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CLA 322-p 1/26/16

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by: Kenya

CLA 322-p 1/26/16 CLA 322 P


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These are the notes for 1/26/16
greek Mythology: Monsters
Han Tran
Class Notes
Classics, Monsters, Greek
25 ?




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"The content was detailed, clear, and very well organized. Will definitely be coming back to Kenya for help in class!"
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kenya on Tuesday January 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CLA 322 P at University of Miami taught by Han Tran in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 111 views. For similar materials see greek Mythology: Monsters in Classical Studies at University of Miami.


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Date Created: 01/26/16
January 26, 2016 CLA 322-P Monsters and Fantastical creatures HW: First reading response due 9 of Feb. Looking back at this family branch: ECHIDNA and TYPHON (arch enemy of Zeus) 2-headed Orthrus (male) 50 (or 3) headed Cerberus (male) 100-headed Hydra (female) Orthrus (bottom, center) Cerberus (here with 3 heads) Hydra (remember she’s female)  Cerberus useful as the guardian of the underworld, though can only be positive outside of our world and in the transitory world of the dead. What do they all have in common?  All multi-headed  All conquered by Herakles o IMPORTANT: Though Cerberus was captured by Herakles as per his last labour, he was not vanquished by him (like his siblings), since he serves a positive role.  Ex. Medusa as an Apotropaic figure, who scares away undesirables from whatever she is depicted on. Also, her head is featured on either the breastplate or shield of Athena (who doesn’t possess the power of female Eros) Why is the Hydra the lone female?  She has one immortal head o IMPORTANT: Like medusa the hydra represents the power of female sexuality and cannot be completely killed or destroyed. So, as medusa’s head is covers, the hydra’s immortal head is covered in a hole with a large stone atop it. Female sexuality can be suppressed, not killed. ECHIDNA: Continued Lives in a cave, underground, under a rock (remember female sexuality is always covered or hidden not subdued).  Far away from people and the gods whom she can harm with her powers  She lives in a place beyond the power of the gods, and even Zeus is susceptible to her power (female Eros) (Female monsters or fantastical creatures beyond the power of the order of the gods tend to live in similar situations, in the Greek World) What then is the purpose of Hesiod’s “Catalogue of Monsters” in his work the Theogony?  Monsters serve as a sort of experiment for the Greek imagination. Remember this catalogue comes before Zeus establishes the Olympian order. Perhaps this is the Greek way of explaining the importance of the establishment of the Olympian order and why the Greeks have to work so hard to maintain it (so that monsters like Echidna don’t run rampant like they did in the beginning).  EX. What is the result of having creatures with more than one head? o On the whole they perish (either by the hands of Herakles in most cases, or by some other civilizing, positive hero like Bellerophon-slayer ofthe chimera CHIMERA or Chimaira: Pegasus (far right) helps the hero Bellerophon (seated upon Pegasus) defeat the monster Chimaira (center) 319. And she [Echidna? The Hydra?] bore the Chimaera that breathed irresistible fire, terrible, large, swift of foot and strong. She had three heads. The first was of a fierce lion, the second of a goat, and the third of a snake, a strong dragon. In front she was a lion, in the rear she was a dragon, and in the middle a goat, breathing forth the terrible might of burning fire. Pegasus and the good Bellerophon slew her.  Also multi-headed (like its possible sibling/mother the Hydra) o IMPORTANT: however, all of its head (unlike the hydra) are of different animal  FRONT: Lion  MIDDLE: Goat  TAIL-END: Snake (Slain by Pegasus and Bellerophon) The Chimera seems to be the continuation of the Greek experiment, in which case they want to test what would happen with a monster with three different heads. RESULT: Perishes at the hand of a civilizing hero, however not Heracles (Herakles) but Bellerophon [and Pegasus.  THINKING POINT: What is the significance of the fact that the creature was defeated by Bellerophon rather than Herakles?  Mostly likely the child of the Hydra- since the chimera furthers the multi-headed experiment LADON: The last child in this tree of monsters  (by himself)  Nereus (‘Old Man of the Sea’)Thaumas (wonder) . Phorcys(seal) – Ceto(whale)    Eurybie 3 Gorgons , 2 Graiae, 1 Echidna       (mortal) Medusa + 2 immortal sisters (Ladon (right) wrapped round the tree of the golden apples, here in the depiction of Herakles’ 11 labour, with the Hesperides) 333. Ceto made love with Phorcys and bore her youngest child, a terrible snake which guards all-gold apples within his great coils in his lairin the dark earth [i.e., Ladon]. THINK: How does it make sense that this male would be the fourth and last of the children?  