Myths of Athena Basic roles • War, wisdom, women’s work • Patroness of Athens • Guardian of young male heroes Myths • Eating of Metis and birth from Zeus’s head in full armor • Contest with Uncle Poseidon for patronage of Athens • Invented double flute-threw it away (Marsyas found it) • Fight with Pallas - Palladium • Weaving competition with Arachne – aetiology of the spider
Hermes • god of thieves, businesspeople, travelers • son of Zeus and Maia • invents lyre in his first morning on earth • steals Apollo’s cattle in the afternoon and then vomits on him • guides people to underworld (Psychopompos) holding the Caduceus • messenger and errand boy of Zeus • Animism to Anthropomorphism - Herm • expedition to Syracuse 417 BC
Apollo • Delphic Oracle -center of world, founded by Apollo after killing snake Python. Cleansed of miasma and now can cleanse others. Appears as dolphin to Cretan sailors who become priests of temple. He communicates through Pythia, who is ALWAYS RIGHT • Hyacinthus (Spartan boyfriend) • Croesus King threatened by Persians - arti manthano! • Admetus and Alcestis • Daphne – original laurel tree • Coronis -affair-white raven sees en flagrante delicto. Has Asclepius, God of medicine, raised by Hippolytus from dead. Zeus throws thunderbolt for disrupting nature. • Cassandra: prophetess who is never believed
Apollo = GET A GRIP • CURB THY SPIRIT • OBSERVE THE LIMIT • HATE HUBRIS • GLORY NOT IN STRENGTH • FEAR AUTHORITY • KEEP A REVERENT TONGUE • BOW BEFORE THE DIVINE • KEEP WOMAN UNDER RULE
Myths of Artemis • Niobe - thought of herself greater than Leto (hubris). Punished by having her 14 children killed in front of her-becomes weeping rock • Orion- he and his dog were turned into constellation at attempted rape • Actaeon - saw Artemis in the buff-turns him into deer • Jupiter, Callisto and Arcas (Ursa Major)
Aphrodite • Born from Uranus’ blood foaming in water = Aphrodite Urania • Daughter of Zeus and Dione = Aphrodite Pandemos • Married to Hephaestus (metal shop) • Caught with Ares in flagrante delicto • Anchises - shepherd-bore Aeneas • Judgment of Paris, with Eris and Trojan War • Pygmalion - sculpts perfect statue of woman. Falls in love w/ it, prays, comes to life as Galatea=bore Paphos • Cybele’s autocastration; Nana picks up lemon blossom and has Attis • Dying boyfriends Attis and Adonis • Plato’s Symposium and taxonomy of loovve
Allegories of Love Aristophanes’s Speech from Plato’s Symposium • Original human form = M/F, M/M, F/F • Split due to hubris, search for other half to be complete • Want to melt together; sex = close as it gets Socrates’s Speech from Plato’s Symposium • Told to him by wise woman Diotima • Eros is son of Poverty and Resourcefulness • Always gets what he wants, always wants more than he gets Cupid and Psyche (Apuleius, The Golden Ass) • Psyche = fairytale princess; Cupid = hunky stud • Venus makes Psyche perform labors • Cupid and Psyche have a daughter, Voluptas
KATABASIS Concept of katabasis • Oldest plot device in literature • Hero descends to underworld, checks it out, returns • Regards the afterlife as centered in a particular space Sources for ancient views of the afterlife • Homer, Odyssey(750 BC) • Plato, Myth of Er(375 BC) • Vergil, Aeneid (25 BC) Insight into ancient Greco-Roman Weltanschauung • Hope for a positive afterlife? • Body or soul more important? • Personal responsibility for actions?
Who’s Who in the Underworld Divine and semi-divine figures • Hades (Pluto) - rich in souls • Persephone (Proserpina) - unwilling underworld queen • Charon - ferryman • Cerberus - 3 headed hound of hell, keeps people in • Furies: Allecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone Human (or originally human) figures • Judges: Aeacus, Minos, Rhadamanthus • 53 Top Sinners of Ancient Greek Afterlife • Famous Visitors: Odysseus, Er, Aeneas
Hot Spots of the Underworld Five rivers of the Underworld • Phlegethon - fire • Cocytus - wailing • Acheron - woe • Lethe - forgetfulness • Styx - hatred Other famous locations • Elysian Fields: demigods, friends of gods, Trojan war heroes • Tartarus: exceptionally bad sinners • Butte, Montana
The Top 53 Sinners • Ixion - tried to rape cloud form of Hera, burns in turning ring of fire • Tantalus - chopped son in soup for god’s and goddesses dinner (gods saved him). Stands in receding water when stoops to drink, branch pulls away when tries to eat fruit or donut J --Tantalyzing • Sisyphus - cheats death by having wife not sacrifice, going up to live. Forever pushing boulder up mountain • Tityus - tries to rape Leto. Staked down for bird to eat liver daily. • 49 Danaids - Egyptian wives who killed husbands. Carrying leaky buckets; object lesson for “uppity” women
Homer, Odyssey (750 BC) Hell is in Portugal • Odysseus sails west from Mediterranean, thru pillars of Heracles, then right to land on shore. • Odysseus digs trench, pours blood for ghosts to feast but not until he gets to see him. People Odysseus talks to • Achilles - rather be slave alive than be king of underworld. • Anticleia - tells relationship of body to soul after death • Mortal part of Heracles – what a whiner Weltanschauung rating • body perishes, soul condemned to dull body-less afterlife • No point in trying to lead a mortal life
Socrates and Plato Socrates (d. 399 BC) • Genius stonemason who couldn’t make a living • Drove his wife Xanthippe nuts • Hung around streets talking to rich young men • Tied people in knots with his “Socratic Method” • Put to death for corrupting youth of Athens Plato • Actual name was “Ariston” • Broad-shouldered, hence nickname • Wrote down the dialogues of Socrates as he remembered them • Quite a bit of Socrates; quite a bit of Plato too.
