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Dr. Maciej Paprocki

Postdoctoral Fellow: November 2015 - Oktober 2018
Focus Area: Organisation of Memory and Forgetting


Between power and vulnerability: depictions of political tensions between families of Zeus and Hyperion in Ancient Greek literature

My research project aims to study relations between Greek deities in terms of the divine court politics. Ancient Greek mythological narratives celebrate and assert Zeus' victories over other gods: accordingly, they subtly marginalise and suppress perspectives of those independent deities who can potentially threaten his rule. One such divine family are Hyperionides: Selene (Moon), Eos (Dawn), Helios (Sun) and his offspring, witches (Odysseus' Circe, Minotaur's mother Pasiphaë and murderous Medea) and kings (Aeëtes, guardian of the Golden Fleece).
I argue that certain depictions of Hyperionides reflect submerged political tensions between them and Zeus, as texts incongruously accentuate their raw power or vulnerability. I believe that such scorning depictions reflect hidden political tensions between the Titan’s descendants and Zeus: narratives focusing on Olympians subtly disparage and marginalise Hyperionides, because these independent and formidable deities—the only branch of the Titan family that has not been co-opted or imprisoned—can potentially threaten Zeus’ rule.
This project's aim is to explore the position occupied by Hyperionides in Zeus' divine society: to achieve it, I will consider how selected Ancient Greek texts of culture transfer agency from Hyperionides to Zeus and his kin, with a special focus on functional parallels and antagonisms between (1) Zeus, Helios and Aeëtes and (2) Aphrodite, Pasiphaë and Medea.