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Creation Myths

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Creation Myths Hesiod s Theogony and Ovid s Metamorphoses Allen Romano aromano_at_uchicago.edu background: Muses Possibly humorous title small text small text small ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Creation Myths


1
Creation Myths
  • Hesiods Theogony and Ovids Metamorphoses

Allen Romanoaromano_at_uchicago.edu
background Muses
2
Possibly humorous title
  • small text small text small text small text small
    text

Pretty Picture
3
Important title here
  • more important stuff here
  • and here

4
Modern-Day Creation Story THE BIG BANG
Artist Approximation Not Shown Actual Size Not
the Greek Creation Myth
5
Agenda
  • Why explain the creation of the universe? Some
    possibilities...
  • Hesiods Theogony (in context)
  • Ovids Metamorphoses (in context)
  • and
  • Hesiod vs. Ovid

6
  • Why Tell Creation Stories?

7
How to Do Things with Creation Myths
  • Todays question How do people use creation
    myths?
  • Ask
  • Whos telling the creation story?
  • To whom?
  • Why in this particular way?
  • Is there something else a person telling a
    creation story is trying to convey beyond the
    details of the story itself?

8
A Creation Myth in ContextGreek Hymns
  • Hymn (greek, hymnos)
  • A song in honor of a god
  • occur throughout Greek history unlike modern
    hymns, they were often sung by a single person
  • Homeric Hymns collection of hymns attributed
    (falsely) to Homer, the poet of the Iliad and
    Odyssey 7th-2nd cent BCE
  • Main features of hymns
  • list of the gods powers
  • gods favorite places
  • gods epithets
  • prayers to the gods
  • account of how the god was born and acquired his
    functions. very much like Hesiods Theogony

Not Ancient Greeks
9
The Homeric Hymn to Hermes
  • Song about half the length of Hesiods Theogony
  • Author unknown
  • probably composed in 6th century BCE
  • tells the story of Hermes birth and early
    exploits

A Singer in Ancient Greece
10
Hermes
  • Son of Zeus
  • born from a nymph, Maia
  • invented the lyre and the pipes
  • Messenger god
  • trickster, thief

Hermes
11
Hermes is born
  • Hymn to Hermes Thought-Experiment
  • What was the legendary trickster god like as a
    baby?

12
Baby Hermes
Grown-up mischief trapped in a babys body
artist reconstruction of the baby Hermes
13
The story He walks outside the cave... he finds
a tortoise...
14
Hermes invites the tortoise inside...
15
Hermes invents the Lyre
16
A little thief Hermes steals his big brother
Apollos Cattle
17
Hermes steals Apollos cattle
18
Hermes tries to eat the cattle
19
Oh wait, Im a god
smoke which gods do enjoy
Stuff Hermes cant eat
20
Meanwhile, Apollo looks for the cattle...
?
21
Hermes hides the cattle
22
Apollo confronts Baby Hermes
Whatd I do? Im just a baby.
23
Apollo presses him...Dude, where are my cows?
alternate reconstruction Baby Hermes
24
Apollo takes baby Hermes and appeals to their
father Zeus
The threat of an angry Apollo
Zeus
25
Hermes whips out his lyre...
26
Hermes Sings a Creation Story
  • ...but Hermes,
  • as he had designed, easily soothed the
    Far-Darter,
  • Son of most glorious Leto, obdurate though he
    was.
  • Taking his lyre upon his left arm, he tried out
  • Each string in turn with the plectrum, and under
    his hand
  • The Lyre resounded uncannily. Phoebus Apollo
  • Laughed aloud with delight. The lovely sound
  • Of heavenly music went straight through his
    heart, and sweet longing
  • Possessed him as he listened, enraptured.

