Classical Civilization 241
Greek and Roman Mythology
Fall 2007 Syllabus
Course Objectives: ClCv 241 is designed to complete an Arts and
Letters G.E. requirement while providing the student with a solid introductory
grounding in the ancient Greek and Roman Classics through the lens provided by
Classical mythology. Greek and Roman myths tell us much about how the ancients
viewed and understood their world, and they provide insights into the cultures
that serve as the basis of much of Western Civilization. Hopefully gaining an
appreciation of the Classical world-view can provide insight into modern
perceptions of society, science, and religion.
Course Objectives: This class is a fairly intensive reading course that
will examine mythology as it is presented by the literature of the period. We
will read in translation a variety of Classical texts including religious hymns,
tragedies, and epics to see firsthand how the Greeks and Romans viewed and used
their myths. When possible we will read two or more versions of the same story
from different periods in order to discover how different authors employed
certain myths to meet their own needs. This course, however, will do more than
simply review the varied accounts of gods and goddesses, heroes and adventures.
The primary texts will be supplemented by class lectures and discussions and by
selected readings from the pertinent secondary literature.
We will concern ourselves with mythology itself —the study of these stories
in their historic and cultural contexts. We will try to understand the purpose
of myths, how and why they were told, and their impact upon their ancient and
modern audiences. To achieve this we will approach each myth in terms of the
1. Context: Most literature cannot be properly understood when separated
from its historical and cultural setting. A basic grasp of the history
surrounding each work allows the reader to understand how contemporary
religious beliefs, cultural developments, politics, and intellectual
currents affected the portrayal of each myth.
2. Literary Artistry: Each genre of literature has certain conventions
that affected how ancient authors employed mythological motifs. This issue
becomes especially important as traditional beliefs waned since authors
could then exercise considerable "poetic license." As writers increasingly
manipulated myths in order to create great literature, we will try to
appreciate their literary craftsmanship.
3. Theoretical Analysis: Mythology is of continued interest because it
represents the attempt to understand the human condition. The issues that faced
the ancient Greeks and Romans are the same ones that confront us today. These
include questions regarding cosmology, theology, anthropology, sociology, and
Lecture Outlines and Presentations
First references to readings are generally to chapter, section, and line
numbers so that students can find assignments in other editions. Page
references in versions ordered for the class are in parentheses.
Topics: Review of course standards and objectives.
Initial discussion: What is Myth? Cultures, religions, and Alma
Reading: After class review "What is Myth?" in
Context and Origins of Classical
Topics: Bronze Age cultures and religion. The Dark Ages
and Oral Tradition. The Archaic Greek Renaissance.
Reading: After class read
“Overview of Early Greek History, Religion, and Poetry” and the summaries of
Minoan and Mycenaean civilization, “Dark Ages” of Greece, and Archaic Greece
in Packet, 27. Additional background can be found in Morford and Lenardon,
Sources for Mythology
Topics: The importance of Historical and Cultural
Context. Periodization: Classical Greece, Hellenistic World, Rome.
Literary Genres and artistic license.
Reading: Introduction to Apollodorus, Gods & Heroes of
the Greeks,1–7; Morford and Lenardon, 23–27 (reserve) See
also: Dowden, 39–53 and Grant, 18–43 (both on reserve).
Nature and Purpose of Myth
Topics: Origins, functions, and significance of myths.
Cosmology, Theology, Anthropology, Gender, Sociology, Psychology,
Soteriology, and Patriotic Saga.
Reading: After class read "Some Different Origins and
Uses of Myth," Packet, 8–9; Morford and read through G.S. Kirk,
"Five Monolithic Theories" in The Nature of Greek Myths,
Packet, 10–26. Additional background can be found in K.
Dowden, The Uses of Greek Mythology, chs. 1, 2, 7 and Morford
and Lenardon, 1–15 (reserve).
Unit I: The World and the Gods
Topics: Cosmology—the origin and nature of the
universe. The Greeks, the universe, and the
stars–astronomy and myth. Didactic poetry and the birth of the gods.
Generative creation and succession myths. Hesiod’s Theogony.
Reading: Caldwell’s introduction, 1–26; Hes. Theog.
1–506, 617–735 (Caldwell, 27–57, 64–69); [Apollod.] Bibl.
1.1–2 (Simpson, 13–14); Ovid, Met. 1.1–75 (Penguin, 5–8).
Prometheus and Man
Topics: Anthropology and human origins.
Prometheus, Creator or Benefactor? Prometheus verses Zeus. Introduction
to Greek Tragedy and Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound.
Reading: Hes. Theog. 507–64 (Caldwell, 57–60); [Apollod.]
Bibl. 1.7 (Simpson, 32); Ovid Met. 1.76–88 (Penguin, 8–9);
Genesis 1–2:17; "The Development of Tragedy," (packet); Aesch.
