ch. 6), the Dioscuri, Castor & Polydeuces (Zeus + Helen), Zetes & Calais (sons of Boreas-Boreads), Telamon (father of Trojan war-heroAjax) & brother Peleus (father ofAchilles), Meleager (Deianira’s brother), brothers Idas & Lynceus (princes of Messina), Admetus,Augeas (whose stables Heracles cleaned), Tiphys (helmsman/person who steers the ship), Idmon (a seer) &Argus->these among many others composed of theArgonauts EarlyAdventures -the Argonauts first landed on island of Lemnos (populated by sex-starved women), after year of intercourse, the new race of Lemnians came to be ->the Argonauts then headed to Propontis, a narrow passageway, where the local king of Doliones (Cyzicus, young man of Jason’s age & newly married), welcomed them->at night however, the ppl of Doliones attacked theArgonauts->when the battle ended, dead Doliones were everywhere, among them were Cyzicus ->after funeral/apologies, Argonauts headed to coast of Mysia on south shore of Propontis, Heracles was showing off his strength when he broke one of his oars so they went to look for another tree to make another->Heracles young friend, Hylas went inland to look for water but lustful water nymphs pulled him into a spring, kidnapped forever ->next they passed through Bithynia where they met a boxer/king of Bebryces named Amycus (son of Poseidon & Melia, a nymph), Polydeuces managed to boxAmycus to death (tied to rock afterwards) Phineus and the Harpies -the Argonauts reached east end of Propontis & met King Phineus-son of Agenor, king of Thrace & a prophet->b/c he abused the gift of prophecy received fromApollo (revealing too much of the gods' truth to humans, Zeus blinded him & set the Harpies (Ch. 4) to plague him) ->whenever Phineus sat down to eat, the Harpies would swoop down & steal the food ->to rid this curse, the winged Boreads pursue the Harpies but the goddess Iris (rainbow) prevented them from killing the Harpies by promising that Phineus would not be troubled again The Symplegades -in return for theArgonauts' help, Phineus foretold the results of their quest & revealed to them how they should get past the next obstacle, the Symplegades (clashing rocks) which blocked access to Black Sea, no humans had ever passed safely through them ->before attempting to get past the rocks,Argonauts should release a dove; if it made it through, so would they but if it was killed, they should forget about their adventure & go home ->when the Argonauts got near the clashing rocks, Jason released a dove which sailed through, losing only a tail feather when the rocks smashed together->theArgonauts followed & rowed as hard as they could, getting past the rocks & only losing a banner on the ship’s stern Medea and the Golden Fleece -after many adventures, theArgonauts finally reached Colchis, Medea-the witch/KingAeetes’daughter was the first to see the crew ->Hera’s complex plan was still in effect, she persuadedAphrodite to send Eros to make Medea fall in love with Jason->Medea would turn against her father, who hated foreigners & had no intention of giving up golden fleece ->an oracle warnedAeetes that a foreigner would destroy him so he told Jason that he could take the fleece only if he did the following: yoke a team of fierce, fire-breathing bulls & plow a field with them, sow the teeth of the dragon that Cadmus killed in Thebes, destroy the armed warriors that sprouted from the teeth & get past the sleepless dragon who guarded the fleece ->Medea, driven by her passion for Jason, secretly met with him & gave him a magic ointment spread on his sword, shield & body->Jason said he would marry Medea only if he lived ->using a magical potion, Medea drugs the sleepless dragon, snatches the fleece & runs with Jason to theArgo, rowing away from Colchis ->Aeetes gathered his fleet & pursued the Argonauts, who were heading to mouth of Ister (Danube) river; to corner themAeetes sent half of his fleet toward the Bosporus (to come at Argonauts from the south) & half westward upriver, led by Medea’s brother Apsyrtus ->Jason &Apsyrtus met inAdriatic Sea->according toApollonius of Rhodes, Medea lured her brother into a trap where Jason kills him & buries his corpse ->more common version:Apsyrtus was a little boy Medea kidnapped, she cut his body into pieces & dropped piece by piece in the water to slow downAeetes’fleet ->the journey continued up the Eridanes river (northern Italy) to Rhone (southern France), then through the Mediterranean, down west coast of Italy, around boot of Italy & across Ionian sea to Corcyra (land of the Phaeacians) ->arriving at Corcyra, the 2 fleet that came through the Bosporus intercepted the Argo; they demanded thatAlcinous (Phaeacian