Classics 315: Greek and Roman Mythology

 

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Course Outline

 

It is the expectation and hope of the Instructor that the student will have read all (or at least some) of the items listed in the Course Readings (button at left) for each week before that class actually meets. This will mean that, BEFORE a topic is treated in classs, the student will have a sense of what the basic outline of the myth or mythological character is, will have read some at least of the ancient sources about that character (This is, after all, a course in a language and literature department, and the literature in itself interests your Instructor, at least), and will perhaps have problems or questions that can be addressed efficiently.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN OUTLINE OF THE COURSE. IT LISTS THE TOPICS WHICH ARE COVERED IN THE LECTURES, IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THE TOPICS ARE COVERED.

  1. Introduction to course materials
  2. Definition of myth. Uses and abuses of the definition process. Functional definition.
  3. Illustrative examples from American colonial period, showing the construction and deconstruction of myths. Betsy Ross, Nathan Hale, George Washington. The use of simple deconstruction tools.
  4. Theories and Tools of Mythology, including.
  • Etymology (literary theory)
  • Aetiology (philosophical-logical theory)
  • Meteorology (anthropological-symbolist)
  • Ritual (anthropological theory)
  • iconography
  • Euhemerism (deconstructionist theory)
  • Xenophanes (religious theory)
  • mana (anthropological theory)
  • Mother Goddesses (feminist theories)
  • Tripartite Function theory (Dumezil, sociological theory)
  • Structuralism (Levi-Strauss)
  • Freudianism (psychological theory)
  • Jungianism (psychological theory, New Age theories)
  1. Creation: Middle-eastern and Greek
  2. Hesiod (Five Ages of Human Beings, Prometheus, Pandora, Deucalion and Pyrrha, the Hellenes)
  3. Zeus and his Children (Athena, Muses, Fates, Seasons, Apollo and Artemis, and the ordering of society)
  4. Poseidon
  5. The Jason Story (Golden Fleece, death and immortality symbolism)
  6. The Theseus Story (Troezen, Crete and the Minotaur, Athens, Phaedra and Hippolytus)
  7. Dead Young Men (Hippolytus, Hyakinthos, Attis, Adonis, tree cults, vegetation cycle)
  8. Death and the Underworld: Hermes Psychopompos
  9. Resurrection, I: The Cult of Demeter and Persephone (Eleusinian Mysteries)
  10. Resurrection, II: The Cult of Dionysus (human sacrifice)
  11. Resurrection, III: The Orphic Cult (moral purity?)
  12. Heracles: Earning Heaven: The Twelve Labors (social service and heroism)
  13. Sparta: Dioskouroi, Helen 'of Troy'
  14. Who and Where is Achilles? (fate of everyman: hero or nonentity, war and heroism)
  15. The Trojan War
  16. Returns. Hesiod and the End of the Age of Heroes.

 

 


May 9, 2009 1:38 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN
john.p.adams@csun.edu

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