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Classics Oral Tradition

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The Division of Honors and Journeying Among the Gods
In this midterm essay I will discuss why Gods Journey. I believe
that Gods journey for two reasons. One reason is to seek out honor for
themselves. The other reason is to regain honors they have lost. To
demonstrate this I will first discuss the journeys of Hades in the
Homeric hymn "To Demeter" comparing it to the journey of Hermes in "To
Hermes". I fell that both of these companion journeys were attempts by
these Gods to win honors they did not already have. Next I will look at
the companion journeys of Demeter and Apollo. I think that both of these
Gods journeyed to regain honors they'd previously had, but lost. Lastly I
will conclude by showing how all four Gods had to compromise and divide up
the honors amongst themselves. "Earth with its wide roads gaped and then
over the Nysian field the lord and
All receiver, the many named son of Kronos, sprang out upon her
with his immortal horses...Not an unseemly bridegroom among the immortals
is Aidoneus, Lord on Many, your own brother from the same seed; to his
share fell honor when in the beginning a triple division was made, and
he dwells among those over whom his lot made him lord" (To Demeter 16-
18, 83-87). I think that these two sets of lines show that Hades viewed
Persephone as a prize. Honor was one of the things Hades won when he,
Zeus, and Poseidon divided up the world. Thus Hades felt justified in
journeying up from the underworld to earth to claim Persephone as his
bride. I feel that he felt he deserved to have her, according to his
logic, because honor was something he was entitled to as a God.
I feel that Hermes journey was similar to that of Hades in that he
traveled in order to win honor for himself and for his Mother Maia. "A
watcher by night and a gate keeper, soon destined to show forth glorious
deeds among the immortal gods. Born at dawn, by midday he played his lyre,
and at evening he stole the cattle of far shooting Apollon...But I shall
be master of whatever skill is best to provide for you and me forever;
we shall not suffer, as you bid me, to stay right here and be the only
two immortals not plied with gifts and prayers. It is better to be
forever in the gods' intimate circle, rich, affluent, and with an
abundance of grain, than to sit in this dark cave; and as for honor, I,
too, shall claim the rite of which Apollon is a master" (To Hermes 15-18,
166- 173). Hermes much like Hades was destined to achieve glorious deeds
and win honor. He felt he was entitled to steal Apollo's cattle, just as
Hades felt entitled to steal Persephone, because neither he nor Maia were
receiving their just honors from the Gods. I think that honor is one of
the most important and significant things among the Gods. It is truly the
one area in which Gods are able to distinguish themselves from other gods.
I think that both of these Gods risked earning the wrath of other Gods
because honor was so important to them, and they felt they were lacking of
Both of these journeys represent one of the key reasons why I
feel that Gods travel. Both of these Gods were not receiving the honors
that they felt they deserved as Gods. Furthermore both of them lived in
isolated places, Hades in the underworld and Hermes in an isolated cave,
away from the other gods who lived on MT. Olympus. Thus these Gods could
easily be forgotten and dismissed by the people, and the other Gods. I
think that Hermes wanted to own something so people would honor him and
his mother in the same fashion they honored the other Gods on Mt. Olympus.
I feel that Hades wanted someone whom he could claim as a bride to keep
him company in his rule of the underworld isolated away from the other
While both of these Gods were able to temporarily steal away these
honors for themselves, they had to take them from other Gods. Once these
other Gods found out about their thievery they responded in kind with a
journey of their own to reclaim honors which had been there's before and
which they felt should still rightfully be theirs. "For nine days then
all over the earth mighty Deo roamed about with bright torches in her
hands, and in ...

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