Jacquera Black

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Throughout Roman society, for emperors and slaves alike, myth was primarily used to communicate messages about power and status. Do you agree with this statement?

Posted by Creative Writers on August 23, 2017 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)
Myths naturally have a didactic effect but although they were often used by Roman society, by those from the higher echelons, the emperors and Equestrians, right down to those of lower class, the Plebeians and slaves, to communicate messages about power and status, their use was actually far more complex. Therefore this assignment will examine this complexity, arguing that myths actually had a far larger role in the lives of those who would have come into daily contact (Hughes et al, 2011, p.131) with them whilst acknowledging that they were still used as a means of controlling the actions and the thoughts of Roman society. It could be argued that Augustus used myths to establish his power as he turned the republic of Rome into an empire. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.108) For instance, similar to many amongst the higher Roman classes, he linked himself to the gods and heroes (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.143) by portraying himself as descended from prince Aeneas, (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.144) the son of Aphrodite. (Grimal et al, 1991, p.20) This divine ancestry was alluded to by the dolphin and cupid shown by the foot (Hughes et al, 2011, p.108) of the Prima Porta marble statue of Augustus. (Figure 2.2, Hughes et al, 2011, p.109) Virgils Aeneid points to a relationship between the two men with Aeneas shield described as showing Augustus Caesar, leading the men of Italy into battle. (Virgil translated by West, 1991, p.209-13 quoted in Primary Source 2.3, 2010, p.32) Aeneas visit to Evanders home, which is near to the place where Augustus house would be built, appears in another part of Virgils Aeneid, (Warde Fowler, 1918, p.74-76 quoted in Hughes et al, 2011, p.115) is also suggestive of a connection. He even had a statue of Aeneas put up in the imperial Forum, (Hughes et al, 2011, p.108) alongside one of another mythic figure Augustus associated himself with. Romulus founded Rome, becoming its first king (Slayman, 2007, p.23-7 quoted in Secondary Source 2.1, 2010, p.138) and the father of [the] city. (Livy translated by de Selincourt, 1960, p.33-51 quoted in Primary source 2.1, 2010, p.29) Augustus saw himself as descended from Romulus, (Slayman, 2007, p.23-7 quoted in Secondary Source 2.1, 2010, p,145) this connection is seen in the image of the curule chair he is seated on in a coin, (Figure 2.3, Hughes et al, 2011, p.113) which was one of Romulus signs of power. (Livy translated by de Selincourt 1960, p.33-51 quoted in Primary source 2.1, 2010, p.23) This meant that if Augustus was related to Romulus and Remus, he was related to their father Mars, (Morford et al, 2011, p.679) the god of war. Nevertheless, Augustus chose the god Apollo as his personal god, taking on the symbols of the god, claiming his protection and building a temple for him. (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.144) Therefore, after years of civil war and instability (Morford et al, 2011, p.672) Augustus was able to bring in a new golden age (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.144) by using his connection to these mythical figures and gods to look backward to the custom of the past whilst looking forward to the revolution of the present and future (Hughes et al, 2011, p.108) and styling himself as the ???second founder of Rome.??? (Hughes et al, 2011, p.108) Nero promised to model his rule on the principles laid down by Augustus??? (Suetonius translated by Graves, 1979, p.218-20, 222-7, 246-7 quoted in Primary Source 2.5, 2010, p.34) but unlike Augustus, who used myths to gain power and create an empire, Nero used them to increase his status, and counteract his bad reputation. (Hughes, 2011, p.135) Performance, with a mythological slant, for instance his first song recital before the altar of Jupiter Cassius (Suetonius translated by Graves, 1979, p.218-20, 222-7, 246-7 quoted in Primary Source 2.5, 2010, p.37) became a way for Nero to share his ideas, (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.158) and communicate messages to the Roman people (Hughes et al, 2011, p.140) by comparing himself with Greek heroes. (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.152) Those watching were used to myths being used by their leaders, (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.147) such as a coin which was produced of Nero with aspects of Apollo, (Plate 2.8, 2010, p.30) but Nero took one step more. He was able to personally explore, contextualise and even justify his own actions (Hughes et al, 2011, p.140) by getting involved with the presentations of myth, thereby increasing his popularity and becoming one of the crowd, (Hughes et al, 2011, p.139) entertaining them by acting out the parts of mythic heroes himself. But instead of being just one of the actors, he would wear a mask which displayed his own face. Therefore, when he played the part of Orestes, who had killed his own mother to avenge the murder of his father Agamemnon, (Grimal et al, 1991, p.312) Orestes became Nero. (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.147) Champlin argues that this could have been Neros way of justifying himself over the death of his mother Agrippina. (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.148) Another role Nero acted was that of Hercules who killed his wife and sons when Hera drove him mad. But with Neros face on the mask, the story became more personable, alluding to the death of his pregnant second wife Poppaea, thereby admitting his guilt but once again justifying himself. (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.156) Nero used myths to distance himself from what he had done (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.152) and turned himself into a hero, presenting himself as something special sent from the gods, a rescuer, a liberator, a protector. