Greek Mythology, Week 2
Greek Mythology, Week 2
Popular in Greek Mythology
Popular in Greek Mythology
This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jennifer Hughes on Saturday July 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to at University of Iowa taught by in Summer 2014. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Greek Mythology in Greek Mythology at University of Iowa.
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Date Created: 07/30/16
Classical Myth The Cultural Context of Classical Myth September 3, 2014 Women Contradictory picture of women Some sources illustrate the ideal greek woman as submissive,chaste, and silent Other sources imply that women were likely to behave in ways that contrasted with this ideal. The less you say about women the better it is. The woman was the master of the oikos “household” Women of good birth spent their lives in the “women’s quarters” Only rarely did women learn how to read and write. Spinning the wool, making cloths, and caring for the house. o Keep women out of sight when people come over Marriage: arranged between families, based on political and economical grounds. Dowry: the family provided the woman with dowry The bride was in her teens and was a parthenos, “virgin.” o For this reason Greek girls were married off as soon as possible after the first menstruation. o The groom traveled to the bride’s home in a cart. He took her wrist in a special gesture that signifired a staged abduction. o The bride was veiled, decked with flowers. There was dancing, singing, festivities. o After marriage the girl was called nymphe “bride.” After her first child she was called gyne “woman.” o By age 35 a greek woman was a grandmother. o A wife’s success was judged largely by her ability to produce sons. o Preferably 3 children: 2 boys, 1 girl o Additional children were often exposed to die in the wild o Sex outside marriage was available to men but was disastrous for women ( but the greeks were monogamous) o Child birth: dangerous to the mother o Miasma “pollution” because of the blood that attended child birth ( no man would come close to a woman in labor) Although respectable women were expected to stay indoors, several festivals were restricted to them alone. Women were responsible for the care of the dead. During funerals women were expected to be seen in public. Prostitutes: Hetairai “courtesans” : glamorous lives, conversed with the day’s leading intellectuals (Aspasia) Pornai “whores”: slaves, working in brotheis General: women went out only if they had a socially accepted purpose (festival, funeral) Any sign of promiscuity entailed at least the penalty of ruinous gossip. Women had no right to speak in public or vote o Poorer women went out to work, mainly as vendors Slavery Slavery was a prominent feature of all civilizations known to greeks The Greeks themselves never saw the contradiction between the ideal of freedom and the pervasivesness of slavery. Slaves were chattel property and had no enforceable rights, although they could save enough money to buy their freedom. Domestic servants (tolerable life. Shopping, cooking, fetching water, etc) Workers in farms and mines (especially hard conditions) Either prisoners of wars or exposed in the wild by their parents o Slaves made possible the leisure essential to Athenian democracy, allowing the citizens to argue in the law courts, debate in the assembly, and wage wars. Religion Monotheism vs. Polytheism No greek god was all powerful, but each controlled a certain sphere of interest. The greek gods had personalities like those of humans (anthropomorphism). They had favorites, took sides. They never imposed codes of behavior. The central focus of Greek religion was the sacrifice In order to gain the God’s will you must destroy what you value most; cattle were valuable. Purification o Animal’s assent to the shedding of its blood o The entrails were roasted and eaten by all the participants, while the bones were offered to the gods. o The sacrifices were public rituals that brought the community together and affirmed common values Greek religious rituals were performed outside the temple in public vie, since greek religion had a very significant social aspect. Notions of guilt or sin, which arise from disobeying god’s rule, were unknown to the greeks. Unique features of greek polytheism Exuberant storytelling. The greeks had many stories about their gods, loved them, and learned them by heart. Greeks often made fun of their gods or criticized them Belief in magic. A man can manipulate the outside world by means of rituals, spells, and magical objects. Spirites of the dead, ghosts A belief that the human world mixes with the natural (animals may have human qualities) A belief that the human world mixes with the supernatural (Heracles, born a mortal, became a god) A belief that every event in the world is connected with every other. There are no chance events. Belief in Divination, oracles, dreams and visions