king) surrender Medea->but Alcinous would only do so if Jason & Medea did not have sex->Jason arranges wedding ceremony, led Medea to a cave & slept with her->defeated, the Colchians settled on Corcyra Libya -from Corcyra, the Argonauts headed south->a storm drove them to Syrtis (dead sea) off coast of Libya; a huge wave threw theArgo inland & theArgonauts were forced to wander the desert carrying the ship until they reached the inland lake of Tritonis ->hoping to find water, the crew stumbled upon the Garden of the Hesperides (nymphs wept b/c Hercules killed the snake guarding the apples as one of his 12 labours) ->Triton, the water-god guides theArgonauts back to the Mediterranean, where the crew headed north to Crete->they saw Talus-the giant bronze robot that threw boulders at ships (*recall Zeus gave Talus to Europa after her abducted her) ->Talus had a single vein of ichor (liquid that serves as blood for gods), which was replenished through a hole in his ankle; Medea fixed Talus with her evil eye so that Talus struck his angle against a rock, spilling the liquid everywhere->weakened, Talus falls to his death in the sea ->rounding Crete, the crew finally reached the Gulf of Pagasae (where the journey started) Observations: Jason, the Deflated Hero -Apollonius presents Jason as an incompetent/indecisive figure, he falls into a depression upon being told byAeetes what to do & in contrast Medea is stronger & braver than Jason -Apollonius’romantic element greatly influences Vergil, who models Dido in Aeneid after Medea (Ch. 23) The Death of Pelias -back in Iolcus, it was rumored that theArgo had sunk & theArgonauts died; Pelias proud of escaping the oracle’s fate decided to finish offAeson (Jason’s father)->he made him drink bull’s blood (poison), which killedAeson->in reaction, Pheres (Aeson’s wife) killed herself with a sword ->Jason’s journey lasted 4 months, he presented the fleece to Pelias who took it but still refused to give up his throne->to kill him, Medea explained to her daughters that through her magical powers, she could make Pelias young again ->to show this, Medea cut up an old ram & boiled the pieces in a pot, after several hours, a lamb emerged->persuaded, the daughters sneaked into Pelias’chamber, chopped him into pieces & brought them to Medea ->Medea cooked them for several hours but purposely left the youth-restoring potion she added before & apologized (lying) that the thick gluey stew the daughters made missed an ingredient ->hence Pelias was dead & Hera’s plan was fulfilled->the Ioclans were enraged though & cast away Jason & Medea from Iolcus forever Jason and Medea in Corinth -after Pelias’murder, Jason &Medea fled Iolcus & settled in Corinth, Medea bore Jason two sons but Jason became dissatisfied with his relationship & arranged to marry Glauce, daughter of Creon of Corinth (Creon simply means king, no relation to Theban Creon) ->the plot unfolds in Euripides play, Medea: King Creon, fearing Medea, banishes her from Corinth but not getting revenge: Medea gives Glauce a poisoned robe & crown, burring the flesh from Glauce’s body; King Creon dies as well when he embraces his dying daughter ->Medea kills her 2 sons with a knife, throws their bodies into a chariot (drawn by winged dragons & gift of her grandfather Helius) & flees Corinth ->Jason, depressed, sat beneath theArgo->the rotting prow of the ship (front of ship’s hull that cuts through water) broke off, fell on Jason’s head & killed him ->Medea takes refuge at Athens withAegeus *recall: old king ofAthens; having promised him that she would use her magic to enable Aegeus to have more children, she married him & bore him a son, Medus ->but again recall Aegeus had another son which was Theseus; upon Theseus’return, Medea tried to trick her husband into poisoning him but she was unsuccessful & had to fleeAthens, taking Medus with her to Colchis->Medus killsAeetes, gains power & becomes ancestor of Medes (Persians), Greece’s enemy during Classical Period ->it is unknown whether Medea died or not, one version claims she marries Achilles in Elysium Observations: Medea, Sorceress and Wife -Medea likes to use potions to get what she wants (fire-breathing dragon, snake that guards fleece & resurrecting old ram->could have used her powers to resurrect Pelias but chose not too) -Euripides presents Medea as foreigner who understands magic but also an ordinary human, betrayed by Jason (victimized wife) -Medea is the embodiment ofAthenian’s husband worst nightmare (her violent emotions/jealousy leads her to kill her own children to settle a dispute) The Calydonian Boar Hunt Aetolia-district north above the entrance to Gulf of Corinth, capital