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Greek Mythology Class Note, Lecture#3

Greek Mythology Class Note, Lecture#3
Birth of Athena:
• Athena’s mother: Metis
• Athena will stay in the marriage age and never give birth, preventing the cycle of
succession crisis
• Virgin Goddess
雅典娜的诞生神话梗概:
• Zeus 在篡位了其父亲 Uranus 后,为防止过于强大的后代夺取自己的统
治,吞食了怀孕的女神 Metis。在临盆之日,Zeus 突发头痛,从脑袋中生出
了女神 Athena。Athena 为父所生,将永远只能是贞洁女神(处女)。
Variations on a theme:
• Decomposition of feminine: Mother figures V.S. daughter figures
• Freudian tension // secession crisis // fear of father (the dad’s perspective)
主题解析:
• 古代希腊人民将女性分解为两种角色:母亲与女儿
Theogony:
• For the Greeks, Theogony served as justification of polis ideology
• Theogony doesn’t explain everything
• Theogony reflects male dominated culture of the Athenians
• Theogony is a charter myth for civilization
Zeus brings an end to the secession crisis by assimilating feminine qualities: cunning,
deceit, trickery
Secession crisis 指继承者危机,即指父亲的统治被儿子剥夺。儿子可通过杀害,阉
割等方式剥夺父亲的男性权利。父亲会害怕孩子威胁自己的统治,也对孩子是否亲
生等问题有所担忧。在这里,宙斯终结了神谱中继承者危机的问题,因为他融合了
一些女性的特征:狡诈。在此处也能够通过神话看出古代希腊人民对于女性的固有
印象。
Role of feminine:
• dangerous women are mothers
• safe women are virginal daughters
• Devolution of power from feminine to masculine. Aphrodite will not be safe while
Athena will be.
女性角色的解析:
• 古希腊人认为母亲的角色是危险的而女儿的角色是危险的。即古希腊人认为
代表了性与爱的女性(以女神 Aphrodite 为代表)是危险的,而处女(以女
神 Athena 为代表)是安全的。Aphrodite 女神掌握着对性的完全统治,被
认为是女性对男性压倒性的威胁,因此被认为是危险的。
Today’s agenda:
1) Prometheus, sacrifice, and mankind
2) ANE and Indo-European (succession myths)
The Prometheus myth, as presented in the Theogony, answers the questions:
· What is the origin of sacrifice? Of life? Of woman?
It is an aition (origin) myth, yet it does something more:
· It makes a statement about the human condition, male/female
polarities.
· Embed moral and cultures.
· Origin myths is a very important type of myth for it speaks much
about culture.
Aition myth:原始神话
• 该类神话对人类现有的情况做出解释,比如:为什么在祭祀的时候人类将动
物的内脏和骨头烧给神而自己吃肉?为什么世界上会有恶的产生?等
• 该类神话体现了当时社会的文化及道德观念
• 该类神话中有非常丰富的社会习俗的记载
Prometheus :
• His Punishment for hubris: bird eating his ever regrowing liver for trying to trick
the gods
• He is a titan, not human. Son of Iapetus (son of a titan).
• Brothers Epimetheus ’s punishment: atlas [holds
up the world all the time as a punishment; he angered the gods because he tried to
trick them to do something they aren’t supposed to do], and Menoetius).
• In later accounts, he is made into a mortal (by authors? savior figure for humanity)
Hubris (骄傲自大):
• When you do something you aren’t supposed to do. Know your place. ‘Know
thyself’ -- know the human condition.
A figure who occupies ‘both realms’ like Prometheus (transcendent qualities) -- trickster
figures / mediators. Obion c.f.
