Classical Mythology
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Classical Mythology

CLA 2-216-2001

Instructor: Cindy Benton,

Office: Prall House 102, x4506.

Office Hours: W & Th 11-12 and by appointment.

Class meetings: M & W 1-3, T & Th 9-11 & 1-3, F 9-11

Course Description: The myths of ancient Greece and Rome provide material for much of western literature, art, and music. This course will introduce you to some of these myths and their appearance in Greek and Roman literature. In particular, we will ask what we can learn about a culture from their myths and its appropriations of mythic traditions. By tracing these mythic traditions through several periods in antiquity and contemporary culture we will explore how and why myths and their meanings change over time.

Required Texts:

  • Hesiod: Theogony, Richard Caldwell trans.
  • The Iliad of Homer, Richmond Lattimore trans.
  • Aeschylus I , Grene & Lattimore eds.
  • Euripides I, Grene & Lattimore eds.
  • Euripides: Bacchae, Paul Woodruff trans.
  • Ovid: Metamorphoses, Rolfe Humphries trans.
  • Seneca's Trojan Women, Fredrick Ahl trans.

Course Requirements:

  • Response Papers: 1-2 page discussion of your reactions to the assigned reading. These papers are designed to encourage you to explore your ideas about the readings and to help prepare you for class discussions. They will be graded on the depth to which you actively engage the readings and the level of thought you put into your reflections. You can address the study questions or anything else you find interesting as you do the readings. There will be two response papers due each of the first three weeks, you can choose which six days to turn them in, but I need at least one by each Wednesday.

  • Exams: Each exam will be a combination of short answer/passage identification and essay questions taken from the readings and class discussions. The second exam will primarily concentrate on the material we have covered since the first exam. Exams are scheduled for Oct. 12 and 22.

  • Final Paper/Presentation: The final project will be a combination of individual essays and group presentations which will trace the transformations of specific mythic figures from antiquity through the present. Each group will choose a mythic figure and each member will be responsible for writing a 5-7 page essay discussing this figure in a particular piece of literature, art, music, theater, or film. At least one essay from each group should address an ancient version of the mythic figure and one a contemporary representation. Each group will then use the individual essays to create a presentation on the transformation of their mythic figure from antiquity to the present. We will discuss the projects in detail the first week of class. For more information, click here. Proposals will be due on October 15th. Individual essays and critiques are due on October 24th. The final two days of the course will be reserved for presentations.

  • Class Discussion: This includes coming to class prepared and participating actively in discussion..


  • 20% class participation and response papers.
  • 50% exams (25% each).
  • 30% final paper/presentation (15% based on the individual essays and 15% based on the group presentation)


Last Update: Sept. 26, 2001
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