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Athena and Apollo

by: Hannah Chin

Athena and Apollo C C 303

Hannah Chin

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About this Document

overview of the various myths, symbols, and histories associated with the mythological Greek deities Athena and Apollo
Intro to Classical Mythology
James Patterson
Class Notes
Greek Mythology, Athena, Apollo
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hannah Chin on Wednesday September 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to C C 303 at University of Texas at Austin taught by James Patterson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Intro to Classical Mythology in Classical Mythology at University of Texas at Austin.

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Date Created: 09/28/16
Athena – goddess of wisdom, battle strategy, weaving, called “owl-eyed goddess”  Associated with an owl  Born from Metis + Zeus’ head ache  Zeus ate Metis while she was pregnant b/c Metis was goddess of wisdom and Zeus didn’t want to be usurped by her child. But then Zeus gets a headache and calls Hephaestus to come and chop his head open to get rid of it, and Athena falls out fully grown in full armor  Athens, Greece named after her  Demonstrates her prominence  Parthenos = virgin goddess  Gave birth when Hephaestus tried to rape her and failed, but his semen touched her leg  Erichthonius born from the ground, has a snake body to show from the earth  Erichthonius = from the earth, chthonic  Name literally means “super earth guy”  1 king of Athens  Being Athena’s son, explains why she care about humans as her “adopted children”  Contest between Poseidon and Athena  Trying to win favor with humans  Poseidon stabs ground with trident  spring of salt water comes out  Salt water is useless to humans  Athena stabs ground with trident  olive tree comes out  Can be used for olive oil, which is used in food, for cleaning, for bathing, etc.  Athena’s win  Reflects humans preference of land battles over water (although historically, the Athenians’ navy was much stronger than their army) and their claimed intellectuality/wisdom  Athena and Arachne story:  Skilled weaver Arachne too proud of herself; Athena challenged her to a weaving contest, lost, got mad, hit her; Arachne tried to hang herself in shame but Athena stopped her and turned her into a spider instead  Origin story/etiology for spider’s webs  MORAL: Don’t be better than the gods, and even the goddess of wisdom isn’t immune to childishness Parthenon  In Athens, derived from Parthenos (virgin goddess Athena)  Strategic acropolis {temple} placement at top of a hill, good for battles and defense  Statue of Athena present in armor with Nike (goddess of victory) in her hand and with snakes on shield (in tribute to Erichthonius)  Statues of gods/goddesses believed to be the actual physical god/goddess, so chained to the ground by their ankles to prevent them from moving around  Temple of god/goddess = their home, so only priests/priestess allowed inside and sacrifices were made outside  Made of chryselephantine (chrys = gold, elephantine = ivory) Apollo – god of light, medical skills, archery, prophecy, and technical music, also called “Phoebus, Far- Shooter”  Born from Leto and Zeus; Leto’s parents Coeus (Titan of revolution of the universe) and Phoebe (Titan of light)  Hera jealous of Zeus and punishes Leto by telling all the nymphs and dryads to not give her a place to give birth, but Leto finds island of Delos so newly formed, it’s not connected to the earth yet so Hera’s ban doesn’t apply and there are no nymphs/dryads associated with it  Apollo’s twin sister: Artemis  Delos becomes Apollo’s holy island/winter home  Helios and Apollo; Helios = Titan god of sun, Apollo = light  Apollo consumed Helios though so he’s now associated with both  Example of a god taking control of something already in existence (~Poseidon and the sea)  Light associated with knowledge (~lightbulb going off)  Apollo also god of prophecy  Oracles/sibyls = Apollo’s priestess  The one at Delphi is most important b/c of the Omphalos  Get possessed by him and deliver his prophecies via rambling, knowledge from the sun  A priest comes to record what she says  Often very vague, so can be misinterpreted but is always “right”  They sit on a tripod in the basement of the temple over a crack that is an entrance to Tartarus; prevents knowledge from the earth from coming up (sky over earth)  During winter months, Apollo takes the tripod goes back home to Delos so the sibyls can’t prophesize anymore  Story of a Roman general demanding a prophecy from a sibyl but she can’t b/c Apollo isn’t there to give one through her, so he locks her up and she goes mad and dies when she’s possessed by a chthonic deity b/c the tripod isn’t there to block the opening  “Gnothi seauton” = “know yourself,” don’t be arrogant, be humble  Artificial/technical music vs. natural music  Technical = learned skills (i.e. piano, singing, lyre); natural = what comes naturally (i.e. panpipes)  Contest between Apollo’s lyre and Pan’s (a satyr) panpipes  Apollo won  Technical over natural  Medicine, another technical skill  Apollo is father of medicine, and Apollo’s son Asclepius is the Practitioner  Asclepius associated with snake winding around a staff  has come to represent medical (i.e. ambulances have the symbol)  Different from Hermes’ caduceus, which is often mistaken for medicine symbol  Can use abilities to heal but also spreads disease/plague using his bow and arrow (motif of where there is x, there is also anti-x)  Apollo and Daphne story:  After slaying the Python (sky over earth) with his bow and arrow, Apollo sees Eros and chides him as a child playing with a bow; as revenge, Eros shoots Apollo and Daphne with his arrows, making Apollo fall in love with her and Daphne fall in disgust for him (x, anti-x motif again); Apollo pursues her and when she can’t run anymore, Daphne calls out to her river dad/all the gods and goddess to help her and she’s turned into a laurel tree  Apollo makes the laurel his sacred tree  If you cut down any other tree, you’d be pissing off one dryad, but if you cut down a laurel tree, you’re pissing off Apollo


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