What is Mythos? Define and describe.
- It is a story, account, or narrative that has meaning, which matters more than the details of the story.
- This doesn't mean it is false.
- The ancient Greeks made no distinction between fiction and nonfiction.
- It is not abstract, but may have an abstract meaning.
What is a parable? Define and describe.
- A parable is a story that is figurative, allegorical, and imaginative.
- A parable isn't merely abstract; it appeals to the senses.
- Mythos is never abstract as it is told, but it may have an abstract meaning.
- Example: The stories Jesus told to his disciples were parables and what mattered was the meaning, not the details.
Categories of Myth: Define each and briefly summarize.
- Myth Proper: A story about the relationship between gods and humans.
- Creation Myth: A story that explains why everything is here.
- Saga: A semi-historical myth with an element of actual fact in it.
- Folktale: A story about ordinary people and ordinary life.
- Animale Fable: A story with animal characters who have human characteristics.
- Etiological Myth (aka Explanatory Myth): Explains why something is.
- Social Myth: Explains why we have the society that we have.
- Ritual Myth: Explains why we carry out certain rituals.
- Personal Myth: A story whose meaning is something only you can understand.
- Cultural Myth: A story that centers on a certain culture and acts as a cultural identity marker.
Myth Proper: Explain the use of gods in a Myth Proper.
- It is a story about the relationship between gods and humans.
- "Gods" means "forces beyond human control and understanding.
- Many gods because many forces of nature.
- The "gods" are personified.
Creation Myth: Explain.
- A story about why everything is here.
- One of the first myths of any culture is a creation myth.
- It could be about the origin of the world, humans, the separation into male and female, etc.
- Semi-historical - has an element of fact behind it.
- Example: A semi-historical narrative - The Trojan War or King Arthur.
- Ordinary people, ordinary life.
- Often comic and/or scary.
- Often told for amusement.
- Often includes a moral - a lesson usually directed at children.
Animal Fable: Explain.
- Animals with human characteristics.
- The animals represent humans.
- Often comic and/or scary.
- Often includes a moral - a lesson usually directed at children.
Why is myth fictional but also true?
- The truth is buried in the tale.
- Ex: Genesis - the 6 days could be taken literally or figuratively (allegorical).
- A lot of religious writing is allegorical.
Etiological Myth (aka Explanatory Myth): Explain.
- Why something is.
- Example: Why is the sky blue? Because God painted it with robin's eggs.
Social Myth: Explain.
- Why we have the society we have.
- Why certain people are in power.
- Example: Noah had 3 sons. Ham saw father naked and tells brothers, who covered Noah with a blanket. Noah cursed Ham's descendants to slavery. This was used as a justification for enslaving Africans (considered Ham's descendants).
Ritual Myth: Explain.
- Why we carry out certain rituals.
- Example: Passover (angel passed over their chosen people and smited the Egyptians).
Personal Myth: Explain.
- A story whose meaning only you can understand.
- Example: your dreams
- Example: the message you write on yourself in tattoos - it sends a kind of message to others, with meaning only you truly understand.
Cultural Myth: Explain.
- Cultural identity marker.
- Example: German mythology always about men - Valkyries (flying women) chose who would die on the battlefield.
- Example: Americans value honesty - George Washington cut down cherry tree - could not tell a lie about it.
The IndoEuropeans became which people?
Europeans and Indians
- Emptiness (the original meaning)
- Before everything, there was chaos
- First Greek mythographer
- Shepherd (lowest rank in Greek society)
- He is told the myths by The Muses (9 female spirits of inspiration)
- Produces The Theogony - The Making of the Gods
Who did Greeks give credit for personal accomplishments?
Greek Creation Myth of Gaia and Uranos
- Out of chaos: Mt. Helicon
- Out of chaos: Gaia (Ge) - dark earth mother; Eros (male) - not a god but a force of desire, magnetism; Tartarus (male) - the darkness of earth in Gaia
- Gaia gives birth to Uranos (light, sky)
- Uranos marries Gaia (hieros gamos - sacred marriage), but Uranos in charge (male-dominated Greek society)
- Their offspring: 12 Titans (forces of nature) - 6 male, 6 female
- Uranos puts each baby back into her womb (earth, Tartarus)
- Cronos from womb - I want to be born!
