Athenian Myths and Institutions: Words in Action by Wm. Blake Tyrrell, Frieda S. Brown PDF

By Wm. Blake Tyrrell, Frieda S. Brown

ISBN-10: 0195067185

ISBN-13: 9780195067187

This publication analyzes the relationships among Athenian myths and the associations that expert them. particularly, it examines how myths encode options on ritual, the code of the warrior, marriage, and politics. Combining conventional historic and literary feedback with the methods of anthropologists, feminist critics, and cultural historians, the authors learn particular examples of the epic and tragedy, in addition to funeral orations and the Parthenon marbles, to light up the methods mythic media exploited the ideals, ideas, and practices of fifth-century Athens, concurrently exemplifying and shaping that tradition.

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Example text

Wolf's thesis ignited the fury of the Homeric Question. " "Unitarians" fought back, insisting on the unity of authorship but failing to agree on a description of that unity. Their debate preoccupied Homeric scholarship until the mid-i93os, when Milman Parry's theories of Homeric composition gained attention [Adam Parry]. Parry proposed that the two epics were the product of many poets who did not compose pen in hand but rather sang before audiences, using traditional phrases (formulas) put together extemporaneously to the accompaniment of a single-stringed instrument.

Relying upon it, Zeus is lord of gods and men. At Gaia's prompting, Zeus also releases from bondage the Hundred-Handers whom Ouranos, envying their excessive manliness, beauty, and size, has bound in chains beneath Gaia. With their aid, Zeus acquires the force he needs to subdue the Titans. These sons of the past overwhelm the Titans by hurling three hundred rocks at a time. Zeus then shuts Kronos and the Titans away in the dark, dank mist of Tartarus, where the Hundred-Handers will serve as their guards.

As in the Prometheus episode, language, the stuff of myths, mediates hostilities that might otherwise destroy the individual and rupture the social fabric. Force makes Zeus king. Nevertheless, on Gaia's advice, Hesiod's Myth of the Birth of the Cosmos 37 the Olympian gods urge him to be their king and lord. Zeus distributes to them their spheres of power. Hesiod evidently feels the need to live in a cosmos governed not by violence but by justice. He displaces the violent underpinnings of Zeus's rule onto other beings such as the Hundred-Handers and the children of the river Styx.

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Athenian Myths and Institutions: Words in Action by Wm. Blake Tyrrell, Frieda S. Brown


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