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September Notes

by: Ava Thomaston

September Notes CC 303

Ava Thomaston
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Notes up until September 15th (on demand)
Intro to Classical Mytholog
Steve Lundy
Class Notes
Classical, Greek Mythology




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This 15 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ava Thomaston on Tuesday September 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CC 303 at University of Texas at Austin taught by Steve Lundy in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Intro to Classical Mytholog in Classical Mythology at University of Texas at Austin.


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Date Created: 09/20/16
September 1  Recap o What is classics?  Is evaluative and historical  Timeline and major periods  Augustan period  Ovid: life, metamorphoses and other works o What is Mythology?  Ways of defining myth and mythology  History of the study of myth  Our def: foundational, primordial, sacred and theomorphic  Religion and belief: did the ancients believe in their gods? o On the nature of the gods: sicero debates with high ranking friends o On friend believes no god exists, one believes there is one God and the priest believes in skepticism because there isn’t sufficient evidence to enforce.  Belief is not important to him being a priest  Dogma and religion: did myth issue certain philosophical or theological principles? o No one can be certain?  Scripture and religion: are these mythical texts like scripture? o Muses tell Hesiod, say that they tell truth when they will which is weird in an authoritative sense that this is all the truth  Religion and identity: did observing certain mythical ideas confer identity or membership with certain groups? o People probably tried to make sure they served all gods. o Romans and Greeks were probably capable in being Christians or something while still sacrificing to Jupiter  Ethics/Morality and religion: did myth prescribe certain behaviors and forbid others? o The gods commend actions that might seem violent or immoral  Lundy thinks these are fantastic traditional stories that help us understand what it means to be alive.  Mythological questions o Cosmological: what is the cosmos? Why and how do natural phenomena occur? o Historical: how do we understand our past? o Political and social: how are communities structured and how is that ok? o Anthropology: why do people behave differently or do certain things? o Psychological: how does the mind work? How do we cope?  Myth fails to meet the scientific rational standards that developed o Christian Heyne: believed myth arose spontaneously when early humans were struck with lightning or something and tried to make sense of how they felt. 2 o Max Muller: believed that early humans lacked abstract language and they would use objects to describe things o EB Tylor: ancients believed souls inhabited inanimate objects  Hesiod – 750- 650 BCE: considered one of the first writers in western canon but contemporary to Homer. Wrote Theogony, Works and Days. Hesiod comes forward as a distinctive persona in his works whereas Homer did not. o Ovid is about 600 years later than Hesiod  Theogony: genesis of the gods. Emergence of the Olympian pantheon. (group of 12 gods that become the ritual hub for greeks and romans) o Triumph of Olympian order as well o Chasm = chaos (in greek means gaping like space of nothing) o Earth decides she wants a context so she gives birth to Heaven (Uranus) and then they have Kronos. o Heaven is afraid of his kids and tries to suppress them by putting them back into earth- so earth conspires with Kronos to castrate his father (throws genitals into sea and birth Aphrodite) o Aphrodite is born in bad circumstances but she is a symbol of love and beauty (love can mediate the violence) o Kronos and Rhea have Zeus and his siblings, Kronos tries to eat them but earth comes in again. She takes Zeus to Crete to grow up and then overthrown Kronos 3  Hesiods cosmos evolve from simplicity to complexity. There are alternations between harmony and conflict. o Male = strife o Female = reconciliation o Conflict is productive: Aphrodite and other generations of elements o Zeus aligns with his kids to defeat the Titans  They start to adopt human psychology. o Heavans castration – freuds castration anxiety (father and son vying for mothers affections) o Kronos’s fear of his kids – gives rise to dramas between fathers and children drama (picture of Saturn devouring his son)  Artist (Goya) tells about power. He was in a country with people of power “devouring” they lesser to stay in power.  