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Chapter 9

Notes for Chapter 9

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University of Toronto St. George
James Lynd

Chapter 9 - According to greek myth many things sprang from/are responsible because of a female source, including the origin of the world but most importantly in this chapter: - > Fertility (Human, plants, animals) - The goddesses of fertility influenced much of the ancient world, and some of the mod- ern as well - Since there are so many goddesses with similar competencies scholars call them: - > The Great Mother or - > The Great Goddess - Greek myth never acknowledged a single great goddess - > always divided the power among a group - The goddess who most closely relates as a mother-goddess is Demeter - > Egypt and mesopotamia myth closely related - > In all these stories there is a close association between the female, the underworld, the death of the male and a focus on the cyclical process of life forms, which die only to be born again. Demeter and Persephonê - Persephonê has no clear etymology - > daughter of demeter and zeus - > she is often called Korê which means ‘daughter’ or ‘girl’ - > She is a Parathions - an unmarried virgin. - > Many regard her and her mother as two aspects go the same figure - - > often called the Two Demeters or the Two Goddesses - This myth tells of how Hades abducted Persephonê and carried her away to be his bride - Demeter refused to allow the grain to grow until a compromise was reached by which Persephonê a third of the year in Hades house and two thirds in the world above - > Can’t actually be an Aetiological myth regarding harvest season - > Extremely important at cult of Demeter at Euless The hymn: - Persephonê with Oceanids - Zeus promissed Perephone to Hades Chapter 9 - Hades carries her off after she picked a glorious flower that was planted as a lure for her - Only Hecatê hears her lamenting - Finally Demeter hears he daughters cry but no one will tell her what happens - For nine days she morns - On tenth day Hecatê tells her what happened but she does not know her daughters abductor - they go to see Helius, watchmen of gods and mortals - He blames Zeus, for Zeus gave her to his brother Hades - Also tells that Hades is the abductor - Says ‘oh come on, Hades is an awesome son-in-law’ - Demeter disguises herself and no one recognizes her as she travels - Then at the palace of ‘lofty-souled’ Celeus where she was seen by his daughters - There were four: - > Callithoê, oldest - > Callidicê - > Demo - > Clllisidicê - They asked what she was doing at the well of the maiden and not inside the houses of the city - Demeter tells them a false story, not revealing herself - Asks for directions to employment - Callidicê gives her list of noble houses but reveals that she’d rather demeter work in their palace - Says that her mother has a new born son (Demophoön) and that Demeter could help raise him - Demeter gets job and is befriended by Iambê - She fed the son food of the gods and put him in the fire each night - > His mother Meatier oversaw the latter and freaked out - - > Didn’t realize that Demeter was trying to make him immortal, and because of her actions her son now would never be immortal - Demeter commands that a temple be built to her at the well of Dance - Demeter leaves - Still lamenting her daughter she sends a year of plague - > Gods did not get proper offerings Chapter 9 - - > Zeus sends many messengers to fetch Demeter from her temple to speak with her, but she refuses to come - - > She said that never would she allow wheat to grow unless she saw her daughter with her own eyes - > Hearing this Zeus sent Hermes to bring persephonê to her mum - Hades allows her to go and warms her heart with fake sweet words. Then, gives her the pomegranate - > because she ate food from the underworld, she must stay a third of the year there Observation: The Myth of Demeter and Persephonê - Myth first used as agricultural allegory - > Hades was earth - > Persephonê was grain buried in the earth - > Her return from the underworld was seen as the growth of new wheat - > However, this does not respond with the agricultural facts of greece: - - > In the hymn she returns in the springtime but seed is planted in the fall and grows through winter! - > some argue that this means that the seed is placed in containers underneath the earth through the four sterile and hot months of summer until fall hits - Because she is a parthenos this is on some level a story of a young girls experience and their mothers. - > Like the narcissus she couldn’t resist, persephone is ‘ripe to be plucked’ - - > hence: ‘deflowered’ - - - > The sudden loss of virginity is death to childhood. - Because she ate the pomegranate she can never return to her former state: - > at their wedding, brides carried an apple or quince into their bridal chambers - Marriage was literal death for many greek women, as they often died in childbirth - Persephonê unlike parathion who permanently entered their husband’s house and bore children, lives in two worlds and belongs wholly to neither. - > She is forever a Korê, forever childless - When a greek girl died unmarried she is said to be Hades bride ad a wedding vase was placed over her grave as a memorial - The pomegranate seeds Persephonê ate are symbolic of her sexual union with Hades - > He offered her seeds, she took them within her body, but the seeds will never bear fruit Chapter 9 - Demeters grief paralleled that of real mothers’ - Persephone however, is not entirely the victim as she voluntarily reached for the flower - > Her sexual curiosity creates a rift between her and her mum - Life depends on death The Eleusinian Mystery - Demeter’s cult The Eleusinian Mysteries, believed that she offered regeneration - In the 7th century bc, when the homeric hymn was being written down, athens was goring rapidly - About 600 bc athens absorbed the nearby village of Eleusis - The word mystery is credited to this cult - > Comes from Greek Mystêsmeaning ‘one who closes’ - the eyes and perhaps the mouth to enter the temple, or close them during the sacred rites. - Latin Iniatus is our Initiate which means ‘one who has gone in’ - to Demeters temple to participate in the secret ritual. - The temple was called the Telestrion ‘hall of initiation’ - > To tell of what happened with it was punishable by death. - - > So modern commentators must begin by confessing what didn’t happen - A rough picture has been formed: - Seems to have been an agrarian festival designed to promote the growth of grain. - > Were functioning in late bronze age 1500 bc - Two principle families were in charge: - > the Eumolpids, whose ancestor Eumolpus, according to hymn, received them from Demeter herself. - > The Kerykes, ‘heralds’ from Eumolpus son Keryx ‘herald’. - The hight priest always a eumolpud was called the hierophant ‘he who reveals the hi- era (sacred things)’ - The family of the Kerykes provided the torchbearer and the herald. - For their services the families received a fee from the initiates. - There was also the priestess of demeter, who, like hierophant, lived permanently in the sanctuary. - A principal ceremony of the musteries was held annually in the fall. - In classical timesa a truce was called for 55 days. - Heralds went out to neighboring cities to invite participation Chapter 9 - On the day before the festival the hiera were removed from the Telesterion and carried to Athens in a big procession - The next day the festival started. Lasted for eight days - All who could speak greek except murderers- were eligible for initation. - > including women and slaves! - On 5th day the process
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