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Chapter 22-24

CLAA06 Ch. 22-24 Notes (Return of Odysseus, Legends of Aeneas & Early Rome)

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Classical Studies
Alexandra Pohlod

Ch. 22 The Return of Odysseus -*NTS: very important chapter, lots of folktale motifs, study this extensively for exam -Homer highlights Odysseus’ journey to get back home (to Ithaca) after Trojan War (in the Odyssey) The Cicones and the Lotus Eaters -Odysseus & his men leave Troy & stop at Ismarus in Thrace (land opposite of Troy & land of the Cicones), the men conquer the city but Cicones attack, killing 6 men from each of Odysseus’ 12 ships ->the remaining Greeks escape by sea but are caught in storm off south coast of Peloponnesus, which blows them to land of Lotus Eaters (possibly N. Africa); the Greeks consumed the fruits & flowers of the lotus plant (narcotics), which drugged them & made them sleepy; Odysseus manages to rescue his men from lotus plant effects (reminds them of their journey) Polyphemus -at sea again, Greeks come to land of Cyclopes (round-eyes, *recall from Ch. 4 they’re race of one-eyed giants mentioned in Hesiod who helped Olympians win Titanomachy by making thunderbolt weapon) nd ->most famous of the 2 generation of Cyclopes was Polyphemus, son of Poseidon & Thoosa (daughter of Phorcys & Ceto (from Ch. 14)), who was also a shepherd (kept goats/sheep) ->Cyclopes were thought to have lived in remote part of Sicily (in caves) & ate flesh of any kind (including human) ->story goes as follows: Odysseus & 12 of his men came across the cave of Polyphemus & went inside hoping to steal food while Polyphemus was away tending to his flock ->curious, Odysseus wanted to see what a Cyclopes looked like, so they hid in the cave until Polyphemus returned->later, Polyphemus herded his flock of sheep/goats into his cave & to be safe, rolled a huge boulder across the entrance (not knowing the Greeks were inside) ->seeing Polyphemus, Odysseus gasped in disbelief, which gave away their hiding place; Polyphemus rushed forward & killed two of the men for his dinner then fell asleep ->Odysseus wanted to kill Polyphemus, but knowing he & his men could never remove the boulder from cave entrance, he conceived a plan for escape ->next morning, Polyphemus caught two more of Odysseus' men, ate them for breakfast & then rolled back the boulder (allowing just enough room for his flock to get out, but still trapping Greeks inside) ->Odysseus set his men to work on sharpening a stout pole & then hiding it ready for the evening; Polyphemus returned (again rolling back boulder & letting in his flock, catching 2 more Greeks & eating them) ->after eating, he asked Odysseus what his name was, to which he replied, “outis" (nobody); as part of plan, Odysseus offered Polyphemus a full goatskin of wine & when he finished, drunk, the beast fell asleep ->Odysseus & his men took out the pole & plunged it into Polyphemus’ eye, making sure it blinded him; the pain made Polyphemus scream out which alerted the neighbouring Cyclopes to see what was wrong ->when they asked: “what troubles you so", Polyphemus screamed "nobody is hurting me" (which is why Odysseus said was his name was "outis")->thinking his screams were a punishment from Zeus, the other Cyclopes went away ->the next day, Polyphemus rolled the boulder from cave to let out his flock, but b/c he was blind now (& knowing Greeks would try to escape), he felt each animal as he let it pass ->Odysseus & his men held on to the belly of a ram & one at a time escaped from the cave; they ran to their ship, taking with them part of the flock ->upon ship, Odysseus mocked Polyphemus by telling him who he really was; Polyphemus, realizing he had been tricked, threw rocks at the ship but the gang escaped ->Odysseus had made his escape, Polyphemus prayed to his father Poseidon asking him to send a curse (throughout rest of Odysseus' journey home, Poseidon was his enemy) Aeolus, the Laestrygonians, and Circe -next, Odysseus comes to island of Aeolus (wind-king & unrelated to the Aeolus who was Jason’s ancestor), who spends his days dining with his 6 sons & 6 daughters; all married to one another ->in custom with xenia, Aeolus gives Odysseus a sealed cowhide bag that contained dangerous winds, which he warned him not to open (folktale motif of prohibition) ->the gang leave & they almost make it back to Ithaca but as Odysseus falls asleep, his men become curious (maybe there’s gold!) & they greedily untie the bag; the dangerous winds escape & carry the ship back to Aeolus ->seeing that the gods probably hated them for their curiosity, Aeolus orders them away ->the Greeks then come to land of Laestrygonians (gnashers), more cannibals!