There is more to the Hesiods myth than just cosmology  We can also see politics in these myths  Tyrannies give way to aristocracy  When Kronos is defeated, he throws up all his kids and the rock becomes the center of the world (Zeus’s rock) 4 September 8  Midterms JGB 2.324 7-8:30 Sept 30 o 25 multiple choice, essay with 2 prompts, bring BLUE BOOK  Complete all reading/tagging for books 1-2 by Sept 30  Classical myth tries to find meaning where there isn’t. Like the odd behavior of the gods.  Ovid defines ages by political organization o Golden age: no laws, low technology, high ease of living o Iron age: laws and intervention, complex, high technology, low ease of living  Mythology is a vehicle for history in early society  Role of Muses: Start of Hesiods stories. Collection of 9 deities that were children of Zeus and talk to poets o Individual ones for each genre of the greek (lyric, dramatic, etc) o These Invocations:  Poet is being inspired/ communicating with the gods  Recollection of complex, obscure, extensive info  Acknowledgement of the oral tradition  Myth is used for historical memories. These are the beginnings of literacy  Transmission of key events and figures suggest these are actual historical accounts 5  Euhemerism: belief that mythical figures are aggrandized versions of historical figures (from Euhemurus)  Herodotus: father of history, begins accounts of Persian wars begins by mythical accounts between the east and west  Thucydides (successor to Herodotus): absence of mythical elements in history will detract from interest. What can he evaluate with certainty? His own experiences. This probably created the split between Myth and Scientific history.  Ancients still saw myth being integral to their life.  Romans saw themselves and descendants of mythical figures. (like Aeneas?)  Heinrich Schliemann used the poems of Homer to located the lost cities of Troy and Mycenae.  It’s important to not say the parallels must mean the myths are true. English is one of the few languages that distinguishes history from story.  Hesiods pieces ask questions like what cultural memory is he recalling?  What is the function of myth in Works and Days? o It’s a didactic epic on agriculture. o Ethical dimension of justice and behavior o Hesiod begins tied up in the mess of his brother Perses. (Squandered Hesiod’s inheritance by bribing the lords) o In this ag manual, we have Zeus and his idea of justice even though it appears one group gets the upper hand- ultimately there will be punishment 6 o The downfall of man is delivered as a way of explaining why we have to work and have terrible people. And why Zeus remains in power o We hear of Prometheus stealing fire from Olympus so Zeus creates Pandora (the gift that brings grim cares upon mankind- all the evils) o We go from age of abundance to ages that steadily declines. o The ages of man is essentially our life span. Gold age  things are easy and infantile. Silver Age  you start to grow up  The fact that Hesiod sees himself as a member of the Iron Age, this is the dominance of technology  Back to timeline: Hesiod and Homer are part of the Archaic period – heavily related to Iron Age (before is the Bronze 1250-1100 BC) o The final age in Hesiod is the collapse of Mycenaean culture and association with Trojan War (Bronze age) o General political and economic turmoil (climate change, pop. Migration, etc) – Bronze  Possibly Dark Age  900 BC: rise of Iron, spread with collapse of Hittite Kingdomes o there was an abundance by its hard to work with o arrival of iron allowed for new energy in ancient world. o New mobility of eastwood introduced the alphabets (Phoenician import) o Greeks and Phoenicians became dominant and trade powers 7 o Nesters cup: from Pithekoussai dates before Hesiod and contains and early form of greek literacy in the same meter as Hesiod and Homer. (Says whoever drinks from this cup will get drunk) Indicates we are dealing with highly energetic society o Rise of the polis (city state)- becomes dominate political and social structure. Urban center with control over surrounding ag production. Citizen membership within community and could participate. State guarantees property rights  Zeus is tied with justice because he can be arbiter of vengeance. o Advises Perseus not to be in trade September 13  Myths derive their meaning from the social and political context of their performance: Hesiod’s concept of Justice. o The individual telling the story picks what they emphasize.  