Greek and Roman Mythology Week 4 Notes
Greek and Roman Mythology Week 4 Notes CLA 220
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Morgan Notetaker on Sunday September 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CLA 220 at University of Miami taught by Dr. Han Tran in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Greek and Roman Mythology in Classics at University of Miami.
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Date Created: 09/18/16
Professor: Dr. Han Tran CLA220-Greek and Roman Mythology Cadmus (cont.) Ares(Greek)/Mars(Roman): only legitimate child of Hera and Zeus; represents war and the chaos surrounding it. (all the Olympians hate him) -The serpent, guarding the spring, is the son of Ares. He attacks all of Cadmus’ men and kills them. -Cadmus looks for his men-finds the snake and the carnage around the spring. +first he tries to kill it with a stone, but the serpent is not harmed (because the serpent is uncivilized and from nature) +then he strikes with a spear (man-made object; represents civilization) and the serpent falls -The voice of an oracle comes out of nowhere and tells Cadmus that “You too shall be A serpent in men’s eyes!” after he killed the serpent. -Athena tells Cadmus to pull out the teeth of the serpent and plant the teeth as if they were seeds. Fully-armed warriors emerge from the ground and start to fight each other. -Spartoi (Greek for “sown-man”) are the men who emerged from the ground and kill each until five survivors remain. The remaining Spartoi and Cadmus found the city of Thebes. All of the Spartoi were born of the serpent, which Cadmus killed, then they kill each other (brothers). Thebes has a deep history of fratricide. -Oedipus is a descendant of Cadmus. Showing that Thebans will have enemies in their family. -In other versions, Ares threatened to kill Cadmus for killing serpent, but Zeus intervened. Zeus gave Harmonia, daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, to Cadmus in marriage. -Cadmus has four daughters: Autonoe (Actaeon’s mother), Agave (Pentheus’ mother), Semele (Dionysus’s mother), and Ino (Learchos/Melicertes). Actaeon -With Actaeon, we seem to be brought back to the dark ages. -He is a young hunter, and one day, accidently stumbles upon Artemis taking a bath. He is punished by Artemis turning him into a stag; previously a hunter becomes the hunted pray. -His hunting dogs don’t recognize him and maul him to death. In Ovid, he retained his human consciousness, but was unable to stop the dogs. Semele -Semele’s lover is Zeus. Zeus appears in his normal, majestic form to Semele, unlike in the past when he disguises himself. -Hera took the guise of Semele’s mortal nurse and tells her to prove that her lover is Zeus by telling him to appear in his true shape. -Zeus appears at the call of Semele and she instantly dies when he appears in his true form, but she was pregnant. Zeus saves the child, who was not yet ready to be born and needed further incubation. Zeus sows the child in his own thigh. -The child was a god, Dionysus. He is a god because he was born from the body of Zeus himself. (only figure who is a god despite the fact that his mother is mortal) -Dionysus/Bacchus: god of wine, life energy, and transformation 2 He doesn’t really live with the other Olympians, but spends most of his time on Earth and was raised by his mortal aunt Ino in a cave. (but he wasn’t raised on nectar or ambrosia, furthering distancing him from the other gods) Also, he encourages humans to step outside of their normal, everyday selves (this applies most specifically to women because they were more constrained) Encourages women to experience more freedom, taking part in male activities like hunting/encourages men to relax from their strict, authoritarian social roles. There is a great potential in his worship to spin out of control. Tiresias -Zeus and Hera are having an argument about who enjoys making love more-men or women? They ask Tiresias, who has been both genders. He began as a boy, who wandered through the woods and saw two-snakes in the act of coupling, he struck them and turned into a woman. Years later, he was in the woods and ran into the same situation, striking the same coupling snakes and returning to his original male form. -Tiresias sides with Zeus, and Hera is angry so she strikes him blind. So Zeus gives him divine vision for the loss of his human sight. Echo and Narcissus -Narcissus is a child of rape. In Greece, unwholesome union often produced the most beautiful creatures. He is so beautiful that he attracts both boys and girls, and he is so perfect that no one is really good enough for him. 3 -Echo, a nymph, was punished by Hera to repeat back the last part of what is said to her. (because she used her tongue to distract Hera from one of Zeus’ affairs) She is hard to be understood, and is mute when no one talks to her. She looks upon Narcissus (who represents an incomplete psychological expression), and falls in love with him. -Narcissus is cursed to love himself by Nemesis (“Retribution”) after a love-sick boy begged for retribution. She is the force who returns things to a state of balance. -Echo’s body fades away as she pines mutely for Narcissus, and she eventually becomes a disembodied voice who repeats back phrases. -Narcissus, is in love with his reflection in the pool but cannot actually achieve a fulfilling love and dies as he grieves. -Echo returns to Narcissus as he is dying and his body disappears (like hers did) and there are white flowers left behind. Pentheus and Bacchus -Pentheus is the son of Agave (and one of the Spartoi), and grandson of Cadmus. Cousin of Bacchus/Dionysus, but does not believe he is divine. -Pentheus was warned not to spurn Dionysus by Tiresias, but Pentheus does not listen. -Dionysus wears a crown of ivy. Ivy is a weed “Thyrsos” fennel (or sometimes described as ivy) is carried by Dionysus and his followers. He often wears a panther’s skin on his shoulders, which symbolizes life, energy, and animalistic tones. -The story begins with a worship of Bacchus-everyone is celebrating, men and women (no gender division), young and old (no age division), gentles and peasants (no class division). 