- Gaia gives him diamond scythe (unbreakable) - he cuts off Uranos's penis and testicles.
- Gaia can now release Titans, Uranos loses power, Cronos and Titan siblings now in charge.
- Uranos's genitals fall into ocean, swirl into pink foam, and first God (Aphrodite, goddess of sex) emerges.
- Gaia later gives birth to Giganteis (Giants) - Cyclops and Hecatonchires (100 hands).
- Male and female monster with one eye
- Brutal, cruel, monstrous, stupid
Aphrodite's name means what?
- Born from foam
- Uranos's genitals became foam, she emerged
To get to Hades, pass through what?
Tarturus (darkness of earth)
Gods represent what?
- Represent profound and shaking forces that are divine.
- Unlike modern religions, which usually have a loving father-god.
Creation Myth of Cronos and Rhea
- Cronos marries sister Rhea - hieros gamos
- Their offspring - the Gods
- Cronos swallows them as they are born.
- Rhea gives him stone instead of Zeus, he swallows it.
- Years later, he forces father to vomit up siblings.
- Zeus in charge, war with Cronos and Titans: Titanomachy (war with Titans).
- Zeus gets help from Cyclopes and Hecatonchires, Titans defeated.
- Zeus forces Titans into Tartarus (earth), which explains earthquakes, volcanos, etc.
- Zeus and Gods war with Giganteis (Giants born of Gaia) - Gigantomachy with Cyclops and Hecatonchires (100 hands).
- Zeus forces Cyclops and Hecantochires underground.
- Zeus now ruler of universe, marries Hera (sister) - hieros gamos.
- Zeus divides power with siblings (gods).
Hera in charge of?
- female respectability
Aphrodite (Venus) called what?
- The Cytherean - because she is carried from ocean to Cythera on a seashell.
- The Cyprian - she lives on Cyprus
- Pandemos - goddess of sex
- Urania (heavenly Aphrodite) - goddess of art, etc.
Home of the Gods?
- Mt. Olympus
- Gods live on mountaintops in many cultures.
- 12 Olympians are the basis of Greco-Roman myth (actually, there were about 16)
Anthropormorphic gods: Why?
- All of their gods and forces are thought of as humans.
- All mythology related to humans.
Myth of Prometheus
- As opposed to brother Epimetheus (after-thinking)
- Titan who helped Zeus and gods defeat Titans in Titanomachy.
- P thinks Z owes him; Z feels threatened by P.
- Polite hatred between them.
- Prometheus creates male humans out of clay and fire from heaven, Zeus pissed.
- P: they are trivial and will die; they are weak so they will worship you for your help.
- Z: what will they sacrifice?
- P: animals. Takes bones and fat, wraps up nicely. Pick which one. Z picks bones/fat, pissed.
- P steals fire from Mt. Olympus for humans, teaches humans how to use (our benefactor).
- P: They need fire to make sacrifice to you.
- P warns Epi not to give humans any "gifts" from Z.
- Z nails P to rock on Mt. Caucus, sends bird of prey. Bird eats his liver, it grows back every day.
- Zeus puts together gifts from gods - beauty, grace, charm, lovely scent, then adds mind of thief, soul of bitch.
- Creates women to introduce misery and suffering to men, gives Pandora to Epimetheus.
- Epimetheus ignores Prometheus's warning, gives Pandora to humans.
- P has a pyx - a small box. She is told not to open it. She opens it, all evils spill out (death, disease, crime, etc.). She slams lid, only hope trapped inside (false, deceptive).
- Figurative - pyx is her vagina, evil comes from reproducing (birth), original sin
How are men and women thought of in Greek society?
- Men: Titanic (created by a Titan, Prometheus), so filled with combative energy.
- Women: Divine (created by Zeus and gods), so created as a trick to mislead men.
Hesiod's 4 Ages of Humans
- Gold: peace, plenty, only males, no work, no winter/fall, naked, no conflict, contentment
- Silver: 4 seasons, clothes, men/women, work to store food for winter
- Bronze (aka heroic age): war, conquest, cutting trees, travel on ships
- Iron: total corruption, perversions, crime
- Human civilization in constant decline. Gods think human life a mistake, we have limited power and vision.
Theodicy Problem (Leibniz)
- How can we reconcile existence of god with existence of evil in the world?
