Classical Cultures - August 30, 2012A


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Classical Cultures - August 30, 2012A

  1. 1. Classical Cultures Dr. Michael Broder Brooklyn College August 30, 2012
  2. 2. Identifying a Text• For every text that we study, I want us to identify it by three main categories – Author • Nationality Five pieces of • Dates information in – Title total – Genre
  3. 3. Some Literary Genres• Poem• Story• Play• Novel• Essay
  4. 4. Text Identification• Author = Homer – Greek – c. 750 BCEBCE = Before theCommon Era. TheCommon Era starts withthe year 1 according to theway we count years. Thisis often called BC and ADbut we are using BCE and
  5. 5. Text Identification • Author = Homer – Greek – c. 750 BCE • Title = Odyssey • Genre = Epic poemMarble bust of Homer in the British Museum,London. Roman copy of a lost Greek originalof the 2nd c. BCE
  6. 6. Words: Epic• Epic = long, narrative poem – From Greek (G) epos, word, story, poem
  7. 7. Words: Narrative• Narrative = tells a story about characters and events – From Latin (L) narrare, to tell a story or give an account
  8. 8. Words: Poem• Verbal composition like speech in some ways and like song in other ways, often with a distinctive rhythm – From L poema, poem – From G poiēma, poem or any other result of creative activity • From G verb poiein, to make
  9. 9. Trojan War: Fact or Fiction?• Is it a historical event that really took place, or is it an imaginary event made up by Homer and other ancient Greek poets?
  10. 10. Trojan War: Fact or Fiction?• Ancient Greeks believed the war was real and took place about 1200 BCE• By modern times, most historians believed there had never been a Trojan War or even a city of Troy
  11. 11. Trojan War: Fact or Fiction?• However, in 1870, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated a site in Turkey that he identified as Troy• Most scholars now accept that Schliemann’s Troy is the Troy that we read about Homer• Many scholars now also believe there is a historical basis to the story of the Trojan War
  12. 12. Troad
  13. 13. Odyssey Book 1 Overview• Homer invokes the Muse• Assembly of the gods• Athena visits Telemachus• Penelope comes down to the great hall• Telemachus confronts the suitors• Telemachus goes to bed alone in his bedroom
  14. 14. Ithaca
  15. 15. But once again, archaeology may change our view of Homer’s world. Where is the real Ithaca?
  16. 16. IthacaKafalonia
  17. 17. Odyssey Book 2 Overview• Telemachus summons the men of Ithaca to an assembly• Zeus sends an omen• Telemachus prays to Athena• Athena answers his prayer• Telemachus return to the palace and prepares for his journey• Telemachus takes command and sets sail
  18. 18. Odyssey Book 3 Overview• Telemachus and his crew arrive at Pylos• Nestor recounts the fate of Agamemnon• Athena reveals herself• Nestor prays• Going to bed – Telemachus + Pisistratus – Nestor + his wife• Nestor leads a feast in honor of Athena• Nestor sends Telemachus and Pisistratus off to Sparta
  19. 19. Assembly of the gods (1.12-112)• What do we learn about how mortals view gods and gods view mortals?• Why do you think Homer tells us about Aegisthus, Agamemnon, and Orestes here?
  20. 20. Athena visits Telemachus (1.112-376)• What do we learn about the situation in Odysseus’ household?• Who are the suitors?• Why can’t Telemachus get rid of them?• Why does Penelope refuse to choose a new husband?
  21. 21. What do we learn about the treatment of strangers?• xenia = Reciprocal relationship of hospitality between guests and hosts – Enforced by respect for Zeus, who is the protector of stranger (Zeus Xenios)• The word xenos (pl. xenoi) can mean 1. Guest 2. Host 3. Stranger 4. Friend 5. Foreigner
  22. 22. Epic Abuses of Xenia• The Trojan War was caused by a violation of xenia – Paris ran off with the wife of Menelaus while he was a guest in his home• The suitors are abusing xenia – Overstaying their welcome – Continuing to eat Odysseus’ food and drink his wine – No reciprocation toward Telemachus and Penelope
  23. 23. Penelope comes down to the great hall (1.376-419)• What do we learn about cultural expectations for women?
  24. 24. Telemachus summons the men of Ithaca to an assembly (2.1-14)• What do we learn about the way government works?• What do we learn about the role of public speaking in male society?
  25. 25. Zeus sends an omen (2.164-179)• What do we learn about religious beliefs and practices? – Halitherses interprets the omen (2.180-198) – Eurymachus scorns his prophecy (2.199-230) – So we see Homer representing conflicting opinions about prophecy
  26. 26. For Next Time• Homer, Odyssey, Books 4-6, pp. 124-178
  27. 27. Classical Cultures Dr. Michael Broder Brooklyn College August 30, 2012