The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum (Archive Board)
June 12, 2021, 08:21:10 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: This is our Read Only Archive Board (closed to posting July 2011). Join our new vBulletin board!
 
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 12, 2021, 08:21:10 am

Login with username, password and session length
Donate!
The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.
TC Staff
Important Information about this Archive Board
This message board is The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's SMF Archive Board. It is closed to new memberships and to posting, but there are over 250,000 messages here that you can still search and read -- many full of interesting and useful information. (This board was open from February 2007 through June 2011).

Our new vBulletin discussion board is located at http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/ -- if you would like to participate in discussions like those you see here, please visit our new vBulletin message board, register an account and join in our discussions. We hope you will find the information in this message archive useful and will consider joining us on our new board.
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
Author Topic: Conflict Between Greek Goddesses and Gods  (Read 21338 times)
Carnelian
Master Member
****
Last Login:January 15, 2012, 12:55:04 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Greek paganism
Posts: 289


Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Topic Start: April 09, 2011, 06:42:48 pm »

A recurrent theme in Greek myth is the tensions between female and male deities. A few examples that immediately pop into my mind concern Hera and Demeter: Hera's jealousy and vengeance over Zeus's philandering; Demeter's fury over Zeus giving her daughter away in marriage to Hades; and Demeter's anger over her rape by Poseidon. Artemis takes vengeance on a mortal man rather than a god, but it's a similar theme, as Actaeon sees her nude while bathing and she changes him into a stag who was killed by his own dogs. I can't think of any similar myths about Aphrodite, as in Greek tradition she came to be the ideal of feminine beauty and sexuality, not so much an assertive figure, however some of her epithets - such as "Slayer of Men" - suggest she was originally more aggressive in continuity with her Near Eastern origins.

As Athena was a goddess with no mother, who ruled over the masculine domains of war, strategy and intellect, she upheld the patriarchal order of her father Zeus and did not really come into conflict with the male gods. Hephaestus did try to rape her at one point (with his semen falling to the earth and creating Athena's foster-son, Erichthonius), but she did not terrorize him with her fury.

So my question to you is, what do you make of this? There is the theory that these myths represent the patriarchal Indo-European takeover of the Greek region, where powerful goddesses were once supreme. I don't really think there actually was a matriarchal pre-Hellenic civilization in Greece that worshiped the one Great Goddess, though I do think there may be something to the idea that the conflict has to do with Indo-European invasion, with their patriarchal sky gods exerting dominance over the local goddesses, such as Hera and Demeter. This theme also comes up in Hesiod's Theogony, first with Gaia and Ouranos (which results in his castration), and then Rhea and Kronos, as Kronos eats his children but is tricked by his wife and overthrown by his youngest son, Zeus. It's also seen in Hindu Vedic tradition, which originated with Indo-European invasion in India, with its male sky gods and patriarchal system. The pre-Vedic Indian civilization of the Indus River Valley is believed to have practiced a fertility cult that revolved around a mother goddess, although this is only an interpretation of archaeological finds, as there were no written documents to describe their religious beliefs.
Logged

Welcome, Guest!
You will need to register and/or login to participate in our discussions.

Read our Rules and Policies and the Quoting Guidelines.

Help Fund Our Server? Donate to Lyricfox's Cancer Fund?

RandallS
Co-Host
Administrator
Grand Adept Member
*****
Last Login:October 30, 2020, 08:18:05 am
United States United States

Religion: Hellenic Pagan
TCN ID: ADMIN
Posts: 17181


Blog entries (0)


« Reply #1: April 09, 2011, 08:18:05 pm »

So my question to you is, what do you make of this? There is the theory that these myths represent the patriarchal Indo-European takeover of the Greek region, where powerful goddesses were once supreme. I don't really think there actually was a matriarchal pre-Hellenic civilization in Greece that worshiped the one Great Goddess, though I do think there may be something to the idea that the conflict has to do with Indo-European invasion, with their patriarchal sky gods exerting dominance over the local goddesses, such as Hera and Demeter.

