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Week 2 - Dark Age, Writing and Oral Tradition

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Chiara Bozzone

on 6 April 2016

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Transcript of Week 2 - Dark Age, Writing and Oral Tradition

Week 2: the Dark Ages, Orality and Writing
The Dark Ages
The Language of Epic Poetry
Sources for the Greek Dark Age
Archeological Sources
Written Sources?
Linear B Tablets
Mycenaean Society
wanax
basileus
Lefkandi,
Euboea (1000BC)
The Protogeometric Building and the Cemetery of Toumba
Burials under the Building
Female Burial
Phoenician seal and scarab
The Centaur found at Toumba cemetery (c.900 B.C.)
Faience Pomegranate Vase
Jewellery from a female Burial
Homer as a Source
for The Dark Ages
Homeric Society
Chiefs and followers
Xenia
A farming economy
Government by assembly
Homeric Values
"Always be the best"
Honor and Gifts
Self-control and respect
Women
Those who break the rules
Agamemnon (bk. 1)
Achilles (bk. 1, 23)
Paris and Helen (bk. 3)
Hector (bk. 22)
Priam (bk. 22)
but should we trust Homer?
They disappear in 1200BC!
The invention of Alphabetic Writing (IX Cent.)
Linear B:
Pe-le-a-se- co-wo-u-lu-du yo-u o-pe-ne the do-wo-ro? [ -]
Phoenician Writing System:
PLS CLD Y PN T DR?
Greek Alphabet
PLEASE COULD YOU OPEN THE DOOR?
Writing Materials
wooden tablets
leather
papyrus
wood
metal*
Perishable
imperishable
ceramic pots
stone
wooden waxed tablets
papyrus
stone
ceramics
Nestor's Cup (730BC)
metal
"I am the good drinking cup of Nestor
Whoever drinks from this cup
Shall immediately be seized by the desire of Aphrodite of the lovely crown."
Milman Parry
is Homeric style traditional?
The Homeric Hexameter
every line in Homer follows this one pattern!
Caesura: regular word-end
Milman Parry
(1902-1935)
Albert Bates Lord
Oral poets would learn their art by listening and imitating - like learning another language.
Noun-Epithet formulas
swift footed Achilles
divine Achilles
Combinations of Formulas
Thus he answered + swift footed Achilleus
Thus he answered + Odysseus of the many designs
Thus he answered + The father of men and gods
=
1 full line of poetry
verb formula
noun-epithet formula
Did Homer invent this system?
the system is the product of selection over a period of several generations of singers: no single person could have created this system alone.
Homer's language is TRADITIONAL:
it is the product of a long poetic tradition.
Some cool features of Noun-Epithet Formulas
for each character, and for each metrical shape and sentence function, there is only ONE (mostly) N-E formula.
the system has ECONOMY
for each character, there is a N-E formula for each metrical shape and sentence function.
the system has EXTENSION
Why was the system invented?
there was no writing
poetry had to be composed orally
automatic behaviors support improvisation
A living Oral Tradition
How do singers remember their songs?
The Technique of the Oral Poet
the Formula
the Theme
Good and Bad Singers: Ornamentation
Similes in Homer
oral-formulaic theory
Timeline
Back To Milman Parry...
He moved to Paris at 23, with his wife and newborn child, to work on his Ph.D.
Between 1933-5, he went on several field-expeditions to Yugoslavia, to study
A LIVING ORAL TRADITION
7000
3000
1200
Neolithic
Bronze Age
Iron Age
Dark Ages
750
Archaic Period
geometric pottery style
Play mp3!
memorization vs.
composition in performance
ready-made expressions
ready-made narrative units
small:
type scene
large:
a THEME (story arc)
The return of the hero THEME
1.Hero is away from home in captivity. At home, the situation is dire, and wife/fiancee is about to marry somebody else.
2.Hero escapes with the help of a powerful female figure.
3.His return voyage is magically swift, often with the help of some magical figure/means of transportation.
4.Hero returns in disguise; tests the loyalty of his friends/bride.
5.Hero reveals himself and is recognized by a scar or a mark on his body (or on the body of the bride).
6.He marries or re-joins his bride.
The marching army (2, 455)
The poppy (8, 300)
Odysseus' words (3, 216)
Singers can perform the "same" story in different ways
Play Clip!
Annotated Bibliography
due Friday of Week 3
5-10 entries
1. MLA bibliographical information
2. Short summary of the source (1 paragraph)
3. Your evaluation of the source (1 paragraph)
4.How you found the source: library catalogue, Google scholar, other paper/book on the same topic.
use Google scholar!
found in P
i
thecusae
watch clip!
Full transcript