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CLA204H1 (63)
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Chapter 8

Notes for Chapter 8

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University of Toronto St. George
James Lynd

Chapter 8 - Male gods sometimes have spheres of operation that overlap or have outlines that are inexplicable - > poseidon and horses - Female gods by contrast seem more to be aspects of a single religious concern with the fertility forces in life, both natural and human - > demeter is force that makes grain sprout - > only athena has no clear relation to fertility but she is skill in female crafts, especially weaving an important facet of female life - - > However, we must remember when studying greek god’s characters that the ac- counts are created by males and therefore biased Demeter, Mistress of Wheat - demeter is mother-goddess that sees over the fruitfulness of agriculture - Meter means mother - De is unknown - Wherever wheat was grown her following was large, especially in Eleusis near Athens in Sicily - Always closely linked with daughter persephone - > simply called ‘the goddesses’ - Roman: ceres Hestia, The Hearth - oldest child of cronus and rhea - Name means hearth - Roman: vesta; shrine tended by six virgins and held undying flame - Simply the fireplace - > protected the home, defined internal space of the female world as it was the womans job to tend to the fireplace - Also protectress of city, the enlarged family - Few stories told about her - According to many accounts, Dionysus took her place among the twelve - Always a virgin and never left olympus Aphrodite, Goddess of Sexual Love Chapter 8 - Roman Venus - Embodies sexual love/attraction - Her constant companion is Eros ‘Sexual Desire’ (Roman Cupid), her child by Ares - > Shown as a winged boy with bow or torch, a mischievous irresponsible child that showers his arrows everywhere not caring about the harm caused by sexual passion - Hesiod derives Aphrodite by a false folk etymology from aphros “Foam” but the god- dess is certainly not greek in origin, nor is her name - > Most scholars think that she is a distortion of the eastern goddess of fertility known asInanna, Ishtaar or Astartê - Goddess came to greece through Cyprus, a frequent point of transmission of Eastern culture to the west. - > At Pathos, in southwestern cyprus, she was worshipped as early as the 12th century in the form a polished conical stone - Her cult was also important on Cythera - Both Cyprus and Cypher are said to be the place where she first rises out of the foam - > Therefore also referred to as Cypris or Cypher - A shocking feature of this goddess was temple prostitution - > Women, often of good birth, voluntarily served in her temples where they had inter- course with men who paid in the form of offerings to the goddess, - > Such service was a kind of ransom paid to the fertility power of the goddess ensuing a large family once the girl was married - Sappho who lived in the late 7th or early 6th century on the island of lesbos was cele- brated as the ‘tenth muse’ and wrote one of the prettiest poems about aphrodite. - She is famous for her erotic celebration of women - Not until after Classical times was her poetry considered to be homoerotic hence our word lesbian Hermaphroditus and Priapus - Aphrodite had affair with hermes, gave birth to hermaphroditus, a boy of remarkable beauty - Ovid tells this famous story about him: - > One day a nymph, Salmacis noticed him wandering in the woods, fell hopelessly in love with him and urged that they sleep together. Hermaphroditus ran away. Later, when Chapter 8 the boy dipped into spring for a bath Salmacis leaped in and clung to him tightly praying that they never be separated. - > they were fused into one being with women’s breasts and man’s genitals - Another child of Aphrodite’s was Priapus - > an amusing garden-deity with an enormous erect penis who warded off the evil eye - Especially popular among romans who hung tablets off his penis with warning of un- pleasant sexual acts Pygmalion - Except for her affair with Ares, all important stories about Aphrodite are set outside of Greece, reflecting her Eastern origins - Her strong connection with Cyprus and eastern myth appear in traditions of the Cypri- ote royal house. - > Best known is Ovids story of Pygmalion, king of cyprus who had become disgusted with the profligate and immoral behavior of cypriote women - - > In many aspects it is a recasting of Hesiods Pandora now set in the age of heroes - Pygmalion makes a statue of a beautiful woman and falls in love with it - > Aphrodite grants Pygmalion’s prayer that his wife be ‘someone like my ivory statue’ (she turns the statue real) - > Attends their wedding - The statue (named Galatea) gives birth to Paphos which aphrodite’s sacred city is named - Pathos gives birth to Cinyras whose wife boasted that their daughter Myrrha (or smyr- na) was more beautiful than aphrodite - > The goddess punished this arrogance by causing Myrrha to fall in love with her own father - > She lured her father into a darkened chamber where she slept with him for twelve nights - > Cinyras who was drunk thought he has slept with a concubine while his wife was out of town - > When he found out he tried to stab her but the gods transformed her into a Myrrha tree. - > her tears of sorrow became the resin myrrha which was burned on aphrodites alter - Cinyras killed himself Chapter 8 - After nine months the tree broke open and Adonis emerged Aphrodite and Anchises - In the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, the goddess falls victim to her own power and falls in love (thanks to zeus) with a mortal, anchises, a prince related tot he trojan royal house - Unlike male gods it was shameful for a femal god to peruse mortal men - Aphrodite disguised herself as an unwedded mortal - He thoug
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