PowerPoint Presentation - Classical Mythology An Introduction

Classical Mythology:
An Introduction
David Mirhady
Simon Fraser University
Dr. David Mirhady AQ 5127 778-782-3906
[email protected]
Office Hours: by appointment
D101 10:30 WMC 2533
Teaching Assistants:
Dylan van der Schyff D103, D104, D105
[email protected]
Office Hour F 10:30-11:30 AQ5126 778782-5378
Bill Dow D102, D104, D105
[email protected]
Office Hour F 11:30-12:30 AQ5126 778782-5378
This course will focus on the stories that the people of the
classical world told to entertain each other, to explain the nature
of their world and its institutions, to reflect on current
challenges, and to preserve a memory of their distant past. It
was thus an almost pervasive vehicle for communication, a sort
of language. Because classical mythology is so thoroughly
anthropo/morph/ic, it has also raised questions about the nature
of the human condition that have led people to return to its
stories continually since antiquity.
While keeping aware of our own, modern perspective, our goal
in this course is to begin to master and appreciate these stories
and the role they played in the culture that produced them.
Following a university initiative to give greater emphasis to
writing skills in the undergraduate curriculum, this course will
also emphasize writing skills and the use of writing as a vehicle
for learning.
Grading: Tutorial Participation
Four Papers
Mid-term Quiz
Final Exam
For every tutorial meeting, students will be expected to
have done the required readings and to be able to participate in
discussion about the assigned topics. Grades for tutorial
participation rely on the following factors: presence,
constructive oral discussion, and reading preparation. (In order
to be constructive, discussion must shed some light on the
Each student must hand in four 450-500-word
prepared papers. The papers must address the topics each
week and be handed in at the lectures the day the material is
being discussed (keep a copy for yourself).
The mid-term (25 minutes – March 5th) will have
multiple-choice questions based on the readings and lectures.
The final exam (90 minutes/April 22, 8:30-10:00AM) will
have both multiple-choice and essay questions.
Homer, The Iliad, trans. Fagles.
Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Fagles.
Greek Tragedy Vol. 1. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-22630790-5
Ovid, Metamorphoses. Oxford World’s Classics. ISBN 019283472X
Greek Tragedy Vol. 3. University of Chicago Press. ISBN
Texts can also be found at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu
Goals of the Writing Assignments:
To have you engage in historia (research) and come to your own, independent
view about some aspect of classical mythology.
To have you learn some of the basic strategies of academic writing, especially in
the humanities. In this course, we'll work on two forms of writing, 1) a narrative
synopsis, and 2) an argumentative essay.
To allow you to work through the material in such a way that you may appropriate
it, i.e. make it your own (and remember it for the exams).
To have you come to the tutorials with a position on the material already staked
out. (Those who have written on the assignment on any given day are expected to be
able to speak for up to five minutes; that may form part of the paper's evaluation.)
To have you develop your writing skills. (If there are too many mechanical errors,
you will be asked to correct and resubmit your paper in order to get a mark.)
To have you work out some preliminary thoughts about a subject that you may
want to take up in a more elaborate way in a senior course. This paper can form what
we call an “abstract” for your future essay.
Procedure for Paper 1:
“Write a synopsis of one of the books of the Iliad that we are not reading together for
class. Follow the guidelines. Use the rosters circulated in the tutorials to avoid overlap.”
Do all of the assigned reading and take note of whatever is relevant to the plot of the
Assume that your reader is another student in the class who has done the reading but
has not had time to make a detailed record of the story.
Use the present tense throughout.
Decide on a single term for each character and stick with it. Ignore epithets, including
Make sure to include all relevant names, places, and actions.
Do not quote.
Keep the paper within 500 words.
Mechanics (for all papers):
Put all identifying information (e.g. your name, the date) on one line at the top of the first
page. Do not use a title page. Do not bother with a title. (For the synopsis, do indicate
which book you are summarizing.)
