Month: September 2020

Apu Ollantay

Inca Theatre

Theatre and stage performances are used to act out a real-life or imaginative act for an audience; the idea of theatre is to provide entertainment for others through art performances. These types of setting in entertainment are commonly found in all sorts of ancient cultures. The Greeks, the Japanese, and even The Romans used this style of art to give a performance. This style was very broad in other cultures and was commonly used as you can tell. As for the Quecha Indians, this was not different for them. The uprise of stage performances and theatre all started after the Incas celebrated their territorial defeat. The plays that they acted out gave symbolized comedies and tragedies throughout Cusco, Peru. These plays were also a way to remember past ancestors and tell stories about heroes (Apu Ollantay).

I chose this image to put in my blog to show how a theatre would have looked like back then during that period. The spiral seating that rises higher and higher gives off an arena like seating. This makes it easier for people to see the stage theatre back then.

I chose this image to put in my blog to show how a theatre would have looked like back then during that period. The spiral seating that rises higher and higher gives off an arena like seating. This makes it easier for people to see the stage theatre back then.

 The dramatic plays were driven by the Incas, and dramatic performances were acted out before the Inca period. The way of interconnection established between the Incas and Western Amazonian societies are still unknown in studies interested in the Pre-Columbian history of South America. The Incas had two types of genres they would generally stick with which was wanka and aránway. The wanka genre consisted of a memorable and historical character, while aránway had a broader genre that dealt with the everyday lives of an Inca person in their performances.

Apu Ollantay background:

Apu Ollantay was first originally written in Quechua and was first published in 1853 by the author names of J.J. Von Tschudi. After this was published, many more variations started to come along in other languages such as Spanish and French.

The story of Apu Ollantay:

The piece of literature tells the story of Ollantay. Ollantay was a heroic and faithful warrior from Antisuyu who fell in love with Cusi Coyllur, who was an Inca princess. Cusi was the daughter of the emperor Inca Pachacuti. While reading more into the story, the approval from Cusi’s mother was accepted but the father of Cusi was in denial of the relationship. This was very interesting to read because this can now be like a modern-day love story; you have the protective father over the daughter and the mother’s approval. In the story, Ollantay was even more despised because he did not have any royal blood in him. Ollantay was in very much denial and sadness when the emperor kept rejecting over and over. Ollantay began to rebel against his words and war began to erupt. Ten years had passed, and the father of Cusi forgave Ollantay and gave him a hand as an Incan representative. In the end, the two lovers Ollantay and Cusi Coyllur are together and they had a baby before all this mess and war had happened. Now they can peacefully be united as a whole.

Parental Love Symbol and Other Symbols:

Apu Ollantay symbolizes parental love and the bond that should be made. This symbol has been important in many past down stories teaching about good morals and practices. The idea of parental love is a strong symbol of an unbreakable strength between two important people. This being said other symbols and themes of Apu Ollantay were manifesting and manipulating oneself. An example was when Ollantay claimed his spot in front of Pachacuti as the new king of the country.

Works Cited:

“APU OLLANTAY.” Apu Ollantay, www.gutenberg.org/files/9068/9068-h/9068-h.htm.

Images:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4f/Moray_-_Qechuyoq.JPG

https://www.lifeder.com/personajes-de-ollantay/

http://laliteraturaylaspalabras.blogspot.com/2014/12/el-ollantay.html

 

Sappho Induces Serotonin

Hey, howdy, hi, and welcome back to my blog!  This week we are going to talk about an ancient Greek poet by the name of Sappho.

Sappho

Sappho was born around 630 B.C. on the Greek Island of Lesbos.  She committed most of her life to running a school for unwedded women on the island of Lesbos.  After that, the other factors and characteristics of Sappho’s existence are pretty subjective.  She is one of the women that history remembers, but detail forgot.

Sappho’s school, on the island of Lesbos, was what inspired the term Lesbian in the 19th century.  While there is no “definitive” proof that Sappho, or anyone at her school, were attracted to the fairer sex, it is widely believed in the academic community.  This is one reason that so little of her work exists today.  There was a period of time where Sappho’s work was burned by the church, if you believe the stories.