Plato, Myth of Er (350 BC) Plato’s Republic-PUBLIC AFFAIRS TEXT • Ten-book dialogue on how to create the ideal government • Ends in the tenth book with a massive riff from Socrates • But why should people feel compelled to lead a moral life? Myth of Er (10th book of Plato's Republic) • Er, died in battle, lay on funeral pyre, came back from dead • Announces that you are rewarded/punished 10 times over 1000 years. • You then have an opportunity to pick new life Weltanschauung rating • Hope for human life, and chance at reunion with divinity • Still no reason to jump up and yell AMEN!
Vergil, Aeneid (25 BC) Physical features • Mostly recall Homer's version (Olympian view) • Entry is a cave in modern day Italy • Lots of sinners and rivers, all that Details of afterlife • punishments and rebirths recall Plato's version • Also suggest the “Orphic” viewpoint • Suggests that the greatest good is serving Rome Vergil’s special interpretation = PUBLIC AFFAIRS • Aeneas goes to see his father for advice on founding Rome • Sees a parade of great future Romans = PUBLIC AFFAIRS Patriotically uplifting, but again, no reason to yell AMEN
Comparing “traditional” accounts Homer Plato Vergil Hope for a positive afterlife? None Some Some Body or soul more important? Body Soul Soul Personal responsibility for actions? No Yes Yes Comparing mystery religions Eleus. Bacch. Orph. Established ritual yes no no High emotional content yes yes no Standards of morality optional amoral high Rebirth/katabasis myth yes yes yes Acceptable to govt? yes no yes Hope for happy afterlife? yes yes? yes
Mystery Religions Shortcomings of Olympian view of afterlife • Provide hope for eternal afterlife and suggest some reconciliation with divinity • Emotional satisfaction • Reason for human existence Why so popular • Provide hope for eternal afterlife and suggest some reconciliation with divinity • Emotional satisfaction • Reason for human existence Three major Greek mystery religions • Eleusinian Mysteries (Demeter in the town of Eleusis) • Bacchic Mysteries (Dionysus, God of wine) • Orphic Mysteries (Orpheus, famous musician)
Eleusinian Mysteries: background Why “Eleusinian?” • Ritual held in Eleusis (suburb of Athens) and Athens. • Demeter supposedly stopped at the city of Eleusis • Brought profit and positive publicity to city of Athens Basis of Eleusinian mystery religion • “Rape of Persephone” story • Homeric Hymn to Demeter • Aetiology of seasons becomes explanation of eternal life • Complicated, secret, beautiful ritual • Anyone can join: once initiated, one is always a part of the religion.