I see zero evidence for the "matriarchal pre-Hellenic civilization in Greece" and not a lot for the conflict representing the Indo-European invasion.  To be honest, I'm not sure I make anything of it at all as I'm not sure the myths are "coded history" of any type.
Logged

Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog - Forum] -- Out Of Print & Out Of Style Tabletop Roleplaying Games
Software Gadgets Blog -- Interesting Software, Mostly Free
Cheap Web Hosting -- Find an Affordable Web Host
Carnelian
Master Member
****
Last Login:January 15, 2012, 12:55:04 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Greek paganism
Posts: 289


Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #2: April 10, 2011, 11:17:31 am »

I see zero evidence for the "matriarchal pre-Hellenic civilization in Greece" and not a lot for the conflict representing the Indo-European invasion.  To be honest, I'm not sure I make anything of it at all as I'm not sure the myths are "coded history" of any type.

Well, the mature goddesses (Hera and Demeter) who were native to the region are rather hostile in myth to the male authority of Zeus and his brothers. In an extremely patriarchal society like ancient Greece, one would expect their goddesses to represent the feminine ideal of being docile and obedient, but the nature of these goddesses suggest greater earlier importance in a different kind of society (maybe not a matriarchal one, but at least a less chauvinistic one than Classical Greece).

As for evidence of matriarchy, nothing is conclusive, but as Rehak and Younger explain: "The prominence of females in Neopalatial art, important mortal women and goddesses... , makes it possible to imagine that women dominated Neopalatial society, perhaps even politics. All human societies, however, ancient and modern, have been patriarchies with men in positions of authority; no matriarchy has ever been documented. But Neopalatial Crete offers the best candidate for matriarchy so far."* While they admit that all documented societies have been patriarchal, the pre-historical civilization of Neopalatial Crete in Greece appears to be one dominated by women. The problem is we just don't know because there are no deciphered written documents to explain this kind of thing. Whether or not it was a matriarchy doesn't really matter, as it's obvious women had a lot more prominence in this age than they did in later periods of Greece. I don't know if it was Indo-Europeans, or just that the Mycenaeans on the Greek mainland, who did not share this social structure in which women were important, but it is evident and perfectly valid to state that an ancient society in which women were prominent fell to a very patriarchal one.

*Rehak, P. and J. Younger. “Minoan Culture: Religion, Burial Customs, and Administration”, C. Shelmerdine (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2008. Page 182.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2011, 11:26:01 am by Carnelian » Logged
Lokabrenna
Senior Apprentice
**
Last Login:December 03, 2012, 09:14:37 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Goddess-oriented Pagan with Vanic tendencies
Posts: 79

Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #3: April 10, 2011, 04:20:09 pm »


Feel free to correct me if I get some of the facts wrong. I'm trying to remember what I learned in the two classes I took on Greek religion (one that was basically Greek mythology 101, and the other was about the religion in general).

I don't think it's so simple as "we had a perfectly fine matriarchal society until those evil patriarchs came along and killed everyone!" as far as I know, that theory was debunked at least a decade ago. (Unfortunately, it still persists in the popular mind.)

Hm, maybe it wasn't a civilization, per se, but perhaps a memory of an older cult to Hera being absorbed into Zeus's cult? I think it's significant that Zeus is the youngest god in the myths. Then again, perhaps it was someone's way of saying: "Well, if you're a woman, married life kind of sucks!" and well, there didn't seem to be a very high opinion of women in general, so Hera being portrayed as a shrill harpy sort of fits.

*shrugs* I honestly have no idea, interesting thread though.
Logged
RandallS
Co-Host
Administrator
Grand Adept Member
*****
Last Login:October 30, 2020, 08:18:05 am
United States United States

Religion: Hellenic Pagan
TCN ID: ADMIN
Posts: 17181


Blog entries (0)


« Reply #4: April 10, 2011, 05:07:17 pm »

Well, the mature goddesses (Hera and Demeter) who were native to the region are rather hostile in myth to the male authority of Zeus and his brothers.

Yes, but it is hard for me to make the leap from this obvious to anyone who has read the myths statement to patriarchal society replacing a matriarchal society -- especially when there is little evidence to support the idea that there ever was a matriarchal society to replace.