27
Hermes Sings a Creation Story
  • he burst into song and lovely his voice
  • Telling of how the immortal gods and black earth
  • First came to be, and how each was allotted his
    portion.
  • Mnemosyne Memory, mother of the Muses, first of
    the gods
  • He honored with song, for to her Maias son was
    apportioned by lot.
  • Hermes, the son brilliant in splendor of Zeus,
  • Hymned the undying gods according to age,
  • And told the tale of how each one was born,
    relating
  • All things in order, to the sweet strains of the
    lyre on his arm.

from the Homeric Hymn to Hermes
28
Conflict Resolved
Thats sweet. I want one!
29
Hermes Expert Use of a Creation Myth
  • Song is itself a cure for strife
  • Theogony 99-104 For if anyone is grieved, if
    his heart is sore with fresh sorrow, if he is
    troubled, and a singer who serves the Muses
    chants the deeds of past men or the blessed gods
    ... He soon forgets his heartache, and of all his
    cares he remembers none.
  • Cosmogony and Theogony Singing about the
    ordering of the universe prevents disorder

30
Why tell Creation stories?Distinct Uses of
Creation Myths
  • Hopi Creation
  • Spider Woman leads the people out of the
    underworlds teaches them how to live
  • What telling this myth does
  • ethical instruction (how to hunt, grow corn,
    build houses)
  • sites of present habitation explained by what
    happened on the mythic journey out of the
    underworld

31
The Function of Navajo Creation Myths
  • During the Blessing Way ceremony, shaman chants
    the creation story
  • Sand painting representing the creation
  • Creation story used for rites of new Beginnings

Navajo saindpainting of the creation of the
universe
32
The Function of Babylonian Creation Myths
33
The Function of Babylonian Creation Myths
  • Told at the dedication of sacred buildings
  • In the beginning Anu (sky) created the heavens,
    and Nudimmud (Ea-waters) created Apsu, the
    primeval waters. Then Ea took some clay and
    created necessary elements for the buildings of
    great structures. He made the Arazu, the gods of
    the various crafts.

34
Questions
  • Why did Hesiod tell his creation story in the way
    that he did?
  • Why did Ovid tell his creation story in the way
    that he did?

35
  • Hesiods Theogony

36
Hesiod Who was he?
  • lived around 700 BCE
  • Boeotian (central Greece)
  • Composed
  • Theogony (origins of gods and universe)
  • Works and Days (wisdom poetry)
  • Hesiodic works (attributed to Hesiod in
    antiquity)
  • Catalog of Women (birth stories of the heroes,
    continuation of the Theogony)
  • Shield (on Heracles)

bust of Hesiod
37
(No Transcript)
38
The Backbone of the Theogony Genealogy
  • Genealogy
  • Account of familial descent
  • Gr. genos race, generation
  • /log/ Gr. logos account, word (e.g. logic)

39
Genealogy
40
Cosmogony vs. Theogony
  • Cosmogony
  • story that explains the generation of the world
  • kosmos world, order
  • /gon/ genos race, generation (e.g. gonads)
  • Theogony
  • story that explains the generation of the gods
  • theos god (e.g. theology, polytheism /
    monotheism)

41
Structure of the Theogony
  • Succession Myth story of the overthrow of a god
    or generation of gods
  • Succession Myth, interwoven with genealogy
  • Kronos succeeds his father Ouranos Castration of
    Ouranos, birth of Aphrodite
  • Zeus Ascendant over Kronos Tricking of Kronos,
    birth of Zeus Zeus outwits Prometheus
  • Zeus and his generation defeat the Titans of the
    earlier generation
  • Zeus defeats a big monster (Typhoeus) Zeus
    swallows Metis to ensure there will be no more
    successors.

42
A Series of Contests
  • Hesiod vs. Muses
  • Kronos defeats Ouranos
  • Zeus defeats Kronos
  • Zeus defeats Prometheus
  • Zeus defeats Titans

43
Hesiod vs. Muses
  • Muses to Hesiod Hillbillies and bellies, poor
    excuses for shepherds We know how to tell many
    believable lies, but also, when we want to, how
    to speak the plain truth.