“Homeric” Hymn to Demeter • Zeus allowed Hades to “marry” Persephone, daughter of Demeter/Ceres (Grain/Earth Goddess). • Two divinities see, Hecate hears screams(goddess of underworld) and Helios sees act. • After 10 days Demeter is still morning and Hecate tells what she heard and Demeter confronts Helios. • Disguised as bag lady Doso, offered babysitting job by princesses of Celeus and Metaneira. • They offer her wine, but she asks for mint, barley and water mixture called kykeon. • Doso secretly dips baby Demophoon into fire to make immortal, but caught by Metaneira. Doso reveals herself as Demeter • Demeter establishes Eleusinian religion; still will not let crops go. • Finally to save humans Zeus has Hades give Persephone back • Persephone eats pomegranate seed, causing aetiology of season
Eleusinian Mysteries Day 1 “Holy Objects” brought to Eleusis Day 2 All pure Greek speakers invited to join Day 3 Buy A Scape Pig Day; sacrifices Day 4 More sacrifices Day 5 Day in honor of Asclepius, god of medicine Day 6 March back to Athens; dirty jokes Day 7 Kykeon (barley, mint, water) drunk; more fasting and ritual Day 8 Pageant (things shown, things enacted, things said) Day 9 Initiates return home
Dionysus Birth of Dionysus • Semele tricked by Hera into making Zeus blast her into ashes • Zeus pulls child out of ashes, sews up in thigh, and carries to term. • Dionysus born and raised by satyrs and nymphs. Zagreus (the chthonic Dionysus) • child of Zeus and Persephone torn apart by Titans and Hera • Athena feeds heart to Zeus, causing Zagreus to live in Dionysus • Figures in Orphic “mystery” religion Function of Dionysus • God of wine-he is the feeling of when you are drunk . • God of going crazzzaaay
Dionysus’s Posse Teams of Followers • Satyrs - horny semi-divine male party animals • Nymphs - horny semi-divine female party animals • Maenads - (Bacchantes): mortal women gone craaaazy Pan • Cloven-hoofed inventor of pan flute; chaser of Syrinx Echo • Version 1: chased by Pan (panic) and fades away • Version 2: punished for diverting Hera while Zeus was cheating Silenus • Ugly old drunk
Bacchic ritual Components of Bacchic worship • enthousiasmos- having the god inside you (drunkenness) • ekstasis - standing outside of your body (drunkenness) • sparagmos - tearing apart live animals • omophagia - eating the animals' raw flesh Positive interpretation • “communion” with deity who cares about humans • Satisfactory ritual and sense of community Negative interpretation • Bunch of losers getting wasted • Bunch of losers fornicating in the fields
Dionysus as “rejected god” • Dolphin aetiology-pirates kidnap Dionysus from beach. All but one pirate took him. Mass turns into vine, bowl appears, Dio turns into a lion, pirates jump ship and turn to dolphins • Argos- daughters of king Proetus women denied belief, driven mad and follow Dionysus as Maenads • Orchomenus - daughters of king Minyas deny, driven mad, join line • Thrace - King Lycurgus denies god, Zeus strikes down • Midas - King of Phrygia, original golden boy • Thebes – Home town of Dionysus
The Bacchae of Euripides Dramatis Personae • Young King Pentheus does not like religion. • Dio, stranger, put in jail. Tricks him into seeomg what religion is like. Dramatic Action • Stranger convinces Pentheus to “check it out” • Pentheus attends a worship service in drag • Killed by women and subjected to sparagmos Moral of the Story (Dionysus vs. Apollo) • If you grasp life too strongly, can make you go crazy • If you go too crazy you will get out of control.
Orpheus Life of Orpheus • Right after wedding snake bites Eurydice and she dies. • Orpheus goes to underworld and plays lyre for Hades. • He can have her back as long as he does not look back – blows it • Invents pederasty; torn to shreds by Maenads The Orphic religion • Orphic bible are collected teachings on how to live by him. • No ritual or emotional satisfaction; much closer to philosophy • Myth of Zagreus supplies the katabasis requirement
Apollo vs. Dionysus Apollo = the reasonable god • Dependence upon law and order • Beauty, clarity, painstaking artistry • Self-control: knowing one’s proper place in the cosmos • Acceptance: dealing with one’s human limitation • Perfection: making the most of one’s life through reason Dionysus = the emotional god • Chaos, intoxication, celebration of nature; • Focus on the senses • Let yourself go: complete union with the god • Punching a higher floor: enjoying human existence • Reunion: hopes of a happier afterlife
Myths of Hermes Basic roles • God of thieves, businessmen, shepherds • Psychopompus – guides souls to underworld • Messenger of Zeus Myths • Birth – Homeric Hymn • Herm - pile of rocks used to guide travelers • Hermes known as pebble god • Evolved to anthro by Hermes being on trial for killing Argus
The Delphic Oracle • Omphalos (center of world) • Apollo establishes after killing dragon/ snake Python. Cleansed of miasma and now can cleanse others. • Miasma =“eye for an eye” blood guilt or pollution • Appears as dolphin to Cretan sailors who become priests of temple. • He communicates through Pythia, prophetess who sits in tripod. Travelers sacrifice/bring gifts, have priests write down question • Pythia goes into trance, priest translates and records the message • ALWAYS RIGHT
Myths of Dionysus Basic roles • God of wine and partying • Leader of his own mystery religion • Externalization of drunkenness Myths • Death of Semele and birth out of Zeus’s thigh • Kidnapping and Dolphin story • Other “rejected god” myths: Thrace, Argos, Orchomenus • King Midas (original golden boy)
Dionysus’s Posse Group Divinities • Satyrs – terminally horny male demigods • Nymphs – terminally horny female demigoddesses • Maenads – formerly decent women gone craaazaaay • Bacchae – same as Maenads, more or less Individual Members • Pan – shaggy-legged, cloven-hoofed dude • Syrinx – nymph who spurned Pan’s embraces, became reeds • Echo (1) – thought she would distract Hera • Echo (2) – fell in love with Narcissus • Silenus – old, drunk, and uuuuggggllly • Priapus – upstanding young fertility god