Thursday, August 29, 2013

TFBT: Random Notes from Readings in Preparation for CB22.1

I am joyfully reading “The Ancient Greek Hero in 24  Hours” in preparation for  CB22.1x  which is the Fall 2013 presentation of this great on-line open course from Harvard.  Here are some of my random notes.

The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours 10§22. “Granted, the stratagem of crafting the false name Outis succeeds in saving the life of Odysseus...In fact, the stratagem of Odysseus in calling himself Outis 'no one' produces just the opposite effect: it erases any previous claim to any kleos that the hero would have had before he entered the cave of the Cyclops. ..Such erasure means that someone who used to have a name will now no longer have a name and has therefore become a nobody, a no one, ou tis. ". The danger of denying who you are.  Nagy explained that is why Odysseys returned to Ithaca as a beggar.
“the audience of Homeric poetry are presumed to be near and dear. The word philoi, which I translate here as 'near and dear', can also be translated simply as 'friends'”  (H24H 2.5-6  Nagy)  Here I recall Casanova’s comments in the preface to his memoirs, “I pretend to the friendship, to the esteem, to the gratitude of my readers.”  He also warns prudish readers that   everyone ought to know that a preface is to a book what the play-bill is to a comedy; both must be read.”

The sirens proclaim once and or always that "No man has ever yet sailed past us with his dark ship without staying to hear the sweet sound of the voices". (Od 12:186-187)  "No man" is an alias of Odysseus.  So they predicted rightly that Oysseus would,  unlike many others,  sail by.

“Rather than being ignorant of color, it seems that the Greeks were less interested in and attentive to hue, or tint, than they were to light. As late as the fourth century BC, Plato named the four primary colors as white, black, red, and bright.”  Caroline Alexander.  A Winelike Sea. Lapham's quarterly

“…introduced by way of a special word houtōs “this is how”  (is) signaling the activation of a special form of speech known as the ainos. Here is my working definition of this word: an ainos is a performance of ambivalent wording that becomes clarified once it is correctly understood and then applied in moments of making moral decisions affecting those who are near and dear.” ( H24H 2§60-61, Nagy)  This sound a lot like Biblical Wisdom literature which is introduced by; as, than, how much more so, and like.  Further on this topic; (H24H; 2§72 Nagy ) The ainos as told by Phoenix, to which he refers as klea andrōn at Iliad IX 524, connects with the overall klea andrōn as told by the master Narrator. The connection is made by way of poetic conventions distinguishing the ainos from epic. One of these conventions is a set of three features characterizing the rhetoric of the ainos. Unlike epic, the ainos requires three qualifications of its listeners in order to be understood:
1. The listeners must be sophoi 'skilled' in understanding the message encoded in the poetry. That is, they must be mentally qualified.
2. They must be agathoi 'noble'. That is, they must be morally qualified.
3. They must be philoi 'near and dear' to each other and to the one who is telling them the ainos. That is, they must be emotionally qualified. Communication is achieved through a special sense of community, that is, through recognizing “the ties that bind.”   

11§45. Here we see once again the same coincidence of opposites that we saw in... Odyssey xi 127-131, where Odysseus must make a sacrifice to Poseidon, god of the sea, at a place that is removed as far away as possible from the sea... where we have just read the report of Pausanias (8.44.4) about a sacred space in Arcadia that Odysseus established in honor of Poseidon, point to the existence of hero cults for Odysseus...Odysseus will put an end to the antagonism that exists between him and Poseidon by performing sacred act in a place that is made sacred by the act itself. And this idea of a sacred space that is somehow shared by a god and a hero whose relationship is mutually antagonistic, as in the case of Poseidon and Odysseus, is typical of hero cults where the body of the hero is venerated within a space that is sacred to the god who is antagonistic to that hero. In the context of hero cults, god-hero antagonism in myth - including the myths mediated by epic - corresponds to god-hero symbiosis in ritual. A classic example is the location of the body of the hero Pyrrhos, son of Achilles, in the sacred precinct of Apollo at Delphi  in the myth about the death of this hero Pyrrhos, it is the god Apollo who causes this death .

No comments:

Post a Comment