CLAS230 Classical Mythology
Department of Classics
A Course Description
|Classical Mythology is a survey of ancient
Greek and Roman stories about heroes, gods and the universe and
illustrates the influence of these myths on the art, literature and culture of the modern world. Each time it is offered, the course approaches
the topic from a different theme and considers answers to such timeless questions as:
What is deity? What is a hero?
What is a human being?
What is the relationship of human to god?
What is a myth? What is history?
Why are myths told?
How does recollection of the past affect the way humans live in the present?
The Greeks and Romans ask and answer much the same questions that
we pose today. Their myths are not just stories, but represent serious attempts to explain
the world around us. Study of these ancient myths forces us to reevaluate our own
questions and answers, our own way of looking at the world, and our place in it.
The myths of the Greeks and Romans can be examined from several
(1) in their ancient context, as expressed in
the literature and art of the Greeks and Romans;
(2) in the context of Western civilization, as themes in later Western
literature and art;
(3) in the context of comparative mythology, selected myths will be
compared with stories from other cultures, especially from the Bible;
(4) in the context of modern myth theory, several different contemporary
theories of myths, including those of Malinowski, Freud, and Levi-Strauss, will be
This course thus presents a truly inter-disciplinary approach
which considers literary and artistic themes from such diverse perspectives as theology,
sociology, anthropology, and history.
Some recent topics in this course have included "The Heroic Journey,"
"Women in Myth,"
and "Creation Stories Around the World."
The following material has been published on the
web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any
questions, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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