->they destroy 11 of Odysseus’ 12 ships & the men within it, except Odysseus’s ship which was hidden in a cove near shore ->Odysseus & his crew escape to Aeaea, the island of Circe (daughter of Helius the sun & sister of Aeetes, Medea’s father)->heavily forested & surrounded by dense mist, Odysseus’ crew went inland to investigate->a crew member named Eurylochus, returns in panic, who recounts Circe giving his men a potion & turning them into pigs ->Odysseus then sets forth to Circe’s house alone; along the way in the forest, Hermes appears & gives Odysseys a magic herb called moly (black root & white flower) ->upon reaching Circe’s home, Odysseus hears her singing & comes inside; Circe offers him the potion but nothing happens, Odysseus is protected by the herb (according to prophecy, a man would one day defy Circe’s magic) ->Circe then invites Odysseus to her bed for sex but rmb’ing advice from Hermes, draws his sword & forces her to swear a great oath: “to do him no harm’ ->if Odysseus didn’t tell Circe the oath, he would be castrated by her (according to Hermes) ->Circe swears on the oath & then they both have sex->they bear a child named Telegonus (explained later) ->afterward, Circe releases Odysseus’ men from their enchantment & they remain on the island for a year (feasting & taking in pleasure) ->the men remind themselves of their journey to go back home; Circe agrees with this but warns them that they will encounter more obstacles along the way Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the Cattle of Helius, and Calypso -following Circe’s advice, the Greeks crossed the river Ocean (along the way Odysseus speaks with many ghosts, including Tiresias (recall * Ch. 12)->known as nekyia-ghosts were called up & questioned about future), approaching the island of the Sirens, creatures with head of female & body of bird, blessed with the irresistible charm of singing (they lured men to their destruction on the rocks surrounding their island) ->on Circe’s advice, the men stuff their ears with wax, while Odysseus binds himself to the ship’s mast to hear the wonderful singing, he begs his men to release him but the ropes bind him tighter until they pass in safety -next the Greeks approached the narrow strait of Messina, on one side is Charybdis-a monster that generated an enormous whirlpool that sucks down & spits up torrent of water 3 times day; on the other side beneath a cliff, lives Scylla-a sea monster with 12 misshapen feet & 6 long necks each with its own head (in each head lies 3 rows of teeth)->to get past them, Odysseus orders his men to row near the cliff but Scylla manages to devour 6 men ->the remaining Greeks come to Thrinacia, the island of Helius (where his cattle graze, which Circe forbidden the men to eat)->held on the island by opposing winds, the men starve & are soon reduced to eating fish ->Eurycholus bothers Odysseus (saying he’d rather die with a full belly than starve), which prompts him to journey inland->Odysseus discovers Helius’ cattle grazing & overcome with starvation, kills them for food ->as the Greeks set out again, Helius, angry that the men ate his cattle, orders Zeus to punish them (he does, with his thunderbolt, strikes the ship, drowning everyone except Odysseus, who clings to a mast) ->Odysseus drifts back to the Messina strait, where he is sucked down, but at the last second, clings onto a fig tree growing on the cliff above the whirlpool ->however, Odysseus falls back into the whirlpool & is swept away (clinging onto the mast), days later he ends up on the island of Ogygia (“navel of the sea), where the beautiful nymph, Calypso, resides (Calypso is Atlas’ daughter) ->Odysseus lives on Ogygia for 7 yrs. where he’s loved by Calypso, she offers him eternal life, if he will only marry her ->but Odysseus refused, wishing