- Not a prob to Greeks, because of multiplicity of warring gods.
- Jesus like Prometheus, suffering for humans.
- Snake indicates presence of God in art about Prometheus.
Myth of Lycaon
- Lycaon a serial killer who serves last night's guests to tonight's guests.
- Zeus visits him, transforms him into wolf through metamorphosis.
Myth of Deucalion and Pyrrha
- Deucalion: son of Prometheus
- Pyrrha: daughter of Epimetheus
- Zeus sends a flood to earth to destroy humanity.
- Saves the couple by putting them on a mountain, they must restore the world.
- They go to oracle, how can we repopulate the world?
- Oracle: Throw bones of your mother over your shoulder.
- They throw stones (earth "mother's bones").
- Humans sprout from the stones.
- Oldest of the gods, because people have always had fires.
- Goddess of hearth and fire.
- Hearth fire sacred fire - life of the family.
- Home with fire burning was a temple (fire a gift from Prometheus).
- Fire never went out (bad luck), no bad behavior near fire.
- Law and morality (for humans)
- Male authority and paternal authority
- Domesticity, homemaking
- Wears stola - full skirt, loose blouse, symbol of married woman's respectability
- Son of Zeus and Hera
- God of fire and metalwork
- Crippled, ugly (from working or from Zeus throwing him as a baby)
- Worker, low class
- Note: Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve punished with work
- Son of Zeus and Hera
- God of warfare (soldier in trench)
- Note: Athena goddess of combat strategy
- Strong, not too smart.
Myth of Hephaistos and Aphrodite
- Zeus marries H to A to control her sexuality.
- A has affair with Ares (H's brother).
- H throws iron net on them while they are having sex.
- H brings Zeus/gods so they can see her disgrace.
- Zeus orders net removed, scolds A, forbids cheating.
- Ares fined, must pay H.
The Three Fates
- Special beings above gods. Almost never depicted, blank faces.
- Sui generis (of their own type) - Not gods or titans, but more powerful than all.
- They determine all events.
- aka: Moirai (Greek) "ones who parcel life out"
- aka: Fatum (Latin) "speaking"
- Clotho, youngest: spins wool into thread (conception)
- Lachesis, middle: winds it on a spool
- Atropos (no turn), eldest: snips it and puts it into a basket (death)
- Myth may have come from religion of another culture near the Caucasian mts and mixed with Greek.
- Minor female Chthonian deities, young, beautiful
- Wilderness spirits associated with trees, groves, lakes, streams, caves
- Tutelary spirits - in charge of one thing or place
Why Eros an evil god?
Love is a sickness, makes you do stupid things.
Types of gods in religions and mythology
- Anthropomorphic - shaped like (have bodies, corporeal) and act like humans
- Zoomorphic - shaped like animals, act like humans
- Amorphic - no shape (Islam, Judaism)
- Earth gods (ex: nymphs), Cthonus = "earth"
- Small, minor deities, mischievous
- Example in modern culture: leprechauns, gnomes, elves, dwarves
What do the gods eat?
- Drink of the Gods: Nectar ("no death")
- Food of the Gods: Ambrosia ("no death")
What is Ichor?
- The substance that the gods have in place of human blood.
- Clear substance
- One parent a god, the other human.
- AKA: heroes
- Not immortal, but have special qualities that set them apart from humans.
- The divine parent watches out for the demigod.
Greeks polytheistic or monotheistic?
Polytheistic, but many educated Greeks would say monotheistic (Zeus) and all other gods just a manifestation.
Early Indo-European main god
- Dyaus (sky) - Pitar (father)
- Dyaus became Zeus, Deus, Dios
- Pitar became Jupiter
- Because gods anthropomorphic, humans made in divine image, therefore special.
- Man is the measure of all things.
- There is something human in all of nature.
- Everything measured by human standards.
Kalos Kai Agathos
- Kalos (beautiful) Kai (and) Agathos (noble)
- Life worth living under certain conditions
- Must be: Greek, free, non-working, affluent, healthy, good-looking, well groomed and clean, intelligent and sensible, friendly and sociable, capable of intellectual discussion, not a coward, city dweller, dedicated to following Golden Mean of moderation, dedicated to honoring gods (whether you believe or not), dedicated to acting honorably, a good citizen of Polis, able to appreciate beauty (poetry, art, music), in the Prime Hebdomad (age 22-28).
