Greek and Roman Mythology

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Zeus

Roman name: Jupiter, Jove

Timai: justice, oaths, xenia, supplication

Symbols: thunderbolt, eagle

Epithet: cloud gatherer, father of gods and men

Hera

Roman name: Juno

Timai: marriage

Symbol: peacock, scepter, crown

Epithets: parthenos, zugia

 

7th wife of Zeus – contributes marriage, the institution that creates family

 

Children: 

Ares

Eileithyia (childbirth)

Hebe (youth)

 

Posidon 

Roman name: Neptune

Timai: sea, earthquakes, the violence in nature

Sybols: trident, bull, horse

Epithets: earthshaker

 

Demeter

Roman name: Ceres

Time: agricultural fertility

Symbols: grain, wheat, snakes

No epithets

Hades

Roman name: Dis, Pluto

Timai: underworld/death

Symbols: cap of invisibility, cornucopia

No epithets

Hestia

Roman name: Vesta

Time: family life

Symbol: the hearth

No epithets

Athena

Roman name: Minerva

Timai: metis, domestic arts, defender of cities

Symbols: Owl, aegis, olive tree

No epithets, but possibly “grey eyed”

Phoebus/Apollo

Roman name: Apollo

Timai: Prophecy, music, healing

Symbols: bow, lyre

Epithets: Phoebus, shooter from afar

Artemis

Roman name: Diana

Timai: midwifery, childbirth, hunting, transition to adulthood

Symbols: bow, moon

No epithets

Hermes

Roman name: Mercury

Timai: movement, boundaries, messenger, psychopomp

Symbols: caudecus

Epithets: polytropos

Haephestus

Roman name: Vulcan

Timai: fire, craftmanship, metalwork

Symbols: forge, volcanoes

No epithets

Aphrodite

Roman name: Venus

Timai: sexuality

Symbols: doves, roses, apples

Epithets: Kypris, laughter-loving, pandemos

Ares

Roman name: Mars

Timai: violence/ warfare

Symbols: dogs, vultures

No epithets

Dionysus/ Bacchus

Roman name: Liber

Timai: ecstasy, animal and vegetable nature

Symbols: wine, ivy, vines, thyrsus, panthers, bulls

No epithets

Followers: Maenads and satyrs

Xenia

Ritualized hospitality, time of Zeus.

A way in which you can form a close bond with someone unlrelated to you through blood or marriage. A traveller can knock on anyone’s door, and the person living there is obliged to give them food, allow them to bathe, and a place to sleep; only then are they allowed to ask who they are and where they’re from. The traveller leaves with a promise to return the favour to his host. This bond is expected to last throughout their lives. 

Aegis

A breastplate, symbol of Athena

Hesiod

Author of the Theogony and Works and Days

700 BCE

In addition to being an oral poet (he lived prior to the invention of writing), he was also a shepherd.

 

Time/ Timai

The honour or sphere of influence of a god. 

The Muses

Goddesses of arts

All learnind and knowledge (mousike) belongs to the muses

Daughters of Mnemosyne

Remember everything, past, present and future

Invoked at the beginning of a oral poem as an appeal for help remembering it. (convention of epic poetry)

Also have power over forgetfulness of grief and sorrow, ie: hearing a song makes you feel better

– reconcilliation of opposites, as they remember everything

 

Hesiod claims in Works and Days that the Muses appeared to him and breathed into him the story of the Theogony

Chaos

First of the four primal beings

Parthenogenic + female

The huge, empty space that must exist in order for it to be filled by the earth

The “mother” of abstract things: light, night, day, etc., therefore female

Gaia

Second primal being

Life comes from females, so Gaia is female

Creates Ouranos to be her “husband”

the “kingmaker”, whoever is Gaia’s favourite is the ruler of the universe, first Ouranos, then Kronos, then Zeus

;

First Children

– Ouranos (parthenogenisis)

– Mountains (parthogenisis)

– Oceanus (parthogenisis)

;

Tartarus

The answer to the question “where do I go when I die?”; the underworld

Male because death is the opposite of feminine life

Eros

Introduces creation – after Eros, everything is born in some way, whether through parthenogenisis or sexual reproduction

Male because males more evidently demonstrate desire

Erebus

complete and total darkness

born from Chaos through parthenogenisis

Night

Night

Night + Erebus produced Aether (total brightness) and Day

– Reconcilliation of opposites; from beings of darkness come beings of light

Ouranos

created by Gaia through parthenogenisis to be her equal and a heavenly, blessed foundation for the gods

