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Cosmology and the Polis: The Social Construction of Space and Time in the Tragedies of Aeschylus

By Richard Seaford

This ebook extra develops Professor Seaford's leading edge paintings at the research of formality and funds within the constructing Greek polis. It employs the concept that of the chronotope, which refers back to the phenomenon wherein the spatial and temporal frameworks particular or implicit in a textual content have a similar constitution and uncovers a number of such chronotopes within the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and specifically the tragedies of Aeschylus. Mikhail Bakhtin's pioneering use of the chronotope was once in literary research. This learn in contrast derives the diversity of chronotopes happen in Greek texts from the range of socially integrative practices within the constructing polis - particularly reciprocity, collective ritual, and monetised trade. specifically, the tragedies of Aeschylus embodies the reassuring absorption of the recent and perilous monetised chronotope into the normal chronotope that arises from collective ritual with its aetiological delusion.

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Yet she does so basically after she has taken up place within the temple outfitted by way of the dmos at Eleusis (her preliminary exile is one of the ‘rich works’ of humankind). This hold up isn't really required via the narrative. Its element particularly is to find the next vertical interconnection of the cosmos, with the go back of Persephone and of the corn, firmly within the Eleusinian temple, the place it will likely be celebrated sooner or later. Cereal agriculture is during this advanced of fable and formality valuable to the constitution of the cosmos. extra particularly it embodies – in addition to the go back of Persephone – the important interconnection of the cosmos. this is often an strange cosmology. in contrast the Homeric cosmos is established via the social establishment of inheritance in the family. What has, for the Eleusinian cosmology, changed the constitution supplied via inheritance? The polis emerges by way of restricting the autonomy of person families during the improvement of a unmarried political authority over a unified territory. basic this is cereal agriculture, which calls for extra communal defence of (communally outlined) land than does farm animals. forty-one the significance of cereal agriculture to the Eleusinian cosmology displays the starting to be significance of communally outlined agricultural territory because the foundation for a brand new form of group. In Homer agriculture was once quite unimportant (1A), yet could be well-known in our dialogue of Aeschylus. At Eleusis the significance of agriculture is expressed in geographic area as masking the entire earth,42 and in (vertical) cosmic house as interconnecting the cosmos. and maybe this cosmic interconnection additionally has a selected function in expressing the team spirit not just of the land yet of the folk united by way of the land. For it used to be at a polis competition that the massed initiands activated the benefits of Demeter by means of encapsulating geographic and cosmic house in the rapid, outlined, shared area of the telestrion, her temple43 outfitted via the group in its relation to the land (the dmos). The boundary among this international and subsequent is dissolved, and the underworld itself is imagined as a shared area, just like the underworld meadow that includes the nameless mass of processing Eleusinian initiates in Aristophanes’ Frogs. forty four we'll in the end speak about additional proof for the Eleusinian procession expressing the identification of the polis (2F). the distance of the Homeric underworld, in contrast, is – like Homeric house usually – really undefined (1A). The curiosity is quite within the legendary people with whom Odysseus (though no longer his partners) converses, while humans en masse look as a wretched, bloodstained, and scary mass collected on the blood in Odysseus’ sacrificial trench (Od. eleven. 36–43), as receiving the decisions of Minos (569–71) and as emitting a worried clamour (539, 632–3). In Homer family members among males of other families count principally on inter-personal reciprocity, now not on shared public house, and for that reason there are almost no processions, only a few temples, only a few outlined components (in this international or the next), and no political assemblies which are something except useless or disastrous.

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