For any specific or disputable information or a quotation, cite your source. Since these are
very short papers, do not use footnotes. For instance, if you use Homer for specific information,
write (Il. 1.48) at the end of the sentence before the period to indicate that your information stems
from the Iliad, book one, line 48. (Subsequent citations of the Iliad can omit the "Il.".) Do not
bother with a bibliography.
Consider information gleaned from footnotes in your texts as background information. It
can save you from errors, but it should not play an active role in your papers. The same is true
of class lectures. That is, neither the footnotes nor the lectures should ever be cited. If specific
information cannot be grounded on our texts themselves, it should not appear in your papers.
Check the mechanics of your paper thoroughly for grammatical errors, spelling, and
typographical mistakes. It is even better to ask a classmate to proofread your paper once you
have done so. Feel free to pencil in changes on your typescript. The most common errors are
comma splices, dangling modifiers, and confusions between “it’s” and “its”. Be aware that I
tolerate split infinitives with difficulty.
Double space and use standard margins, font (e.g. Times), and font size, that is, 12 point.
When referring to events in a story that is in a text under discussion, use the present
tense even if the text narrates them in the past tense.
Avoid saying much about the modern world. You may briefly illustrate a point by
mentioning a modern parallel, but remember that you are writing about classical
mythology and its context. We are not interested in your views about the modern world
(at least, not for this course).
Write nothing about yourself or your opinions; it wastes space. I know that what I’m
reading represents your thoughts. Instead of writing “in my opinion,” write something
like “it appears that” if you want to qualify a statement you are unsure of. Better yet,
explain why the statement needs to be qualified.
Avoid trite conclusions such as those that claim that the classical world and the
modern world are similar.
Avoid colloquialisms, slang, and contractions. Although you are writing as if to your
classmates, keep a formal distance.
Late papers: 5% if not handed in at the lecture, 10 % if not handed in that day.
The spellings of classical names vary in this course as they do in our language in
general. You need to get used to this fact. Some spellings are influenced by the literary
transmission through Latin, while others attempt to transliterate Greek spellings
directly. You don’t want to bother with all the details, and you can certainly use in your
writing any spelling that appears in our course material. As rules of thumb, remember
that C = K (Kastor/Castor), OI = OE (Oidipous/Oedipus), AI = AE
(Aiskhylos/Aeschylus), and OS = US (Ouranos/Uranus).
Aen. Aeneid
Eum. Eumenides
Phil. Philoctetes
Bacch. Bacchae
Il. Iliad (e.g. Il. 6.25 = Iliad book 6 line 25)
Met. Metamorphoses
Od. Odyssey
Alc. Alcestis
OC Oedipus at Colonus
What is Classical Myth/o/logy?
• classis - (Latin) a class, i.e. the first class
• mythos - word, story, plot, speech,
traditional story
• logos - telling (doxo-), study (socio-),
selection (antho-), language (philo-),
computation (astro-)
Plato, The Republic
382d And also in the mythologies of which we were just now
speaking, owing to our ignorance of the truth about antiquity, we
liken the false to the true as far as we may and so make it useful.
394b-c There is one kind of poetry and mythology that works wholly
through imitation (mimesis), as you remarked, tragedy and comedy;
and another which employs the recital of the poet himself (epic and
divine myths - superior, nature, conflict,
abstractions, anthropomorphism, etiology (aition)
legends (sagas) - analogous to history, nobility,
folktales - ordinary people, for entertainment and
instruction of children, motifs, types, magic,
nb in this course we do not treat any
folktales per se
Theories of Myth
All myths are the result of the working of naive imagination
upon the facts of experience. (Rose 1928)
All myths are etiological, explaining the origin of some fact
or custom. (Lang 1884) (aition)
-all myths are nature myths referring to meteorological and
cosmological phenomena. (Müller 1856) - linguistic
-all myths are charters of social customs and beliefs.