Muses dancing with Apollo
44
Competitive Singing
  • Muses
  • Sing a theogony in honor of Zeus
  • Hesiod
  • Turns the Muses theogony into a cosmogony
  • Honors Zeus with a more elaborate song

45
Contests 1 and 2 Kronos vs. OuranosZeus over
Kronos
Rhea gives Kronos a stone rather than the baby
Zeus
Kronos eating his kids
46
Round 3 Zeus over the Titan Prometheus
47
Prometheus Attempt to Trick Zeus
A standard scene of sacrifice
48
Creation of Women
49
Something understated...
Mans creation
50
Round 4 Zeus vs. Monsters
51
Titanomachy
  • For a long time they fought, hearts bitter with
    toil,
  • Going against each other in the shock of battle,
  • The Titans and the gods who were born from Kronos
  • ...
  • They battled each other with pain in their hearts
  • Continuously for ten full years, never a truce
  • Theogony 413ff

52
Zeus Conquers by Violence (in Greek, bie)
53
Typhoeus / Typhon
The monstrous last-born child of Earth (Gaia)
54
Zeus Wins the Right to Rule
  • So the blessed gods had done a hard piece of
    work,
  • settled by force the question of rights with the
    Titans
  • Theogony 667ff.

55
Zeus Crowning Achievement
  • Metis (Thought, Cunning) is a threat to Zeus
    rule
  • Swallows Metis
  • Produces Athena from his own head
  • Ends Threat of More Violent Succession
  • (does what his father Kronos could not)

Athena emerges from Zeus head after he swallows
Metis
56
Kingship and Zeus
  • Calliope (one of the Muses)...
  • For she keeps the company of reverend kings.
  • When the daughters of great Zeus will honor a
    lord
  • Whose lineage is divine, and look upon his birth,
  • They distill a sweet dew upon his tongue,
  • And from his mouth words flow like honey.
  • The people all look to him as he arbitrates
    settlements
  • With judgments straight. ...
  • For though it is singers and lyre players that
    come from the Muses and far-shooting Apollo
  • And kings come from Zeus, happy is the man
  • Whom the Muses love.
  • Theogony lines 81-98

57
Why tell this myth
  • Possibilities
  • Kingship / ruling elite
  • Zeus is a model king, guarantor of justice and
    order
  • patriarchy
  • Zeus is able to produce Athena without women
    conquers female-spawned Titans, monster Typhon,
    and female Metis
  • Encodes basic Greek values
  • for example, justice (dike balance, good order)
  • but also proper containment of violence (bie)

58
  • Ovids Metamorphoses

59
700 years
60
Ovid The Man Behind the Myth
  • 43 BCE 17 CE
  • leading Roman poet
  • heavily imitated through the middle Ages and to
    the present day

61
Ovid Writings
  • Wrote (among many other things)
  • Amores Loves (on poets and love)
  • Heroides Heroines
  • Cosmetics for the Female Face
  • Ars Amatoria Art of Love
  • Fasti (Calendar poem)
  • Metamorphoses (on bodies changed to different
    forms... a poem that runs from the worlds
    beginning to our own days.

Ovidius Naso the poet
62
Ovid
  • Whats changed?
  • Writing Oral performance of Hymns and Hesiods
    poetry vs. book scrolls as vehicle for literature
  • Philosophy Hesiod pre-Plato, pre-Aristotle
    Ovid post-Plato, post-Aristotle and their
    successors (Stoics, Epicureans, etc.)
  • Patronage Ovid works for a portion of his life
    under Augustus rule ? statements about kingship,
    order, disorder are especially pointed

63
One of Ovids Many Models
  • Apollonius (3rd century BCE)
  • Argonautica Journey of the Argonauts to get the
    golden fleece
  • Before theyve even set out, The ships crew is
    about to quarrel.

64
Orpheus intervenes
Orpheus playing the lyre
65
Orpheus sings cosmogony
  • The legendary singer Orpheus sang of that past
    age when earth and sky and sea were knit together
    in a single mold how they were divided after
    deadly strife how the stars, the moon, and the
    traveling sun keep faithfully to their stations
    in the heavens how mountains rose, and how,
    together with their Nymphs, the murmuring streams
    and all four-legged creatures came to be. How in
    the beginning, Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of
    Ocean, governed the world from snow-clad Olympus
    how they were forcibly supplanted, Ophion by
    Cronos, Eurynome by Rhea of their fall into the
    waters of Ocean and how their successors ruled
    the happy Titan gods when Zeus in his Dictaean
    cave was still a child, with childish thoughts,
    before the earthborn Cyclopes had given him the
    bolt, the thunder and lightening that form his
    glorious weapons today.
  • Apollonius, Argonautica 1.496-511