ofAetolia was Calydon ->the king of Calydon (in the days of Heracles) was Oeneus (wineman) descendant of Aeolus & first man in Greece to grow grapes for wine ->Oeneus + Althaea (sister of Leda who was mother of Helen of Troy) = Meleager ->Oeneus’later wife Periboea gave birth to Tydeus (one of the 7Against Thebes) ->7 days after Meleager was born, the 3 Fates (Moerae->from Ch., 6) appeared; 2 of them rd promised child would be handsome & brave but the 3 pointed to a log burning in the fireplace ->the 3 Moerae stated if the log were too be consumed, Meleager would die->Althaea immediately took the burning log, extinguished it & placed it at bottom of a chest, where she hid it in a secret part of her palace ->Meleager grew up & joined theArgonauts on their quest, when he returned from Colchis, he married & fathered a child ->years ago, Oeneus offendsArtemis by forgetting to include her in a harvest sacrifice; in revenge,Artemis sends huge boar across Calydon’s countryside (killing anyone in its path) ->like Jason, Oeneus summoned heroes to hunt the Calydonian Boar, many who sailed on the Argo also took part, among them included: Meleager & his uncles/cousins from Sparta, the Dioscuri, Theseus, Admetus, Jason, Pirithous (Laptih king/son of Ixion), Peleus (Achilles’father), Iphicles (Heracles’twin brother),Amphiaraus (the seer fromArgos) & Atalanta-the famous female athlete fromArcadia (central Peloponnesus) ->Atalanta's father wanted a boy so bad that whenAtalanta was born, he exposed her on a hill where she was suckled by a she bear (sent byArtemis), until a group of hunters found her and raised her, like Artemis, Atalanta loved to hunt ->other male members of the hunt objected toAtalanta’s presence, but consumed with lust, Meleager insistedAtalanta be allowed to join ->during the hunt,Atalanta was the first to fire an arrow (in the pig’s ugly red eye), Amphiaraus also wounded the boar but it was Meleager who skinned the beast & killed it ->Meleager gave the pelt toAtalanta b/c she was the first to shoot (but also b/c he lusted for her); Meleager’s uncles protested that a woman receive the trophy so Meleager killed his uncles ->whenAlthaea learned his brothers were dead, she raged & took out the log she hid in her chest & threw it into fireplace->hence Meleager dies ->Bacchylides, the choral poet, explains Heracles encountering Meleager’s ghost in the underworld (while he fetched Cerebrus)->Heracles arranges to marry Deianira,Althaea hangs herself after killing her son & so did Meleager’s wife->after Atalanta's success at the boar hunt, her father was proud & accepted her as his daughter.Atalanta was reconciled with her father ->her father wantedAtalanta to marry but she wanted to stay a virgin b/c the Delphic Oracle warned her not to marry->Atalanta came up with the following plan that would stop her from having to marry: she agreed to marry whoever beat her in a footrace; if the suitor lost (which they all did),Atlanta chopped off his head (killing them)->her plan was to give the suitor a head start & then spear them from behind ->then came Melanion (or Hippomenes); Aphrodite favoured Melanion & gave him 3 golden apples from Hesperides to distractAtalanta->during the race, wheneverAtalanta would get ahead of Melanion, he would roll one of the golden apples forward, forcingAtalanta to stop & pick the apple up->the distraction allowed Melanion to win the race &Atalanta's hand in marriage ->once married, Atalanta couldn’t contain her lust any longer so she allowed Melanion to have intercourse with her in Zeus’temple->angered by this, Zeus turned them both into lions (a fitting punishment b/c lions can’t mate with each other) Observations: Heroic Myths of the Hunt and the Hunter -Meleager’s birth is part of a heroic pattern (similarities b/t hunting & sacrifice/war/threat to society) -the social/technical skills used in war were also applicable to hunting, but although hunt is conducted for benefit of society, hunter can easily give in to excitement of chase & become a danger to society (ex. Hippolytus denies his sexuality b/c he’s so devoted to hunting) -Meleager’s disobedience of hunting laws & giving pelt toAtalanta causes chaos/war b/t him & relatives, although hero in the sense of slaying boar, he is a threat as well -hunters that met their end: Orion &Actaeon, Cephalus kills Procris -Meleager, despite having a wife, loves Atalanta->Melanion &Atalanta have sexual relations in forbidden place -the hunter-hero is a culture bearer; an animal’s ‘defeat allows society to live normally -collective hunts relate to male initiation (binding males together as group);Atalanta doesn’t belong & thus her presence leads to