By Wm. Blake Tyrrell, Frieda S. Brown
This e-book analyzes the relationships among Athenian myths and the associations that proficient them. specifically, it examines how myths encode recommendations on ritual, the code of the warrior, marriage, and politics. Combining conventional old and literary feedback with the ways 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, techniques, and practices of fifth-century Athens, concurrently exemplifying and shaping that tradition.
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Extra resources for Athenian Myths and Institutions: Words in Action
Achilles' withdrawal perverts the normal expectations of the fighting, since the Trojans slaughter the stronger Greeks. Nestor tries to reverse this situation by bringing Achilles back with the message of values that past success confirmed as right: my behavior was proper then and ought to be taken by you, younger men, as the way you should act now. Had Achilles heeded the wisdom of the past and not withheld his bravery, he would not have suffered the loss of his friend. In particular, this episode exemplifies how heroic poetry seeks to restore order, for heroic poetry prescribes fitting behavior and, within the confines of its verse, implies as a reward the maintenance of the status quo.
Zeus appropriates this power as his own by impregnating Mnemosyne with the 20 Athenian Myths and Institutions nine Muses. He benefits by gaming the mother's prerogative, memorization, something whose worth Ouranos and Kronos failed to realize. Zeus makes use of her memorization through daughters who live with him on Olympus, forever unwed, and who sing not for their own pleasure and profit but for the delight of their father. Moreover, they sing, as the Theogony itself exemplifies, about Zeus's establishment of a moral and political order in the universe.
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. In this way, Zeus rids the world of the monstrous Hundred-Handers while he rewards them for their services, proving himself a civilizing and just god.