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CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for January 24, 2012
 

CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for January 24, 2012

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    CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for January 24, 2012 CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for January 24, 2012 Presentation Transcript

    • Introduction to Classical Mythology Dr. Michael Broder University of South Carolina January 23, 2012
    • Daily Write
      • How do you think Aphrodite feels about her relationship with Anchises, and why?
      Please do your best to answer this question in one (nice, juicy) sentence.
    • Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite : Identification
      • Author = Anonymous / Unknown
        • Greek
        • Uncertain; probably c. 650 BCE
      • Title = Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
      • Genre = Epic poem, Hymn
    • Background to the Homeric Hymns
      • NOT COMPOSED BY HOMER
      • Called “Homeric” because of the language and rhythm (dactylic hexameter)
      • The word hymn derives from Greek hymnos , “song of praise” (to a god or goddess)
      • Written from the 7th to 5th centuries BCE by a variety of anonymous authors
      • Their genre is epic , based on their use of epic meter, although hymn is also a genre term
    • Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
      • Likely the oldest of the Hymns since it is closest to Homer’s language and because of it’s connection to Homer’s Iliad
      • Tells the story of Aphrodite’s affair with Anchises
      • Celebrates the birth of their child, Aineias
    • Aphrodite & Anchises in the Iliad
      • Poseidon foretells the destiny of Aineias when he faces Achilles during the Trojan War
        • “ For it is destined that Aineias escape
        • And the line of Dardanos not be destroyed
        • And disappear without seed—Dardanos,
        • Whom Zeus loved more than any of the sons
        • born from his union with mortal women.
        • The son of Cronos has come to hate Priam’s line,
        • And now Aineias will rule the Trojans with might,
        • And the sons born to his sons in the future.”
        • Homer, Iliad , Book 20, lines 302-308
        • Translated by Stanley Lombardo
    • Ancestry of Aineias Zeus + Electra (daughter of Atlas) Dardanos Erichthonios Tros Assaracos Capys Anchises + Aphrodite Aineias
    • Aphrodite…
      • Rouses sweet desire
      • Subdues men, birds, beasts, and fish
      • Persuades
      • Beguiles
      • Conquers
      • Why does the Homeric Hymn make it sound like Aphrodite some kind of athlete or warrior?
    • Because in the epic view of the world… Love Is a Battlefield
    • Aphrodite’s Power Has Limits
      • Aphrodite cannot subdue the 3 virgin goddesses
        • Athena – goddess of war, wisdom, and womanly arts
        • Artemis – goddess of wild animals and hunting
        • Hestia – goddess of the home and hearth
      • Note that no male gods are virgins
      • Why not? Why are there no virgin gods, only virgin goddesses?
    • “ What the fudge is Dr. Broder talking about?”
      • When I ask you a question like…
        • Why are there no virgin gods, only virgin goddesses?
        • … what kind of question am I asking you?
        • A factual question ( what )
          • to which you can cite an answer in the text?
        • A conceptual question ( how/why )
          • that requires you to interpret the text for yourself ?
    • The epic imagination is factual, not conceptual
      • So when I ask you a conceptual question like…
        • Why are there no virgin gods, only virgin goddesses?
      • Don’t look down at the epic text expecting to find an answer
      • Look into your conceptual mind and see what you can find there
    • Why are there no virgin gods, only virgin goddesses?
    • Earth and Seed, Woman and Man
      • Woman is the earth where the seed grows
      • A virgin, or maiden, is a young woman in whom no seed has been planted
      • Man produces the seeds and plants the seeds in the earth/woman
      • For the Greeks, virgin means unplanted soil
      • Since man is not the soil, there is no way a man can be a virgin
      • This, of course, is different from the way we think of virginity in the United States in 2012
    • Aphrodite vs Zeus
      • Aphrodite is the goddess of love , beauty , and sexual reproduction
      • In the epic imagination, love is an irrational desire
      • Zeus is the god of wisdom and reason
      • The hymn represents the power of Aphrodite over Zeus as a triumph of irrational desire over rational wisdom
        • “ Even his wise wit she has beguiled at her will, and easily she united him with mortal women, without Hera being aware of it….”
    • Then Zeus gets pissed off at Aphrodite’s shenanigans and causes her to have a Total Eclipse of the Heart
    • Doesn’t it make sense that Aphrodite should be a wife and mother?
      • As a goddess of sexual reproduction , it seems reasonable that Aphrodite should be maternal , not virginal
      • But note that it is Zeus who causes Aphrodite to experience desire for a mortal man
      • In the end, then, Zeus the god of rational wisdom , triumphs over Aphrodite, the goddess of irrational desire
    • Questions for Discusson
      • Why does the epic imagination want woman to be the earth?
      • Why does the epic imagination want man to be the seed?
      • Why does the epic imagination want wisdom (Zeus) to triumph over desire (Aphrodite)?
      • Why is Aphrodite ashamed of her desire?
      • Why is Anchises terrified when he finds out that the beautiful virgin he has just deflowered is Aphrodite?
    • For Next Time
      • Homer, Odyssey , Books 1-3, pp. 77-123
    • Introduction to Classical Mythology Dr. Michael Broder University of South Carolina January 23, 2012