1st sacrifice at Mokone // aition myth // sacrificial division // and because this, that’s why
that happens
Meat in skin
Bones in fat
第一次祭祀的故事梗概:
• 在人类第一次准备给神做祭祀时,人们试图决定祭祀动物哪一个部分将献给
神而哪一个部分人类可以自己食用。人们很想吃肉,于是普罗米修斯给人类
提供了建议: 将肉类放置在动物的皮肤下,将骨头放置在脂肪下,让宙斯
选择他想要拥有哪一边。通常来说肉的表面都是包裹着脂肪的,于是宙斯理
所当然地选择了脂肪的那一边。但是他发现脂肪下只有骨头,他发现自己被
欺骗了非常愤怒,但由于已经做出了决定便没有再做更改。于是,由此以后
的祭祀都以这个模式展开,人类在祭祀活动中将骨头和皮烧给神,自己在活
动结束后将动物的肉烤了吃掉。
Moral of Prometheus sacrifice aition:
• You are what you eat! Humans between these poles. Nectar and ambrosia is what
gods eat. Humans are in-between as they eat meat with “c grade” fire. Animals are
other end via eating uncooked meat.
Prometheus and theft of fire.
Gods deathless food
humans cooked food
Animals raw food
(thus far, aition myth for sacrifice and fire)
主题解析:
• 你吃的食物决定了你的等级。人类比动物高级的原因是因为人类拥有火,能
够将食物煮熟。当人类被夺走火之后,人类将不能吃熟食,于是被降级成了
和动物一样低等的生物。
Pandora
· another aition myth, for woman
· A beautiful evil (kalon kakon). Formed out of clay. Adorned beautifully. Outershell
is wonderful; innershell is terrible. Like bones/fat or skin/meat trick.
潘多拉的故事:
• 潘多拉是宙斯在人类欺骗他之后对人类实行的报复。人类将不好吃的骨头放
置在诱人的脂肪下面欺骗了宙斯,于是宙斯使用同样的模式报复人类:一个
恶魔版的灵魂放置在美丽的皮囊里。
• 潘多拉的故事解释了人类社会首次的“恶”。解释了为何世间会有恶的产生
ALL are forms are mediation between man, animal, and gods
· First deception, bones wrapped in fat, meat wrapped in skin
· Without fire, reduced to animal existence, the fire we get is human quality
· Last deception, bad thing in pretty package, belly to feed, necessary to procreate
(prior state was asexual reproduction, now sexual repro with add on of work)
o Woman as drone bee (technically wrong about bee behavior)
o Succession crisis (issue with procreation -- how do you know your child is your child?
What if you’ve been duped? What if you’re replaced?)
o Poem of Simonides about women // grossly misogynistic
Hesiod’s Work and Days: Pandora and Epimetheus
· Pandora’s jar (functionally a storage closet)
Told not to open jar. She does. Out comes all bad things (war, famine, disease).
Hope is still within the jar. Odd weird message: it’s not out, yet it isn’t gone
Ages of man (c.f. Book of Daniel) // deep ANE tradition where man is progressively
degrading
· Golden race (There was no women. Asexual reproduction. No need for men to
work)
· Silver race (Pandora, sexual reproduction. Human lived a long time with few
issues)
· Bronze race (war, human lived rougher and shorter lives)
· Races of heroes (Achilles, Agamemnon)
· Iron (worst age. Human lived a long time, But : people need to work, toil. There
were death but no hope, no escape
Spontaneous/sexual reproduction
· Erechtheus, first Athenian // born from spontaneous repro, raised by Gaia and
given to Athena. First human
Garden of the Hesperides
· Special areas, sacred, in mythological lands. Evenish. No work. These are the
places where we’ve fallen from. From Freudian, desire to be reunited after discovery of
the self (or our original state).
Succession crisis -- generational conflict
Symmetrical patterns:
Gods move away from this trouble, humans plunge in.
Divine world ... <see power point>
(Eve functions much like Pandora in biblical myth)
How do we explain common elements in myths of different people and times?
Zeus vs. typhoeus (snake) // hercules vs. hydra (serpent) \\ ANE tradition of sky
god has to fight a creature for control of realm.
Indo-European language family tree (~3k bce): english: father / Latin: pater / German:
vater / evolution of languages/people / common ancestors
Just as language moves with emigration, so myths do -- with their evolutions, too.
Borrowing, too.
Hittite Kingdom, Bronze Age, ca. 1400 BCE. similar architecture between ane and
greece. Cuneiform tablets. Older myths. <see pp for hittite succession myth, castration
imagery, adding freudian fear, and similarities>
<on monday, launch into various gods, zeus and his story>

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