Classical Mythology Images and Insight, Third Edition

Following is an outline of the chapter along with the main learning objectives.  To help coordinate your studies, this outline and the learning objectives are organized to match your textbook.  This organization is also utilized in the chapter review section.

Part 1: Key themes

    1. You should be able to discuss the Oracle of Delphi in terms of the God Apollo, his attributes and dominant myths concerning the establishment of the shrine as a place in which to contact the God Apollo.
    2. You should be aware that there were shines to other Gods and Goddesses, places of sacrifices and worship -- both regional and famous shrines that lured travelers from afar.

 Part 2: The Shrine at Delphi: Communing with the Gods

    1. You should be able to discuss the dominant attributes of the God Apollo in terms of his role in providing a contact for human with the Gods and Goddesses, with his gifts of prophecy and clairvoyance.
    2. You should be able to discuss the concept that the location of the shrine at Delphi was thought to be a the exact center of the world (a source of the myth of Zeus letting two eagles fly in opposite directions; they met over Delphi) the so-called navel of the world in conjunction with the fact that the word "Delphi" means "womb".
    3. You should be able to discuss the connections of the God Apollo's shrine with aspects of ancient worship of the Great Goddess; including the myth that the daughter of Gaea (Themis) teaches Apollo prophecy, and there was a small alter kept in the temple as a shrine to her, as well as the significance of the virgin priestess who undergoes a trance to issue for the cryptic words of the God Apollo.
    4. You should be able to discuss the attributes of the God Apollo in terms of his personification of rational intellect (who is known for his remoteness) and related to the concepts inscribed on his temple "Know Thyself" and "Nothing in Excess" as admonitions to humans for forgetting their mortal limitations and behaving as if they were gods.

Part 3: Apollo and the Dragon: The Transition from Earth Goddess to Sky god.

    1. You should be able to relate the concept of the God Apollo as rational intellect to the significance of his battle with the serpent/dragon Python, as the representative of goddess-worship; incorporating the ancient Greek concepts of patriarchy and gender roles, especially his use of a virgin priestess to perform the ritual for consulting the Oracle.
    2. You should be able to discuss why Apollo would kill, burn and leave the body of Python to rot into the ground -- linking the discussion to the concepts of the body of the Mother and the serpent as representative of the previous worship of nature and fertility goddesses.

Part 4: Festivals and Ceremonies of Delphi

    1. You should be aware of the attributes that the God Apollo is thought to possess: music, dance and poetry -- incorporating rituals of nature worship with those of rational creativity -- and his role as patron of the Muses, the divine beings of inspiration to human artists.
    2. You should be able to discuss the mysterious messages of the Oracle, whose warnings were cryptic, "more understood by gods than mortals" and the practicality of such influences (often seen as destiny-driven) on human affairs.

Part 5: Apollo's Loves

    1. You should be able to discuss the dominant myths of the God Apollo, including Hera's jealous pursuit of the infant Apollo; the beloved youth Hyacinth who was posthumously transformed into a flower; the posthumous transformation of the youth Cyparissus, who Apollo's tears are transformed into a cypress tree; the transformation of the mountain nymph, Daphne, who begs Zeus to protect her from the unwanted pursuit of Apollo -- Zeus turns her into a Bay or laurel tree; the killing of Coronus, mother to Apollo's son (Asclepius, father of healing) a mortal woman who deserted Apollo for a mortal man.
    2. You should be able to discuss the myth of Apollo's son, Asclepius, considered the father of healing, who learns to revive the dead -- forbidden knowledge for which Zeus kills him; Asclepius is granted posthumous immortality.
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