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.144) Ultimately, because of his performances, he was compared to Phoebus Apollo and the Sun God. (Suetonius translated by Graves, 1979, p.218-20, 222-7, 246-7 quoted in Primary Source 2.5, 2010, p.39) Augustus and Nero were not the only ones to use myth to gain power and improve their status. Normal, everyday people also used them. The commemorative memorial of former slave Petronia Grata, (Hughes et al, 2011, p.153) who died in the first century CE, has a carving inspired by the myth of Aeneas, but populated by the woman and her family members, (Plate 2.14, 2010, p.36) thereby identifying themselves with the story. Myths were also used in peoples homes and were meant to be seen by others.??? (Hughes et al, 2011, p.156) Decorations such as a first century CE painting of Apollo (Figure 2.17, Hughes et al, 2011, p.158) would have shown an allegiance to Nero, who had taken the god as his god,(Hughes et al, 2011, p.136) much like Augustus. Plus the owner of such decorations would have been trying to make themselves seem educated, cultured, and worthy of a good social status. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.161) But the drive to use myths to impress others, and send messages about power and status did not always work. Sometimes an individual would actually show themselves as uneducated by getting myths wrong. Petronius wrote a play about a man, Trimalchio, who tried to use myths to impress but ultimately showed that he was bluffing his way through them. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.162) For instance, he talks about how Cassandra killed her sons [and] Daedalus [shut] Niobe in the Trojan Horse, (Petronius translated by Sullivan, 1965, p.46-7, 50-1, 64, 71 quoted in Primary Source 2.19, 2010, p.59) which are obviously wrong. Therefore, his desire to increase his status by using myths misfired. Similar was true with Nero. He wanted to increase his status, but some of those from the higher classes complained that Nero had thrown off the dignity of sovereignty (Dio Cassius translated by Cary, 1925, p.45-7, 53-5, 73-81, 109, 137-9, 151-3, 169-71, Primary 2.7, 2010, p.45) by acting in plays, seen by the masses, that it was wrong and he was belittling his position. Critics said that he was not ruling Rome properly as he was too caught up with his desire to act and be involved in entertaining others. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.137-8) Augustus also found the use of myths backfiring. Virgils shield of Aeneas also included possible negative connotations when it referred to the violent rape of the Sabines (Virgil translated by West, 1991, p.209-13 quoted in Primary Source 2.3, 2010, p.31) which Romans might have connected with Augustus taking another mans wife. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.119) From gladiators given mythic names to criminals acting out myths, (Cameron, 2004, p.220-4, 228-38 quoted in Secondary Source 2.5, 2010, p.194-5) the society of ancient Rome thought of myths as part of their daily lives, something that they all shared, a common currency (Hughes et al, 2011, p.157) that was understood on some level by all. The people of Rome had their daily lives saturated by the stories and events of the past (Champlin, 2003, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, 2010, p.145) which affected their present and future even if they had a very basic knowledge of myths and only saw them as entertainment. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.161) Because it was widespread, and was a major part of their culture, (Hughes et al, 2011, p.163) it became the glue that bound Roman society together. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.168) It did this because the entertainment of myths, like all media, had didactic leanings far above communicating messages about power and status. It was more than a way for an individual or group to have control over another. Myths had the potential to teach the hearer about life, or give a cursory warning, for instance to be careful. Such a myth is that of Actaeon which communicates the importance of feeding dogs properly. (Cameron, 2004, p.220-4, 228-38 quoted in Secondary Source 2.5, 2010, p.197) Myths communicated messages about life and death and human relationships (Hughes et al, 2011, p.179) but often it was up to the listener to interpret what they meant personally to them which often depended on their education. Writers would often try to communicate messages of power and status to Roman society around the topic of death, the afterlife and religion. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.175) Stories such as Tantalus cringing beneath [a] rock (Bernstein, 1993, p.107-29 quoted in Secondary Source, 2010, p.244) would have terrified the listener into seeking out other stories that comforted them. But this was not always the case. Although ancient writers suggested that the Plebeians and lower classes simply thought the stories they had written were real, others disagreed and argued that Hades was fiction and no-one, bar the very youngest, actually believed them. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.175-6) Therefore some would write about fortunate death (Cicero translated by Ker, 1926, p.637 quoted in Primary Source 2.24, 2010, p.63) or death is nothing to us (Lutretius translated by Geer, 1965, p.105-106 quoted in Primary Source 2.21, 2010, p.61) as a way of showing they were not afraid of death or worried with false terrors. (Seneca translated by Hope, 2007, p.227 quoted in Primary Source 2.28, 2010, p.67) Nevertheless, some found security in the myths. (Hughes et al, 2011, p.181) In conclusion, although myths were used didactically, both by emperors and those of lower classes, this was not their only use. Augustus used myths to show his connections to mythic characters and gods so he could gain power whereas Nero used them to communicate messages to improve his status as did other Romans. But using myths did not always communicate messages about power and status because messages could be misconstrued, totally ignored, not believed and communicated something totally different. Ultimately, myths were not primarily used to communicate messages about power and status because they were far more complex. 2024 words Bibliography Primary Cicero, Cicero Philippics 14.12.32 translated by Ker, W.C.A. (1926) Cicero, Philippics, the Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge MA and London, Harvard University Press and William Heineman, p,637 quoted in Primary Source 2.24, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Dio Cassius, Neros spectacles translated by Cary, E. (1925) Dio Cassius: Roman History, Books LXI-LXX. The Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge MA and London, Harvard University Press, quoted in Primary 2.7, The Open University, (2010) Myths in the Greek and Roman Worlds: Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Figure 2.2, Hughes, J and Hope, V. (2011) Block 2 Myths in Rome: power, life and afterlife, second edition, Milton Keynes, Open University. Figure 2.3, Hughes, J and Hope, V. (2011) Block 2 Myths in Rome: power, life and afterlife, second edition, Milton Keynes, Open University. Figure 2.17, Hughes, J and Hope, V. (2011) Block 2 Myths in Rome: power, life and afterlife, second edition, Milton Keynes, Open University. Livy translated by de Selincourt, A. (1960) Livy, extract from the Early History of Rome, p.33-51 quoted in Primary source 2.1, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Lutretius, Lucretius, on Nature 3.830-69 translated by Geer, R.M. (1965) Lutretius: On Nature, the Library of Liberal Arts, New York, Bobbs-Merrill Company, p.105-106 quoted in Primary Source 2.21, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Petronius, Petronius, extracts from The Satyricon translated by Sullivan, J. (1965) Petronius: The Satyricon and The Fragments, Harmondsworth, Penguin, p.46-7, 50-1, 64, 71 quoted in Primary Source 2.19, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Plate 2.8, (2010) Coins of Nero, A330 Myths in the Greek and Roman worlds, Visual Sources, Milton Keynes, Open University. Plate 2.14, (2010) Funerary altar of Petronia Grata, A330 Myths in the Greek and Roman worlds, Visual Sources, Milton Keynes, Open University. Seneca, Seneca, Consolation to Marcia 19.4-5, translated by Hope, V.M. (2007) Death in Ancient Rome: A Sourcebook, Abingdon, Routledge, p.227 quoted in Primary Source 2.28, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Suetonius, Suetonius, Neros entertainment translated by Graves, R. (1979) Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus: The Twelve Caesars, revised by Grant, M, Harmonsworth, Penguin, p.218-20, 222-7, 246-7 quoted in Primary Source 2.5, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Virgil, Virgil, The shield of Aeneas (The Aeneid 8.609-732) translated by West, D. (1991) Virgil: The Aeneid, A New Prose Translation, Harmondsworth, Penguin, p.209-13 quoted in Primary Source 2.3, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Secondary Bernstein, A.E. (1993), Alan E. Bernstein Useful death, in The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds, London, UCL Press, Chapter 4, p.107-29 quoted in Secondary Source, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Cameron, A. (2004) Alan Cameron, Myth and society, in Greek Mythography in the Roman World, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p.220-4, 228-38 quoted in Secondary Source 2.5, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Champlin, E. (2003) Edward Champlin, Nero, in Nero, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, p.92-111, 126-32, 200-209 quoted in Secondary Source 2.2, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University. Warde Fowler, W. (1918) Aeneas at the Site of Rome, Oxford, Blackwell, p.74-76 quoted in Hughes, J and Hope, V. (2011) Block 2 Myths in Rome: power, life and afterlife, second edition, Milton Keynes, Open University. Grimal, P., Kershaw, S. and Maxwell-Hyslop, A.R. (1991 [1951]). The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology. London, England: Penguin Books. Hughes, J and Hope, V. (2011) Block 2 Myths in Rome: power, life and afterlife, second edition, Milton Keynes, Open University. Morford. M.P.O, Lenardon, R.J and Sham, M. (2011) Classical Mythology. 9th Edition, New York. Oxford University Press. Slayman, A. (2007) Fact or Legend? Debate over the origins of Rome, in Fact or Legend? Debate over the origins of Rome, Archaeology, vol.60, no.4, July/ August 2007, p.23-7 quoted in Secondary Source 2.1, (2010) Textual Sources 1, Milton Keynes, Open University.

