CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for April 3, 2012


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CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for April 3, 2012

  1. 1. Introduction toClassical Mythology Dr. Michael BroderUniversity of South Carolina April 3, 2012
  2. 2. Daily Write: Grading Criteria• Engage with the question – If the question relates to a passage from the text, make sure to comment on the passage – If the question relates to a quote from a scholarly article, make sure to comment on the quote – Make sure to address all part of the question• Show knowledge of the text – Use examples from the text to illustrate your points Now that we are well into the second half of the course, I am holding you to a higher standard for your Daily Writes.
  3. 3. Daily Write #19: ReviewIdyll 11, by Theocritus (c. 275 BCE), is a poem inwhich the Cyclops Polyphemus appeals to the SeaNymph Galateia, with whom he is in love. Where havewe met Polyphemus before? Compare the Polyphemusof Idyll 11 to the Polyphemus you remember from thatother mythological text (make sure to include the titleand author of that other text). How is he similar? Howis he different? Why do you think Theocritus chose towrite about Polyphemus? Why do you thinkTheocritus chose to give Polyphemus the kind ofcharacter and personality he has in this poem?
  4. 4. Daily Write #19: Review• How do they compare? – Homer’s Polyphemus is nasty and brutish – Theocritus’s Polyphemus is gentle and cultivated, a poet• Why do you think Theocritus chose to write about Polyphemus? – The make a new use of a traditional mythological figure – Humor, irony, entertainment value of reversing the traditional role – Polyphemus fits in with Theocritus’s rustic themes• Why do you think Theocritus chose to give Polyphemus the kind of character and personality he has in this poem? – To show the reader another side of Polyphemus – To show the reader the human side of monsters – To demonstrate that not even monsters can resist Eros
  5. 5. Daily Write #20Why do you think Lucretius begins On the Workingsof the Universe by invoking Venus? Which goddesss(or goddesses) have you seen invoked at thebeginnings of poems before (e.g., Hesiod, Homer)?Which Greek goddess is Venus the Romanequivalent of? Why is Venus a fitting goddess toinvoke at the beginning of this poem? Make sure you answer all parts of the questionand make sure your answer shows familiarity with the text.
  6. 6. Classical Multiculturalism• Hellenic Culture• Hellenistic Culture• Roman Culture
  7. 7. Hellenic Culture• Greek culture from 750-323 BCE – 750 BCE = Homer – 323 BCE = Death of Alexander the Great
  8. 8. Athens was the cultural center of Hellenic Greece• Panathenaea, festival where the Homeric epics were recited• Dionysia, festival where the tragedies and comedies were performed• Birthplace of democratic form of government• Birthplace or home of most of the great poets and historians• Birthplace of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the first great philosophers
  9. 9. Major Hellenic Genres and Authors• Epic poetry – Homer (c. 750 BCE) – Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) – Homeric Hymns (c. 650 BCE – c. 525 BCE)• Lyric poetry – Semonides (c. 650 BCE) – Sappho (c. 620–c. 570 BCE) – Simonides (c. 556 -468 BCE) – Xenophanes (c. 570 – c.475 BCE) – Pindar (c. 522–443 BCE)
  10. 10. Major Hellenic Genres and Authors• Historiography – Herodotus (c. 480-c. 420 BCE) – Thucydides (c. 460-c. 400 BCE)• Tragic Poetry – Aeschylus (c. 525-456 BCE) – Sophocles (c. 496-406 BCE) – Euripides (c. 480-406 BCE)• Comic Poetry – Aristophanes (c. 446 BC – c. 386 BCE)• Philosophical dialogue – Plato (c. 469-399 BCE)
  11. 11. Hellenistic Culture• Greek culture from 323-31 BCE• Begins in 323 BCE – death of Alexander the Great• Ends in 31 BCE – Augustus Caesar defeats Antony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium• Extends Greek culture from Greece to the rest of the Mediterranean World – Europe – North Africa – Middle East – Southwest Asia
  12. 12. Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE)• Macedonian King who conquered the entire Mediterranean World• Founded the city of Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile River in Egypt• After his death, his generals split his empire up into several kingdoms encompassing – Europe – North Africa – Middle East – Southwest Asia
