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Date Created: 03/28/16
CLT 3378 EXAM #2 REVIEW APOCALYPSE MYTHS Eschatology: the study of the end of things Divine intervention; “ritual cleansing” fire, water, plague Shows the difficulty for humans to conceptualize a world without humans Flood Stories Evident in most cultures across the world; common point in Greek and Egyptian history “Cleansing” – allows a new creation to arise Evidence exists that a real flood could have occurred o could have stemmed from floods of the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates Basic structure: o humanity considered a failure by the god(s) (or displeases them) o flood sent to destroy life on earth o (variable) god warns and/or aids on man man builds boat, puts animals on it o man and wife survive flood (binary opposites) o populate the earth or create new/more humans (limited) Mesopotamian Flood Stories Atrahasis o Humans created to serve gods o Overpopulation due to long lifespans Ellil sends plague, famine, then drought o The god Enki aids Atrahasis and his family o Gods impose lifespan, birth rate, infant mortality to control the population o Conflict between Enki/Ea and Ellil/Enlil Enki refuses to use his power against mortals proposed a worshipstrike to save the people o Solutions proposed: Ellil: seven days and nights of rains to flood the earth Enki: celibate priestesses (limit population) Nintu: infant mortality (kills 1/3 of population) Flood Story in Genesis o Wickedness of humans inspire God to send a flood o God chooses Noah for rebirth of humankind o Noah is given detailed instructions to build a boat and collect two of each animal o Rained for 40 days and nights; water receded after 150 days o Boat lands on Mt. Ararat, Noah releases a raven, then two doves one of the doves brings back an olive leaf o Noah sacrifices an animal on an altar o Noah repopulates Earth with his three sons and their wives o God agrees to never destroy humans again – sends a rainbow Epic of Gilgamesh: The Flood o Rained for 6 days and 7 nights; water receded after more than 7 days o Utnapishtim releases dove, then swallow, then raven the raven finds land o Mankind returned to clay after cleansing flood o Utnapishtim sacrifices animals at the end o The gods were scared of the storm they had created and cried over it in heaven, where they hid; this showed regret o Also included specific instructions of the size & dimensions of the boat Ovid’s Metamorphosis o Follows Deucalion (son of Prometheus and the Noah figure) and his wife Pyrrha (daughter of Epimetheus) o Great flood sent by Zeus to punish Lycaon’s cannibalism Lycaon tried to offer his son as human sacrifice; the gods were displeased o Punishment of mortals because of wickedness (Age of Iron) o Divine council decides on proper punishment: flood Zeus angered that Deucalion and Pyrrha survived but okay with it because of how pious they are o Deucalion and Pyrrha repopulated the world by throwing stones over their shoulders as they walk; Gaia repopulates the world’s animals o Boat lands on Mt. Parnassus Armageddon Comes from HarMeggido, Israel o famous battlefield in the Bible (Judges, Kings, Book of Revelation) o Book of Revelation: symbolic battlefield between good and evil during the Last Judgment Generic term for the catastrophic end of the world Day of Judgment (Zoroastrianism Persia) Forces of light confront forces of darkness; dead will be judged Ragnarok (Norse) “Doom of the Gods” Sometimes conceptualized as paving the way for the new Christian order Due to natural causes and warfare among the gods Includes kernel of hope in Ask & Embla, like the flood stories Prophecy: three winters with no summer between them (unbalance in the world) Sun and moon swallowed by wolves; stars disappear; bonds will be broken Great battles will lead to deaths of the gods: Odin vs. Fenrir (the wolf)s, Thor vs. Midgard Serpent, Loki vs. Heimdall (watchmen) “Ragnarok” comes from “reginn” (organizing powers) world descends into chaos o translates into “fate/doom of the organizing powers” 2012 (“Maya”) New Age myth – actually a mistranslation Tower of Babel Only given nine verses in Genesis, but very famous Interpretation #1: o Pride and punishment o Human activity (centripetal) vs. divine activity (centrifugal) Point of intersection: God came down to see the Tower Paralleled Babylonian gods descending to see Marduk’s Temple