- For a woman: Must also be a good wife/mother/homemaker, not necessary to be brave or a good citizen (only men are citizens).
- This is the way to imitate the gods and the model of the good life.
Myth of King Croesus and Solon the Athenian
- Solon is a wise man, visited kingdom of Lydia and King Croesus
- Croesus hospitable (religious requirement)
- C: Happiest man? Tellus the Athenian, a military hero.
- C: 2nd happiest man? Cleobis and Biton, brothers pulled mother on cart to temple (worked!), mom asked for Gods to bless them, gods rewarded them with death, to preserve them in their most perfect moment of life.
- Solon: Can't tell if you are happiest man, you are not dead yet.
- Croesus throws him out, Nemesis (spirit of revenge) chases him, does mischief.
- Prophecy: C's son Itys will be killed by iron. Adrastus comes to Lydia, says he will kill wild boar, Itys begs to come along, Adrastus throws spear and accidentally hits Itys, he dies.
- Nemesis makes Lydia declare war on Persia. Sitting on pyre, Croesus says Solon was right. Persian king hears this, takes pity, rescues him from fire.
Were the sea gods anthropomorphic or zoomorphic?
- A little of both. They looked like humans but were also kind of monstrous, always changing shape.
- No ocean in the Caucausian mountains, where Greeks originated.
- Ocean considered alien and strange - "the fish-infested sea"
- Greek boats stayed in shallow water (wrecks all found in shallow water), no compass or good maps.
- Greeks respected Egyptian architecture, but didn't adopt ship-building technology.
- Greeks do invent sail, oars, anchor.
- God of the Sea, Oceans
- Scales on legs, seaweed for hair, barnacles on body
- Somewhat non-human
- Son is Triton
Sea gods: who are they?
- Oceanus - produces minor gods (oceanids: mermaids, mermen)
- Nereus - produces minor gods (nereids: female sea divinities-sea nymphs)
- Pontus ("ocean")
- Proteus - known for ability to change shape, "protean" means able to change appearance or character
- A Nereid
- Prophecy says she will have a son who is greater than his father
- Zeus picks a human for her to marry, Peleus
- She chooses forms like sea monster and wildcat to avoid sex with Peleus
- Peleus and Thetis produce Achilles, a demigod
Did Greek men have body hair?
They shaved their entire bodies, except their pubic hair.
What does nympha mean?
- Nymphs are 16-17 year-old female divinities
Myth of Polyphemus and Galatea
- Polyphemus (cyclops) loves Galatea (nereid), who loves Acis (human).
- P hit by love (desire) - possibly struck by Eros (Cupid)?
- P throws a mountain and crushes Acis.
- A trickle of his blood flowing under mountain is turned into a river by Gods (Acis River in Sicily).
- Galatea jumps in river and swims away.
Qualities of Cyclops
- Dirty, ungroomed, ugly, unbathed.
- Live in countryside, shepherd (lowest job of all).
- Stupid, bad temper, anti-social, governed by passions.
- Possibly sons of Gaia or Poseidon.
- Middle way of moderation
- Greeks settled in lower part of Italy and isle of Sicily.
- Charybdis: whirlpool off toe of Italy's boot
- Scylla: Female, had affair with Zeus, punished by Hera (9 dog's heads, woman from waist down)
- Greek sailors sailed through Strait of Messina, said you must sail through the Golden Mean between Scylla and Charybdis.
- Athena (Greek), Minerva (Latin)
- Daughter of Zeus and Metis (minor goddess) in a consentual affair.
- Prophecy: Metis to have a child greater than father, gets pregnant, Zeus swallows Metis and baby. Zeus pregnant in his skull, Eileithyia can't help, Hephaistos makes cutting tool, opens skull. Athena emerges fully grown and armed.
- Goddess of: War, Weaving, Wisdom.
- Known as: Parthenos (virgin), the virgin goddess.
- Traits: Active, energetic, proud of virginity, intelligent.
- Associated with Parthenon (temple of the virgin) in Athens on the Acropolis.
- Athenai - Athens ("the Athenas")
- Before named, all gods wanted it. Athena and Poseidon vied for it.
- Poseidon: offered salt water well, essential for preserving food.
