I'm please to share the second of the abstracts for Athena: Sharing New Research on 3 June, by Dr Maciej Paprocki of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München:
Trickster Athena as a granddaughter of Okeanos and Tethys.
Athena, the sovereign mistress of cunning intelligence, has many an opposite number among Greek deities: for example, Vernant and Detienne in their Cunning intelligence in Greek culture and society observe and discuss functional similarities and contiguities between Athena, Metis, Thetis, Hephaistos and Hermes—archetypal trickster deities, deft at binding magic (1991/1974: 140-144, 181-183, 300-305). In this presentation, I build on Detienne and Vernant’s observations and postulate that such deities form a fuzzy ‘trickster’ class in the Greek pantheon, linked by their shared matrilineal genealogy in Hesiod’s Theogony, descending them from Okeanos and Tethys.
Shadowy, sly shapeshifters learned in magical arts, (great-)grandchildren of Okeanos comprise some of the craftiest and grandest trickster gods of Greece: into their group one may include descendants by birth (Kalypso, Maia, Hermes, Athena, Prometheus, Kirke, Medea, Metis, Thetis) and descendants by adoption (Hera through Tethys and Hephaistos through Thetis and Eurynome). In the Theogony, Hesiod’s obliquely expresses his theological convictions through carefully planned divine marriages and resultant offspring. I argue that the poet instinctively understood functional similarities between trickster-type deities and thus traced their descent from Okeanos and Tethys, primordial gods of transformation and change: transcending Hesiod, the Okeanos trickster genealogy lingers in later Greek works, with authors conceptually juxtaposing these deities in their works.
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