Interpretation #2: o Critique of an empire; about Babylonians in particular, not the human race o Hubris: excessive pride which leads to eventual downfall (divine retribution) o Nimrod = king in charge of organizing construction of the Tower Interpretation #3 o Cultural diversification (etiology) o More recent interpretation o Neither hubristic nor Babylonian o God intervenes, not punishes, to stop cultural homogeneity o Language: primary maker of a specific culture, cultural tradition, or ethnic group o Comes from new interpretations of translations Babel/babble Barbaroi = Greek onomatopoeia for “blah, blah, blah” “Tower with its top in the sky” = cliché for height Confused = mixed (same word, different readings) Reality: could have been the Temple of Nanna at Ur Atlantis Comes from Plato, a Greek philosopher, from his books Timeaus and Kritias Division of world into known and unknown Etiology of Atlantic’s navigability Huge island consisting of concentric circles of land and sea ruled by Poseidon o He had children with a mortal, who was protected in the island Plato created Atlantis to show morals The people of Atlantis prospered, then became greedy and had to suffer It was peaceful under Poseidon’s laws As the people further diluted their immortal heritage, they began to disregard the laws Destruction of Atlantis not explicitly stated, only said that it “sunk” The gods looked on from Olympus as it sunk o Did they cause it? left openended on purpose Plato’s story serves as a cultural memory of volcanic eruption at Santorini o Bigger eruption than Pompeii; blew a hole in the island o Once occupied by Minoans, who mysteriously disappeared from the island FOUNDATION STORIES The City Feminine in nature; offered nourishment and protection Origin of communities, and of behavior of people in a common area or community Rome Plutarch o Wrote Parallel Lives, which compared famous Greek and Roman characters in pairs to highlight their similarities o Compared Romulus (founder of Rome) to Theseus (founder of Athens, Greece) o Believed Romulus and others are real historical figured clouded by myth; sought to clear up their stories and make them more factual o Myth: basis in real events, with divine and fantastic elements o 753 BCE: symbolic founding of Rome Vestal Virgins o Priestesses of Rome; practiced perpetual virginity; served from age 1040 o Rhea Silvia: daughter of Numitor, mother of Romulus and Remus She claimed they were the children of Mars o Temple of Vesta: sacred center of the city where the everburning fire of Rome was kept alight by the Vestal Virgins o Rome believed themselves to literally be descendants of Mars, the god of war Thereby granting them the divine right to conquer the world Romulus and Remus o Exposed at the Tiber River Shewolf discovered them in a basket and nursed them They were found by Faustulus (shepherd) and his wife Larentia Livy put forth that Larentia got around and was nicknamed “SheWolf” by the other shepherds in the area o Renowned for attacking robbers and sharing the spoils o Remus delivered to Numitor (his grandfather) where it is discovered that they are the royal grandsons o Series of conspiracies lead to the death of their uncle, the usurper king Amulius o Numitor reinstated as king o The two brothers relied on augury to decide kingship augury: form of divination, omens from birds o Remus was the first to see vultures, and he saw 6 o Romulus was the second to see vultures, and he saw 12 (from Palatine Hill) o There was an argument about whether the king would be the first to see birds or the one who had seen the most birds, and so Romulus killed Remus (fratricide) after Remus made an aggressive move over Romulus’s wall leaping over walls = acting like an enemy friends enter by a gate o From Romulus comes Rome o Romulus began building a city on the Palatine The Seven Hills of Rome: 1. Aventine (burial place of king Aventinus, an ancestor of Romulus) 2. Palatine (according to tradition, where the shewolf reared Romulus and Remus; also where the festival Lupercalia is held) 3. Capitoline (Romulus declared is an asylum) 4. Quirinal (Romulus deified as the god Quirinus [an epithet of Mars]) 5. Viminal 6. Esquiline 7. Caelian Constantinople o “The New Rome” under Constantine o Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire o Also has seven hills MOTHER GODDESSES A crosscultural phenomenon Equated with the “Earth Goddess” to