Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lesson 5: Myth 1/Poets

1. Is the source of mythology divine inspiration, actual life experiences, imaginative fiction, other?
2. Do you find any of the above authors particularly inspirational in guiding your moral choices? Any of the above types of poetry more inspirational then the others? A particular poem?
3. If you wrote a mythic poem of a current event, which event would it be and which of the Immortals would be involved?

1) I’d say it probably varies by other, but is probably a combination of all three. We can see from some of the poetry that it definitely contains some of the author’s biases (such as the notoriously misogynistic nature of some of these works, especially when compared to other mythologies) and expectations about the society, and is definitely a reflection of some of their cultural mores and institutions (such as the founding of Athens and why women could not vote in Athens). On the other hand, if they had absolutely no influence of divine inspiration then we could not glean any truth about the Gods from them. To say they are wholly inspired by any one source is an extreme disservice to them, but to say they are wholly divinely inspired is an extreme disservice to the Gods, after all, do you think that Hera is really as petty and vengeful as she is portrayed in myth? I have very sincere doubts that she is, and from my own experiences she isn’t. 

2) Overall, I’d have to give a strong no. Most of my morals come through careful reasoning, even in my examinations of the maxims I do not let them dictate or direct my morals too heavily. I’d say my moral direction mostly comes from a strive to be just, fair, and compassionate, as well as upholding values like xenia and piety. The characters though, may inspire me to do certain acts or take my life in certain directions. For example, Odysseus’s wife is an exemplar of faithfulness under even the most dire circumstances.  The story of the Minotaur inspires the importance of bravery and making sacrifices for others (even if what Theseus did to Aridane is morally questionable) and always remembering the smaller, and finer details of life, lest your father throw himself off a cliff due to a slight oversight. 

3) I’d probably base a mythical poem off of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and really spice and juice it up. Zeus as the bringer of justice, Hera as a sort of mediator, Ares and Athena would be involved, but instead of leading the sides to war they would be cast in their roles of civil order and civilization. Hermes would be involved as a guide of the dead, and the conflict would resolve around some foreign war God trying to incite violence between the two.

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A young man living in North Texas. He is an actor, a Hellenistos, and a proud member of Hellenion.