Final Notes.pdf - The Greek Hero What is a Greek Hero \u2022 Our concept of a hero doesn\u2019t match the Greeks o Our concept hero that uses invincibility to

Final Notes.pdf - The Greek Hero What is a Greek Hero...

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10/30/2018 The Greek Hero What is a Greek Hero? Our concept of a hero doesn’t match the Greeks! o Our concept: hero that uses invincibility to do good o Greeks: heroes can use power to do bad/good things Defining the Greek Hero: o The ancient Greek Hero was a religious figure o A legendary person associated with great deeds o After death, this person would receive cult honors and was expected in return to bring prosperity to the community and fertility to the land o Thought their souls were powerful enough o Literary Figure o Extraordinary elements linked to his birth and childhood o Some heroes were demigods o A key part to the narrative of the hero’s life is that he must undergo some sort of major ordeal or challenge o Enemies usually instigate his achievements – impossible missions, etc. o Heroes are often helped by a human or divine ally to conquer insurmountable problems § Athena o They undertake adventurous quests and enter conflict with human enemies and monsters o The hero, who is mortal, must suffer during his lifetime, and significantly, and must die o Only after death can the hero receive immortalization in cult and in poetry o Kelos = Fame or Glory § Symbolic immortality § Achilles sings kela andrôn (glories of men) § Achilles is aware of this in book 9 of the Iliad § He withdraws from the war because he gets into a spat with Agamemnon § Strategy: withdraw from the war and have Agamemnon to beg him to for help § Agamemnon sends Odysseus, Ajax, to talk to him/bribe him back into the war § “My mother Thetis tells me that there are two ways in which I may meet my end. If I stay here and fight, I will not return alive but my name will live forever: whereas if I go home my name will die, but it will be long ere death shall take me.” Hero Cult Thousands of hero cults all across Greece Every locale had its own set of heroes This phenomenon becomes widespread beginning in late 8 th century BCE (around the time when Homer was active) and its concurrent with the rise of the polis (city state) The practice was likely rooted in ancestor worship, but rather than representing one particular family or lineage, the hero represents the city as a whole Ordinarily, the hero cult was based on the presence of the sôma (body) of the hero in the “earth” of the given locale The sôma of the dead hero was considered to be a talisman of fertility and prosperity to the community The “marker” of the sôma was the sêma, which ordinarily took the physical shape of a tomb Heroes required their proper time (honor). This was given in the form of offerings and sacrifices at the tombs or shrines
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Heracles – The Panhellenic Hero The hero of all Greeks Hero that becomes immortalized The greatest/strongest of all heroes The only hero to gain real immortality: went to live with the gods on Mt. Olympus Complicated character Driven to fits of madness and feels bad about this The Mesopotamian Hero Gilgamesh o
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