symbolize nourishment, fertility, and creation o sometimes associated with agriculture Paired with a male, a god of sky or heaven, to form a hieros gamos (sacred marriage) Worshipped as a source of life Life defined by death (binary opposites) Inanna (Sumerian) and Ishtar (Babylonian) Originally two separate goddesses, now basically the same (syncretism) Possibly Inanna/Ishtar and her sister, Ereshkigal (goddess of death, infertility), were once one being The seven me represent the delicate balancing of order and disorder o stolen by Inanna from Enki (main cult center at Eridu) Main cult center at the Eanna in Uruk, or “House of Heaven” o Myth as etiology: seven me taken to Uruk when the city became more popular Inanna: goddess of love, fertility, and war Ishtar: goddess of love and war; symbol is a lion Katabasis o no reason given o Ninshubur mourns for Inanna o In Ishtar’s absence, the earth loses its fertility (possible etiology for winter/the seasons) o Ea/Enki makes androgynous creatures to appease Ereshkigal “Goodlooks” (Ishtar) “Kurgarra”/”Galatur” (Inanna) o Upon Inanna/Ishtar’s release, substitute demanded She gives up Dumuzi, her consort He didn’t properly mourn her “death” o Geshtinanna/Beleli (Dumuzi’s sister) mourns him “The Maiden” o young, independent, sexual liberation Patron of prostitutes Goddess of marital sex o The Sacred Marriage: ritual unification of the king and a priestess sacred sex/prostitution? meant to bring fertility to the land and legitimize the divine ruler Possibly had the power to change men into women Special relationship with the planet Venus o both morning and evening star transition between light and dark, day and night Boundary crosser o could cross into the Underworld o relationship with transvestites and eunuchs o could take on form of either gender o Ishtar Gate at Babylon marked threshold between order of city and chaos of outside Symbolized many paradoxes (sexuality and love, warfare and love, adolescence and womanhood, male and female, etc.) Cybele (Phrygian) Myths drawn out from a preexisting cult Matar Kubileya: “Mother of the Mountain” Important cult center at Pessinus Had eunuch priests (called Korybantes/Galli), as explained by the myth of Attis o created by Greeks/Romans to justify what they thought was barbaric they were cool with celibacy (Vestal Virgins) but not selfmutilation o Attis = young priest/guardian of Cybele’s temple must remain celibate two versions of story: castrated himself to avoid temptation he bled out and died, but was revived by Cybele second version: Attis falls in love with the tree nymph Sagaritis Cybele cuts down Sagaritis’s tree Attis goes insane, castrates himself, bleeds out, dies, and is transformed into a pine tree (resurrection) o Parallels myth of Aphrodite/Venus and Adonis o Themes: earth/abundance and death/resurrection o One theory behind the continuation of castration: Cybele’s devotees worked themselves into a frenzy that could lead to self mutilation clashing music, possibly to cover baby Zeus’s cries (identification with Rhea) Gaia (Greek) Earth goddess, means of creation Matrika (Hindu) Dangerous AND benevolent mother goddess Bore sickness and disease Demeter (GrecoRoman) Roman Ceres Sister of Hades and Zeus Mother of Persephone by Zeus (hieros gamos) o Kore: Greek word for girl or maiden o Persephone: goddess of spring and youth The Rape/Kidnap of Persephone (by Hades) o Taken to Underworld through a cave o Marriage = death o Etiology for the seasons Persephone must leave in the Underworld for a third of the year; during this time Demeter is filled with grief, so the earth becomes barren o Hekate: goddess of the netherworld with fertility characteristics, hears Persephone’s screams o Helios, son of Hyperion, says that Persephone is honored in this marriage (her husband is a ruler) o Demeter travels to Eleusis Run in with family of Keleos, the king son of Eleusinos, founder of city and son of Zeus Disguises herself as an old woman Keleos’s wife Metaneira suspects her to be a goddess Demeter nurses their son, Demophöon tries to make him immortal by dipping him in fire Metaneira finds out and gets upset Demeter condemns Demophöon to mortality, demands a temple and promises to institute rituals there o Demeter withdraws her fertility of the earth, demands a temple o Zeus summons Demeter, who challenges Zeus’s authority o Zeus sends Hermes to Hades to demand Persephone’s