chaos->Meleager leads the males b/c he’s the king son & he wants to unite the males in his kingdom through hunting Ch. 20 The Trojan War The House ofAtreus -the kings who led Greek expedition to Troy came from house of Atreus (explained later) Pelops, Oenomaus, and Hippodamia -*recall from Ch. 12 Tantalus: he invited the gods to a banquet & served his son Pelops dismembered body; upon discovery, the gods rejected it->Pelops was restored to life & Hephaestus replaced his shoulder made of ivory (which was eaten by Demeter b/c she was too preoccupied with Persephone’s disappearance) ->at this time, Oenomaus, ruled as king over Pisa in Elis (NW Peloponnesus), Oenomaus fell in love with daughter, Hippodamia, who refused sex with his father, thus Oenomaus prevented her from marrying anyone else by offering her as prize to whomever could beat him in a chariot race to Corinth ->Poseidon gave Oenomaus horses whose speed was unsurpassed & many suitors died (Oenomaus killed them the wayAtalanta killed her suitors)->upon hearing about the contest, Pelops was determined to win so he brought a golden-winged chariot from Lydia, a gift from Poseidon->Pelops also bribed Myrtilus (Oenomaus’charioteer) that he would get to sleep with Hippodamia if he helped him win ->Myrtilus agreed; he removed the bronze pins at the end of the axle of Oenomaus’chariot, which kept wheels from falling off & replaced them with wax->when Oenomaus raced against Pelops, wheels flew off & he crashed to his death->Myrtilus, Hippodamia & Pelops travelled on- >Pelops then killed Myrtilus by throwing him into the sea (either b/c M. tried to rape Hippodamia or Pelops wanted the credit of winning the race all to himself)->as Mytrilus fell to his death, he cursed Pelops (cursing his descendants as well) The Banquet of Thyestes -once purified of his murders of Oenomaus & Myrtilus, Pelops returned to Pisa & became king, naming the land Peloponnesus (island of Pelops) ->Pelops + Hippodamia = sons: Pittheus (Aethra’s father), Chrysippus (whom Laius raped), Thyestes (father of Aegisthus) & Atreus (father of Menelaus & Agamemnon)->will be explained ->after the Heraclids killed Eurystheus (the king of Mycenae who ordered Heracles to perform 12 labours), an oracle ordered Mycenaean’s to choose one of Pelops’son as new king->Atreus was the obvious choice b/c he was older but Thyestes suggested a sign was needed; whoever could produce a fleece from a golden lamb should be king,Atreus agreed ->years before, Atreus vowed to sacrifice his finest lamb toAthena but when he discovered a golden lamb within his flock, he killed it, took its pelt & hid it in a trunk (instead of burning it like he should’ve) ->at the same time, Atreus’wife, Aerope, was cheating on him with Thyestes; sinceAerope was the only person who knew where the gold fleece was, he gave it to Thyestes->thereby tricking his brother into seizing the throne ->Atreus however was sure that Zeus wanted him to be king so he declared that Zeus would on next day, make the sun rise in the west->Thyestes agreed & the sun rose in the west & set in the east->thusAtreus claimed the throne & banished his brother form Mycenae ->Atreus wondered how Thyestes managed to steal the fleece, when he discovered his wife cheating on him, he sought for revenge ->Atreus invited Thyestes back to Mycenae (to put their past aside) & killed Thyestes’3 sons; he chopped & served them (exception of heads & limbs) to Thyestes, who thought it was a tasty meal; after Atreus taunted his brother with heads/limbs & banished him once more but not before Thyestes cursesAtreus (some say he’s responsible for cursing descendants & not Myrtilus) ->Thyestes went to Delphic Oracle to find out what he must do to seek revenge; the oracle said that his revenge would succeed only if he fathered a son by his own daughter, Pelopia ->ignorant of Pelopia’s whereabouts, Thyestes left Delphi & at night came to a stream near Sicyon in northern Peloponnesus->he sees a girl jump into the water, Thyestes rapes the girl but in the confusion, leaves his sword behind, the girl was his own daughter Pelopia ->meanwhile, Atreus was looking for Thyestes to apologize for letting him go; he came to Sicyon & saw Pelopia, mistaking her as the daughter of King of Sicyon->Atreus took Pelopia as his new wife, not knowing she was pregnant by Thyestes->when Pelopia bore a son, Atreus though it was his own & named him Aegisthus->as years passed, Atreus, tired of searching for Thyestes, sent his sons, Agamemnon & Menelaus to Delphi to askApollo where his brother was->coincidentally, Thyestes was at Delphi too; he needed new advice fromApoll
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