CL 113 Golden Apples Ch. 15
CL 113 Golden Apples Ch. 15 CL 113LEC
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Date Created: 03/08/16
Golden Apples: Ch. 15: Agamemnon and the Indo-European Threefold Death Pattern The pattern is found in two main forms: Series or groupings of three deaths—each by different means Single death by three different means simultaneously Commenta—Roman poet Lucan Human sacrifices were made to the Gaulish deity …. o Esus by hanging o Taranis by burning their victims alive in a large wicker basket o Teutates by drowning them in a vat Esus—associated with the 1 function Taranis—associated with the 2 ndfunction Teutates—associated with the 3 function Yoshida—ancient Greek legend Deaths consist of 2 murders and a suicide rather than the ritual sacrifice The first murder: Larissa kills her father Piasus by drowning him innd vat of wine because he raped her 2 murder: Argonauts kills Cyzicus (King of Pelasigans) due to a misunderstanding Suicide: Cleite hangs herself from a tree out of grief rd Connects all three deaths to the 3 function The most evidence of these patterns comes from the Germanic speaking people Three methods of human sacrifice and criminal execution o These were by hanging, drowning, and by a weapon Hanging—associated with the god Odin (representative of the magico-religious portion of the 1 function) rd Drowning/burial alive is associated with the 3 function Weapon—associated with 2 ndfunction and the war god Adam of Bremen Mentions both blood sacrifices and hangings of human and animal victims The temple was a cult center for Odin(1 function), Thor (2 nd rd function), and Freyr(3 function) Legends Two close friends suffer linked deaths There are 4 versions of this Saxo o King of Swedes: Hundingus drowns in a jar full of ale o His friend Hadingus hangs himself in grief Two other versions include Fjolnir and Sveigdir o Ynglingatal and Ynglingasaga o Fjolnir (Swedish king) drowns o His son Sveigdir vows to search for Odin and ends up hurling himself into a giant rock which closes around him Faroese Odin’s son dies by falling through a hole in the floow His father ascends to heaven and remains king there Drowning has a clear 3 function connection Hanging/enclosed in a rost/ascends to heaven is connected to Odin—1 function Starkad Pattern of the 3 sins of the warrior st rd The 1 and 3 sins are murders The 2 ndsin is being coward in battle 1 sin: killing King Vikar in a sacrifice to Odin—1 function rd rd 3 sin: killing King Olo in order to receive gold—3 function Finnish ballad Christ names three sins of Magdalen—who murdered her children by fire, drowning, and live burial o The children would’ve grown up to be a knight, a burgher, and a priest st Live burial replaces the hanging as a 1 function mode of death Fisher—Slavic: Chronicle of Henry of Livonia Finnic Livionians plotted to kill Bishop Berthold either by burning his church, slaying him with a weapon, or drowning him Nestor Chronicle Olga’s triple revenge on the Derevlians for the murder of her husband Igor First murder was buried alive, second was locked in a bathhouse and burned and the third was put to the sword Derevlians are representative of warriors, nobles, and commoners Havamal Odin hung on a tree for 9 nights pierced with a spear as a sacrifice to himself to obtain the wisdom of poetry o He appears to undergo a symbolic immersion in addition to hanging and spearing Dying a triple death In almost all the versions death is the fulfillment of a prophecy Starkad’s muders of Vikar and Olo are fulfillments made by Odin Odin’s triple death is not a result of a prophecy because he is considered to be his own prophet Welsh—Fourth Branch of Mabinogi Victim reveals the unusual manner in which he can be killed Lleu is the victim—he tells his wife Blodeuedd that he can be killed only by a spear and tells her where he can be speared o Her lover, Gronw spears him Lleu is immediately transformed into an eagle and flies off screaming Threefold death Saint Columba—Irish Saint predicts that Aedh will be wounded in the neck with a spear, fall from a tree into water, and drown The prophecy comes true Bishop Hildebert—Irish A boy learns from Venus that he will die by a noose, from Mars that he will die by a weapon, and from Neptune that he will die by water In a fall from a tree, the boy’s sword pierces him, his head is submerged into the river Fall from a tree is metaphorical for a noose Threefold death Irish Saint Moling Saint tells Grag that he will die by a weapon, fire, and drowning He doesn’t believe him but one day is comes true Thompson—modern European folktale Victim is typically bitten by a snake while climbing a tree, he falls and drowns in the water below Ward believes: Fall from a tree represents a form of hanging and shows that the element of death by fire is a Celtic sacrifice to Taranis Threefold of death expresses a conception of the natural world as constructed of 3 essential elements or levels: air, land, water (underworld) st o 1 level: victim hangs in the air, falls through air, or ascends to heaven o 2 ndlevel: victim dies on earth, pierced by a weapon o 3 rdlevel: he drowns in water or is buried alive under the earth Agamemnon Aeschylus is the earliest author to attribute death to Agamemnon where he is killed by his wife Clytemnestra in a bathtub with a sword o He is our main source for the threefold death motif Blind prophetess: Cassandra was taken captive by Agamemnon has a vision of him entangled in a garment, struck with a weapon by his wife, and falling into water The entangling robe/garment can be viewed as a noose st The bath is connected with a ritual object—sacrificial vessel—1 function The sword that kills him—2 ndfunction Entangling robe is a symrdl of wealth and luxury—product of woman handicraft—3 function Hanging—means of suicide was generally used by women in Greek tradition Evidence of fulfillment of prophecy related to Agamemnon’s death: The murder is a partial fulfillment of the curse of Thyeses on the house of his father There’s an ironic premonition of the manner of his death where his wife tells how the rumors of his death kept her in a state of continual worry for the last 10 years If his death was a ritual sacrifice it can also be seen as a criminal execution Three crimes/sins incorporated into the structure of Aeschylus’s Agamemnon: st 1 chorus: describes Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter in order to obtain wind for the Greek ships sailing to Troy o They call him sacrilegious—indication thatsthis is a crime against the religious aspect—1 function 2nd chorus: tells how he caused so many Greek warriors to be killed nd o They are accusing him of a crime against the 2 function 3rd chorus: denunciates Helen and denounces wealth and those who seek to accumulate it o Therefore he sinned against the 3 function o The three choruses depict him as a trifunctional sinner and prepare us for his tripartite punishment It is unlikely that Aeschylus was the inventor of the motif of the threefold death as fulfillment of a prophecy He used the conflict between the forces of the 3 function and those of the 1 and 2 nd combined The motif has a central organizing role in the play
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