release o It is revealed that Persephone ate a pomegranate while in the Underworld o Hekate (goddess of travel, especially under the cover of night) becomes Persephone’s guide to the Underworld o Upon her daughter’s return, Demeter restores fertility to the world The story shows a pattern that emerges in other stories as well: o Goddess figure mourns the loss of a loved one o Goes on a search o Resurrection o Fertility correlated with seasons Main cult center is Eleusis in the Telesterion (temple/initiation hall) o Hosts the Eleusinian Mysteries: private, mystery religion o Kykeon: ritual beverage at Eleusis (“barley and water mixed with tender pennyroyal”) o Ritual battle at annual festival o Allnight ritual conducted by women only in honor of Demeter o Wore the veil of Demeter Pinax: votive plaque set up in a sanctuary to honor a god or goddess Niinion pinax: dedicated to Demeter and Persephone Chthonic: realm of the earth and the worship of gods who are situated inside the earth, in the underwrorld Tanit (Carthaginian) Carthaginians hated the Romans No extant written myths Syncretized with Roman Juno Dea Caelestis, “Goddess of Heaven” Presided over passage from life to death Symbol often found on grave stele Worshippers practiced child sacrifice (mimesis/sympathetic magic) o child lives were very valuable (high infant mortality rate) o hoped gods would provide life back to them Both Demeter and Tanit were worshipped at the same time period o Believers of Tanit: child sacrifice was final and irreversible o Believers of Demeter: child sacrifice was incomplete and reversible Mary (Roman Empire) Context: rebirth of chronology (CE BCE, AD BC), born in Jerusalem/Bethlehem o Separation of church and state nonexistent in the ancient world Mariology: the study of the cult of Mary “Madonna,” Italian for ‘my lady’ Pagan ideas and cult practices merging with elements particular to Christianity Especially paralleled Isis/Horus with Mary/Jesus As a mother goddess: o no dark side, no personal motive o motherhood complemented fatherhood o very crucial to the story of Jesus “Theotokos” “Godbearer” o Hieros gamos [God = sky, Mary = (virgin) earth] Animating element: divine breath/word of god Adam made from earth without a father; Jesus conceived without an earthly father Jesus and Mary: New Adam and Eve Cave = womb Mary = Eve before corruption “Queen of Heaven” “Our Lady of Guadalupe” o Syncretism of native Aztec fertility/moon goddess, Tonantzin o “Our Lady of Roses” TRICKSTERS Different depending on the historical and cultural context Ambiguous, boundary crosser; shapeshifter o no border is sacred (religious, cultural, etc.) o commonly associated with crossroads Embodies some kind(s) of opposite(s) Deceiver, trick player; situation invertor Messenger of the gods (sometimes imitator) Effect change in the world in interesting ways o break rules to change status quo Often create a problem that only they can solve Often the mix of mortal/immortal allows the trickster to slip between boundaries Pandora (Greek) Zeus’s punishment to mankind Name means “all gifts” because all of the gods gave her gifts o Hephaistos desirable form o Athena clothing, skills o Aphrodite lust o Hermes mind of a bitch & character of a thief Epimetheus ignored Prometheus’s warnings and accepted the gift Name can also be translated to ‘allgiver,’ a common epithet of Rhea o Possibly once worshipped as an earth goddess Paralleled Eve; first women, held responsible for the Fall Pandora’s Jar o allegory for drive and lure for procreation (jar = womb) o pith (earthenware storage vessel) pyxis (cosmetic box) o hope: blessing or cure? Prometheus (Greek) Titan, more powerful than the Olympian gods; Zeus’s cousin o Son of Iapetos (Titan) and Kylmene; brother of Atlas and Epimetheus Etiology of the humans’ need to work for life His name means “Forethought”; Epimetheus means “Afterthought” Prometheus’ 1 trick: deceive Zeus into choosing the bones/fat for animal sacrifice o allowed humans to keep the good meat for themselves (helped them) Humans needed fire to cook their food and burn their offerings to the gods Zeus kept fire from them to punish them Prometheus’ 2 trick: steal fire (in a hollow fennel stalk) o fire becomes a symbol of defiant progress; achievement against all odds Zeus inflicts divine punishment on Prometheus o he is sent to Tartaros (extradeep underworld, below Hades) o an eagle picks out his