  13. 13. The Ptolemies in Egypt• The most powerful of the successor kingdoms was the Ptolemaic Dynasty in Egypt – Ruled by the descendants of a Macedonian General known as Ptolemy I – His descendants are known as the Ptolemies – Their capital was in Alexandria• The last of the Ptolemies was Cleopatra VII (69-30 BCE)• The defeat of Cleopatra by the Roman general August Caesar in 31 BCE marks the end of the Hellenistic Period
  14. 14. Hellenistic Culture• Centered in the city of Alexandria in Egypt• New forms of poetry• New schools of philosophy• New religious movements• Advances in art, architecture, science, and medicine
  15. 15. Hellenistic (Alexandrian) Poetry• Alexandrian poets used mythological narratives in new ways• Alexandrian poets were interested in short poems that described the everyday life of ordinary people• Alexandrian poetry offered an alternative to – Epic, which focused on mythological gods, heroes, and heroic adventures – Tragedy, in which characters from myth stood in for all of humanity
  16. 16. Theocritus• Born in Sicily around 275 BCE• Lived in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy II (283-246 BCE)• Invented a new genre of poetry: bucolic or pastoral – Pastor = Latin for shepherd – Also called bucolic poetry • Greek boukolos = cowherd
  17. 17. Pastoral Poetry• Pastoral poetry features the everyday life of herdsmen and the world they live in• Often idealizes the life of herdsman, representing them as virtuous men living a simple life untouched by the complications and vices associated with city life
  18. 18. Theocritus’s Idylls• The beginning of the pastoral tradition in poetry• The word idyll comes from the Greek eidyllion = “little picture”
  19. 19. Idyll 11• Represents figures from mythology – The Cyclops Polyphemus – The nymph Galateia• Shows these figures in the pastoral world of herdsman – Polyphemus is a shepherd, as in Homer• Theocritus’s Polyphemus is very different from Homer’s – He is gentle, civilized, and lives a simple life – He plays the syrinx, a kind of flute associated with the shepherd god Pan – He composes poetry and sings songs
  20. 20. Roman Culture (300 BCE – 200 CE)• Livius Andronicus (c. 280 – c. 200 BCE.), earliest Roman poet known by name• Death of Marcus Aurelius (180 CE)• Rome was highly influenced by Greek civilization and culture – Poetry – Mythology – Philosophy
  21. 21. Philosophical Schools of the Hellenistic Period • Epicureanism – Based on teachings of Epicurus (341– 270 BCE) • Stoicism – Based on teachings of Zeno (c. 334 – c. 262 BCE) • Cynicism – Based on teachings of Diogenes (c. 412 - 323 BCE) All rejected the vices of wealth and power andembraced the Socratic values of wisdom and virtue
  22. 22. Lucretius (c. 94 – c. 55 BCE)• Adherent of Epicureanism• Wrote On the Workings of the Universe to explain the major tenets of Epicurus• NOTE: The original Latin title of this poem is De Rerum Natura – Not required to know this, but thought some of you might be interested, in case you come across it in other classes, reading, etc
  23. 23. Fundamental Tenets of Epicureanism• Atomism – Everything in the universe can be broken down into atoms, the smallest units of existence – Everything in the universe comes from the endless combination and recombination of atoms• Gods exist, but they care nothing for human beings• The good life for human beings requires seeking pleasure and avoiding pain• Pleasure means the absence of pain – Pleasure does not mean gratifying the senses with food, drink, sex, and entertainment – Pleasure comes from wisdom and virtue, not wealth and power
  24. 24. On the Workings of the Universe• Begins with invocation of Venus• Seeks to dispel false ideas about gods• Attributes much human suffering to false religious beliefs• Seeks rational explanations for the development of religion• Shows the inability of Hellenistic philosophy to completely escape mythology
  25. 25. Why Venus?• Venus is the Roman name for Aphrodite• Mother of Aeneas, Trojan hero who escaped the fall of Troy and led the survivors to Italy where his descendants founded Rome• Patron goddess of Rome• Goddess of sexual reproduction• She makes a good mythological symbol for Epicurean theory of atomism
  26. 26. Upcoming Assigments• 4/5—READ: Vergil, from The Aeneid, in ACM, pp. 410-20• 4/10—READ: Vergil, from The Aeneid, in ACM, pp. 421-30
  27. 27. Introduction toClassical Mythology Dr. Michael BroderUniversity of South Carolina April 3, 2012