- Athena: offered to invent olive tree (white tree, black fruit), can be crushed into olive oil (priceless).
- Olive oil very important for trade, and symbol of Athens and Athena.
Which is worth more: Ivory or Gold?
- Ivory, because came from Africa (they didn't know about Indian ivory).
- Expensive and difficult to acquire.
- For statues, ivory for flesh and gold for attire and jewelry, etc.
- Goddess of childbirth
- Clenches fists - labor
- Releases fists - birth
- Stola: respectable
- Spear and shield: warrior status
- Headdress: symbol of divine power
- Nike (winged goddess of victory) on hand: for victory (gods would remove her wings before a battle) – Athena is a civic goddess, she protects the city
- Aegis: a bib, sign of her special power, symbolic garment with head of Medusa (Greek soldiers put head of Medusa on their shields to scare enemies). This apotropaic device (Medusa’s snake hair could be female pubic hair) shows that Athena has conquered sex and wears it as a trophy. Gods and humans governed by sexual desire, but she is not.
- Barefoot: Greek women never barefoot – to honor the dead
- Perfect woman with the mind of a man, her sexuality has to be removed to achieve that union of male/female characteristics – warrior and lovely woman.
- Friendly and helpful to those who honor her. She will do anything for Odysseus.
What is an Apotropaic device?
- A good luck charm that wards off evil.
- Often depict sexual organs.
- Arachne from a poor human family, cannot be Kalos Kai Agathos, marriage prospects bad, she will be a virgin.
- Vows to be successful at weaving (exclusively female activity and fetishized). Arachne a kind of human Athena.
- Arachne says she is better weaver than Athena, who comes to her as old woman and warns her of hubris. Arachne persists in bragging, so Athena throws off disguise and challenges Arachne to a weaving match.
- Tapestries kept out cold, so a woman who could weave them was considered very skilled.
- Athena: weaves the beauties on Mt. Olympus
- Arachne: weaves the crimes of the gods
- Blind judging by a panel of judges makes Arachne the winner.
- Athena destroys her tapestry and turns her into a spider to spin forever. (Explanatory myth!)
- Thinking that you are valuable.
- The gods or fates are responsible for anything good, including success, so you must thank them or be punished.
- Gods usually gave humans a warning first.
- Good usually good, but when crossed, show no mercy.
Aspects of the gods
- Different ways the gods are perceived by humans.
- Ex: Zeus is guardian of morality, law, god of sky, thunder, father figure, political authority
- Heavenly Aphrodite: “Aphrodite Urania” – came from foam of Uranos’s genitals – indicates sublimated desire that manifests in music, art, poetry, career, sacred, holy
- Common Aphrodite: “Pandemos” (“all people” aka “Everyone’s Aphrodite”) – sexuality
- Came from Zeus and Dione.
- Wears a Zona: a girdle for single women (indicates virginity) that fits below the hip. Groom would remove the zona on wedding night and bride would never wear it again.
The Three Graces
- Aphrodite’s attendants
- Young, 20’s, skimpy shear garments, dancing.
- Represent charm, beauty, loveliness, lovely movement.
- Sort of a chthonic god – small, perpetual HUGE erection, comic, laughable
- Represents male sexuality
- Doesn’t live on Mt. Olympus, but lives in gardens and fountains as a scarecrow – signs threaten that he will shove his penis into the anus (to the hilt) of any intruder as a punishment.
- Not respected, for sex is a woman’s power.
Prostitution in Greek civilization
- Legal and respected for young, poor women.
- Taxed, religious to a degree.
- Temple prostitutes: guests honored Aphrodite by doing sexual acts with the temple prostitutes, because sexuality is divine.
- Lives on isle of Cyprus (one of the places Aphrodite was carried to, hence she is called “The Cyprian”) in the middle of the Aegean Sea – a major sea trading port. Cyprus famous for prostitution.
- P wants to marry a virgin, can’t find one. He makes one out of African ivory, buys it clothes, jewelry, speaks to it, caresses it, sleeps with it.
- P goes to temple and prays directly to Venus (Aphrodite, aspect not specified) for a girl like his statue.
- A brings the statue to life, he calls the girl Galatea (“Milky Way” – remember, Greeks came from Caucasian Mts., so white skin highly valued).
- P and G have a son Paphos, who later sires King Cinyras, who has an incestuous night with his daughter Myrrha.