66
Ovids Creation Myth
  • Till God, or kindlier Nature, Settled all
    argument and separated Heaven from earth, water
    from land, our air From the high stratosphere, a
    liberation So things evolved, and out of blind
    confusion, Found each its place, bound in eternal
    order... Met. 21ff

Ovid
67
Ovids Different Kind of MythThe creation of
mortals
  • but something else was needed, a finer being,
    More capable of mind, a sage, a ruler,
  • So Man was born, it may be, in Gods image,
  • Or Earth, perhaps, so newly separated
  • From the old fire of Heaven, still retained
  • Some seed of the celestial force which refasioned
  • Gods out of the living clay and running water.
  • All other animals look downward Man,
  • Alone, erect, can raise his face toward Heaven.
  • Metamorphoses 72ff

68
Ovids Different Kind of MythThe creation of
mortals
Deucalion and Pyrrha throw stones to create people
69
Ovids different kind of myth-making Chaos and
Craftsman
  • Before the ocean was, or earth, or heaven,
    Nature was all alike, a shapelessness, Chaos,
    so-called, all rude and lumpy matter, Nothing but
    bulk, inert, in whose confusion Discordant atoms
    warred... Heat fought with cold, wet fought with
    dry, the hard fought with the soft... till God,
    or kindlier Nature, settled all argument, and
    separated Heaven from earth, water from land,
    etc. Ovid Metamorphoses 1.5-23

70
Types of Creation
  • Headline Millions of Ways to Explain Creation
  • Payoff Two different means of creation in Ovid
    and Hesiod

71
Methods of Creation
  • Automatic Creation
  • from chaos (like in the Theogony)
  • creation from cosmic egg
  • creation from elements (usually water)
  • creation by secretion (that is, by spit, sweat,
    semen, urine, feces etc.)
  • VS.
  • Architectural Creation
  • creation by thought, by word (like in Genesis)
  • creation by construction and craft divine
    architect

72
Types of Creation Architectural
  • Creation by divine craftsman
  • examples
  • Judaeo-Christian tradition

God measures the universe during the creation.
Bible Moralisee circa 1250 CE
73
God Creates Man
Book of Genesis The Judaeo-Christian god
fashions man from earth. (Artist reconstruction)
74
(No Transcript)
75
Types of Creation Automatic
  • Cosmic Egg
  • Examples
  • Finnish
  • Orphic
  • Polynesian
  • Chinese
  • Egyptian

76
Sidenote Greek AlternativesOrphic Creation
  • In the beginning was the silver cosmic egg,
    created by Time. Phanes broke forth from the egg
    as the firstborn (Protogonos), the androgynous
    container of all the seeds of life. It was Phanes
    who created the universe, beginning with a
    daughter Nux (Night), and later the familiar
    gods, Gaia and Ouranos

77
Ovids different kind of myth-making
  • Before the ocean was, or earth, or heaven,
    Nature was all alike, a shapelessness, Chaos,
    so-called, all rude and lumpy matter, Nothing but
    bulk, inert, in whose confusion Discordant atoms
    warred... Heat fought with cold, wet fought with
    dry, the hard fought with the soft... till God,
    or kindlier Nature, settled all argument, and
    separated Heaven from earth, water from land,
    etc. Ovid Metamorphoses 1.5-23

78
Hesiod vs. Ovid
  • Hesiod describes automatic creation, structured
    as genealogy succession myths of gods interwoven
  • Ovid starts by describing creation from Chaos
    (like Hesiod) but then describes creation through
    a divine craftsman.

79
Ovids Agenda
  • Some Possibilities
  • Kingship criticism of imperial power?
  • Re-asserting mythic explanations against
    philosophic ones
  • Entertainment Exploiting the literary tradition
    of myth-telling

80
Replaying Creation
  • every construction or fabrication has the
    cosmogony as paradigmatic model. The creation of
    the world becomes the archetype of every creative
    human gesture, whatever its plane of reference
    may be.
  • (Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, 1957)

Might we find the creation myth replayed
elsewhere, in miniature, in part, or in spirit?
81
Creation Myths
  • Hesiods Theogony and Ovids Metamorphoses

Allen Romanoaromano_at_uchicago.edu
background Muses
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