Ch9Fertility

Ch9Fertility - Classics 10 Chapter 9 Spring 2011 Myths of...

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Classics 10: Chapter 9: Spring 2011 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 should be released today • I welcome comments on the first exam via email: [email protected] • Was the exam fair? Was it as described? • Strengths and weaknesses?
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Getting Your Exam Back • If you want your exam back, you have two options: • 1) Come to Jennifer’s office hours in 905 Sproul on Friday, 9:30-10:30am, or next Tuesday, 12:30-3:30pm • 2) email Jennifer ( [email protected] ) and ask her to bring your exam to lecture Friday or Monday – She will be having further office hours if you want to discuss the questions or your answers
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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 (the Sun) tells Demeter who took her • Demeter, angry at Zeus, leaves Olympus, disguises herself among mortals
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rape of Proserpina, 1622
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The Homeric Hymn to Demeter Demeter travels to the Well of the Maiden at Eleusis (near Athens), 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
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Ch9Fertility - Classics 10 Chapter 9 Spring 2011 Myths of...

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