Prometheus Bound (Grene and Lattimore I, 62–63).
Fate of Prometheus;
Woman and Man
Zeus, Father of Gods and Men
Topics: The Typhoeus Story: Proving the superiority of
Zeus. Theology—Zeus’ role and character. The family of Zeus. Two
contrasting siblings, Athena and Ares.
Reading: Hes. Theog. 820–1022 (Caldwell, 72–85); [Apollod.]
Bibl. 1.3–4, 6.3 (Simpson, 14–18, 19–20); Review summaries of
Zeus, Athena, and Ares, as well as genealogies, Packet, 36–37, 40–41,
Hephaistos, Hestia, and Poseidon; Nature of Greek Gods
Topics: Contrasting sisters, Hera and Hestia.
Poseidon, a "faded Zeus?" Theology: Animism, anthropomorphism,
and "humanism." Polytheism, henotheism, and monotheism.
Reading: Summaries of Hera, Poseidon, Hestia, and Hephaistos,
Packet, 37–38, 40, and 45; Hom. Hymn 12, 24, 29 (Athanassakis,
59, 64, 67); Morford and Lenardon, 85–90, 98–104 (reserve).
Topics: Theology—Sky verses Underworld deities.
"Where are we going?" Views of the Afterlife. Death and Euripides’
Alcestis. Introduction to mystery religions.
Reading: Summary of Hades, Packet, 39; Hes. Theog.
736–819 (Caldwell, 69–72); Alma 40:6–26; D&C 76:28–112, 84:19–24; Eur.
Alcestis (Grene and Lattimore III, 264–313). See also: Morford
and Lenardon, 250–72 (reserve).
Topics: Aetiology (in the broad sense) and nature myths in
the Persephone story. Gender: Tension between Indo-European sky gods
and Mediterranean mother goddesses. The Eleusinian Mysteries.
Reading: Summary of Demeter, Packet, 39–40; Hom. Hymn 2 (Athanassakis,
1–15); Ovid, Met. 5.332–678 (Penguin, 190–207); excerpts from M.
Arthur, "Politics and Pomegranates: An Interpretation of the Homeric Hymn to
Demeter," Packet, 66–81. See also: The Homeric Hymn to Demeter.
Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays, Helene P. Foley, ed.
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).
- Topics: Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Woman a
Punishment? The Pandora Story and the Ages of Man
Reading: Aesch. Prometheus Bound (Grene
and Lattimore I, 64–106); Hes. Theog. 565–616 and Works and
Days, 1–105 (Caldwell, 61–63, 105–108); Genesis 2:18–3:24.
Take-home Quiz #1 distributed
Apollo the Aristocrat
Topics: Aetiology and religious ritual myths—Pytho
and Delphi. Apollo and the Greek ideal.
Reading: Summary of Apollo, Packet, 18–19; Hom. Hymn
3 (Athanassakis, 15–30); Ovid Met. 1.415–50 (Penguin, 26–27).
Topics: The many roles of Hermes; Sociology—stress
between agricultural aristocracy and the urban merchant economy.
Reading: Summary of Hermes, Packet, 21; Hom. Hymn
4 (Athanassakis, 31–46); N.O. Brown, "The Homeric Hymn to Hermes,"
Take-home Quiz #1 due
Aphrodite and the Primal Power of Love
Topics: The concept of Eros. Aphrodite Urania and Aphrodite
Pandemos. Loves of Aphrodite: Adonis and Anchises.
Reading: Summary of Aphrodite, Packet, 43–44; Review Hes. Theog. 116–122, 173–206 (Caldwell, 33–34, 38–40);
Hymn 5–6 (Athanassakis, 47–56); Ovid, Met. 10.503–739
(Penguin, 393–419). See also: Morford and Lenardon, 116–40
Excesses and Deficiencies of Love
Dionysos and Liminality
- Topics: Psychology—romantic, erotic, and
pathological love. Role of the virgin goddesses. Artemis and her
- Reading: Summary of Artemis, Packet, 43; Eur. Hippolytus (Grene and Lattimore I, 235–95).
- Topics: Dionysos, God of agriculture or of sensual abandon?
The tension between control and incontinence in individuals and in
society. Psychology: Euripides and when things go awry.
: Summary of Dionysos, Packet,45–46; Hom. Hymn
7 (Athanassakis, 56–57); Eur. Bacch
. (Grene and Lattimore
III, 192–260); A. Henrichs, "Greek and Roman Glimpses of Dionysos,"
Early History and Decline of Man
- Topics: Gold to Iron, the devolution of Man. The
Deucalion Story, etc.
- Reading: Hes. Works and Days, 106–201 (Caldwell,
108–110); [Apollod.] Bibl. 1.7.2–10 (Simpson, 32–34); Ovid Met. 1.89–437 (Penguin, 9–27); Genesis 4–10.
