Wednesday, March 29, 2017

TFBT: Greek Heroine Cults by Jennifer Larson, Part I

Great book!  Still reading.  Some stretches of great writing.  The beginning had a little too much of the “tell ‘em what you are going to tell ‘em, tell them, then tell ‘em what you told ‘em” But heroic cult is a complex topic and might be difficult for the uninitiated.    Just random quotes and my thoughts below.

She is a satellite of her husband.”  That sounded demeaning at first, but what is the point of a star without an inhabitable planet and what is point of such a planet without a sun.  

The heroic cults in any Greek city shows that a very small percentage were actually devoted to Homeric figures.  Instead we find a strange world of anonymous daemonic beings, epichoric figures of strictly local importance (where local means at the neighborhood level), cult, city founders and others.”

“Familial connections between heroic cults are at least as common as the much discussed connections between hero and god.”   I wonder how many people know about god/hero antagonism.  Or my lingering doubts on the topic. 

Cult relationships between mother and daughter are almost entirely lacking.”   Which amazes me, because among the goddesses I thought immediately of Demeter/ Persephone and Leto/Artemis. 

“Heroic cult became widespread during the eighth century…simultaneous with, the spread of Homeric Poetry” Also, the rise of the Polis?

“Libation to the heroes as a group were customary at meals and foot that fell from the table was said to belong to the souls of the dead or to the heroes.”  Or the dogs. Ha, ha!

I have found a fairly clear distinction between heroines and nymphs. In that heroines belong to human genealogies and have tombs and cults more or less identical to those of heroes, while nymphs are associated with natural features and have distinctive cults.  Their shrines tend to be located in grottoes and they are not associated with focal points of the city as heroic figures are.  …Finally, they typically have cult association with figures such as Hermes, Apollo and Pan rather than with heroes.”

In reference to Dirce wife of Lycus and rival of Antiope, Larson says she had a tomb and “its location was kept secret like the tombs of Neleus and Oedipus.” (page 19)
Why don’t you hang yourself and become a Theban hero?” Plato Comicus

The British Museum contains a relief showing Kyrene being crowned by Libya… Apollonius sys that Apollo in token of his love “made her a long-lived nymph.”  The relief is museum number 1861.1127.30

Melite (the eponymous heroine) after whom the deme Melite was name.  She was a mistress of Heracles.  Who as Heracles Alexcacos had a shrine in (the deme of) Melite…Melanippos was her grandfather, also had a shrine there.  Her father was Myrmex, the eponymous of the Myrekos atrapos, path of Myrmex in Scambonidai not far away.  Melite is mentioned in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women as the daughter of Myrmex” (page 35)

Hekale is unique among the deme eponyms as a female with a well-attested cult.  Hekale belongs to a group of “hospitality heroes” those who are honored for receiving an important personage, usually a god.  The most famous members of this group are probably Baukis and Philemon.  Either the hero founds a cult or is the first priest or priestess of the cult.  This pattern continued in historical times, when the poet Sophocles was heroized a Dexion for ceremonially “receiving “Asclepius. “

No comments:

Post a Comment