ch9fertility

ch9fertility - Classics 10: Chapter 9: Spring 2010 Myths of...

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Classics 10: Chapter 9: Spring 2010 Myths of Fertility I: Demeter and Related Myths I. Demeter and Persephone II. The Eleusinian Mysteries III. Inanna and Dumuzi (the Near Eastern Parallel) At left, The Rape of Proserpina [Persephone], Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1622
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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: [email protected] Was the exam fair? Was it as I described it would be? Strengths and weaknesses?
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Myths of Fertility Greeks saw female fertility as a continuing force of creation Started from Gaea (“Mother” Earth) Continued in nature’s continuous reproductive cycle No one Greek deity responsible for all aspects of fertility (unlike other Near Eastern cultures) Aphrodite (human sexuality) Artemis (wild animals) Hera (marriage, family); Hestia (hearth, family) Demeter (agricultural fertility)
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Fertility Myth Themes Fertility of the earth connected to sex and reproduction Goddess loses her companion Cycle of life, death, renewal of life Necessity of sacrifice for renewal
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Demeter Name = “Wheat” mother? (not likely) Force that makes grain sprout from the seed Demeter’s daughter is Persephonê Also known simply as the “daughter” or the “girl” = korê (she is a virgin, parthenos ), father = Zeus “The Two Goddesses” (earth and grain) as one? The Homeric Hymn to Demeter Our major source for the myth, 7th C BCE Explains foundation of the cult of Demeter at Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries
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The Homeric Hymn to Demeter Persephonê is abducted by Hades She was playing in a flowery meadow No one heeds her cries, her father Zeus is (deliberately?) delayed elsewhere Demeter mourns her for nine days (as if she were dead) Helius tells Demeter who took her Demeter angrily leaves Olympus, disguises herself among mortals
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rape of Proserpina, 1622
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Demeter travels to the Well of the Maiden at Eleusis, where she is found by the daughters of the King and Queen She is brought to the palace and made the nanny of the infant prince, Demophoön (proper xenia ) She requests to drink some kykeon (a spicy beer?) Demeter is caught trying to make Demophoön immortal by burning him in the fire Desire to replace her own lost child? She reveals herself and instructs the people of
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2011 for the course CLA 10 taught by Professor Traill during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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ch9fertility - Classics 10: Chapter 9: Spring 2010 Myths of...

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