Haikus

Posted by jacquera on August 13, 2012 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Star light, and the moon,

 

blanked out by the clouds that hang

 

in the sky so dark.


 

 

Walking against the

 

wind so harsh, fighting to walk

 

forward and not back.


 

 

Cats miow, dogs wuff,

 

humans greet each other with

 

shouting and a punch.


 

 

Mother protects child,

 

she would surrender all for

 

the one whom she loves.


 

 

 

 

Bleary, tired, aching

 

eyes, greet the sunlight and wince,

 

a new day started.


 

 

Invisible, but

 

always there, surrounds me and

 

fills my lungs with life.


 

 

 

Fluffy, huggable,

 

Smooth soft fur shines of life’s gift

 

on a dead stuffed toy.


 

 

Clean, pure, unsullied, fresh,

 

falling, fast, slow, spinning down,

 

covers wrongs with white.


 

 

 

Grey, heavy laden

 

sunlight trying to power

 

its way through the sky.


 

 

 

 

 

Hot, steamy, sends a

 

shiver down my back as I

 

step into my bath.

 

 

 

The End

Posted by jacquera on August 13, 2012 at 5:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Not going to be doing this blog anymore, nearly a year since I last wrote in it.  I keep forgetting it.  But for now, I will religate it to the end of the website.

Long time, no write...

Posted by jacquera on September 17, 2011 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Again.  In my defence, I've been busy with the summer holidays, my kids and getting a head start on my courses.

Feeling really tired today, so that's it for today.

Goodnight.

Jacki.

Painting...

Posted by jacquera on July 9, 2011 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Have painted half the lounge with green paint, but needs a second coat, but have loads of green paint still.  Nearly all of Ben's room with red paint, kids helped!  It needs a second coat but have run out of paint.    Will buy some more next week.  Amy painted the girls' room with red and blue paint mixed together to make purple paint, it also needs a second coat.  The floor is a bit red and purple up stairs, the lounge floor is okay but I did that on my own.  Think I will finish the lounge today, Amy can do the second coat of paint in her room, probably tomorrow.  And then I will start on the landing/ stairs/ hallway.  Have 10 ltrs of blue paint for all of that.  Might not be enough but will buy some more if I need to when I get the red paint.  Definately got the painting bug as am considering painting the kitchen and bathroom and my room too.