The rad thing about Sappho is that she is one of the only female poets who has surviving work that aren’t just fragments.  The Norton Anthology really praises her work, as it should, and paints a picture of this woman, living in a school closed off to men, writing poetry that seemed to be a direct middle finger to the epic.  Sappho’s poetry, unlike Homer’s, wasn’t meant to be read on a flat service by candle light on the battlefield, preparing men to give their life for their citadel.  Sappho’s poetry was to be performed with a live band; performed by women, for women.  Whether these performances were in public, or in private, we will never know.

http://www.elpunt.cat

Her Poetry

Sappho’s talent really is undeniable, in my opinion, from the first stanza or line you read.  The Norton Anthology gave us quite a selection of her pieces, what remains at least.  One of the things that I appreciate about Sappho’s content, is the fact that it is mostly focused on women.  That isn’t really something that we see in older writing, and as progressive as the Greeks were, they were really no different.  The women in her poetry are quite multifaceted which I appreciate, and something I honestly wasn’t prepared to see in ancient literature.  The women are children, daughters, sisters, and lovers.  They control their own narratives.

The men in the piece are also seen as multiple things.  They are servants, fathers, brothers, lovers, and even personifications of nature.  They are powerful and decently well rounded within the style of the text.  While the descriptions of the genders seem to be equitably distributed, with neither of them being described as better or more powerful than the other, the style it is written would say differently.  Gender also seems to be one of the driving aspects of Sappho’s many narratives.  When she does write about men, it is hardly ever in the “Main character” or “speaker” position.  She created these pieces that weave and exude femininity within their lines.  Creating noticeable differences between the genders. Without the differences in them, the pieces would not be nearly as long, and because of this the genders are seen in multiple ways.  You see this especially in the poems that mention any of the male Greek Gods, such as Zeus and Hades.  

Religion is also heavily present throughout her work.  This is common for the time period, as most Ancient Greek authors and poets wrote about their Gods and Goddesses, the main difference though, is that while the epic, such as the Odyssey and the Iliad used the Gods as a means to drive the ideals of conflict and war, the Gods in Sappho’s work were used mainly as a way to explain the day to day.  Aphrodite is the Goddess that is most seen throughout the poems.  The Goddess of love, marriage, and sex.  Aphrodite is the epitome of feminine beauty and power, so it makes sense that a poet such as Sappho, one so entuned with the ideals of feminine power, and empowerment, would focus on her.

In the Norton Anthology, page 621, the poem fragment titled, “102” says:  “Truly, sweet mother, I cannot weave on the loom, for I am overcome with desire for a boy because of slender Aphrodite.”  The fragment is a great example of the kid of content that Sappho was known for.  She uses short sentences, that could easily be sung, to explain a day in the life of a young Greek girl, in love.  She praises the Goddess Aphrodite, and includes yet another female figure in the mother.

Sappho created her own form, still utilized today.  Sapphic Stanza can be seen in most of her work.  Four line stanzas with a highly recognizable meter, that has been used in the centuries since the woman herself coined the style.  You see this form especially in “The Brother’s Poem” which can be found in the Norton Anthology on page 623.  She made the form of a lyric, named so because it should be accompanied by a lyre, her bitch, as the kids would say.

Her love poem’s could be a genre all on their own.  Sappho writes love poems the way that they should be written:  with detail and abandon.  This is one of the reasons that the church burned her work.  The church saw Sappho as this wanton woman, only trying to make waves in a pond where waves shouldn’t exist.  On page 623 we see this brazenly apparent in “The Cypris Poem”.  “How can a person not be so often distressed, Queen Cypris, about someone you want so much to make your own?”  The use of another woman as the all knowing here, is something to behold in ancient poetry.

Overall, the thing about Sappho that makes her a poet that has withstood the test of time, is that her poetry was relatable, and still is thousands of years later.  She wrote for the people, she wrote for the woman, and she wrote for all.  Her style has stayed prevalent throughout time, and continues to be utilized today.  It makes you wonder, what would the world be like if Sappho’s poetry had made it through in more than just fragments?  What would the face of literature be if we had more of her works to fully understand what this wild, wanton woman was all about?

 

Citations:

The Norton Anthology of World Literature,4th edition, vol. A. W. Norton & Company, 2020. pp. 1294-1303

Mendelsohn, D., 2020. How Gay Was Sappho?. [online] The New Yorker. Available at: <https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/16/girl-interrupted> [Accessed 3 September 2020].

Images:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thefamouspeople.com%2Fprofiles%2Fsappho-37190.php&psig=AOvVaw0oTI2ZFVB8xm-RCNZ4teKG&ust=1600527131099000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCPjGqa368usCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAV

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.peterharrington.co.uk%2Fblog%2F399463-2%2F&psig=AOvVaw0oTI2ZFVB8xm-RCNZ4teKG&ust=1600527131099000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCPjGqa368usCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAb

 

 

The Guidance of the Jātaka

Hello! Welcome to my blog! I am happy that you are here on the journey to learn a little bit more about other religions and, most importantly, The Jātaka. On a personal note, I love the teachings of these stories that I will talk about later and they always reminded me about one of my favorite shows, Avatar the Last Airbender so I hope you enjoy my references as much as I do.

