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Myth and Meaning



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Chapter 4 Outline, Keywords and Art

Pages are keyed to Morford and Lenardon's Classical Mythology, 7th edition
You are responsible for words and names in

TITANOMACHY (machkos = "battle", so "Battle against the Titans"
Olympians (Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon) join brother Zeus after they are freed from their father's belly (nedys = "belly" and "womb").

Olympians, Hecatonchires, and Cyclopes, plus Themis and son Prometheus
Titans and their children (including Atlas, also son of Themis)

Battle was ten years long, Zeus on Mt. Olympos, Cronos on Mt. Othrys. Titans lose, imprisoned in Tartarus, Atlas to hold up sky.

The Battle Between the Gods and the Titans, 1600
WTEWAEL, Joachim
Dutch painter (b. 1566, Utrecht, d. 1638, Utrecht)
Oil on copper
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

GIGANTOMACHY (Battle against the Giants). Giants also lose battle against the Olympians. Famous giants: serpent-like Typhoeus (also called Typhon or Typhaon), and Otus and Ephialtes, who try to reach Olympos (the highest mountain in Greece) by piking Mt. Ossa atop Mt. Pelion. Perhaps this photo, taken of a huge piece of rock seemingly thrown to the ground on Mt. Olympos is proof of this battle! Coming soon are photographs of the frieze of the Altar of Zeus from Pergamon (now in the museum of the same name in Berlin) which provides a graphic description of the battle between the Giants and gods.

CREATION OF MORTALS: Ovid (Met. 1.76-88) says that Prometheus molded the first man from clay into the likeness of the gods.

Gold (created by Cronos),
Silver (created by Zeus), Bronze (created by Zeus), Age of Heroes (created by Zeus), Iron (created by Zeus)...reflects deterioration of man over time...Age of Heroes is the Age of the Trojan War and pretty much all the myths we will read. The Age of Iron is Hesiod's own age, and corresponds to our "Age of Iron" for the level of fabrication of tools as well.

(a Titan) and Clymene (daughter of the Titan Oceanus) mate and have four sons: Menoetius, Atlas, Prometheus ("forethinker") and Epimetheus ("afterthinker").

image 1

image 2

image 3

Prometheus' crime against Zeus: he tricked him. Prometheus slew an ox, and offered Zeus a choice between the ugly pile of brown meat (the valuable part) or the bones wrapped up in white, glistening fat (garbage). Zeus picked the fat, but the key to this story is that he KNEW he was being deceived and allowed it to happen. This foretold the wickedness of men (who would make sacrifices to the gods with this method). Prometheus then further angered Zeus by stealing fire from the gods and bringing it to man. This got Prometheus a hefty punishment: to be tied to a rock and have his (immortal) liver eaten out every day, only to grow back every night.

Atlas was punished (why?) by being made to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders.



Hera, Jupiter, Io, Argus (and Mercury's tale of Pan/Syrinx):

Juno Receiving the Head of Argos, 1730-32
Italian painter, Venetian school (b. 1682, Napoli, d. 1752, Madrid)
Oil on canvas, 108 x 72 cm
Moor Park, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Mercury, Argus and Io, 1630s
CAMPEN, Jacob van
Dutch architect/painter (b. 1595, Haarlem, d. 1657, Amersfoort)
Oil on canvas
Mauritshuis, The Hague


Mercury Piping to Argus, before 1660
LOTH, Johann Karl
German painter (b. 1632, München, d. 1698, Venezia)
Oil on canvas, 117 x 100 cm
National Gallery, London

Mercury and Argus, 1635-38
RUBENS, Pieter Pauwel
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)
Oil on panel, 63 x 87,5 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Juno Discovering Jupiter with Io, 1618
LASTMAN, Pieter Pietersz
Dutch painter (b. 1583, Amsterdam, d. 1633, Amsterdam)
Oil on oak, 54 x 78 cm
National Gallery, London

Pan and Syrinx, 1637-38
POUSSIN, Nicolas
French painter (b. 1594, Les Andelys, d. 1665, Roma)
Oil on canvas, 106 x 82 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Pan and Syrinx, c. 1620
BRIL, Paul
Flemish painter (b. 1554, Antwerpen, d. 1626, Roma)
Wood, 38 x 60 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris



Lycaon (photo of Mt. Lycaon coming soon)

Flood: Deucalion and Pyrrha: photo of where their boat first touched ground after the flood (Mt. Parnassos) and where the flood waters were said to have drained out in to the earth (in Athens). Here is a woodcut from an illustrated Ovid from the 17th century illustrating this myth (click to enlarge):