Lecture Notes-Demeter

Lecture Notes-Demeter - CC303 Classical Mythology Spring...

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CC303 Classical Mythology Spring 2008 Prof. P. Perlman Outline for 3/27-4/3 Demeter: Myths of Descent I. Introduction A. Family 1. Demeter 2. Kronos and Rheia- daughter of kronos and Rhea, sister of Zeus, Poseidon, etc. Is not known as the wife of any god but has children with Poseidon-a daughter (Despoina) and a horse, Arion. Also has children with Zeus, Persephone. 3. Poseidon a. Despoina-means “mistress”, a replica of Demeter b. Arion- marvelous horse, was produced as a horse because Demeter took the form of a horse to escape from Poseidon who took the form of a horse to chase her. 4. Zeus a. Persephone (aka Kore)-daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Is the wife of Hades and is chief goddess of the underworld. Is both adult woman and wife when underworld with Hades, but daughter when above. This status is reflected in her other name, Kore, which means maiden. B. Spheres of Influence 1. agricultural fertility (especially grain) a. Demeter = De (Ge/Gaia) + meter (Earth Mother)-divinity of agricultural bounty, especially cereal and grain, which was of up most importance in Greek, thus Demeter is associated with human life and its continuity. In myth, she introduced art of growing human crops. b. Triptolemus-is sent out to train mankind by Demeter in growing crops/grain. c. Homeric Hymn to Demeter as nature allegory Allegory for agricultural cycle, story of descent and return. When Persephone is down below, we understand it as the season of winter on earth, when crops don’t grow. Persephone’s reemergence from netherworld is retelling of spring, renewal of life. 2. Demeter and the Afterlife 3. Eleusinian Mysteries-Homeric Hymn to Demeter also provides aition for Eleusinian Mysteries. Referred to as mystery festival, a particular type of festival. Often two divinities-Demeter and Dionysus. An indication of mystery festivals is not divulging what happens. a. Eleusis b. mystery cults c. Homeric Hymn to Demeter as an aition 1
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CC303 Classical Mythology Spring 2008 Prof. P. Perlman II. Homeric Hymn to Demeter A. Pattern of Withdrawal/Devastation/Return (W/D/R) 1. nature allegory-withdrawal, devastation of natural world, agriculture fails through winter, flourishes in spring with return. 2. ritual pattern of initiation (cf. Myth of the Ephebe) Same pattern as myth of the ephebe, charts a transformation of adolescent to adult. A narrative that’s charts the transformation of an individual pre-mystery ritual and the changed individual after the ritual. Withdrawing from normal society, symbolic death, return to society as changed person. B. Important Motifs 1. grief of mother-Demeters grief drives story of Homeric Hymn to Demeter, she has strong connection to Persephone. 2. food-is prominent throughout the hymn, makes sense since Demeter is
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Lecture Notes-Demeter - CC303 Classical Mythology Spring...

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