liver every day Prometheus is later freed by Herakles Culture hero; symbol for art, literature, music (push the boundaries of the status quo) Hermes (Roman Mercury) (Greek) Son of Zeus and the nymph Maia Similar to Apollo (his friend) – pastoral, idealized male figures o form a binary opposite: order (Apollo) and change (Hermes) Characteristics of the divine messenger o Petasus = traveler’s hat o Talaria = winged sandals o Caduceus = herald’s wand Guide of souls (psychopompos) to the realm of Hades God of crossroads, creator of the lyre, and made beautiful music o Made lyre from a turtle he found on the threshold, outside his mother’s home Herms: statues of Hermes, symbols of fertility, boundary markers o square pillars equipped with male genitalia o meant to bring prosperity and good luck o piles of stones to mark tombs eventually became landmarks o unites the human world with the Underworld o Cairns = deliberately constructed pile of stones o origin of epithet of Hermes = “He from the StoneHeap” Hermes steals the cattle of Apollo Apollo threatens the newborn Hermes, said he would throw him into Tartaros Hermes leads Apollo to the place where he hid them, beginning his journey as a guide Hermes plays music for Apollo, who gives him a whip and makes him the cattle rancher Apollo gives Hermes the gift of minor prophecy o Thriai: three sisters, master of the art of divination o when their bellies are full, they speak the truth; when hungry, they’re unclear o they could be divining pebbles Hermes apportions out the slaughtered cattle of Apollo for each of the gods, and himself Hermes sings himself into the Theogony of the gods, becomes one of them Hermaphrodite: son of Hermes and Aphrodite o Desired by the nymph Salmacis (cf. nymphomania); they merge into one form o Becomes both male and female, outside of categorization Eshu (Yoruba) “Heaven’s Revered Gateman” – messenger “LeatherClothed Troublemaker” – ‘bad boy’ Eshu and Obatala: Obatala wants to visit his friend Shango, Efu gets him imprisoned Eshu and the hat: Eshu wore a multicolored hat to deceive two friends Eshu and Ifa: positive story, shows Ifa diviniation rituals o Eshu and Ifa are binary opposites o Eshu (uncertainty) and Ifa (certainty) balance each other out Eshu delivers the prayers to the gods (mediator) and can manipulate them o if you honor Eshu he will bring you good fortune; otherwise he will wreak havoc Divination rituals gave humans a new power to call upon the gods; made them feel more in control of their world Eshu inflicts suffering on those who refuse to sacrifice humankind can no longer neglect the gods with impunity Eshu’s face is therefore often seen on divination trays, overseeing the process o circular form and symmetry = restoration of balance and confidence from anxiety and disorder o tapping divination tray opens channel between divine & mortal realm 16 is an important number for divination “Eshuona” = Eshu of the way o deliverer of wisdom of the gods to humanity o deliverer of humanity’s sacrifice to the gods Legba (Fon) Fon People of Benin in West Africa; their divination is called Fa High god MawuLisa (female/male) bore seven sons o Six reigned over earth, sky, sea, animals, the hunt, and iron o Different languages amongst each brother and with the high god Seventh, youngest song: Legba, the trickster o Possibly caused estrangement between brothers and mothers o “Cosmic linguist”: translates between his mother and among brothers God of quarrels; associated with fertility o Phallic herms stand outside Fon dwellings Plays a role in Haitian voodoo Pop culture AHS: Coven “Papa Legba” pictured as a very dark “crossroads demon” When there is no messenger, gods can’t even quarrel because they can’t communicate o in Yoruba tradition, the gods get hungry Translation and sacrifice = communication between heaven and earth Legba caused high god to leave Earth Ananse (African) “The Spider”; trickster of Akan and Ashanti people of Ghana Nyame: Akan supreme being Power with those whoever hold command of language, therefore, stories Anase = ultimate repository of knowledge Anansasem = “all stories” How Anansi came to own all the stories: o Nyame told Anansi he would give him the stories if he could retrieve the hornets, the python, and the leopard o Anansi tricked these animals to gain the stories; doesn’t trick Nyame o The hornets, Mmoboro: Anasi throws water on them, simulating rain