- About 16 years old, daughter of King Cinyras, desires him.
- King wants to marry her off, but she says she wants “someone like you, Dad.”
- Confides in nurse, who tells King a young woman wants to sleep with him, but she is shy so the lights must be off and don’t talk to her.
- Cinyras turns on light, sees daughter, exiles her. He can’t kill someone from his own family.
- Incest makes one ritually unclean (like crimes of rape, murder, etc.) – can’t go to temple ever again.
- She goes to forest, pregnant. Calls to gods for help, take away my humanity!
- Gods turn her to a Myrrh tree – emits sticky gum and used to treat dead bodies to delay rot.
- The tree gets pregnant and gives birth to Adonis.
- Note: Gold (kingship), Frankincense (for burning on an altar), and Myrrh (foreboding of death) given to Jesus in the manger.
Nurses in Greek civilization
Big breasts considered low class, nursing thought to make breasts bigger, so women would give babies to a nurse to breastfeed.
- Human, born from a Myrrh tree.
- No mother, raised by animals in the forest.
- Handsome youth interested only in hunting.
- Age: around 16 – in the Youth Hebdomad
Aphrodite and Adonis
- Aph falls for A, tells him she wants sex.
- He refuses, she rapes him, says they will do it every afternoon.
- He says no, he has to hunt, she warns him about bad luck.
- He hunts anyway, wild boar tears open his groin and kills him (sexual punishment for hunters who ignore the warning).
- She says, “I told you so” but transforms him into the anemone flower.
- Moral: Sex not all fun and games – be careful!
Belief about hunting and sex
- A worldwide belief that a hunter must be sexually pure for a week prior to hunting, or…
- Bad luck: He may be killed during the hunt.
Cybele and Attis
- Cybele: a divinity possibly borrowed from another civilization. Originally, both male and female in one body. One day, her male parts drop off (become almond tree) and she becomes goddess Cybele.
- Nana, a beautiful girl, sniffs flower of almond tree, becomes pregnant, gives birth to Attis (like Adonis, asexual).
- Attis at 18: Cybele falls for him, he rejects her. She makes him insane (horrible to Greeks). He takes a rock and castrates himself (cuts off testicles – imperfection horrible to Greeks).
- Cult of Cybele: only men, had to castrate themselves (to show their devotion) in frenzied ritual in forest, priest cauterizes wound with a torch. Others respected cult, but prayed to Cybele to not make them cut off their testicles.
- AKA: Diana
- Daughter of Zeus and Leto. Artemis came first, then helped twin Apollo be born.
- Goddess of hunting, wildlife, animals.
- Short skirt, short hair.
- Archery – hunts animals
- Men made sacrifices to Artemis before hunting.
- Cold: never smiles or jokes, lacks emotion like Apollo
4 Aspects of Artemis
- Feminity connects all her aspects, including Hecate’s evil, for anything considered evil is associated with feminity.
- Artemis: Goddess of hunting, wildlife, animals – in this aspect, punished Niobe (killed her 14 children for her hubris), Acteon (turned him into stag for seeing her naked), and Callisto (banished her for being pregnant).
- Selene: Goddess of the moon, menstruation.
- Hecate: Goddess of witchcraft. Greeks forbid from praying to Hecate, witchcraft considered harm and so illegal. Harsh punishment, even death.
- Diana of Ephesus: (Roman name) - Many breasts, seems to suggest she gives help, love, friendship, advice, healing. Diana possibly borrowed from a foreign god. City of Ephesus is in Turkey, used to be a Greek city. Many people flocked to Ephesus, so archaeologists love it because there are many artifacts there from all over the world.
Myth of Niobe
- Crime of Hubris: Her people prayed to Leto (Artemis/Apollo’s mother) and she got jealous, said she is better than Leto.
- Leto sends her twins to kill all of her 14 children. Niobe cries nonstop, gods turn her into a rock that leaks water.
Myth of Acteon
A hunter, got lost, saw Artemis bathing naked. She changed him to a stag (male deer) and his dogs chase him, tear him to pieces. (Becoming an animal is horrible to Greeks).
Myth of Callisto
- Nymph of Artemis. Raped by Zeus, becomes pregnant, tries to hide it.