As to other stuff, went to the gym yesterday, and went to see my mum.  My sister came over from Altrincham so saw her too, was lovely to see her.

Going to do some housework now and then some painting.

Jacki.

The dark side...

Posted by jacquera on July 6, 2011 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Is where I'm going today...  need to do housework.  Groan.  Much rather read a book but I suppose, its got to be done.  Going to buy some emulsion soon and start painting my hallway, stairs, landing... joy.

Jacki.

Gym...

Posted by jacquera on June 29, 2011 at 1:49 AM Comments comments (0)

Been going to the gym loads, on Monday I went to circuits for an hour, aqua aerobics for half an hour and then spent about two hours in the gym going on various equipment, treadmill, cross trainer, rower, upright bike, reclining bike, weights for legs, weights for triceps.  And also did about half an hour of walking, so four hours of exercise.

Think I overdid it a bit, muscle in one of my legs has been aching since, though only when I walk, and only when I start to walk, it eases after a time.

Would have liked to have gone to the gym today but I think I will leave it.  Am hoping to be able to go tomorrow, ex is having the kids for the day so if I drop them off early enough I should be able to make my circuits class.  Am also thinking about going on friday for an hour.  Have the dentist at quarter past 10 so just have to walk around later.  But it depends on how my muscles feel.

Today, I think I will try to do a bit of housework and then read.

Or do some on a course I've started, writing for children with the open college of the arts, have to do some stuff about trends of children's literature.

Jacki.

Wow...

Posted by jacquera on June 16, 2011 at 1:58 AM Comments comments (0)

Not been here for ages once again.  Posted last in April and it is now June.  

What have I been up to?

Well, I've finished both world archaeology and advanced creative writing, just waiting for the results now.  My overall mark for the first part of advanced creative writing is 84.35% whereas the threshold for a distiction pass is 85%.  I am so near, hoping that I've done well enough in my last assignment that it will be bumped up to a distinction, though level 2 is good too.

My last assignment was a just over 4,000 word story set in Jericho around 6,000 BC, used some of the stuff I learnt in world archaeology to make it accurate.  It is a story about a missing girl, and her friend who never knows what happened to her.  

Okay, what now?  Just about to start a course with the open college of the arts, writing for children.  Got the course things yesterday but haven't had too much of a chance to look through them yet.  I've emailed my tutor and told her a bit about myself.

I will also be doing EA300 children's literature this october and am reading the books on the shortlist, or will be when I've finised reading through the carnegie medal shortlist for 2011.  On my fourth book of six at the moment, but nearly finished.

And I'm also going to the gym.  I go to circuits twice a week, including today, pilates once a week, and go in the gym too.  Going to do circuits today and then will go in the gym afterward for half an hour or so.

And lastly, will be taking Bethany, my 11 year old, to Palatine school next monday because she will be spending the day there, and the next three mondays too, because she starts there in september.  There's also going to be an open evening on the second monday, hopefully find out what class she is going to be in because I can't get some of her uniform until I know that because there are four different ties and four different pe shirts, dependant on what house group the child is in, and that is dependant on what class they are in.  

Jacki.

Absence...

Posted by jacquera on April 8, 2011 at 2:21 AM Comments comments (0)

I haven't written anything in this blog for ages.  Just keep forgetting to write stuff.  Been really busy being ill, and trying to keep up with my courses.  Have only one assignment left now for my advanced creative writing course, the end of course assignment.  Sent my last tutor marked one in the other day and am now waiting for the result, hoping for a good one.

My marks so far have been 83%, 84%, 84%, 2 (this assignment was just a pass/ fail one and I passed,) and 85%.  If I get 87% for the assignment being marked at the moment, I will have an overall mark of 85% for the tutor marked assignment.  And if I get 85% for my end of course assignment, I will get a level one pass, or a distinction.  Yay.  That is what I'm hoping for anyway.

Need to go, I will try to write again here soon.

Jacki.

Been feeling ill...

Posted by jacquera on January 13, 2011 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

And that is why I haven't written anything recently.  Had an operation 7 weeks ago and it has been making me feel very ill, even now.  Hopefully I will start feeling better soon.


Jacki.


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