In this class we will read a selection of the stories from the ancient Mediterranean world that we call the classical myths—stories about gods and their children, the creation of the world, the triumphs and tribulations of heroes, and more. We will examine these stories in their historical contexts, think about what they meant to the ancient people who told and re-told them, and reflect on what they still mean for us. Through this, we will practice and develop the most fundamental skills of the humanities: how to critically approach and interpret aesthetic material.
Although this class will be focused on ancient texts in translation, we will look at related material as well—myths told through visual mediums, theoretical approaches to the study of myths, and global and post-antiquity receptions of classical myths, such as transformative productions of ancient plays, modern poetry and songs, Hollywood movies, and even video games.
Hybrid course format: short pre-recorded lectures; weekly live Q&A; synchronous discussions and student collaborations with asynchronous options.