- Artemis and nymphs go to pool to bathe, they strip Callisto, see she’s pregnant, Artemis banishes her.
- Prays to gods, Hera turns her into the first bear. She gives birth to Arcas.
- Arcas grows up alone, raised by the bear, becomes a hunter. Tries to hunt a bear (Callisto) but gods intervene and change him into a bear.
- Constellations: Big Bear – Callisto, Little Bear – Arcas
Myth of Hippolytus
- Father: Theseus (around 45 years old)
- Mother: an Amazon that Theseus had an affair with (they usually killed their boy babies)
- Stepmother: Phaedra (around 30 years old)
- Hippolytus (18): dedicated to hunting, Artemis, decides to remain a virgin (so rejected Aphrodite as a god).
- One day, returns from hunt with an old slave. Passes Artemis shrine, leaves animal carcasses for an offering. Passes Aphrodite shrine, leaves nothing. Old slave warns him, but he says, “I don’t make sacrifices to the goddess of filthy nightdoings.”
- Slave begs Aphrodite to forgive Hippolytus, but she makes Phaedra fall in love with H. Phaedra goes to her nurse, reveals her desire for stepson. Nurse goes to H, but H enraged.
- H bursts into women’s quarters: “Where is that bitch – she wants to have sex with me!”
- She rips off her stola, vows revenge on H.
- She leaves suicide note saying H raped her, then hangs herself. Theseus finds note, exiles H, H leaves.
- Theseus prays to Poseidon to kill H (because he can’t kill his family member).
- H rides chariot along coast, a wave with a bull drags him and he is mutilated from the dragging.
- Artemis tells Theseus that the suicide note was a lie. Theseus goes to H, says sorry, H says it was his fault for not honoring Aphrodite.
- Moral: He had rejected bodily pleasure, so Aphrodite gave him bodily pain.
- Most “Greek” of the Greek gods.
- Son of Zeus and Leto, twin brother to Artemis.
- Birth: Hera kept Eileithyia away to punish Leto, but other gods brought her to Leto. Nowhere for her to give birth, because she was shunned everywhere she went. She went to island of Delos, because the island itself said OK (Delos is personified in this myth).
- Leaves Delos, travels the world. Goes to Delphi (more a location than a city).
- At Delphi, Apollo goes to “omphalos” – the navel of the world.
- World seen in human terms, has a navel surrounded by a monster (old myth from Caucasian Mts.) – evil controls the center of the world.
- Shoots and kills monster, says, “Rot there!” (“Pytho”). He has freed the world, he’s a helper of human beings.
- Establishes Delphic Oracle, a place to find out future, get advice, learn what gods want humans to know.
- At Delphi, crack in the ground inside a cave (fissure), hot poisonous steams and gas comes out.
- Greeks place tripod over it, priestess of the rotting (The Pythia) sits on tripod, breathing fumes, answers questions posed to Apollo. Governments would consult her before making plans.
- When high from gas, she is “controlled by Apollo.”
- If she died, Apollo “took” her – a great honor.
Apollo and Delphinos (dolphins)
- Apollo was walking along a beach and pirates grabbed him, brought him on ship, started to sail away.
- He demanded that they turn back. They refuse. He stops the boat, demands again. They refuse again.
- He turns them into dolphins – explanatory myth.
- Cold, icy, women don’t respond to him, cerebral, lacks emotion, arrogant
- 1000-yard stare: kills from a distance
2 Examples of Apollo’s coldness
- Marsyas: a satyr, lower part goat, upper part male (only), stupid, oversexed. Marsyas challenges Apollo to a lyre contest. Apollo: winner does anything he want to loser? Ok! Apollo wins, flays Marsyas alive and gives him his skin to carry over his arm. Note: St. Clement’s Danes church in London is called that because King William caught raiding Danes and flayed them, nailed skins to door of church.
- Midas: looks like satyr but is an Olympian god. Forest god, challenges Apollo to music contest, he plays flute, Apollo plays lyre. Apollo wins, but Midas says Pan should have won. Apollo changes his ears to donkey’s ears. Midas ashamed, tells his barber not to tell to another human, so barber whispers it to handful of sand, river overflows and fertilizes the spot, reeds sprout there, tell the secret when the wind blows.