4 They are moving from the city to the countryside (going away from civilization). -Pentheus, as king of Thebes, is concerned because law and order seems to be forgotten. Pentheus is at war with himself, or at war with Bacchus, his cousin. He says he would rather see Thebes fall in war than being taken by Bacchus, who he describes and an effeminate boy. He believes there is more honor in dying during war. -His advisors try to reason to him, but he just gets more and more angry. He demands to punish the followers of Bacchus, and his men capture a young sailor, who tells him the story of how he knew Bacchus was truly divine. Pirates saw a pretty young boy who looked like he would make good ransom. He seemed to be divine the more a young sailor looked upon the boy they captured; the rest of the crew does not see this. So Bacchus manifests his powers in a more obvious way. The entire ship was overgrown with grape and vines. Bacchus with his ivy/fennel wand, created wild animals (all of this is happening in the middle of the ocean). The sailors who did not believe in Bacchus are transformed into dolphins, and the only survivor is the young sailor who knew him to be divine. Bacchus doesn’t truly transform things, but alters your perception and makes you question its truth. He is not a shape shifter. Perception depends on how one will see him: as a bearded man or a fair youth. -Pentheus is even more unbelieving after the story. -Because of his inability to shift his vision, he dies by sparagmos (tearing apart flesh). His mother, along with her 5 sisters did not believe in Dionysus. When they capture Pentheus, they think they’re capturing a pig (in other narrative, a lion cub) and then dismember him. Bacchus altered their perception to exact his revenge. -Pentheus violated a god (Dionysus) by not believing in him, and Acetaon died by violating Diana (though unintentionally). Pyramus and Thisbe -The three daughters of kind Minyas refuse to become worshippers of Bacchus, otherwise known as Maenads). They prefer to stay at home, weaving, showing their devotion to Athena. -They tell each other stories. These stories all carry a theme of unhappy love. -Pyramus and Thisbe were the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. Mars and Venus -Hephaestus/Vulcan is the son of Hera and the husband of Aphrodite. When he was born, after taking one look at Hephaestus, Hera saw that he was so unsightly and threw him off Mount Olympus. He could craft wonders that even awed the other Olympians, but he was lame and couldn’t walk well. -Ares is always on the losing side (unlike Athena, who is always victorious), and Hephaestus is smarter than Ares. -Hephaestus suspected his wife, Aphrodite to be cheating on him so he crafted a fine net on the bed, and then caught her and Ares together. -The union of Ares and Aphrodite (war and love) is revealed to the other Olympians, still caught in Hephaestus’ net. And they laugh at the two of them. 6 -Hephaestus and Aphrodite may have been the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast. Salmacis and Hermaphroditus -Similarities to Echo and Narcissuss -Hermaphroditus: Son of Hermes and Aphrodite. -Salmacis: nymph, and just like Echo is completely entranced, but she is very forthcoming in her desire (this is an inversion of the typical male and female dynamic) -She clung to him and prayed to forever stay like that with him, even though Hermaphroditus resisted. They melded together, becoming a lesser male. -Hermaphroditus prayed that the waters would turn anyone who swam in them into “half men, half women” -Symbolically, Hermaphroditus became a lesser man because he took a passive role, allowing Salmacis to overtake him. -The daughters of Minyas were finally punished for not worshipping Bacchus at the end of this story. Ino and Athamas -Bacchus is the name of Dionysus and the name of his worshippers; both the Romans and the Greeks recognize him as such. He represents a bridge between humans and gods, through drinking wine and worshipping him essentially. -The name “Dionysus” is never used to describe a follower of Dionysus, on Bacchus is used in that way. -Like Dionysus, Demeter/Ceres and her daughter Persephone/Proserpina are allies of humanity. Both women offer mortals the promise of a blessed afterlife. In myth, when you die you become a shade (soul) and spend an eternity in the darkness of the underworld. Nothing ever happens there, and it is directly under this world. 7 -The Olympian gods are called atanatoi, the “deathless ones”. -Ino: Bacchus’ aunt who partially raised him. -Hera was angry that Ino agreed to raise Bacchus, in a way, supporting the affair between Semele and Zeus, and disrespecting Hera. Hera goes down to the underworld, which is strange because the only gods who venture there are the queen and king of the underworld, and Hermes. She told the Fury, Tisiphone (“voice of revenge”) to poison Ino and Athamas’ heart. -Ino’s husband, Athamus, went mad (by Tisiphone’s doings), and killed their first son, Learchus, by smashing his head against a rock. Ino, overtaken by grief and fear, ended up jumping off a cliff with Melicertes/Melicertor, their second son. The pair drowns in the sea. 8
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