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Death and the Underworld. Age of the Heroes After the earth covered up this race too, Zeus son of Kronos made yet a fourth one upon the rich-pastured.

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Presentation on theme: "Death and the Underworld. Age of the Heroes After the earth covered up this race too, Zeus son of Kronos made yet a fourth one upon the rich-pastured."— Presentation transcript:

1 Death and the Underworld

2 Age of the Heroes After the earth covered up this race too, Zeus son of Kronos made yet a fourth one upon the rich-pastured earth, a more righteous and noble one, the godly race of the heroes who are called demigods, our predecessors on the boundless earth. And as for them, ugly war and fearful fighting destroyed them, some below seven-gated Thebes, the Cadmean country, as they battled for Oedipus’ flocks, and other it led in ships over the great abyss of the sea to Troy on account of lovely-haired Helen. There some of them were engulfed by the consummation of death, but to some Zeus the father, son of Kronos, granted a life and home apart from men, and settled them at the ends of the earth. These dwell with carefree heart in the Isles of the Blessed Ones, beside deep-swirling Oceanus: fortunate Heroes, for whom the grain-giving soil bears its honey-sweet fruits thrice a year. Hesiod, Works and Days pp.41-2

3 TARTARUS - Place of Punishment ELYSIUM (Elysian Fields) - Paradise

4 Here at the spot Perimedes and Eurylochus held the victims fast, and I, drawing my sharp sword from beside my hip, dug a trench of about a forearm ’ s depth and length and around it poured libations out to all the dead, first with milk and honey, and then with mellow wine, then water third and last, and sprinkled glistening barley over it all, and time and again I vowed to all the dead, to the drifting, listless spirits of their ghosts, that once I returned to Ithaca I would slaughter a barren heifer in my halls, the best I had, and load a pyre with treasures-and to Tiresias alone, apart, I would offer a sleek black ram, the pride of all my herds. And once my vows and prayers had invoked the nations of the dead, I took the victims, over the trench I cut their throats and the dark blood flowed in-and up out of Erebus they came, flocking toward me now, the ghosts of the dead and gone …. Brides and unwed youths and old men who had suffered much and girls with their tender hearts freshly scarred by sorrow and great armies of battle dead, stabbed by bronze spears, men of war still wrapped in bloody armor-thousands swarming around the trench from every side-unearthly cries-blanching terror gripped me! Odyssey 11, Fagles pp.249-50


6 Odysseus and the Underworld



9 I wept to see him now, pity touched my heart and I called out a winged word to him there: ‘ Elpenor, how did you travel down to the world of darkness? Faster on foot, I see, than I in my black ship. ’ My comrade groaned as he offered me an answer: ‘ Royal son of Laertes, Odysseus, old campaigner, the doom of an agry god, and god knows how much wine-they were my ruin, captain … I ’ d bedded down on the roof of Circe ’ s house but never thought to climb back down again by the long ladder-headfirst from the roof I plunged, my neck snapped from the backbone, my soul flew down to Death. Now I beg you by those you left behind, so far from here, your wife, your father who bred and reared you as a boy, and Telemachus, left at home in your halls, your only son. Well I know when you leave this loding of the dead that you and your ship will put ashore again at the island of Aeaea-then and there, my lord, remember me, I beg you! Don ’ t sail off and desert me, left behind unwept, unburied, don ’ t, or my curse may draw god ’ s fury on your head. No burnme in full armor, all my harness, heap my mound by the churning gray surf-a man whose luck ran out-so even men to come will learn my story. Perform my rites, and plant on my tomb that oar I swung with mates when I rowed among the living. ’ Odyssey, Fagles pp.251-2

10 ‘ Royal son of Laertes, Odysseus, old campaigner, stay on no more in my house against your will. But first another journey calls, you must travel down to the House of Death and the awesome one, Persephone, there to consult the ghost of Tiresias, seer of Thebes, the great blind prophet whose mind remains unshaken. Even in death- Persephone has given him wisdom, everlasting vision to him and him alone …..the rest of the dead are empty, flitting shades ’ Odyssey, Fagles p.245

11 Achilles, son of Peleus, greatest of the Achaeans, I had to consult Tiresias, driven here by hopes he would help me journey home to rocky Ithaca. Never yet have I neared Achaea, never once set foot on native ground … my life is endless trouble. But you Achilles, there ’ s not a man in the world more blest than you-there never has been, never will be one. Time was, when you were alive, we Argives honoured you as a god, and now down here, I see, you lord it over the dead in all your power. So grieve no more at dying, great Achilles. ’ I reassured the ghost, but he broke out, protesting, ‘ No wimming words about death to me, shining Odysseus! By god, I ’ d rather slave on earth for another man-some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive-than rule down here over all the breathless dead. ’ Odyssey, Fagles pg. 265

12 Tantalus And I saw Tantalus too, bearing endless torture. He stood erect in a pool as the water lapped his chin-parched, he tried to drink, but he could not reach the surface, no, time and again the old man stooped, craving a sip, time and again the water vanished, swallowed down, laying bare the caked black earth at his feet-some spirit drank it dry. And over his head leafy trees dangled their fruit from high aloft, pomegranates and pears, and apples glowing red, succulent figs and olives swelling sleek and dark, but as soon as the old man would strain to clutch them fast a gust would toss the up to the lowering dark clouds. Odyssey, Fagles pp.268-9