Apollo’s areas of concern
- Body: Sickness, health, disease
- Mind/Spirit: Arts and crafts, music, poetry, dance, literature,
- Order/Civilization: Order, reason, self-control, rationality, sun (male achievement, the commanding capacity of men, progress)
- The Delian god – associated with Delos (born there)
- The Pythian god – he destroys ugliness, evilness, beastliness
- The Delphinian god – he spreads Greek culture
- The Delphic god – god of prophecy, telling the future
- Helios (sun), Phoebus Apollo (shining, bright) – the god who rides in the chariot in the sky
- (to Europeans, the sun represents civilization and progress)
If he has desire, tries to gain consent, but usually turns the women off because of his coldness.
Apollo and Sibyl
- Sees Sibyl at Cumae (in Italy) – says he wants to make love to her. She says, what will you give me? He says, name it! She asks to live as many years as grains of sand. He grants her wish, but then she changes her mind about sleeping with him, so he denies her eternal youth…
- She continues aging but doesn’t die.
- Gods pity her, give her gift of prophecy.
- She shrinks with age, she is put in a bottle in a cave at Cumae.
- People knock on bottle and ask questions.
- 3 young boys ask her what she wants, she replies, I want to die.
Apollo and Cassandra
- Trojan girl that Apollo propositions.
- What will you give me? Anything! Gift of prophecy. OK! She changes mind, he says, just one kiss? She brings her mouth to his, he spits in it, so no one will believe her prophecies.
Apollo and Marpessa
- She’s seeing someone else, a human. Apollo says choose, she chooses the human.
- She says she can grow old with the human.
Apollo and Cyrene
- North African beauty from area of Cyrenaica
- She bears him a son, he has consensual relationship with her.
- Note: In bible, Jesus dropped the cross and Simon of Cyrene helps him.
Apollo and Daphne
- Apollo talks to Eros (Cupid), insults him: little boys shouldn’t carry dangerous weapons.
- Eros shoots gold arrow – love the 1st person you see.
- Eros shoots lead arrow – hate the 1st person you see.
- Eros, angry, hits Apollo with gold arrow, Daphne with lead arrow.
- Apollo chases Daphne to rape her (she’s a virgin nymph).
- She calls to her father (a god) to save her, and she is changed into a laurel tree.
- He takes laurel tree as his symbol.
- Today, laurel leaves represent achievement, “laurels” means “victories.”
Apollo and Hyacinth
- Hyacinth a 14 year-old boy, has affair with Apollo.
- They throw discus as a sport. Apollo throws it far, it hits a rock, bounces back and kills Hyacinth.
- Apollo can’t save him (Fates control death), so he changes Hyacinth into a Hyacinth flower.
- Hyacinth design seems to say, “Ai, Ai, Ai!” (Apollo’s laments)
- Note: older man (erastes) /younger man (eromenos) affair honorable, considered teacher and pupil.
Apollo and Coronis (and Asclepius)
- Consensual affair with Apollo.
- Coronis gets pregnant, child will be a demigod (hero)
- Apollo finds out and kills her, but he is upset that he kiss her.
- She is put on a funeral pyre, he saves the embryo from the fire (Asclepius).
- Gives Asclepius to a Chiron (centaur) to raise>
- Centaur: horse from waist down, savage like Cyclops, but intelligent unlike Cyclops.
- Chiron agrees, trains him in art of medicine. Asclepius can cure any ailment.
- Hubris: Asclepius brings a dead patient to life, infuriates the Fates, who tell Apollo he must be punished.
- Asclepius sent to underworld to die in place of patient he resurrected. Apollo brings him back to life – now he is a GOD and will live forever.
- He’s not an Olympian, doesn’t have 2 god parents, just a god by accident.
- Asclepius one of most important gods, because no one wants to be sick, so they make little clay figures of their sick parts and place them on his altar.
Zeus and Ganymede
- Flying by, sees Ganymede, 17-18 year old youth.
- Zeus becomes eagle, takes Ganymede to Mt. Olympus, rapes him, you will stay here forever.
- I can’t stay, I will grow old and die.
- Not if you drink nectar and eat ambrosia.
- So, Ganymede the only human who is immortal and only human on Mt. Olympus.
- Honorary god: Cupbearer and Zeus’s lover.
- Cupbearer slaves are the most expensive – had to be gorgeous, the assumption is they are the lovers of the owner.