Tells them to take shelter in a dry gourd o The python, Onini: Anansi tells Onini that his wife thinks he is shorter and weaker than a bamboo pole, but Anasi disagrees with her Onini wants to settle to argument, asks to be measured Anasi ties him to the bamboo pole o The leopard, Osebo Anasi digs a pit, Osebo falls in it Actual etiology for how leopards are captured Anasi agrees to help Osebo out by tying his tail to a tree Anansi is the ultimate court linguist and can’t be challenged Court linguists use wooden staffs covered in gold to symbolize their position Loki (Norse) Thief and deceiver; mischievous rather than evil; shapeshifter Uses powers to outwit figures of authority Later characterization: comparison with the Christian devil Son of Farbaunti (giant) and Laufey (giantess?); married to Sigyn o giants were the greatest enemies of the Norse gods Has three children by Angrboda, a giant: o Fenrir, the wolf o Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent (Thor’s nemesis) o Hel, queen of the Underworld o Odin assigns their roles Loki represents both the giants and the gods of Aesir Loki and the story of Idunn’s Kidnap: o Loki was captured by Thjazi, a giant disguised as an eagle o He was released on the condition that he would bring Idunn and her apples of immortality from the orchard in Asgard (hence her epithet: “Rejuvenating One”) o Loki tricked Idunn into following him, where Thjazi kidnapped her o The Aesir begun to age and demanded Loki fix the problem he created o Loki transforms into a falcon, finds Idunn, transforms her into a nut, and brings her back; Thjazi follows him and is killed by the Aesir Loki and the Birth of Sleipnir: o A giant in disguise comes to build the walls of Asgard o His payment will be marriage to Freja (fertility goddess), and the sun and moon o However, he must complete the fortress in one winter o He is aided by his horse, Svadilfari, and he looks like he will complete the task o In a divine council, the Aesir blame Loki and demand he fix the problem o Loki transforms into a mare and distracts Svadilfari o The giant’s true identity is revealed, and Thor kills him o As a mare, Loki gives birth to Sleipnir, the child of Svadilfari o Sleipnir becomes the 8footed steed of Odin The Death of Baldr & Punishment of Loki o Baldr (“the sun”) is the son of Odin and Frigg; he has dreams foretelling his death o Frigg demands all living things to give an oath that they will not harm him o The gods begin throwing things at Baldr, who cannot be harmed o Loki transforms into a woman and finds out from Frigg that mistletoe is the only thing that can hurt him o Loki gave the blind Hod a dart of mistletoe, which he used to kill Baldr in council o The gods can’t kill a god while they are in an assembly; Loki crosses this border o Baldr had a funeral at sea, which reflected the actual beliefs of Icelandic people o Hyrrokkin, an ogress, pushed Baldr’s ship, Ringhorn, and ignited it and his body o Baldr eliminated pureness of heart; Loki eliminated him to balance the world o The story shows that balance is needed between order and disorder o There is no way to suppress change o Later, Frigg send Hermod (messenger) to Hel to barter for Baldr’s release o Her test of love: everyone must weep for Baldr to free him o Giantess Thökk (disguised Loki?) refuses to weep; Baldr stays with Hel o Etiology of seasons: plants “weeping” as snow melts in spring o Loki is punished for killing Baldr; he transforms into a salmon to try to avoid capture; he is caught in a net and Thor grabs him (etiology for shape of salmon) o Fenrir is transformed into a wolf; eviscerates brother; entrails turned into chains o Loki is bound and has snake’s poison dripped on his face o Sigyn catches the poison in a basin; when she empties the basin, he shudders, causing earthquakes (etiology) o Loki will be unbound during Ragnarok Loki also has a good side; he helped Thor in his contests with UtgardLoki (giant who stole Thor’s hammer); Loki participates in an eating contest and loses Tricksters in American Literature Huckleberry Finn Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby Frederick Douglass o challenged the ‘truth’ of slavery o broke the rules and helped change the world Women Tricksters Most tricksters are androgynous (can cross between male and female) Aunt Nancy (female version of Anansi) Female Coyote
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