Castrated by Kronos

Oceanus

The great river running around the world from which all water originates

Son of Gaia and Ouranos

Metis

Cunning intelligence possessed almost exclusively by women

Extrapolated from the idea that only women know who the father of their children is

The succession myth

Begins with Ouranos, created by Gaia to be her equal and ruler of the universe

He does not allow his children with Gaia to be born (and therefore any children/ new life anywhere), because he fears the sons would want to marry their mother, like him

Is castrated and overthrown by Kronos

Kronos becomes ruler of the universe

;

Gaia prophesises that one of Kronos’ children will overthrow him

Therefore he swallows his children 

Gaia tricks him into swallowing a rock rather than Zeus, who she takes away and raises (indicates her favour of him)

Gaia tricks Kronos into throwing up the children (who emrege as full grown gods)

Zeus becomes both the youngest and the eldest son (eldest = father’s favourite, youngest = mother’s favourite)

Zeus releases the Cyclopes, who give him the thunderbolt 

 

The titanomachy = war between the titans and the gods

Gaia tells Zeus that he must use the strength of the hundred handers to win; ensures his victory 

 

Gaia tests Zeus by having Typhon (with Tartarus)

Typhon (meaning “evil winds”) is meant to be stronger than anything in the universe

Zeus attacks immediately and without reserve, and wins

Typhon is challanging Zeus’ succession

Zeus is clearly the strongest being in the universe

;

When Zeus is king of the gods, it is prophecised that his son will surpass him

Zeus prevents this by swallowing Metis, who is to be this son’s mother

The succession myth ends here

 

 

Metis

Intelligence

First wife of Zeus – contributes her intelligence

Gaia tells him to marry her

Gaia prophecises that Metis will bear a daughter as strong as her father (Athena), and a son who is stronger

Gaia tells Zeus to trick Metis, and swallow her, thus preventing the continuation of the succession myth

Athena is born from Zeus’ head

Themis

Right/ established custom, all that is fundamentally right;

Second wife of Zeus – contributes justice

;

Children:

The Seasons – bring order to the year

Good Governance

Justice

Peace;

The Fates – regulate time, give humans their allotted lifetimes

Eurynome

Third wife of Zeus – contributes joy, fun, and celebration

;

Children:

the three Graces – Splendour, Gladness, Festivity

;

*this indicates that there is a place in Zues’ reign for joy and celebration, important in the hard lives of farmers like Hesiod

Demeter

Fourth wife of Zeus – contributes a constant supply of food

 

Children:

Persephone

Mnemosyne

Memory

5th wife of Zeus – contributes all studied knowledge, arts, science

 

Children: 

the 9 muses

Leto

Roman name: Latona

6th wife of Zeus – contributes Apollo and Artemis 

 

Children:

Apollo and Artemis

Typhon

Evil winds

Born of Gaia and Tartarus to challenge Zeus

Meant to be the strongest being in the universe

defeated by Zeus

 

The Titanomachy

War between the gods (led by Zeus) and titans (led by Kronos)

Won by Zeus thrugh Gaia’s advice to use the hundred handers

;

The Castration of Ouranos

Castrated by Kronos

;

Born from the blood:

– The Furies (retirbutive justice, vengance)

– The Giants (violence)

– The Ash-Tree Nymphs (warfare);

;

Semen:;

– Aphrodite;

;

This act is the separation of Earth and Sky, creating a space for us to live; this act of separation, violence led to life for us

Prometheus

In Hesiod:

– son of titans (Iapetus and Clymene), evil beings

– trickster god

– amoral, not immoral

;

In Aeschylus:

– Son of Themis (personification of all that is right and just, closely related to Gaia)

– Gets prophecy from her

;

Mecone

The mythological site where men and gods ate togther

;

Where Prometheus tricked Zeus into choosing the worthless portion of food, infuriating him

humans now have a constant source of food = god-like

Zeus takes fire from man

;

* this is the origin of sacrifice, when Greeks burned the bones and fat of animals for the gods

The theft of fire

Prometheus steals fire back from Zeus after he took it from the humans at Mecone

fire is symbolic of technology, progress = god-like

;

The first woman

In response to Prometheus returning fire to the humans

Woman is created as an evil to balance out the good of fire

Created by Hephaestus (and Athena, sometimes)

Men must now work to fill the “jar” that is woman, as this is the only way they can get childrne to care for them in their old age

Women = worthless outside, valuable inside (to have children)

Woman = introduction of labour and man never having opportunity to progress to the point where the gods are unnecessary