Review 1b for
Unit II: Heroes and the Mythological World
Topics: Role Models? Greek Hero Cult. Hero
Myths—Composites: Legends, Culture Heroes, Saviors, and Folktale.
Types of Greek Heroes, Both Legendary and Historic. Geographic Sagas
(Attic, Theban, Argive, Trojan, Mycenaean). Path of the Hero:
Separation, Initiation, Return. The Ultimate Hero
Reading: J. Campbell, "The Hero and the God" and "The
Keys," in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, 30–40, 245–51
Herakles, Heroic Prototype
Topics: A man of extremes: the example of Herakles.
Herakles’ Madness. Ten (or Twelve) Labors. Other Labors. Role in the
Gigantomachy. Herakles’ apotheosis.
Reading: [Apollod.] Bibl. 1.6.1–1.6.2, 2.4.8–2.8.5
(Simpson, 18–19, 91–108); Ovid, Met. 9.1–322 (Penguin,
203–211); Burn, 16–24. See also Soph. Trach., Eur. Her.,
and Kirk, 176–212.
Topics: An Athenian rival to Herakles. Plutarch’s
biography of Theseus. A "civilizing hero"—Lapiths and Centaurs.
Preview of First Generation of Heroes.
Reading: [Apollod.] Bibl. 3.16.1—Epitome 1
(Simpson, 217–222); Ovid Met.12.210–360 (Penguin, 474–481);
"First Generation of Heroes," Packet, 47–48; Burn, 25–30 (reserve).
See also Plutarch, Theseus.
The Theban Cycle and the Tragedy of Oedipus
Topics: Cadmus and the founding of Thebes. Laius and
Jocasta. Oedipus and the Sphinx. Psychology: Oedipus and his
predicament. Epistemology: the Mantic vs. Sophistic
Reading: [Apollod.] Bibl. 3.1–5 (Simpson, 138–45);
Burn, 66–72 (reserve); Soph. Oed. (Grene and Lattimore I,
Antigone and the State
Topics: The fight for Theban succession. "Seven Against
Thebes." The End of Oedipus: Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus.
Myth and Political Science: Sophocles’ Antigone.
Reading: [Apollod.] Bibl. 3.6–7 (Simpson, 145–50);
Burn, 72–73); Soph. Ant. (Grene and Lattimore I, 178–232).
Other First Generation Heroes
Topics: Perseus and Medea. Bellerophon and Pegasus. Jason
and the Argonauts.
Reading: [Apollod.] Bibl.1.9.16–1.9.28, 2–2.4.8
(Simpson, 54–61, 67–75); Ovid Met. 4.603–5.249 (Penguin,
161–186); Burn, 59–65 (reserve).
Writing Assignment #1 Due.
Topics: Apollonius of Rhodes’ later version. Gender—Medea:
Maiden, Heroine, Victim, or Witch? Euripides’ Medea.
Reading: Eur. Medea (excerpts in handout or on
reserve); Ovid Met. 7.1–403 (Penguin, 248–268).
The Trojan Cycle
Topics: Epic and the Heroic Age. The Families of
Tyndareus and Atreus. Marriage of Peleus and Thetis. Judgment of
Paris. The Trojan War.
Reading: "The Trojan Cycle," Packet, 31–39; [Apollod.]
3.10.3–3.13.8, Epitome 2–5, (Simpson, 170–78, 231–33,
The Fate of Agamemnon
Topics: The nostoi. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
Agamemnon’s bloody homecoming. Aeschylus’ Agamemnon.
Reading: "The Returns," Packet, 39; [Apollod.] Bibl.Epitome
6 (Simpson, 271–75); Aesch. Ag. (Grene and
Lattimore I, 2–60.
- Homer, the Age of Heroes, and Epic
- Topics: Old Heroes for a New Age. Homer and his world The
"Age of Heroes." Oral Poetry and Epic. The Homeric Hero, Homeric
Values, and Homeric "Sins."
Reading: “Epic and its Values” (packet)
- Introduction to Odyssey
and the Telemachy
- Topics: The Hero of the Odyssey and its themes.
Structure of Odyssey. Families as Foils; Aegisthus and the
Issue of Fate. Telemachus: the coming of age of a hero.
- Reading: Homer’s Odyssey I-IV
Take-home Quiz #2 due.
- The Wanderings of
Odysseus: Calypso. The Phaeacians. The Flashback: Cicones
and the Recklessness of Odysseus’ Men; Lotus Eaters and Forgetting
Men; Polyphemus and the Craft and Hybris of Odysseus; Aeolus and
Almost Getting Home; Laestrygonians; Circe.
- Reading: Homer’s Odyssey V–X (Penguin, 63–139); [Apollod.]
Bibl. Epitome 7.1–17 (Simpson, 291–93).
