Tea at 4 p.m. in the Quita Woodward Room, Old Library.
In this talk, Romano explores the ways in which storytellers leverage scenes of divine epiphany to make some kind of statement about the relationship between the god and the human being acting it out. Using the Homeric Hymns as a test case, she first lays out how epiphany tends to generate terror in any human participant/s in the scene and then move to examine a particular scene in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, wherein epiphany fails to generate the expected negative emotional response. Demeter’s gift of the Mysteries, delivered during this epiphany, explains the lack of terror experienced by the humans experiencing the goddess’ advent and speaks to the efficacy of the new rites. An appreciation for these terrific epiphanic case studies and their subversions might help better understand other, even non-mythical narratives of epiphany, such as Herodotus’ scathing report of the epiphany of a faux “Athena” to some uncharacteristically foolish Athenians.