Quote
In an extremely patriarchal society like ancient Greece, one would expect their goddesses to represent the feminine ideal of being docile and obedient, but the nature of these goddesses suggest greater earlier importance in a different kind of society (maybe not a matriarchal one, but at least a less chauvinistic one than Classical Greece).

The place of women in ancient Greek society is known to have varied (as did almost everything else) with place and time. Compare women in Sparta vs women in Athens during the classical era for an excellent example. However, even the much older Minoan society does not seem to have been matriarchal. Although as Rehak and Younger state, it is easy to imagine that it could have been somewhere/somewhen in ancient Greece, imagining is much easier than showing it to actually be so.  So far no one has been able to actually show. Given that there are no known examples of a matriarchal society anywhere/anywhen on the planet, I think the standard of proof needs to be fairly high to accept that one that is easy to imagine as matriarchal actually was.

Quote
I don't know if it was Indo-Europeans, or just that the Mycenaeans on the Greek mainland, who did not share this social structure in which women were important, but it is evident and perfectly valid to state that an ancient society in which women were prominent fell to a very patriarchal one.

I will not argue that this is not possible as it is certainly quite possible. One can have a patriarchal society where women can be very prominent (the US and Western Europe today, for example) and patriarchal societies where women are almost non-entities (Saudi Arabia today). One could certainly have fallen to the other, but I don't think the relationship between the male and female Olympians is solid evidence that it happened as their relationships can be read in so many different ways.
Logged

Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog - Forum] -- Out Of Print & Out Of Style Tabletop Roleplaying Games
Software Gadgets Blog -- Interesting Software, Mostly Free
Cheap Web Hosting -- Find an Affordable Web Host
Lokabrenna
Senior Apprentice
**
Last Login:December 03, 2012, 09:14:37 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Goddess-oriented Pagan with Vanic tendencies
Posts: 79

Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #5: April 10, 2011, 10:02:51 pm »

Given that there are no known examples of a matriarchal society anywhere/anywhen on the planet...

Actually, I know of one. There's a group of people in Yunnan Province in China who are matriarchal. I remember hearing about it on the local news ages ago. You can read about their society here: http://www.thingsasian.com/stories-photos/3481

I can try to find a more credible source, but this article basically repeats what I heard in the news. I wish I could find that story. They had video of it and everything.

Anyways, the existence of one society by no means indicates that there ever was a Great Universal Matriarchy in Which People Were Peaceful Until the Patriarchs Came Along, and aren't the terms "matriarchy" and "patriarchy" a little misleading, in that they imply that only fathers and mothers hold all the power? So, does that mean single women are left out in the cold? Ugh, I just can't win, can I?

Okay, went off on a tangent there! (A tangent that went like, halfway across the globe lol). I'll just shut up now.
Logged

Donor Ad: Become a Silver or Gold Donor to get your ad here.

Tags:
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

* Share this topic...
In a forum
(BBCode)
In a site/blog
(HTML)


Related Topics
Subject Started by Replies Views Last post
Gods and Goddesses
Paganism For Beginners
Aurelia 12 6285 Last post August 07, 2008, 11:03:56 pm
by CrimsonSheep
Do Your Goddesses/Gods or God Have a Plan? « 1 2 3 »
Paganism For Beginners
Spectacular Views 41 12831 Last post November 30, 2010, 07:24:41 pm
by Sky Samuelle
Do people still worship the Greek/Roman gods/goddesses? « 1 2 »
Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology
GoldenWolf 27 20706 Last post May 13, 2010, 02:18:45 pm
by NibbleKat
for those with goddesses/gods « 1 2 »
Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology
sparrow125 20 9652 Last post April 04, 2011, 08:42:16 pm
by Nomad of Nowhere
How Your Gods/Goddesses Appear « 1 2 »
Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology
Winter Lavender 24 12580 Last post July 02, 2011, 12:36:57 pm
by teo715
EU Cookie Notice: This site uses cookies. By using this site you consent to their use.


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines
TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.053 seconds with 38 queries.