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FSU CLT 3370 - Classical Mythology

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CLT Lecture Notes8-27-2013I. Classical MythologyA. Themes1. Creation of the Universe2. Creation and succession of gods3. Creation of human beings4. Origins of natural forces (wind, thunder, earthquakes)5. Origins of creatures (birds, lions, etc.)B. Myths1. Considered to be true by those who tell them2. Little to no historical record3. Answers external questions4. Etiologya. The assignment of causes or origins (notes)b. Explanatoryc. Rationalization 8-29-2013II. Sources of Greco-Roman MythologyA. Primary source materials1. Document or object created during the period of time under study2. Includes various media3. Created by someone with firsthand knowledge of the event4. Ancient authorsa. Mainly Greek, some Romanb. 8th century BCE->2nd century CE5. Preserved oral myths in written forma. Papyrusb. inscriptions6. made numerous modifications to original stories and characters7. includes Greek poets, historians, tragedians, mythographers, and philosophersB. ancient source materials1. dozens of authors and worksa. but only a fraction of total materials survives (1%-5%)b. all in ancient Greek & Latin (dead languages)C. how much are we missing?1. How we have what we havea. Copied during the Middle Ages by learned monksb. Revived during the Renaissance (manuscript collection)c. Coincided with interest and discovery of ancient artworksd. Scribes made numerous mistakes1. Added extra letters2. Added extra words3. Skipped/left out thingsIII. General Characteristics of Greco-Roman MythologyA. Polytheism1. The belief in and worship of multiple divine beings2. Different from most major religions today (monotheism)3. Syncrenisma. Adopting new beliefs & integrating into own beliefb. Greeks and Romans adopted new gods easilyB. Antropomorphism1. “antropas” (man) + “morphos” (form)2. The application of human characteristics to non-human creatures or objects3. Appearance and actions largely human like but larger, more beautiful and more powerful.4. Neither omniscient (seeing everything at once) nor omnipresent (being everywhere are once)5. Ichora. Blood of god1. divine form of the gods6. Nector and Ambrosiaa. Drink and food of the godsC. Binaturalism1. The ability of a god to being a being, a physical space, or an abstract idea at the same time.2. Most Greco-Roman gods are NOT binatural (some are)a. Nike (Victory)b. OceanusD. The Power of Fate1. The gods are still under Fate’s rule2. Greek: Moria (fate)3. Three spinnersa. Clothsb. Lachesisc. Atropos4. All powerfula. Even controls gods1. Zeus and the death of SarpedonE. Orthopraxy1. Correct practice2. Gods didn’t care about belief from humans, only the rituals3. Opposite from modern conception of orthodoxy (correct belief)4. Emphasis on rules, regulations and punishmentsF. Priesthood1. Very importanta. Believed to be a living connection between humans and the divineb. Watched over practicesc. Ensured rituals were performed correctly2. High status individuals (elite backgrounds)3. Offices often hereditary; often held by top politicians4. Ran temple complexsa. Includes numerous lesser priests, temple attendants and slavesG. Temples and Sanctuaries1. Residences of particular deitiesa. NOT a place of worship2. Held/sheltered sacred objects or images connected to deitya. Believed to be given by deity or personally connected3. Temenosa. Area sacred to a god4. Staffed by priests, funded by donations and state taxes5. Offerings lefta. Votive statues6. Often wealthya. Acted as banks and record officesH. Sacrifice1. Specific sacrifices for specific datesa. Bulbs for Poseidon2. Extremely common in Ancient World3. Mainly animalsa. Very rarely human sacrifices4. Belief that the smell of burning meat sustains gods5. Ritual cleansing preempted y washing6. Animals had to be without blemishesa. No spotsb. No deformities7. Light haired victims for heavenly deities and dark haired for chthonic (underworld) deities.8. Killing of animals preempted by libation (pouring of wine for deity)9. Afterwards, priests and worshippers had a feast in honor of god10. Other types of offeringa. incenseb. raw and cooked foodsc. Pelanos1. Flour cakes2. Often in shapes of animals or body partsd. “first fruits” of harveste. Branches draped with fillets (cloth or wool)I. Prayers and Hymns1. Prayers were highly structureda. Invocationb. Relevant function of deityc. Reason deity should assistd. Specific request2. There were positive (prayers) and negatives (curses)3. Most Greco-Roman religions NOT concerned with afterlife/salvation of the soul4. Hymns were sung on various occasionsa. Paeans (battle prayer)b. Dithyramns J. Divination1. Believed gods would reveal their will through signs and omens2. Def: The art of reading divine signs foretelling the future3. Various typesa. Interpretation of dreamsb. Drawing of lots or throwing dicec. Interpretation of chance sayings or remarksd. Augury1. Art of reading bird signs2. Performed by augurs (specialist priests)3. Readings based on flight patterns4. Common throughout ancient worlda. Especially popular at Romee. Liver signs1. The art of reading liver spots after an animal sacrifice2. Haruspex (specialized priests)3. Readings based on health of liver and spots4. Common in ancient worldK. Oracles 1. Sites for consultation of gods (especially Zeus and Apollo)2. Most famous sitesa. Dodonnab. Delphic. Cumae3. Gods provided prophecies and advicea. Usually crypticb. Reported and interpreted by expert priests4. Widely used by all members of societya. Donations expected for favorable responseL. Healing shrines and Sanctuaries1. Sites for obtaining healing and assistance from gods2. Famous sitesa. Kos (Asia Minor)b. Epidaurus3. Incubation a. Ritual in which person would sleep in the temple to have prophecy dreams and healing.4. Associated mainly with the god AsclepiusM. Xenia1. Divine hospitality2. Protected both guest and host3. Watched over by Zeus4. Protected travelers in the dangerous worldN. Athletic games and contests1. Very popular part of religious festivals2. Conducted in honor of gods3. Involved various sportsa. Boxingb. Wrestlingc. Foot racesd. Horse races4. Successful athletes became very wealthy and famousO. Panhellenic festivals1. Festivals with athletic games in which all of Greece was allowed to participate2. Four major seriesa. Olympic gamesb. Pythian gamesc. Isthmian gamesd. Nemean games3. Four year intervals4. Took place under a sacred trucea. Even during times of conflictIV. Eastern and Mystery Religions-outlier; had an


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