The Book of the Dead and Odysseus’ katabasis
Final Obstacles and the fate of Odysseus’ companions: Sirens; Scylla
and Charybdis; Cattle of the Sun. Eumaeus: the good servant.
Reading: Homer’s Odyssey XI–XVI (Penguin,
140–222); [Apollod.] Bibl. Epitome 7.18–25 (Simpson, 293–94).
Recognitions and Resolutions
- Topics: The beggar and the hound. Faithful and unfaithful
servants. Tokens of recognition. Theodicy and the death of
the suitors. An ending?
- Reading: Homer’s Odyssey XVII–XXIV (Penguin,
223–324); [Apollod.] Bibl. Epitome 7.26–40 (Simpson, 294–96).
An End to Vengeance: Sociology: Blood Vendetta to State
Justice. Aeschylus’ Eumenides.
Reading: Aesch. Eum. (Grene and Lattimore III, 2–41).
Unit III: Legends and Literature
Reading: Apollonius' Voyage of Argo, 109–195.
Topics: Livy and Augustan Age literature. The Founding of
Rome. Aeneas. Romulus and Remus. Rape of the Sabine Women. Numa and
Reading: Livy 1–1.23
(Penguin, 29–55); Gardner, 16–38
- The Early Roman Context: Roman "Mythology": Numinous deities and the adoption
of Greek anthropomorphism. Early Roman history and legends.
- Reading: Morford and Lenardon, 503–523 (reserve); Gardner,
Roman Legends II: Patriotic Sagas
Topics: Later kings. The Horatii and Curiatii. Etruscan
kings—myth and memory. Lucretia. Overthrow of monarchy.
Reading: Livy 1.24–1.60 (Penguin, 55–104); Gardner,
38–45, 59–62 (reserve).
Writing Assignment #2 due.
Roman Legends III: Civic Heroes
Topics: The new republic. The "making" of history and
family traditions. Brutus the "tyrannicide." Facing Porsenna:
Horatius Cocles, Mucius Scaevola, and Cloelia. Political legends and
retrospective history. Treachery of Coriolanus. The Fabii.
Reading: Livy 2–2.51 (Penguin, 107–173); Gardner, 45–52
Topics: Introduction to Ovid and the Metamorphoses.
An Epic? Its Structure? Types of changes in Ovid. The loves and
foibles of the gods.
Reading: Ovid Met. 1–2 (Penguin, 5–90).
Topics: Death of Pentheus, Actaeon’s end, punishment of
Minyas’ daughters, fate of Cadmus. Athena and Arachne. Children of
Niobe. Flaying of Marsyas. Literary artistry in the Metamorphoses.
Reading: Ovid Met. 4–6.411 (Penguin, 91–229); E.
Huntsman, "The Reversal of the Divine Rape: Ovid’s Actaeon Episode,"
Take-home Quiz #3 distributed.
Topics: Tereus and Philomela; Jason and Medea; Cephalus
and Procris; Scylla and Minos; Meleager; Baucis and Philemon;
Hercules and Deianira; Byblis and Caunus; Orpheus and Eurydice;
Pygmalion and Galatea; Myrrha and Cinyras; and Ceyx and Alcyone.
Reading: Ovid Met. 6.412–11.795 (Penguin,
Ovid’s "Little Aeneid"
Topics: Fall of Troy, travels of Aeneas, apotheosis of
Caesar, destiny of Augustus.
Reading: Ovid Met. 13–15 (Penguin, 497–636);
Campbell, "Myth and the Modern World," in The Power of Myth,
5:00–6:50 p.m. FINAL EXAMINATION
Announcements and Upcoming Events
September 12: “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus,” Time Out for Women, Denver
August 18-21 “Worship: Encountering and Being Transformed by God,” BYU Education Week
August 17 “LDS Christology and the Gospel of John,” BYU Education Week
August 5-11 Aspen Grove Family Camp
April 22: “Grateful for Grace: Appreciating the Saving and Transforming Power of Jesus Christ,” YSA 18th Stake Fireside
April 30: Womens Conference 2015 "Wells of Trust Fanning Flames of Faith"
May 8–9: “The Search for the ‘Real’ Jesus of Nazareth: The Jesus of Faith, History, and Revelation,” Miller-Eccles Study Group, Fullerton and La Cañada, California
September 24 Second John A. Widtsoe Symposium, “Religion in the Public Square,” 7:00-9:00, tutor Center Ballroom, USC, Los Angeles (with the following link:
October 9 “The Footsteps of Jesus: Remembering His Miracles,” Cruise Lady Learn Our Religion Series, 7:00, 9118 S Redwood, West Jordan
November 8: “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus,” Time Out for Women, St. George
November 14: “Sitting at the Feet of Jesus,” Time Out for Women, Portland