(Malinowski 1926) - anthropological
-all myths serve to re-establish the era in which the pattern of
society was created. (Eliade 1963) hierophany
True myth is the reduction to narrative shorthand of ritual
mime performed in public festivals. (Graves 1955) - ritualist
All myths provide us with absolutes in the place of ephemeral
values. (Kowlakowski 1972) - didactic
All myths reflect waking people’s efforts to systematize the
incoherent visions and impulses of their sleep world.
(Freud/Jung 1920’s) - psychological/psychoanalytical
All myths are derived ultimately from the bipolar structure
of the mind. (Lévi-Strauss 1962) - structuralist
All myths contain a basic, identical structure of linear
functions called motifemes. (Propp 1928)
In all myths, the gods were men deified for their great
deeds. (Euhemerus c. 300 B.C.) - “Euhemerism”
Myth is a traditional tale with secondary, partial reference to
something of collective importance. (Burkert 1979)
Our Sources
Herodotus 2.53 (c. 430 BC) Where each of the gods came
from and whether they all existed always and of what sort
they were in appearance, the Greeks did not know until
yesterday or the day before, so to speak. For I think that
Homer and Hesiod lived four hundred years before my
time. These are the ones who created a theogony for the
Greeks and gave the gods their names and distinguished
their honors and arts and indicated their appearances.
Xenophanes (c. 550 BC) Homer and Hesiod have attributed
to the gods everything that is discreditable among men thieving, adultery, deceiving one another.
3000-1600 Early/Middle Minoan Age
1600-1200 Late Helladic/Minoan/Hittite Age, a.k.a. Mycenaean Age
1200-800 Dark Ages
800-480 Archaic Period
480-323 Classical Period
323-31 Hellenistic Period
c.500-27 BC Republican Rome
27 BC-AD 476 Imperial Rome
Homer before 700 B.C., Iliad, Odyssey (Trojan Cycle)
Hesiod c. 700 B.C., Theogony, Works and Days
Homeric Hymns
Pindar 518-438, Epinician Odes (Olympian, Nemean,
Pythian, Isthmian)
Aeschylus 524-456
Sophocles 496-406
Euripides 485-406
Aristophanes c. 450-387
Plato 428-348
Hellenistic Epic
Apollonius of Rhodes c. 260, Argonautica
Roman Epic
Virgil 70-19, Aeneid
Ovid 43 BC- AD 17, Metamorphoses
Late: Apollodorus AD 120, Bibliotheca
The Olympians
(epithets, patronymics, euphemisms)
Zeus, Poseidon, (Hades), Hera,
Demeter, (Hestia)
Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes,
Hephaestus, Ares, Aphrodite,
Parthenon, West Pediment
Zeus - Jupiter
HH 23 I will sing of Zeus, best among the gods and greatest, all-seeing,
the lord of all, the fulfiller who whispers words of wisdom to Themis as
she sits leaning towards him.
Be gracious, all-seeing son of Cronos, most excellent and great!
sky, “cloud-gatherer”
lightning (epiphany, kataibatês), aegis
eagle, bull, oak
Crete, Olympia
liberator, oaths, xenia,
sexual potency, father of gods and men
fate (moira or aisa) and judge, justice,
Metis, Themis, Demeter, Memory, dios
Poseidon - Neptune
HH 22 I begin to sing about Poseidon, great god, shaker of earth and
fruitless sea, god of the deep who is also lord of Helicon and wide Aegae.
A two-fold office the gods allotted you, O Shaker of the Earth, [5] to be a
tamer of horses and a saviour of ships!
Hail, Poseidon, earth-holder, dark-haired lord! O blessed one, be
kindly in heart and help those who voyage in ships!
potei - lord,
Pylos, Troizen,
Athens and Erechtheus, Amphitrite,
Homeric sea-god, earth shaker,
trident, Triton
Hades - Pluto
HH 2.18-19 The lord, Host of Many, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her —
the Son of Cronos, He who has many names.
