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CLA 322 Feb 11, 2016

by: Kenya

CLA 322 Feb 11, 2016 CLA 322 P


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notes for 2/11/16
greek Mythology: Monsters
Han Tran
Class Notes
CLA 322, chimera, Sphinx, Nemean Lion, Monsters
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kenya on Monday February 15, 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 31 views. For similar materials see greek Mythology: Monsters in Classical Studies at University of Miami.


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Date Created: 02/15/16
February 11, 2016 CLA 322 Monsters Chimera continued: Think: Is the Chimera an example of a failed experiment (in the sense of the many heads, each head different)? How to Answer: Look at her most famous sources when she is defeated: Chimera vs. Bellerophon (and Pegasus) In this depiction the real adversary seems to be Pegasus, while in the other depiction, Pegasus is more like a steed.  Bellerophon in shown as the supporting character in this depiction Who is Pegasus?  The winged horse, sprung from the decapitated trunk of medusa o Birth corresponds with the defeat of medusa o The moment that he was born, he instinctively flew up to mount Olympus, home of the gods (home of the enemies of monsters) o Brings Zeus’ civilizing weapons (his thunderbolts)  Symbolizes the defeat of Medusa and the triumph of the Olympians over her  He Illustrates the idea that the monstrous can be overcome Who is Bellerophon?  Completed 3 labors o The Amazons o Chimaera o The Solymi Look back to Heracles:  12 canonical labors  Also, Theseus and his canonical 6 labors Theseus completes half the number of Herakles’ labors because he was thought to be half the hero that Herakles was. Contrast with Bellerophon: He is half the hero than Theseus, and twice as week as Herakles All heroes fight the amazons, but things went different with Bellerophon: Herakles vs. Amazons  Takes the queens war belt, symbolic defeat (militarily and sexually). He only needed to conquer one amazon, their leader. Theseus vs. Amazons  Interacted only with the queen. Falls in love with her (mutually) and absconds with her, and they have a son (Hippolytus). Not necessarily a conquest, what was odd about the amazons entered his family (his son abhorring women) Bellerophon vs. Amazon  Killed the whole group of Amazons (not sure if his slaughter was final, but he killed enough)  Earliest sources: o They simply state that he slew the amazons THINK: What’s the difference between killing the queen and the entire race? Let’s look at the Solymi: Herodotus 1.173 “What is now possessed by the Lycians was in the past Milyan, and the Milyans were then called Solymi.... they have [a custom] which is their own and shared by no other men: they take their names not from their fathers but from their mothers, [5] and when one is asked by his neighbor who heis, he will say that he is the son of such a mother, and rehearse the mothers of his mother. Indeed, if a female citizen marries a slave, her children are considered pure-blooded; but if a male citizen, even the most prominent of them, takes an alien wife or concubine, the children are dishonored.” Strange case of maternal-line preference  Why should he go after this tribe? o Their custom makes them almost as unacceptable as the amazons. They privilege women’s rights over men’s (similar to the amazons) Theme: His task is to eradicate the model of the over powerful female who wants to overpower men His other heroic activities: A “Potiphar’s wife” type of story  “Blameless” epithet  Lycia is where the Chimera lives  A happy ending? Let’s talk about the first half:  Similar to the story of Phaedra and Hippolytus o Ends differently:  Hippolytus is vanquished by the Bull from the sea  Bellerophon vanquishes the Chimaira (Chimera)  He is blameless and fights negative examples of women who all Greeks would agree are strange customs Now: The role of the Chimera  Think of what the bull represents to Hippolytus o Bull represents the made lust of Phaedra  Chimaera represents lust of Antea for Bellerophon Both are just as monstrous Back to Hesiod’s Catalogue of monster: Either echidna or Chimera mated with Orthus and made:  Female sphinx (left)  Male Nemean lion (right) Sphinx (remember who her brother is)  Bane to the Cadmeans (Thebans)  Little said in Oedipus Rex (most important Theban texts) (not even her riddle is said). All we have is: “Theban priest to Oedipus (now king): [35] “when you came to the city of the Cadmeans, you freed us from the tax that we rendered to the hard songstress.” Called a songstress:  Poets sing, and they sing about the way things are (agent of the Muses)  Her song was probably her riddle The riddle/song of the Sphinx “A thing there is whose voice is one; Whose feet are four and two and three. So mutable a thing is none That moves in earth or sky or sea. When on most feet this thing doth go, Its strength is weakest and its pace most slow.” Lesson: man is the most mutable thing that exists  Prophetic of Oedipus’ fate? o A terrible Plaque on Thebes, everything becomes barren o No one save Tiresias knows why (other than audience) Oedipus is the source of the pollution  The supposed savior causes an even greater plague than the Sphinx  Didn’t understand the implications of his answer. He isthe prime example of man as a mutable thing Let’s complicate things:  What is she? o She is positive in that she’s ultimately trying to protect the Thebans from Oedipus Sphinx carrying off a Theban youth Compare to Odysseus under the ram o Picture of a victorious trickster  The sphinx, however is a sexualized predator How does this change her perception? On the surface this looks like a contradiction, she seems both protector and predator  How does this relate to Jocasta’s relationship with her son? No, definite answer (for now) but think about it for essays To her brother! The Nemean lion He is a bane specifically to men by agency of Hera (similar to Typhon)  Hera takes role of Gaia in her creation and rearing of monsters  Only a special hero could conquer it The Lion had impregnable skin by any sharp weapons  Heracles doesn’t need such weapons.  He chokes him by brute force  Herakles’ primitiveness  Herakles’ first labour, where he acquires his characteristic lion skin armor Herakles is defined by this labour. It shows how he is different from other heroes.  His brute strength  His primitiveness also seems to be his flaw  He acts before he thinks, and his primitive urges tend to get the best of him o He was invited to dinner and killed his hosts son out of anger, breaking Xenia o He was punished to serve a woman, Omphale (wearing their clothes, and performing their tasks)  Lion skin points to Herakles’ primitiveness. Serves as asign  Same way the sphinx says something about Oedipus Who then would be the best mother for the Sphinx and lion?  We don’t really know, but it could be argued for both The Babylonian Lamashtu:  Forerunner of Greek Lamia  Kills babies and newborns (like fetus)  Female demon  Depicted suckling wild beast (nurtures them for compensation)  Either a young woman who died before childbirth, or some similar story where childbirth was not positive for her


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