Pandora/ Pandora’s jar

the first woman

She is not born, rather is created by Hephaestus

Name means “giver of all gifts” or “reciever of all gifts”

 

Her jar symbolic of woman’s stomach, full of evil things

Evil is released from the jar, but hope remains

Therefore the hope of a child is present in woman’s stomach

Alienation from the divine/ the 5 ages

There are 5 ages:

 

Age of Gold

– no labour

– Mortal, but ageless (souls became holy spirits, givers of wealth)

– Ended at Macone

 

Age of Silver

– there are mothers

– 100 years of childhoods

– after that was grief and violence

– the people refused to honor the gods. sacrifice, so the gods destroyed them

 

Age of Bronze

– everything was incased in bronze 

– men created from ash trees (the ash tree nymphs, indicative of this humanity’s violent nature)

– humanity destroys itself

;

Age of Heroes

– Demi-gods, union of gods and mortals

– Wars led to the extinction of the Heroes

– slight reconcilliation with the divine

;

Age of Iron

– complete moral degeneration, the teachings of the gods are ignored (disrespect for parents, fratricide, abuse of xenia (guests and hosts killing each other), and perjury (people searing false oaths))

– people born grey at the temples

– labour, pain, harsh cares

;

;

*possibly cyclical; we will return to a golden age

“I wish I had never been born in this age, but either died first/ or been born after”

– Hesiod

Aeschylus

Author of Prometheus Bound

510-456 BCE

90 plays, 7 remain

;

Cosmogony/ Theogony

Cosmogony – birth/ origin of the universe

Theogony – birth/ origin of the gods

Parthenogenisis

Single parent birth, asexual reproduction

Ex: Gaia giving birth to Ouranos

time/ timai

A god’s honours, or sphere of influence

Pantheon
The greek/ roman gods as a whole
Succession Myth

The transfer of power from one king of the gods to another. 

The king is always supported by Gaia

Ends when Zeus defeats Typhon.

Etiological (aetion)

“Explains the origins of’;

Ex: the hymn to Demeter eplains he origins of the Eleusinian Mysteries

Patriarchy

A male/ father led system

Matriarchy
A female/ mother led system
3 part universe

A three part universe consists of the underworld, the mortal world, and Mt. Olmpus where the gods live

Polytheism

of many gods

= a polytheistic religion worships many gods

;

Monotheism

of one god

= a religion that worships a single god

Abrahamic Tradition

Religions featuring Abraham.;

Ex: Christianity, Judaism…

Reconcilliation of Opposites

The greek idea that to truly master something, you must master its opposite.;

Ex: Apollois the god of healing and plague

;

Epithet

An alternate name for a god, usually describing them in some way

Ex: Apollo, the far shooter

Panhellenic

“of all of Greece”

Ex: the Eleusinian Mysteries was a panhellenic religion

Supplication

the institution by which you can save yourself from death, enslavement, ect., at the hands of someone with power over you by debasing yourself to them

You have to get on your knees and touch them in some way, and they are then obligated to consider your case individually

xenia

the institution by which you can form a close bond with someone who is not related to you through blood or marriage; “guest and host relationship”, allows you to knock at anyone’s door, and is entitiled to bathe, eat, and spend a night, then the host asks who you are and where from. The two parties are now obliged to be friends for life

Epic poetry

a lengthy narrative poem, ususally detailing heroic deeds or stories key to a religion

Conventions:

– introduce the muses

 

 

Genealogy

the study of families and their lineages

 

Dike

Justice

Daughter of Zeus and Themis

Hubris

Legal code: a violent act

General term: any act that constitutes an abuse of power or authority

bard/ rhapsode

professional performer of epic poetry

 

Anthropomorphic

the recognition of a divine being in human form, or of human characteristics in a divine being

Ex: gods fighting, loving, acting human

Titanomachy

The war with the titans in which Zeus wins his kingship

Digression

in poetry, a side story intersected into the greater story

omnscient
All knowing
omnipotent
All powerful
chthonic

of the underworld, specifically referring to dieties or spirits

Omphalos

the navel stone, the stone swallowed by Cronos in Zeus’ place

Antigone

The hero of the play that shares her name

  • Only if new criteria for a hero are applied
  • It must be considered which character is more god-like
  • Antigone is, as she never wavers from her commitments

The product of her father’s unintentional incest with his mother – both Oedipus’ sister and daughter

Accompanied her father on his banishment from Thebes

Fought for her brother’s right to be buried and go to ethe underworld

This led to her imprisonment and death by suicide with her fiancee

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