Hesiod suggests the only way to overcome injustice was to moderate and self-control. He thinks that even if it seems like people get away with things, Zeus looks out for the just and good. o He was writing when the kings of the east declined and gave way to a more inclusive model of government. (polis) 8 o Compares to the Iliad where there is a confrontation between a great king and complaints of Achilles who thinks he’s worthy of respect and expose failings of monarch rule.  Bruce Lincoln: ideology in narrative form is myth. He suggests there are two components of political hierarchy: force and ideology. So Hesiod tells stories of Pandora and what not to get his point across better.  Aeschylus’s Oresteia (trilogy): foundation of Athenian democracy. (508/7 BCE) o Agamemnon: king is murdered on his return from Troy by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover o Libation Bearers: Agamemnon’s son, Orestes, kills his mom and her lover- which is a very difficult thing and he has to choose between avenging his dad and respecting his mom o Eumenides: Orestes crime haunts him literally. Because of the blood pollution, he is pursued relentlessly by the Furies and drives him mad. He stands trial for his murder, he’s acquitted and Athena steps in and says when there is a homicide, he’ll be acquitted. Trail by peers.  Bronislaw Malinowski: functionalism is the meaning of myths lies in their social function. All cultural forms (religions) exist to reinforce ties in community. When we look at myths, we should look at what they’re doing to society. o Very important in the study of Myth  Ovid is interesting in use of myths because he is standing apart from them and thinking playfully about them and sees their function to produce and idea. 9 o In Giants, he is trying to equate the Palatine (Augustus’ home) when he talks about Olympus (cheeky approach to how political forms have ancient roots) o Malinowski comes into play in this section when morale demands justification. When Jupiter calls the council because there has be a contestation of his rule. Mankind needs to be vanquished because of it. The gods fall into fury when they hear this o It seems like Ovid is complimenting the obedience of Romans to Augustus but it’s not clear if the assassination of Julius was good or if the response to his death was good (his assassination is what threw Augustus into power) How do we see Ovid in this? o Is Ovid really saying that Augustus’ regime is deeply rooted in myth? Is he siding or is the praise of Augustus mitigated by the anger of the assassins of Julius? Is what Ovid saying that it doesn’t matter how we feel about Augustus because the idea of him as the ruler is inescapable?  Giants picks up on Ovid’s nod to Hesiod.  Jupiter calls council after he already vanquished the gods but more needs to be done because humanity has fallen. o This comes the idea of a scapegoat o Lycaon is turned into a wolf (which is important in Roman culture). He is standing for the crimes of all of mankind.  Remus in Roman culture takes the fall for Romans  Rene Girard: “mimetic desire and mimetic violence.” He brought the idea of the scapegoat. Desire is not an 10 independent feeling; we feel instinct apart from society. If desires are mimetic, we end up wanting the same thing and create rivalries. o These shared desires and rivalries become violence across society. o He believes the only way to recover from this is to place all of that on the scapegoat (who did not commit the crime) – he gets all the blame and is sacrificed. o He also felt that myth was a place where these sacrifices were enshrined.  Oedipus: classic scapegoating myth from Girard. He is left to die by his dad, Laius King of Thebes, because of an Apollo prophecy. Laius is trying to avoid prophecy by leaving his son to die. Oedipus survives and visits the oracle (told he will kill his father) so he tries to leave and accidently kills his dad in a brawl. o He is posed a riddle and solves it – then named king and marries the widow of Laius (his mom) o A second plague comes from this. Prophets come forward and blame Oedipus and wants him exiled. Oedipus rejects this thinking he hasn’t slept with his mom but his guilt comes to light, he acknowledges it. o Tears out his eye and exiles himself. But there is no proof he was guilty. It only comes from the crowd insisting he is guilty. o The scapegoat has so much power to rid the community of problems and become heros.  