Classics 370 - Classics 370 Classical Mythology:...

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Classics 370 22/01/2008 12:26:00 Classical Mythology: Introduction Definition of Myth o Mythos: speech, story o Character: a certain mental imprint o Plot o Myth is not religion (belief, ritual) o Setting: myths transcend time and space o Transmitted across generations: “collective importance” o Anonymous (Homer, Sophocles, Vergil adapt stories) Mythos vs. logos o Variation and change: different versions of the same myth Three main types of myth o Divine myth:  stories of supernatural beings.  Explanations in  comprehensible form about things which otherwise require  unobtainable categories of thought.  Explain, origins, explain  creation=etiological.  Theoretical science.  Why does a volcano erupt?  Where are there seasons? o Legend:  (History: Distant Human Past):  Deeds of Heroes (Often  semi-devine).  Local cycles. Memory of Bronze age (1600-1200 BC).  Aristocratic Elite.  Foundations of cities, slaying of monsters, kings,  queens, wars.  Agamemnon of Mycenae; Priam of Troy; Helen of  Sparta. o Folktale (Fiction):  Entertainment.  Characters are common people.  Justify customary behavior.  Plot.  Not part of a cycle.  Folklore motifs:  Wish-fulfillment; Reversal of fortune; abused child; youngest child;  wicked stepmother; magical tokens; spirit helper; the underdog; Hero  quest; Dragon combat; The hero in bondage; Princess as reward;  Magic; Taboo (often violated); Animals talk like humans;  Metamorphosis; “Potiphar’s wife” Other Features of Myth: o Survival of Early social Practices: cannibalism, suitor contests, human  sacrifice, wife theft, bood vendetta. o Distortion by folktale of historical elements: CF, Troy, Mycenae o Etiology(explanation of causes): Weeping Rocks, Gods’ appearances,  star formations, human culture, origin of humans and of the world.
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22/01/2008 12:26:00 Cultural Context of Classical Myth The east Mediterranean and It’s Peoples Origins of Civilization (+”citifying”) in the near east, Mesopotamia (Tigris-  Euprates). Sumerians (3400 BC) New Technologies: Irrigation for Agriculture, clay for  Brick and Potter, Bronze (copper and Tin), Horses, Navigation, class social  structure, cuneiform writing Semitic Successors to Sumerians: Akkadians (2500 BC) Chaldens (600 BC)  Cannaanites, Jews (Abraham 2000 BC Moses 1200) Egyptians (3100 BC).  Hamitic Language. First Nation State Indo-Europeans. Nomads between black and Caspian seas.  Migration east  to northern India, iran, Russia; south to Armenia; west to Greece, Italy, Spain,  France, Britin, Ireland, Scandinavia, Germany, In Greece CA. 2100 BC,  Geography of Greece Aegean Sea Peloponnese: Arcadia, Argolid, Laconia, Elis
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This note was uploaded on 05/14/2008 for the course CLASSICS 322 taught by Professor Beneker during the Spring '08 term at University of Wisconsin Colleges Online.

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Classics 370 - Classics 370 Classical Mythology:...

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