ch10dionysus

ch10dionysus - Classics 10: Chapter 9: Spring 2010 Myths of...

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Classics 10: Chapter 9: Spring 2010 Myths of Fertility II: Dionysus I. The Many Facets of Dionysus (Bacchus) II. The Cult of Dionysus III. Dionysus and Tragedy: Euripides’ Bacchae
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First Exam Results will be posted to the MyUCDavis gradebook by class time Monday Scantrons and exams available for viewing all next week (specific office hours TBA) I welcome comments on the first exam via email: rexstem@hotmail.com Was the exam fair? Was it as I described it would be? Strengths and weaknesses?
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I. The Many Facets of Dionysus (Bacchus) Most basic role: God of Wine Taught how to turn grape juice into wine Greeks drank wine every day, usually heavily diluted with water Replaced Hestia among the 12 Olympians Male fertility god: complements Demeter Yet Dionysus inspires passion in the short term, while Demeter grows grain over a whole season Symbols: ivy, phallus, horns of a bull Wears leopard skin, panthers pull his chariot
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The Many Facets of Dionysus (Bacchus) Cult of Dionysus celebrates his divinely inspired madness Drinking, sex, violence as sensual pleasures Often resisted, with violent results Hard for rational Greeks to embrace their irrational selves in exuberant excess Mythic biography must be pieced together from various sources Most significant source (a tragedy): Euripides’ Bacchae (first performored 406 BCE)
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Dionysus’ Birth and Early Youth Semelê, Princess of Thebes, gets pregnant by Zeus, who appears to her as a mortal Jealous Hera visits her in disguise and plants seed of doubt: Is it really Zeus? Semelê then extracts one wish from Zeus: that he appear to her as he appears to Hera Zeus bound to honor her wish, which burns her to crisp; Hermes saves the fetus Zeus sews the fetus into his thigh and gives birth to Dionysus three months later
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Birth and Early Youth Dionysus then given to Ino, sister of Semelê and queen of Orchomenus (another city in Boeotia) Dionysus disguised as a girl (feminine attire often associated with this male fertility god) Hera not fooled, she drives Ino and King Athamas insane; they kill their own children Zeus changes Dionysus into a goat; Hermes then delivers him to the Nymphs of Nysa Where Nysa is, nobody knows Self-destructive violence already a major theme
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The Wanderings of Dionysus In Nysa, Dionysus discovers how to turn grape juice into wine Hera strikes him into drunken delirium Dionysus wanders to Egypt, Syria, and Phrygia In Phyrgia, he meets their Mother Earth goddess Cybelê, who cures him of Hera’s madness She also reveals to him her secret orgiastic rites, accompanied by tambourines and flutes Decks him out with long flowing feminine robes
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The Wanderings of Dionysus Dionysus now heads east (all the way to India) with band of followers, who have many names: Bacchae = “women possessed by Bacchus” Also called Thyiades = “the frenzied ones”
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course ECS 120 taught by Professor Filkov during the Spring '07 term at UC Davis.

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ch10dionysus - Classics 10: Chapter 9: Spring 2010 Myths of...

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