As mentioned by the Norton Anthology, “The Jātaka, a set of 547 tales, is one of the books in the canon of Buddhist scripture” (1294). It was composed of three parts, which all focused on different parts of life and the meaning behind things. It is also said to be, “a record of the Buddha’s actions in the world in his previous lives” (1295).

What does that even mean?

This description means that the Jātakas is used as a spiritual text for the Buddhist community. These stories are set out on helping people become better versions of themselves.

Why does this matter?

Well, there is a lot of reasons that the Jātaka matters not only as a set of stories. The Jātaka is a guide for people who may feel lost in their lives and need a bit of guidance. Let us also not forget that it is being used as a religious text and that should be enough to justify it as an important text just like any other religion.

 

Personally, the most intriguing reason to me for the Jātaka is the way it serves to teach people on having an open mind. For example, The Hare’s Self Sacrifice is a story about a hare giving up their own body in order to serve someone above them. They decided that they may not be able to provide any worldly possession, so they offered up their own body. By having an open mind, the Hare was able to be appreciated by its god and it learned a lesson in what it means to fast and to serve other people. As for destiny, like mentioned by Iroh from Avatar the Last Airbender, the Jātaka teaches that one can find their own path by simply keeping an open heart to the world around them. For this reason, these texts are absolutely critical to how we as humans function. Despite not being part of the Buddhist faith, anyone can see that these stories tell the truth of the world through ways that are made easy for us to understand.

Still not convinced on why these texts matter? Well, consider the notion that these texts also serve as historical markers. As mentioned by Pranee Wongthet from Silpakorn Unversity on oral traditions, “the data or cultural accounts transmitted through the oral traditions as historical or cultural facts,” which means that these texts may provide us with insight on Asian cultures in a way we never truly understood (21).

What significance do the stories have?

Despite being such a simple question to ask, this question cannot be answered in quick and fun blog post. The stories have multiple meanings and they can be read in many ways that teach lessons and morals. As mentioned before, the stories significance are based on their meaning and morals taught. The story of The Golden Goose is an excellent lesson of the way that money can corrupt a person and change them for the worse. The story tells of a man that died and returned as a golden goose and decided that he had to return to his family in order to provide his feathers as a source of income. The wife became greedy and ended up scaring the goose away after wanting to pluck away all his feathers.

The Jātaka may seem like a spite to those who become greedy, which is definitely true, but it is also a message to those who help. Just like Iroh allows us to know, the best way to become a better person is to help others. For that reason, the Jātaka is significant to the way a society may prosper.

What else is the Jātaka used for?  

Maybe religious guidance is not your cup of tea and you are still not convinced over why this text is absolutely worth everyone’s time. Well, do not consider it a religious text then. I suggest taking these stories and do as the past did and enjoy the entertainment of them. The stories may be filled with loads of wisdom and knowledge, but it also filled with an array of interesting tales. The Monkey’s Heroic Self-Sacrifice is not only an amazing tale of giving up one’s life for the greater good but also a completely epic story of a heroic figure. These stories were read just in that same light as people would watch movies today. People were enthralled of the tales of the unknown and how they could learn from the presentations that were given, which as mentioned by Wongthet, “The chanting of stories as a part of the cremation ceremony became a form of entertainment for all villagers” (26). So instead of telling yourself that they are just a bunch of stories, remember that these stories are packed with adventure and emotions that made people of all ages come out and listen to them.

Who cared for these texts?

If you are not convinced by now, the last concept of these stories is those who were worthy to tell them. In order to chant these tales, you either had to be a monk or have a voice that kept people awake. These were not just some fairy tales that were read to kids before bed. They were tales to help mothers after they gave births and stories that shaped the world (Wongthet 26). Imagine the honor that one had to possess to be able to tell these stories of wonder and excitement. They were trusted with telling people about the journey of enlightenment and how they could achieve it!

Works Cited

Text:

  • Wongthet, Pranee. ”The Jataka Stories and Laopuan Worldview”. Asian Folklore Studies, vol. 48, no. 1, 1989,. JSTOR, jstor.org/stable/1178532. Accessed 4 Sept. 2020.
  • The Northon Anthology of World Literature,4th edition, vol. A. W. Norton & Company, 2020. pp. 1294-1303

Images