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CLA 220 - Class Notes - Week 1

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CLA 220 - Class Notes - Week 1

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background image Women in Ancient Greece o Status of men and women was not equal 
o Women were married shortly after puberty, men later in life
o Couldn’t own property 
o Did not participate as citizens 
o Rarely left home without chaperone
o Did not receive the same education
o In wealthy houses, slaves did most of the work while the woman 
supervised and did weaving o Were exceptions only for religious rituals, priestesses Olympian Goddesses Hera (Juno) o Wife and sister of Zeus
o Name connected to 
hôra , season o Marriage, readiness for marriage 
o Represented seducing her husband 
o Always seeking vengeance for husband’s infidelities 
o Often antagonistic to heroes her husband’s mistresses bear
o Mother of Ares, Hephaestus, and minor deities Hebe (youth) and 
Eileithyia (childbirth) o Worshipped in temples everywhere, especially Argos Demeter (Ceres) o Mother goddess (meter)
o Possibly means “grain mother”
o Goddess of grain and harvest
o Known for myth of Persephone (daughter), “Kore”, “the maiden”, who 
becomes queen of underworld  o Worshipped in secret festivals 
o Important to keep her happy for harvest 
Athena (Minerva) o Daughter of Zeus and Metis (Cunning), who was foretold to bear a child more powerful than her father  o Zeus swallowed metis as a fly, Athena is born out of the head of Zeus 
o Goddess of the city and civilization (hint Athens)
o Goddess of Crafts
o Goddess of olive tree
o Goddess of cunning (
mêtis o Goddess of Strategy…warfare
o Virgin Goddess
o Especially close to Odysseus
Artemis (Diana) o Twin of Apollo
o “Mistress of Animals”, huntress
o Beautiful young maiden, hunts in the company of nymphs
background image o Goddess of sacrifice 
o Sometimes associated with the Moon (more strongly in roman myth)
o Moments of initiation in the lives of young women (menstruation, 
childbirth) Aphrodite (Venus) o Born in the sea from Cronus’ severed penis (Hesiod, Theogony)
o According to homer, daughter of Zeus
o Personifies sexual desire and sexuality, along with her son Eros (cupid)
o Womanly perfection in beauty
o Judgement of Paris- contest between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite- Paris
pronounces winner bc she promises him the most beautiful woman in 
the world, Helen of Troy
o In Homeric Hymn, the mother of Aeneas  Hestia (Vesta)  o Sister to Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter
o Goddess of hearth 
o Virgin-the hearth tended by the girls of the house
o Hearth at Delphi burns eternally for all Greeks 
o Little myth, ritual domestic 
o Sometimes represented as Olympian
o Sometimes gives up her place
Homeric Hymns o Short poems of praise to the gods, often include a prayer 
o Often describe ritual activity
o Probably began as preludes to performances of Homeric Epics
o Introduce key features of the gods, and often tell an important myth
o Most important ones may date from Archaic period (before 500 BC)
o Hymn to Demeter lost in ancient times; a 15
th  century manuscript was  rediscovered in a stable in Moscow in 1777 Hymn to Demeter; Themes 1. Agricultural Cycle  Demeter, out of grief, messed up the harvest cycle. She is also responsible 
for the seasons; 1/3 of the year the Earth is in darkness and barren other 2/3 
is fertile. Lines 445-447 and 450-457
2. Marriage (initiation) = death Helios is saying don’t be upset over daughter’s marriage, Hades is a good 
husband (wealth, power, land) Lines 78-87
Greek culture often compares marriage and death: 
o Persephone also called “Kore”, The maiden
o At beginning of poem, she is gathering flowers with her friends
o Girlhood friendship vs. marriage
o Agriculture vs. gathering 
o Marriage hymns as laments 
o Marriage destroys one family as it creates another 
background image 3. Mysteries and Ritual Lines 305-13
Lines 473-82
Demeter ruining the year of harvest, affecting other Gods
Learn the Eleusinian Mysteries but don’t tell them.
Eleusinian Mysteries (agricultural festival)
o Remain mysterious 
o Mentions in other ancient others 
o Homeric Hymn to Demeter provides founding myth
o Significant that Demeter teaches Triptolemus how to grow grain
o Those who wanted to be initiated had to speak Greek and could not 
have shed blood o Two levels of initiation
o Nine days of ritual in late September 
o Procession from Eleusis to Athens 
o Sacrifice piglet by the sea
Thesmophoria o Another secret agricultural festival
o Held in October 
o Women-only 
o Three days 
o Day of procession
o Day of fasting 
o Day of piglet sacrifice; retrieval of last years’ bones from snaky pit
Demophon o Demeter disguising herself as an old woman
o Is hired as a nurse to King Celeus’ son Demophon
o She tries to make him immortal by dipping him in fire every night
o One night the parents discover her putting him in fire and banish her
o As a result demophon cannot be immortal but gets 
kleos  and an annual mock battle festival  o Parallels with Persephone 
o Lines 201-05
o Makes Demeter laugh while she is grieving 
o Telling dirty jokes ‘
Triptolemus o Culture hero for agriculture bc Demeter teaches him how to grow grain
o Demeter teaches him mysteries 
o Depicted in a winged chariot, sowing seed around the world
Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite     Themes Lines 45-55
Aphrodite can make people fall in love, makes Zeus fall in love so he tries to 
get her back by making her fall in love with a Trojan prince, gets pregnant
Lines 202-11

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School: University of South Carolina - Columbia
Department: CLAS Classics
Course: Introduction to Classical Mythology
Professor: Jason Osborne
Term: Fall 2015
Name: Classical Mythology Week 1 notes
Description: These notes were taken after being assigned reading in the Homeric Hymns. Major themes and characters were gone over.
Uploaded: 01/28/2018
11 Pages 29 Views 23 Unlocks
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