13 Sisyphus And I say Sisyphus too, bound to his own torture, grappling his monstrous boulder with both arms working, heaving, hands struggling, legs driving, he kept on thrusting the rock uhill toward the brink, but just as it teetered, set to topple over- time and again the immense weight of the thing would wheel it back and the ruthless boulder would bound and tumble down to the plain again- so once again he would heave, would struggle to thrust it up, sweat drenching his body, dust swirling above his head. Odyssey, Fagles pg.269

14 Plato - Myth of Er I shall not tell a tale like that of Odysseus to Alcinous, but instead my story is of a brave man, Er, the son of Armenius, a Pamphylian, who at one time died in war; after ten days, when the bodies-by now decayed- were taken up, his alone was uncorrupted. He was brought home, and on the twelfth day after his death placd on a funeral pyre in preparation for the burial. But he came back to life and told what he had seen in the other world. He said that, after his soul had departed, it travelled with many and came to a divine place, in which there were two openings in the earth next to each other, and opposite were two others in the upper region of the sky. In the space between these four opening sat judges who passed sentence: the just they ordered to go to the right through one of the openings upward in the sky, after they had affixed their judgments in front of them; the unjust they sent to the left through one of the downward openings, bearing on their back indications of all they had done; to Er, when he approached, they said that he must be a messenger to human beings about the afterlife and commanded him to listen and watch everything in this place. Plato, Republic M&L pp.355ff.

15 To be sure he saw there the souls, after they had been judged, going away through the opening either in the heaven or in the earth, but from the remaining two openings he saw some souls coming up out of the earth, covered with dust and dirt, and others descending from the second opening in the sky, pure and shining. And they kept arriving and appeared as if they were happy indeed to return after a long journey to the plain that lay between. Here they encamped as though for a festival, and mutual acquaintances exchanged greetings; those who had come from the earth and those from the sky questioned one another. The first group recounted their experiences, weeping and wailing as they recalled all the various things they had suffered and seen in their journey under the earth, which had lasted one thousand years; the others from the sky told in turn of the happiness they had felt and sights of indescribable beauty. O Glaucon, it would take a long time to relate everything. But he did say that the essential significance was this: everyone had to suffer an appropriate penalty for each and every sin ten times over, in retribution for the number of persons he had wronged. Plato, Republic M&L pp

16 There was a deep and rocky cave with a huge yawning mouth sheltered by the black lake and the darkness of the ofrest; no birds at all were able to wing their way overhead, so great and foul an exhalation poured up to the vault of heaven from the lake. Its name, Avernus, deriving from the Greek, means ‘ birdless. ’ Here forist of all the priestess set four black bullocks and poured wine over their heads; between their horns she cut the tips of bristles and placed them on the sacred fire as first libations, calling aloud on Hecate, who hold power both in the sky above and in the depths of Erebus …. Aeneas himself slaugthered with his sword a black-fleeced lamb for Night. Virgil, Aineid M&L pg.362

17 From here is a path that leads to the waters of Acheron, a river of Tartarus, whose seething flood boils turbid with mud in vast eddies and pours all its sand into the stream of Cocytus. A ferryman guards these waters, Charon, horrifying in his terrible squalor; a mass of white beard lies unkempt on his chin his eyes glow with a steady flame, and a dirty cloak hangs from his shoulders by a knot. He pushes his boat himself by a pole, tends to the sails, and conveys the bodies across in his rusty craft. Virgil, Aineid M&L 363

18 Cerberus

19 Huge Cerberus, sprawling in a cave facking them, made these regions echo with the howling from his three throats. When the prophetess saw his necks bristling with serpents she threw him a cake of meal and honey drugged to make him sleep. He opened wide his three throats in ravenous hunger and snatched the sop; his immense bulk went imp and spread out on the ground, filling the whole of the vast cavern. Virgil, Aineid M&L 364

20 Suddenly Aeneas looked back to the left and saw under a cliff lofty fortifications enclosed by a triple wall around which flowed Phlegethon, the swift stream of Tartarus, seething with flames and rolling clashing rocks in its torrent. He saw in front of him a huge door, with columns of solid adamant that no human force nor even the gods who dwell in the sky would have the power to attach and break through. Its tower of iron stood high against the winds; and one of the Furies, Tisiphone, clothed in a bloody robe sat guarding he entrance, sleepless day and night. From within he heard groans and the sound of savage lashes, then the grating of iron and the dragging of chains. Virgil, Aineid M&L 365

21 Tityus His body is stretched over nine whole acres and a huge vulture with its crooked beak tears at his immortal liver, forever renewed for the penalty of suffering. It digs deep within his breast to probe for the feast, giving no respite. As Tityus ’ liver is restored, it is immediately devoured. Virgil, Aineid M&L pg. 366.

22 Here are imprisoned and await punishment those who hated their brothers while they were alive or struck a parent and devised guile against a dependent or who hovered over their acquired wealth all alone and did not share it with their relatives, and those who were killed for adultery or took up arms in an impious cause and were not afraid to betray the pledges made to their masters. Virgil, Aineid pp.366-7

23 At last they came to the happy places, the pleasant green glades of the woods of the Fortunate, the home of the blessed. Here air that is more pure and abundant clothes the plains in soft-colored light and they have their own sun and their own stars. Some exercise their limbs on the grassy wrestling grounds, vie in sport, and grapple on the yellow sand. Others dance in a chorus and sing songs. Virgil, Aineid M&L pg. 368







30 Hermes leads Hades’ Chariot


32 William Blake’s Satan

33 Signorelli - Dante’s Inferno

34 John Martin - Milton’s Paradise Lost


36 Henry Fuseli Milton - PL 2.613-26Scylla

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