By Wm. Blake Tyrrell, Frieda S. Brown
This e-book analyzes the relationships among Athenian myths and the associations that knowledgeable them. particularly, it examines how myths encode concepts 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 examine 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, thoughts, and practices of fifth-century Athens, at the same time exemplifying and shaping that tradition.
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Extra info for Athenian Myths and Institutions: Words in Action
All that Zeus is is contained within Gaia, and all that he becomes is given by or taken from her. The antithesis of Zeus, she remains beyond his power, the only figure in Hesiod's universe to do so. Nor can Hesiod have Zeus overcome Gaia directly. How could he? She is the very ground on which the farmer walks and the fertility on which he depends. Through language which misdirects by emphasizing the physical (earth) rather than the cosmic (Gaia), Hesiod vents and exposes the tension between Gaia and Zeus.
Hesiod confers these qualities upon Zeus indirectly in a myth of his own invention. He explains that Styx alone of the gods fought beside the Olympians against the Titans. Zeus grants her the privileges that the gods will swear unimpeachable oaths by her waters and that her children will always dwell with him. They provide Zeus with the attributes he needs to rule without compromising his position as chosen ruler. "Zeus, now king, made Metis, who knew the most among gods and mortals, his first wife" (886-87).
When Zeus desired that the Bronze Age pass from sight, Deucalion, on Prometheus' advice, built an ark. Loading it with suitable supplies, he embarked with Pyrrha. Zeus poured down from heaven a great deluge and inundated most of Greece so that all mankind perished except for a few who escaped to the nearest high mountains. At that time the mountains in Thessaly separated, and all that lay beyond the Peloponnesus was overwhelmed. Deucalion, carried across the sea in his boat for nine days and as many nights, came to Mt.
Athenian Myths and Institutions: Words in Action by Wm. Blake Tyrrell, Frieda S. Brown