83-7 Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for
your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honor, he has
that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed
lord of those among whom he dwells.
invisible, a-(v)ide
host of many,
husband of Persephone,
Chthonian, Elysium and Tartarus
For three brethren are we, begotten of Cronos, and
born of Rhea, — Zeus, and myself, and the third is
Hades, that is lord of the dead below. And in three-fold
wise are all things divided, and to each has been
apportioned his own domain. [190] I verily, when the
lots were shaken, won for my portion the grey sea to be
my habitation for ever, and Hades won the murky
darkness, while Zeus won the broad heaven amid the
air and the clouds; but the earth and high Olympus
remain yet common to us all. (Il. 15. 187-93)
Hera - Juno
HH 12 I sing of golden-throned Hera whom Rhea bore. Queen of the immortals,
surpassing all in beauty: she is the sister and the wife of loud-thundering Zeus,
the glorious one whom all the blessed throughout high Olympus [5] revere and
honor even as they do Zeus who delights in thunder.
hora ripe for marriage?, fem. of hero ?
Argos and Samos
cow-eyed, peacock
sacred marriage, hieros gamos,
Hebe, Ares, Hephaestus
Eileithyia: corruption of Eleuthyia,
“the Coming”
Demeter - Ceres
HH 13 I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, revered goddess, of her and
of her daughter lovely Persephone.
Hail, goddess! Keep this city safe, and govern my song.
Demeter and Persephone
treated together
mother and daughter (kore)
Da/mater Dorian
Eleusis, grain
Hestia - Vesta
HH 24 Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the Farshooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come
now into this house, come, having one mind [5] with Zeus the all-wise —
draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.
Delphi has the communal hearth of all of
hearth, virgin, tended by daughters
sacred fire, hearth of home and public
first and last born of Rhea
stay at home
symbol of a family line
replaced as non-anthropomorphic
Athena - Minerva
HH 11 Of Pallas Athena, guardian of the city, I begin to sing. Dread is she, and with
Ares she loves deeds of war, the sack of cities and the shouting and the battle. It is she
who saves the people as they go out to war and come back.
Pallas of Athens, Polias, parthenos, heroes
aegis, owl, grey/green eyed, military, crafts, olive tree
Zeus and Metis, Panathenaia
HH 28 I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious goddess, brighteyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, saviour of cities,
courageous, Tritogeneia. Wise Zeus himself bore her [5] from his
awful head, arrayed in warlike arms of flashing gold, and awe seized
all the gods as they gazed. But Athena sprang quickly from the
immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a
sharp spear. . . the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed
horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athena [15] had
stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders. And
wise Zeus was glad.
Ares - Mars
HH 8 Ares, exceeding in strength, chariot-rider, golden-helmeted, strong in spirit, shield-bearer,
saviour of cities, harnessed in bronze, strong of arm, unwearying, mighty with the spear, O
defence of Olympus, father of warlike Victory, ally of Themis, [5] stern governor of the
rebellious, leader of righteous men, sceptred king of manliness, who whirl your fiery sphere
among the planets in their sevenfold courses through the aether where your blazing steeds ever
bear you above the third firmament of heaven; hear me, helper of men, giver of dauntless youth!
[10] Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and strength of war, that I may be able to
drive away bitter cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of my soul.
Restrain also the keen fury of my heart. which
provokes me to tread [15] the ways of bloodcurdling strife. Rather, O blessed one, give me
boldness to abide within the harmless laws of
peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent
fiends of death.
Thracian, Aretê
Aphrodite as cult-partner, wolf
Il. 5. 888 “Don’t sit by me and whine, you
renegade. [890] Most hateful to me art you of all
gods that hold Olympus, for ever is strife dear to
you and wars and fighting. You have the
unbearable, unyielding spirit of your mother,
Hera; her can I scarce control by my words.”
