Notes in format - Ancient Philosophy at UBC

CLST 105
Written in poetic lines  strong rhythm
English meter relies on stress
Ancient Greek has longer & shorter syllables which alternate
o Dactylic: long, short, short
1 line & last word most important (middle is more fluff)
Things lost in translation
o Ex. Tropos: many directions
The Odyssey
Structurally more complex than Iliad (has cracks in story)
o Weaves together independent stories (similar to episodes), whereas Iliad is more like a
pilot or movie.
Tale of nostos (homecoming) & Kleos (glory)
o Fame/glory/rumor
o Important Greek value (celebrity)
o Most characters don’t rlly change, mostly stock characters. Odysseus is diff hero:
 Trickster/many guises
 Strong man
 Psychopath: amoral (outside of system) which often results in innovation
 Adventurer
 Consistently insistent tries news things
Book I-IV: Telemachy
Telemachus’ own mini-odyssey
Problem of hero in Greek tradition:
o No heroes right now, so must somehow kill off lineage
Somewhat internally inconsistent
o Similar to Odysseus, both characters that change, m/b we can relate to them?
o How old is this kid?
Lit functions
o Foreshadows Odysseus’ adventures
o Foreshadows Telemachus’ role later on
o Actual shadow: Orestes (next gen) hangs over Telemachus
o Establishes social values (xenia – host & guest relationship. Includes gifts)
Odyssey as myth?
Whose fault is a harsh fate?
o Odysseus angers Poseidon
o Except anger occurs thousands of times b4 provocation
 Logic is circular, has no strict chronology
 it is myth not science
favoritism of the gods
o Athena & Odysseus fans of each other
o Rivalry btwn Poseidon & Athena (for Athens) through Odysseus
Odysseus’ Women
Women he likes:
o Athena – love’s Odysseus why? It’s not out of obligation from offerings
 He’s the perfect specimen of man
o Nausicaä – perfect potential woman
o Penelope – perfect actual woman
 Does she cheat? Myth’s answer:
 1. Yes & Pan is her offspring
 2. No, super faithful & tricked suitors
Bad women: tends to be witches, nymphs, etc.
o Circe
o Calypso
o Sirens, Scylla, Charybdis
Neutral women
o Helen
o Anticleia – Odysseus’s dead mom
Relationship w/ gods:
gods: spirit ppl
o we need them, they’re too powerful to not please
o if you have mildly good relationship w/ gods through rituals, you can gain
favor/obligation that you can use later
Odysseus & Helen
*Trojan war possibly b/c of Odysseus:
context: marriage by Abduction, no matter who married Helen, she would just be adbucted
Odysseus suggests suitor’s oath to Tyndareus
T. helps Odysseus get Penelope
O tries to renege by mean of insanity
Palamedes calls him out on the act
O’s revenge on Palamedes (frames Palamedes for stealing gold, Palamedes is stoned & dies a
shameful death)
Palamedes’ dad Nauplius wrecked ships, led wives to infidelity
…. Including Clymnestra
Penelope (outside source)
Baby Penelope: Cygnet? Gosling? Duckling?
How her name came to be
o 1. Nauplius threw her into water & Pēnelópē-birds save her
2. Used to be called Arnaia but called Penelope b/c parents cast her into sea & she was
carried away by Pēnelópē-birds onto land.
Helen v.s. Penelope: dichotomy
Daughter of god (Zeus)
Uses potions (witch)
Bad mom (daughter Hermione)
- Faithful
- Chaste
- Daughter of mortal
- Weaves (homemaker)
- Good mom (son Telemachus)