to go back home & return to his wife Penelope; Calypso refused to let him leave until finally Athena complained of Odysseus' plight to Zeus ->Zeus sent Hermes to Ogygia to order Calypso to set Odysseus free; Calypso complied reluctantly, allowing Odysseus to construct a small raft & set sail from the island Observations: Historical and Mythical Travel -Homer’s Odyssey seems to have been composed/written b/t 800-750 BC (near date of alphabet’s invention)->natural audience at the time was travelling seamen -Odysseus sometimes forgets his purpose to return home (ex. when he’s with Circe), other times he’s alone, defying outside world->Cyclopes, Laestrygonians portrayed as cannibals untamed from civilization -Cyclopes don’t cultivate grain (flocks of goat/sheep instead), respect gods or practice xenia->-such beasts were no match for civilization; Cyclopes have no ships to explore world (preferring to live in caves) Phaeacia and Nausicaa -after drifting away from Ogygia for several days, Odysseus arrives at Scheria, island of the Phaeacians ->still angry b/c Odysseus blinded his son Polyphemus, Poseidon sends a great storm; Odysseus’s raft breaks up, throwing him into sea ->he swims for 3 days but is rescued by Leucothea (once Ino, * recall she was Dionysus’ nurse & Athamas’ wife, Hera turned Ino into sea goddess) ->Leucothea gives Odysseus a veil to tie around his chest, which contains magical powers of protection->Odysseus comes ashore & falls asleep ->on that night, Nausicaa, daughter of Phaeacian king Alcinous (*recall Ch. 19 & his encounter with Argo), has a dream->Athena appears to her in disguise & advises she wash her clothes to attract a husband->the next morning, Nausicca goes to seashore to wash her clothes ->Nausicca & her friends (all parthenoi), play with a beach ball; their excitement wakes up Odysseus who comes out of the bushes holding a branch before his private parts ->maidens flee except for Nausicaa, Odysseus praises her beauty to which she responded with elegance & hospitality; she calls back her maidens who help her clean Odysseus; they take him to King Alcinous’ court where Odysseus tells his famous adventures Ithaca, Argus, and Euryclea -Phaeacians give Odysseus many gifts & transport him back to Ithaca; Odysseus is reassured by Athena that after 20 yrs., he has finally came home ->Telemachus (Odysseus’ son), had gone abroad to Pylos & Sparta in hopes of finding some news about his father; advised by Athena, he lands on the back side of Ithaca b/c Helen’s suitors have laid an ambush ->Telemachus is finally reunited with his father; he explains to him that for many yrs., suitors have tried to marry Penelope while take away Odysseus’ wealth ->disguised as a beggar, Odysseus makes his way inland to the palace, reunited with his dog Argus, asleep (“swifty”, a puppy 20 yrs. ago) but when he wakes up & recognizes his owner, he tragically dies of excitement  ->inside palace, Odysseus encounters Antinous, the leader of all the suitors (the suitors complain how Penelope had promised to marry one of them after she finished weaving a burial robe for Laertes (Odysseus’ father) but every night, Penelope undid as much weaving as she did; despite the suitors discovering this, Penelope still didn’t choose a husband ->Penelope wants to speak to the beggar (not knowing it’s her husband in disguise), who informs her that Odysseus is still alive & will soon be home ->Penelope doesn’t believe beggar; she asks the old nurse Euryclea (who suckled Odysseus when he was an infant) to wash the beggar’s feet ->Euryclea takes out a bronze cauldron, fills it with hot water & washes beggar’s feet, she feels a scar on his thigh (when Odysseus was young, a boar sliced him there)->recognizing Odysseus, Euryclea is told to shut up or else he’ll kill her Penelope, Telemachus, and the Suitors -with some help from Athena, Penelope decides she will marry on the next day & arranges a contest (whoever can string Odysseus’ bow, stored for many yrs. in a closet, & shoot an arrow through holes of 12 aligned ax handles whose heads are buried in a mound of dirt ->suitors try to string bow but are too drunk after yrs. of drinking; Telemachus suggests beggar try->Odysseus passes the test & finally reveals himself to everyone ->Eumaeus (the slave/ swineherd of Odysseus who gave his master a warm welcome after his adventures, did not recognize Odysseus, but upon his lord’s reveal, assists him with Telemachus) to kill all the suitors ->Penelope, who’s taking nap, is awakened by Euryclea; Penelope recognizes his hurdand when he gives eloquent speech about their bed; peace is finally restored & so end 23 (penultimate) book of the Odyssey ->in final book, Odysseus goes to see his father Laertes & kills the relatives of slain suitors ->other tales claim that Odysseus continued on with his adventures after being reunited with Penelope, taking a 2 wife ->while living with Circe, Odysseus fathered a child named Telegonus (begotten afar), who grew up & searched for his father; Telegonus arrived with his men on Ithaca but not knowing where he was, attacked Odysseus & Telemachus ->fulfilling Tiresias’ prophecy in the underworld that Odysseus would die a gentle death from the sea, Telegonus stabbed Odysseus with a spear tipped with a sting ray’s poisonous tail ->another tale claims Telegonus married Penelope & carried her & Telemachus back to Circe’s island, where Telemachus married Circe Observations: Symbols of Rebirth in the Folktale of the Man Who Came Home, Tested by Woman and the World -folktale motifs include: powerful antagonists, ogres, tricksters, magical helpers, special objects & prohibition -Zeus sets powerful moral theme in beginning of Odyssey, complaining humans blame gods for their troubles when in fact it’s the other way around -justice based on restraint, food that’s forbidden by gods should never be eaten -sex is fun but without husband, it shouldn’t be allowed -Poseidon is hugely responsible for harassing Odysseus -Odysseus’ enemies are death’s allies: sleep (he falls asleep at important points, Aeolus & Helius’ cattle), narcosis (Lotus Eaters), darkness (Polyphemus’ cave) & forgetfulness (Circe) -Calypso (concealer) offers Odysseus eternal life but it’s eternal quest for adventure that kills Odysseus -triumph over death leads to rebirth, Odysseus is like a baby leaving navel of sea & passes through waters to emerge naked on Phaeacia->Nausicaa, a parthenos, always dreamed of marriage, she as deliverer as a new mother (sending Odysseus away to Ithaca)->she says to him: “never forget me, for I gave you life” -on-ve end of women, Circe & Calypso are irresistible but deadly beauties, so are the Sirens, who allure men to their deaths with singing, Scylla is ferocious beast who eats people ->on +ve end though is Nausicaa (parthenos), a potential mate for Odysseus & symbolic mother who casts hero back home & Penelope, who resists sex for 20 yrs. (Clytemnestra however is the exact opposite of Penelope, who gives in to sex) -Penelope represents authority over women, she is ideal, faithful & preserves honour of her home; she is brave in finally deciding a 2 husband but ironically sets up the scene where her suitors die (she is even smart like Odysseus, testing his husband of the bed they made love to) -Odysseus is like Agamemnon (finding their houses in enemies’ hands) & Telemachus is like Orestes (fighting to restore family rights & honour), difference though is the woman, Odysseus survives b/c of Penelope but Agamemnon is killed by Clytemnestra *very important folktale themes/motifs to keep in mind: power of wits over strength, temptations, seduction, disguises & food Ch. 23 Legends of Aeneas -Greek myths were developed later by the Romans (they had different religious/social patterns of thought from Greeks as well as economic/political institutions), who brought with them to Rome their own cultural heritage ->Romans had no creation account/dive myths; Roman myth = Roman legend (bounded with Roman history)->myths are mostly just propaganda to encourage support for social patterns, effective in maintaining Roman power Early Rome: Myth, Legend, History -Rome was one of many small towns on the Tiber River; the earliest influences were Greek & Near Eastern by way of the Etruscans (indigenous peoples who lived in central Italy->the state was a federation of cities & included areas like Etruria, Latium & Campania) ->Latium separated somewhere around 500 BC which was soon followed by Rome & other cities->the Etruscans lost their independence in the 4th century BC &were assimilated