Hephaestus - Vulcan
HH 20 Sing, clear-voiced Muse, of Hephaestus famed for inventions. With bright-eyed
Athena he taught men glorious crafts throughout the world, — men who before used
to dwell in caves in the mountains like wild beasts. [5] But now that they have learned
crafts through Hephaestus the famed worker, easily they live a peaceful life in their own
houses the whole year round. Be gracious, Hephaestus, and grant me success and
non-Greek name, Lemnos
smith, workshop
accompanied by Cyclopes connection
to Athena and Athens
connection to poet
Artemis - Diana
And Leto was joined in love with Zeus who holds the aegis, [920] and bore Apollo and
Artemis delighting in arrows, children lovely above all the sons of Heaven.
Homeric adolescent woman
potnia therôn deer, bear
Moon - Selene, Hecate
golden arrows - shafts of woe,
sudden death of girls
virgin but not asexual, hunt
Brauron, kourotrophos
Apollo - Apollo
HH 21 Phoebus, of you even the swan sings with clear voice to the beating of his
wings, as he alights upon the bank by the eddying river Peneios; and of you the sweettongued singer, holding his high-pitched lyre, always sings both first and last.
apellai initiation festival
poetry as unifier, poets’ god
bow - lyre
healer and destroyer
sun god , Phoebus
antithesis to Dionysus, sôphrosynê
Laurel, Daphne
Delphi, prophecy
Hermes - Mercury
herma, heap of stones, bearded head
liminal, herm, ithyphallic, apotropaic,
bringer of luck - guide of souls
HH 18 I sing of Cyllenian Hermes, the Slayer
of Argus, lord of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in
flocks, luck-bringing messenger of the deathless
gods. He was born of Maia, the daughter of
Atlas, when she had mated with Zeus, — [5] a
shy goddess she. Ever she avoided the throng of
the blessed gods and lived in a shadowy cave,
and there the Son of Cronos used to lie with the
rich-tressed nymph at dead of night, while
white-armed Hera lay bound in sweet sleep: and
neither deathless god nor mortal man knew it.
[10] And so hail to you, Son of Zeus and Maia;
with you I have begun: now I will turn to
another song! Hail, Hermes, giver of grace,
guide, and giver of good things!
idealization of youth
Argeiphontes (Slayer of
Messenger, winged boots, hat
petasos, kerykeion (herald’s staff)
a.k.a caduceus
Aphrodite - Venus
HH 6 I will sing of stately Aphrodite, gold-crowned and beautiful, whose dominion is
the walled cities of all sea-set Cyprus. There the moist breath of the western wind
wafted her over the waves of the loud-moaning sea [5] in soft foam, and there the
gold-filleted Horai welcomed her joyously. They clothed her with heavenly garments:
on her head they put a fine, well-wrought crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they
hung ornaments of copper and precious gold, [10] and adorned her with golden
necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the gold-filleted
Horai wear themselves whenever they go to their father's house to join the lovely
dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, [15] they brought her to the
gods, who welcomed her when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them
prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so greatly were they
amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned Cytherea.
Hail, sweetly-winning, coy-eyed goddess! Grant that I may gain the victory in this
contest, [20] and order you my song. And now I will remember you and another song
Dionysus - Bacchus - Bromius - Liber
HH 26 I begin to sing of ivy-crowned Dionysus, the loud-crying god, splendid son of Zeus and
glorious Semele. The rich-haired Nymphs received him in their bosoms from the lord his father
and fostered and nurtured him carefully [5] in the dells of Nysa, where by the will of his father he
grew up in a sweet-smelling cave, being reckoned among the immortals. But when the goddesses
had brought him up, a god oft hymned, then began he to wander continually through the woody
coombes, thickly wreathed with ivy and laurel. And the Nymphs followed in his train [10] with
him for their leader; and the boundless forest was filled with their outcry.
And so hail to you, Dionysus, god of abundant clusters!
wine, ecstasia, enthousiasmos
merging of votary and god
Zeus (Dios), Semele,
Cadmus of Thebes,
latecomer to Olympian pantheon
Maenads, mania, Bacchae,
goat, lion,