The world is in state of chaos in the Giants. They are overthrowing the existing orders so Jupiter vanquishes them to declare himself the true King. Scapegoating 11 comes from this because Lycaon pays for the sins of mankind o But he isn’t really sacrificed- he’s turned into a wolf. His home and servants die and society doesn’t return to normal. Jupiter ends up wanting to destroy all of mankind. o Ovid is playing with the idea but scapegoating isn’t effective- Jupiter ends up killing innocents. The humans are only there to worship the gods – there is a callousness towards humans.  We can see scapegoating in the Presidential election (whoever wins, the supporters can use the loser as a scapegoat) September 15  Remember Ovid advertised adultery and was outcast from Rome.  Julius Caesar was divinized after he died leading to Octavian becoming the son of the divine.  Roman Revolution: transformation of Roman republic to imperial monarchy. o Enfranchisement of Italy (people wanted to become citizens but that couldn’t be undertaken well) o Standardization of imperial structures (gov, military) o Rule of princeps (Augustus) 12 o The key is the rise of the Roman empire. o When the republic was founded it was one city state and complex. Populated by random groups wanting power. We get 44BC (Caesar’s assassination) where Rome is exploding with power. o Right before this, the empire had expanded and this is the triumph of the Republic. This was also the downfall- it made Rome impossible to be governed as a Republic.  Led poor, enfranchised and disenfranchised inequality  Advance of rich becoming richer -> civil was (2 stages)  Julius vs Pompey (49-45 BCE) – Caesar crushed Rubicon.  Octavian vs Mark Antony (32-30 BCE) – Battle of Actium with Cleopatra  Between these two, there is violence and chaos. During this period, with the rise of these men. They started to identify themselves with the gods. o Octavian “returns extraordinary powers” and said he will only rule for the time that a consul rules. Identifying himself as a better case than what Caesar had done in not keeping power for himself. Eventually given consular powers and used it to oversee political, military and social reforms. o Octavian’s reign included proscriptions. o He has to walk on glass because Caesar was so absolute about his reign. Princeps helped with this a lot. It only means “first man” Augustus became a title and every successor had that title afterward. 13 (not a tyrant or kind but a leader (authority/augment = augustus)).  Mythological aspects of Augustus’s “Golden Age” o Golden age is derived from Hesiod (a linear progression descending to silver and bronze and then iron). Hesiod says he might like to be born after the terrible Iron age saying that things could get better -> goes to Vergil o Vergil’s: patronized by Maecenas (a close friend of Augustus). Wrote the Eclogues that symbolized the ability to enjoy life. He distances himself from the civil war violence. o 4 Eclogue: Romans make Virgil a Christian because they love this so much (even though he’s not) because the Eclogue anticipates the coming of a new age. He’s writing when a treaty of peace was struck between Octavian and Mark Antony (where he marries Oct. sister)  Virgil thought this would bring peace o Altar of Augustan peace: found by Mousselini. It shows a divinity surrounded by babies. This is what Augustus achieved by putting an end to war. o Aeneas panel sacrificing and ushering great people into Rome. o Suggestion that successors will be drawn from Augustus family. o Prima Porta Augustus (statue): youth -> great hero. Classic idea of beauty and buff-ness. Baby (cupid). He’s in full military garb but barefoot -> god who can walk on the field barefoot. He became a god after he died like Caesar. The breastplate has gods 14 dancing around and return of the Parthian standards (key moments in his reign) o This brings the idea of the golden age as gods freely mingling with consuls. Theres an idea of leaders approaching god-hood. They were celebrated as gods in their lifetime (this isn’t the whole picture) o Augustus experienced setbacks still. Despite his attempts to settle the empire with huge expansions: rebellions “Varian disaster”, difficulty finding successor, members of Augustus house fell short of his moral legislation (his daughter and her daughter had affairs and had to be expelled)  When Julia the younger was exiled- Ovid became a part of this story. He might’ve seen something he shouldn’t have.  Is Ovid for the morality or protesting or is this more complex? September 20  15


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