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CLCV 205: Introduction to Classical Mythology

Course Description:
Classical myth has inspired, interested, and amused audiences for thousands of years. From the
ancient stage to the big screen, the heroes and heroines, monsters and gods of Greek and Roman myth
have been a constant presence. But where did it all begin? What was the world like that it came out of,
and for what purposes were these stories told? This course explores ancient Mediterranean myth from the
Iliad to the Aeneid, through poetry, prose, and plays. At the end of the course we will investigate the
reflection of Classical antiquity in the present and explore what it means to retell stories from long ago,
and what they do for us.
Course Goals and Objectives:
You will have the opportunity in this course to
 Learn about the major narratives and major figures of Greek and Roman myth
 Think about myths both as stories and as narratives which make claims and teach lessons
 Improve your research, academic writing and communication skills through various course
assignments and class discussion
 Apply the subject matter of this course, and the critical thinking skills you will learn throughout
the semester, to your broader academic interests

Instructor Information: Andrew Tobolowsky


abtobolowsky@wm.edu
Office: Morton 335
Office Hours: Tuesday, 1-2, Wednesday 2-3
Course Requirements
Participation (25%): Coming to class regularly and on-time is a baseline expectation. Participating in
discussions, group-work, and presentations is a major part of this grade. If we have quizzes or reading
checks, they will also be included here.
Essay (25%): There will be one conventional essay in this course (and one other written assignment),
serving as a summary assignment for the first segment.
Nostoi Project (15%): Write your own Nostoi adventure to explain something about the world today.
Final Essay (35%): This essay will serve as the final exam for the class.
Grading Policies:
A = 93+
A- = 90-92
B+ = 88-89
B = 83-87
B– = 80-82
C+ = 77-79
C = 73-76
C- = 70-72
F = >70
1. Late work incurs a penalty. If you think you need an extension, ask IN ADVANCE. At least 24
hours before the deadline.
2. Students definitely do not need to come to class with contagious illnesses. But be proactive with
telling me about issues that might come up, and we’ll work together to make sure you stay on
track.
3. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you think you don’t know how to use research
appropriately, ask!
4. Students with learning difficulties or other disabilities are entitled to accommodations from the
university. I am happy to work with students to make certain they receive the accommodations
they need.
5. Cell phones should never be visible during class time. Laptops are permitted for note-taking, but
your participation grade depends upon your attention, participation, and attendance. If you are
staring at your computer for long periods of time without involving yourself in discussion, I
will probably assume you’re not paying attention.
6. This is an inclusive and supportive classroom. We will do our best to create a climate that works
for everyone here. If anything in the classroom, or in your life, is impairing your performance, or
keeping you from feeling comfortable, communication is very welcome. My door is open, and I
am happy to keep confidential whatever issues I am legally allowed to keep confidential.

Required Books & Other Course Materials


The books that are available at the bookstore are:
Gods, Heroes, and Monsters, Carolina Lopez-Ruiz
The Iliad, trans: Robert Fagles
The Aeneid, trans: Robert Fagles
The Odyssey, trans; Robert Fagles

Other readings will be scanned and made available to you. These books may also be available more
cheaply on Amazon, and a copy of each has been reserved at the library. If you have a translation of one
of these already, it will probably work but let me know so I can approve it.
Weekly readings and assignments

Assigned readings are listed below the day they are to be read by. That is, for example, you are to come to
class on Tuesday, January 23rd, having read the Homeric Hymns, 1-28, 50-58 (Online)

Other Important Dates

Last Add-Drop day: January 26th


Withdrawal Deadline: March 16th

Week One: Introduction


Thursday, January 18th: Welcome.

Part I: A Big (Greek ?) World

Week Two: The Cast of Characters


Tuesday, January 23rd: The Gods
Reading: The Homeric Hymns, pps. 1-28, 50-58 (Online)
Thursday, January 25th: A Big World and a Wide One
Reading: Hesiod’s Theogony, lns. 1-200, 450-505 in Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, Gods, Heroes,
and Monsters, 31-48
Reading (Online) Hittite Myths, Kingship in Heaven and the Song of Ullikummi
Week Three: “Greece” among the City States
Tuesday, January 30th: Argos, for example
Reading: Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, Gods, Heroes, and Monsters, 253-274 (Perseus and
Herakles)
Begin Panhellenism Project
Thursday, February 1st: “Greece”
Reading: Jonathan M. Hall, Hellenicity, 56-89, “Hellen’s sons, Blood and Belonging in
Early Greece”
Panhellenism Project Day II

Week Four: The View from Athens: Thinking About Evidence


Tuesday, February 6th: Panhellenism Plays, I
Reading: Return of the Herakleidae, I
Thursday, February 8th: Panhellenism Plays, I
Reading: Return of the Herakleidae, II

Part II: The Trojan War and the Birth of Hellas


Week Five: The Iliad, Part One:
Tuesday, February 13th: What Started the War? And Who Was There?
Reading: The Iliad, Books 1-3
First Essay Assigned
Thursday, February 15th:
Reading: Books 5-7

Week Six: The Iliad, Part Two:


Tuesday, February 20th: The Iliad
Reading: The Iliad, 16-20
Thursday, February 22nd The End of the Iliad
Reading: The Iliad, 21-24

Week Seven: After the Trojan War


Tuesday, February 27th: Nostoi, Part I
Reading: The Odyssey, Books I-IV
First Essay Due
Thursday, March 1st: Nostoi, Part II
Reading: The Odyssey, Books V-VIII

Week Eight: Spring Break


Tuesday, March 6th: Spring Break
Thursday, March 8th: Spring Break

Week Nine: The Odyssey II


Tuesday, March 13th: More Odyssey
Reading: The Odyssey X, XII-XIII
Thursday, March 15th: The End of the Odyssey
Reading: The Odyssey XXI-XXIV

Part III: Rome

Week Ten: The Aeneid, Part I


Tuesday, March 20th: The Aeneid Begins
Reading Books I-II
Nostoi Project Assigned
Thursday, March 22nd: More Aeneid
Reading: Books III-IV
Week Eleven: The Aeneid II
Tuesday, March 27th: Aeneid III
Reading: Books VI-VIII
Thursday, March 29th: The End of the Aeneid
Reading: Books X-XII

Nostoi Project Due

Week Twelve: Roman Myth, Roman History


Tuesday, April 3rd: The Metamorphoses
Reading: Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books I-II
Thursday, April 5th: The Legends of Rome
Reading: Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Books III, VI

Week Thirteen: Different Worlds


Tuesday, April 10th: Greece and Rome, Myths
Reading: Metamorphoses, Book VII
Reading: Medea, TBD
Thursday, April 12th: Greece and Rome, Politics
Reading: Ovid’s Metamorphoses, XV

Part IV: Comparison and Comprehension

Week Fourteen: Myth and Comparison


Tuesday, April 17th: Journeys
Reading: The tale of Wenamun (online)
Thursday, April 19th: The Underworld
Reading: Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, Gods, Heroes, and Monsters, 431-441 (Gilgamesh and
Inanna)
Reading: Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, Gods, Heroes, and Monsters, 458-522 (Odysseus’
Nekyia, - Aeneas’ Katabasis)

Week Fifteen: The View From the End


Tuesday, April 24th:
Reading: The Lost Books of the Odyssey, Zachary Mason, TBD
Thursday, April 26th: Last day of class
Reading: TBD

The final paper is scheduled to be due May 4th, at midnight