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Key Terms Chapter 2 Ways of Understanding Myth

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Title: Key Terms Chapter 2 Ways of Understanding Myth


1
Key Terms Chapter 2 Ways of Understanding Myth
  • The Bible
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Genesis
  • Hesiod
  • Homer
  • oral mythcharacteristics
  • Ovid
  • paratactic storytelling
  • The Prose Edda
  • syntactic storytelling
  • written mythcharacteristics

2
The Web of Myth
How are the rock of Sisyphus and the loom of
Penelope like studying myth?
http//department.monm.edu/classics/Courses/CLAS23
0/MythDocuments/WebofMyth.htm
3
Who Studies Myth?
  • Field Interests, Concerns
  • Psychologists the mind and mental processes
  • Sociologists origin, development, organization
    and functioning of human social relations
    and human institutions
  • Anthropologists origins, physical and cultural
    development, social customs and beliefs of
    humans
  • Folklorists traditional beliefs, legends and
    customs of people
  • Historians past events
  • Archaeologists culture of people as revealed by
    their artifacts, inscriptions and monuments
  • Scientists physical and material world
  • Philosophers principles of being, knowledge or
    conduct
  • Artists production of work according to
    aesthetic principles

4
How to Read Myth ORAL vs. WRITTEN
  • ORAL Homer, Gilgamesh
  • WRITTEN Ovid
  • Myths are old stories, often from oral cultures
  • Later myths are often written in the same style
    as older myths, because the oral style has become
    the trademark of mythology

5
Characteristics of Oral Myth
  • Extensive Repetition
  • Example from The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Then Siduri said to him, "If you are that
    Gilgamesh who seized and killed the Bull of
    Heaven, who killed the watchman of the cedar
    forest, who overthrew Humbaba that lived in the
    forest, and killed the lions in the passes of the
    mountain, why are your cheeks so starved and why
    is your face so drawn? Why is despair in your
    heart and your face like the face of one who has
    made a long journey? Yes, why is your face burned
    from heat and cold, and why do you come here
    wandering over the pastures in search of the
    wind?

6
Characteristics of Oral Myth
  • 2) Abundance of Names and Titles (Epithets in
    bold)
  • Example from The Iliad
  • Now will I can only tell
  • the lords of the ships, the ships in all their
    numbers!
  • First came the Boeotian units led by Leitus and
    Peneleos
  • Arcesilaus and Prothoënor and Clonius shared
    command
  • Of the armed men who lived in Hyria, rocky Aulis,
  • Schoenus, Scolus and Eteonus spurred with hills,
  • Thespia and Graea, the dancing rings of
    Mycalessus,
  • men who lived round Harma, Ilesion and Peteon,
  • Ocalea Medeon's fortress walled and strong,
  • Copae, Eutresis and Thisbe thronged with doves
  • fighters from Coronea, Haliartus deep in meadows,
  • and the men who held Plataea and lived in Glisas
  • Homer's Iliad, Book II, lines 493-624, translated
    by Robert Fagles.

7
Characteristics of Oral Myth
  • 3) Paratactic Storytelling
  • Example of paratactic storytelling
  • A child might say, "I was in the park and I saw a
    bird and I chased it and it flew away.
  • Example of syntactic storytelling
  • "When I was in the park, I saw a bird. Because I
    chased it, it flew away.

8
Examples of Paratactic Storytelling
  • Genesis two accounts of creation, one after the
    other
  • Genesis I-23 (God as Elohim)
  • Genesis 2 (God as Yahweh)
  • Creation of Pandora in Hesiod does not fit with
    the story of the ages of man
  • Hesiod. Theogony 561-612 (creation)
  • Hesiod Works and Days 69-89 (creation and
    urn/box)

9
The Story of Pandora
  • http//www.uwm.edu/Course/mythology/0300/prometheu
    s.htm

John William Waterhouse 1849-1917
10
Characteristics of Written Myth
  • The Literary Frame
  • Euripides probably invented the story of Medea
    slaying her children. The story of Medea as told
    by the Greek dramatist Euripides includes no
    shape changes, but as told by Ovid includes at
    least three.
  • Oedipus does not blind himself in Homer.
    Sophocles probably invented this element of the
    myth.

11
Characteristics of Written Myth
  • 2) Goals of the Author
  • Example
  • Charles Segal explains that the world of Ovids
    Metamorphoses is one which "holds out the risk of
    moral chaos, of purposeless change, movement
    without meaning or end."
  • Ovids Metamorphoses reflected Ovids own times
    with respect to the absence of justice and the
    need to please the supreme ruler, Augustus.
  • Metamorphoses ends with the apotheosis of Julius
    Caesar

12
Apotheosis of Julius Caesar
13
Characteristics of Written Myth
  • 3) The Rationalization of Myth
  • Because oral tales often seem illogical,
    repetitious and confusing, later authors who give
    us versions of myths often will "clean them up,"
    making them seem more logical and less confusing.
  • Example
  • Snorri starts his Prologue as if he were quoting
    from the Bible " In the beginning Almighty God
    created heaven and earth and everything that goes
    with them." He then quickly moves forward to the
    time when Priam ruled in Troy. He says that Thor
    was Priam's descendant. In this account, Snorri
    creates connections between the Biblical belief
    system, the ancient Greek myths and finally the
    stories he wants to tell about the Icelandic
    gods. He does this by rationalization, adding a
    set of connections between these stories that
    were never made before.
  • Thor and Odin are deified Norse kings
    (euhemerism).

14
Euhemerism
On Euhemerus of Messene, see http//www.csun.edu/
hcfll004/euhemerus.html.
From Diodorus Siculus Now Euhemerus, who was a
friend of King Cassander of Macedonia (301 to
297 B.C.) and was required by him to perform
certain affairs of state and to make great
journeys abroad, says that he traveled southward
as far as the Indian ocean for setting sail
from Arabia he voyaged through the ocean for a
considerable number of days and was carried to
the shore of some islands in the sea, one of
which bore the name of Panachaea. On this island
he saw the Panachaeans who dwell there, who excel
in piety and honor the gods with the most
magnificent sacrifices and with remarkable votive
offerings of silver and gold.... There is also on
the island, situated on an exceedingly high hill,
a sanctuary of Zeus, which was established by him
during the time when he was king of all the
inhabited world and was still in the company of
men. And in the temple there is a stele of gold
on which is inscribed in summary, in the writing
employed by the Panchaeans, the deeds of Ouranos
and Kronos and Zeus.
15
Key Terms Chapter 2 Ways of Understanding Myth
  • The Bible
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Genesis
  • Hesiod
  • Homer
  • oral mythcharacteristics
  • Ovid
  • paratactic storytelling
  • The Prose Edda
  • syntactic storytelling
  • written mythcharacteristics
  • What terms would you add?
  • What would you delete?
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