Golden Apples o Gaia gave them to Hera as a wedding gift on her wedding night. o Appears in the Judgement of Paris  The Wedding of Thetis and Peleus Background: So Thetis is a sea nymph (and later mother of Achilles) who was being courted by Zeus and Poseidon. Problem is she had this prophecy that said whomever she would marry, she would bear him a son greater than himself. In this case that would mean someone mightier than Poseidon or Zeus (a potential catastrophe because that would mean someone mighty enough to overthrow the Olympian order). Zeus decides to back off, but controlling his brother is better said than done. Therefore, the only way to keep Poseidon from touching her is to make her a married (and therefore untouchable) woman. Just to make sure they married her to Peleus who was a great warrior (though not the best) and most importantly mortal. The reason why the wedding of these two is so important is that every single one of the gods were invited (save one) for two reasons: 1) to see this goddess get married to a mere mortal, 2) to make sure she actually married him, to avoid the problems of her prophecy. Sadly, the one goddess that was forbidden to come, did so and her name is Eres or strife. Strife comes bearing a single golden apple with the words “To the fairest” written on it. Three of the most important goddesses there (Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite) vie for it and turn to Zeus, who wisely wishes to avoid the consequences of his decision, passes the torch to mortal Paris/Alexander of Troy. He’s brought to the assembly by Hermes and each goddess offers him a gift should he choose them. IMPORTANT: the gifts they offer is what the goddess herself embodies. Hera: Marriage Athena: Strategic victory at war Aphrodite: Female Sexuality (Eros) Of course he chooses Aphrodite, who gifts him her mortal representative Helen, and Thus the start of the Trojan War.  IMPORTANT: What does the golden apple mean, therefore? o It is the physical representative of female Eros Another example… ATALANTA: Born to a family that wanted a son. They got a daughter and so they exposed her in the woods, where she was found a raised by hunters. She became the best huntress in the land. A virgin of the woods (living there and hunting with patron goddess of young virgins, Artemis) she loved her freedom and independence, however her beauty and superb hunting/running abilities attracted suitors. Now there was a prophecy told to her that said: never lie with a man, because the moment she did she would be fettered (bound) forever. So, to avoid this fate she challenges her suitors to a foot race, and if they win she will marry them, if they lose they die. Then along comes this fellow by the name of Hippomenes, who was favored by Aphrodite who gave him 3 golden apples. During the course of the race he drops the three apples one by one and Atalanta WILLINGLY, and DELIBERATLY, paused to pick all three apples up, knowing it will slow her down and knowing she’s going to lose, knowing the consequences thereof. So he wins and they get married. They are a bit too eager to consummate their marriage and do so in the temple of the goddess Cybele who, enraged turns them both into lions and ties them forevermore to her chariot. (Notice the Eros statue to the right) (The couple as lions attached to Cybele’s chariot) SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE: The golden apples are the gift of Eros (specifically female Eros), but it is highly problematic. SO….What’s with the sole Male, fully snake LADON?  All of his siblings have some form of the snake element in them o Medusa and gorgons have their hair o Graiae are beautiful but their grey hair and one tooth and one eye connotes something else there o Echidna is literally half snake  He is fully snake and the female Eros is fully an apple: o There is clear separation between the snake element and female Eros. That is why he is male. He guards the gift these creatures have to offer.  Female eros is a gift (it leads to marriage and children for example) but it always come with problems o Ex. Medusa once had the most beautiful hair in the world, but now look at her o The Graiae have beautiful cheeks and are immortal but grey hair and one eye and tooth o Echidna’s top half is an amazingly beautiful young girl and the lower half is that of a terrible snake (she is the terror and the beautiful in one body, in plain sight)  The tree itself is located at the edge of the known world (remember the presence of the Hesperides in the picture), beyond the power of the gods (who also have no control over eros, especially female eros) Herodotus’’ Echidna: We just finished looking at Hesiod’s Echidna, but this one is the one described th by historian Herodotus in the 5 century. Herodotus’’ Histories THINK: take a look at how Herodotus looks at history  Basically motivated in describing Greek culture as compared to other cultures. He defines “Greekness” by describing what is not Greek. GEOGRAPHY and CLIMATE play a huge role in his presentation of culture. Ex. The Scythians (Green portion on the map) Located in Modern day Ukraine. Harsh, very cold climate, thought to be the located on the margins of the habitable/civilized world This is where Herodotus’ (Scythian) Echidna lives, in a cave This isn’t the first time that Heracles has encountered a wild woman from the north. (Heracles subduing Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons as one of his labours.) Things to think about:  How the two stories are different, how are they similar  Do they signify the same thing, different things? One main difference here is that unlike his dealings with the amazons, as well as all the monsters and other creatures, he seems to be in Scythia for no reason. In fact, is possible he’s lost. Here Echidna is the ancestress of the Scythians, and her youngest son gives them their name. Things to think about for next class:  Echidna is considered a goddess in this region  Why does she want Herakles to father her children?  Why does he suddenly take charge towards the end, especially when she seems in total control of the situation? Is this significant?  Why was Herakles fine with their union after the three sons are mentioned?


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