in the Roman Republic in 265 BC (however, influence remained in Roman culture) ->around 500 BC, an alliance of wealthy land-owning Latin families known as patricians (fathers) destroyed the Etruscan monarchy (next chapter)->after they met together in the Senate (body of old men) to pass laws & decide peace/war->those excluded from privileged class were the majority called plebeians (commoners) who struggled to gain representation in affairs of state- >they gradually acquired roles but with limited success ->under republic (after expulsion of kings), rigged elections were held among the ruling patricians (res publica-business of the ppl) ->the republic consisted of legislative branch, which held most of the power & the weaker executive branch (consuls)->consuls possessed imperium, power to command army/enforce law (including imposition of death penalty) ->the symbol of imperium were the fasces, an axe surrounded by a bundle of rods carried by bearers called lictors that preceded the consul wherever he went (rods for whipping, ax for beheading)->hence the words fascism (Benito Mussolini’s rule during Italy in WW2) ->legendary traditions justify /power rule of the patricians; Roman gov. was so powerful that it expanded greatly under its republic, bringing in much wealth-> from 3 to 1 centuries BC, Roma state took over the entire Mediterranean world & the great kingdoms of the East (Babylon, Mesopotamia) ->however strain of expansion was too great & by 30 BC, the oligarchic government gave way to a new monarchy called the Roman Empire (imperium resided permanently in hands of one man, not with rep.’s of a privileged social class) ->imperium sine fine (empire without end) -Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), managed to disintegrate the republic & destroy the senatorial armies that opposed him Roman Religion -the direct ancestors of the Romans were Latini (who may have arrived on Italian peninsulas as early as 1500 BC, occupying Rome by 1200 BC), hence the territory of Latium ->dominating Latium on the south & east were Albian Hills (where many important Latin towns rose up in 6 -5 centuries BC)->among towns were Alba Longa (western edge of hills) & Lavinium (toward coast) ->these early Latins had diff. religious practices/attitudes from the Greeks Numina and Sacrificium -Greeks had anthropomorphic gods who lied, cheated, loved, fought, hated…etc....many aspects of human psychology; in contrast, native Roman deities were mostly personifications of various qualities & strictly limited in their function (only right to refuse or approve/assent requests) ->hence the Latin verb: nuo = “nod” or “assent” -> from this word, deities are called numina (singular: numen) or “nodders”; the numina are spirits that can inhabit almost any object or serve any function, big or small ->ex. of numen: Robigus (masculine- the Roman god who protected the corn against diseases) or Robigo (feminine), either way gender of the spirit doesn’t matter ->Robigus/o had one power: either to cause or prevent fungus disease in grain crop th ->at sacrifice called Robigalia (held annually on Apr. 25 ), priest of the Quirinus, a numen rep.’ing Romans (Latin: co-viri “men together”) would ask Robigus/o to hold back spread of disease->in return, priest offered him/.her a sort of bribe of wine, incense, gut of sheep & entrails of filthy red dog ->this ceremony was called sacrificium (‘making sacred”, origin of word sacrifice) ->sacrificium: legal transfer of smthin into ownership of numen, who was then expected to fulfill his/her side of the bargain->do ut des (“I grant you this, so that you will give me that in exchange”) ->priest acted a s a lawyer for Romans in fulfilling their side of contract & numen was expected to fulfill his/her obligations too ->functions of numina could be subdivided/assigned to sub deities who had no temples/cult but were invoked on appropriate occasions->ex. Cerealia (ceremony on April 19 in honour of Ceres, numen of grain harvest & Tellus Mater (“mother earth”) ->some numina become ID’d with Greek deities & assume their myths; to assume more personality, some numina took on roles of service to state & family, enjoying civic/home life ->one of the best known numina was Janus (the Roman god of gates/doors (ianua) & beginnings & endings->iconography: rep’d with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions ->Janus was worshipped at beginning of harvest time, planting, marriage, birth & etc…many other types of beginnings (but esp. beginnings of important events in a person's life) ->as god of gates, Janus also rep.’s transition b/t barbarism & civilization, peace & war & growth of young ppl->month of January is named after him ->a tradition states that Janus came from Thessaly & became ruler of Latium; as first king of, Janus brought his ppl a time of peace/ welfare (Golden Age), he introduced money (his double-faced head appears on many coins), field cultivation & laws, after his death he became a god/protector of Rome ->his most famous sanctuary was a portal on the Roman Forum (Rome’s central plaza explained later, a forum is a plaza) Roman Deities Equated with Greek (see next page) -the identification of the Roman equivalents to Greek gods were mostly poetic invention with little basis in native Roman religion (although there were important political motivations esp. during Augustus’ reign st for establishing such identifications)->Augustus was the founder of the Roman Empire & ruled as 1 emperor from 27BC to 14 AD Table of Greek and Roman Pantheon Greek Roman Parentage Origin Concern Attributes Zeus Jupiter Cronus + Rhea Indo-European Kingship, law, Thunderbolt, sky-god weather scepter Hera Juno Cronus + Rhea Mother- Marriage, Peacock, goddess fmaily scepter Demeter Ceres Cronus + Rhea Wheat-goddess Wheat harvest grain Poseidon Neptune Cronus + Rhea God of fresh Water, sea, Trident, horses, water earthquakes dolphins Hestia Vesta Cronus + Rhea Hearth Household Rarely shown Artemis Diana Zeus + Leto Fertility Hunting, the Bow, short goddess wild dress, animals Aphrodite Venus Zeus + Dione Fertility Human Nude, doves, (or born from goddess sexuality with foam) Eros/Cupid Hermes Mercury Zeus + Maia Road marker Travek, trade, Winged shoes, lies, oratory, caduceus thieves Hephaestus Vulcan Hera (alone) Fire-spirit Metal crafts Skull cap, hammer Apollo Apollo Zeus + Leto Shamans’ god Plague, Lyre, bow healing, music prophecy Ares Mars Zeus + Hera Thracian war War, violence Spear, shield, god helmet Athena Minerva Zeus + Metis City-goddess Civilization, Helmet, aegis, crafts other armour Dionysus Liber Zeus + Semele Dying god Vine, wine, Ivy, pantheres, ecstasy Maenads Pan Hermes + Woodland Cattle, terror Horns, hoves, Faunus Arcadia spirit pipes Heracles Hercules Zeus + None None Club, lion-skin, Alcmene bow Asclepius Aesculapius Apollo + medicine Medicine Staff with Coronis entwined snake Hades Dis Cronus + Rhea Underworld The dead Rarely shown Persephone Prosperina Zeus + New crop; The dead torch Demeter Demeter’s double Observations: Gods and Men in the Roman Meat Market -Hercules had the earliest foreign cult at Rome, it reflects his universal appeal (as most important Greek hero) & Rome’s appetite for foreign novelties -Hercules passed through Rome long before Aeneas did (according to legend, many cults were dedicated to him in Rome’s ancient cattle market->Forum Boarium->recall Hercules passed through Rome with the cattle of Geryon (10th labour) & freed Rome from the monster Cacus st th -the Greek king Evander (one of Rome’s 1 legendary settlers who was important in the Aeneid 8 book, welcomed Hercules & built a great altar for him called the Ara Maxima (“greatest altar”) in Forum Boarium as an offering of thanks for his liberating Rome from Cacus) -in Forum Boarium came together various aspects of Roman religion/culture: Etruscan, Greek & native; blended together to support need of Roman civic, economic & military life Gods of the Family and State -the gods of Roman family weren’t absorbed by Greek deities (i.e. no Greek equivalent for them) ->example of such a deity was protective spirits called Lares (singular Lar)-guardian spirits of house & fields->name derived from Etruscan world for a spirit of the dead ->the Lares were worshipped in small sanctuaries or shrines, called Lararium, which could be found in every Roman house->where ppl people sacrificed food to them on holidays ->in contrast, their malignant counterparts were the Larvae (Lemures) who dwell throughout
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