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Myths are traditional stories that have endured over a long time. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? This course will investigate these questions through a variety of topics, including the creation of the universe, the relationship between gods and mortals, human nature, religion, the family, sex, love, madness, and death. *********************************************************************************************************** COURSE SCHEDULE • Week 1: Introduction Welcome to Greek and Roman Mythology! This first week we’ll introduce the class, paying attention to how the course itself works. We’ll also begin to think about the topic at hand: myth! How can we begin to define "myth"? How does myth work? What have ancient and modern theorists, philosophers, and other thinkers had to say about myth? This week we’ll also begin our foray into Homer’s world, with an eye to how we can best approach epic poetry. Readings: No texts this week, but it would be a good idea to get started on next week's reading to get ahead of the game. Video Lectures: 1.1-1.7 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 2: Becoming a Hero In week 2, we begin our intensive study of myth through Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey. This core text not only gives us an exciting story to appreciate on its own merits but also offers us a kind of laboratory where we can investigate myth using different theoretical approaches. This week we focus on the young Telemachus’ tour as he begins to come of age; we also accompany his father Odysseus as he journeys homeward after the Trojan War. Along the way, we’ll examine questions of heroism, relationships between gods and mortals, family dynamics, and the Homeric values of hospitality and resourcefulness. Readings: Homer, Odyssey, books 1-8 Video Lectures: 2.1-2.10 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 3: Adventures Out and Back This week we’ll follow the exciting peregrinations of Odysseus, "man of twists and turns," over sea and land. The hero’s journeys abroad and as he re-enters his homeland are fraught with perils. This portion of the Odyssey features unforgettable monsters and exotic witches; we also follow Odysseus into the Underworld, where he meets shades of comrades and relatives. Here we encounter some of the best-known stories to survive from all of ancient myth. Readings: Homer, Odyssey, books 9-16 Video Lectures: 3.1-3.10 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 4: Identity and Signs As he makes his way closer and closer to re-taking his place on Ithaca and with his family, a disguised Odysseus must use all his resources to regain his kingdom. We’ll see many examples of reunion as Odysseus carefully begins to reveal his identity to various members of his household—his servants, his dog, his son, and finally, his wife Penelope—while also scheming against those who have usurped his place. Readings: Homer, Odyssey, books 17-24 Video Lectures: 4.1-4.8 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 5: Gods and Humans We will take a close look at the most authoritative story on the origin of the cosmos from Greek antiquity: Hesiod’s Theogony. Hesiod was generally considered the only poet who could rival Homer. The Theogony, or "birth of the gods," tells of an older order of gods, before Zeus, who were driven by powerful passions—and strange appetites! This poem presents the beginning of the world as a time of fierce struggle and violence as the universe begins to take shape, and order, out of chaos. Readings: Hesiod, Theogony *(the Works and Days is NOT required for the course)* Video Lectures: 5.1-5.9 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 6: Ritual and Religion This week’s readings give us a chance to look closely at Greek religion in its various guises. Myth, of course, forms one important aspect of religion, but so does ritual. How ancient myths and rituals interact teaches us a lot about both of these powerful cultural forms. We will read two of the greatest hymns to Olympian deities that tell up-close-and-personal stories about the gods while providing intricate descriptions of the rituals they like us humans to perform. Readings: Homeric Hymn to Apollo; Homeric Hymn to Demeter (there are two hymns to each that survive, only the LONGER Hymn to Apollo and the LONGER Hymn to Demeter are required for the course) Video Lectures: 6.1-6.7 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 7: Justice What counts as a just action, and what counts as an unjust one? Who gets to decide? These are trickier questions than some will have us think. This unit looks at one of the most famously thorny issues of justice in all of the ancient world. In Aeschylus’ Oresteia—the only surviving example of tragedy in its original trilogy form—we hear the story of Agamemnon’s return home after the Trojan War. Unlike Odysseus’ eventual joyful reunion with his wife and children, this hero is betrayed by those he considered closest to him. This family's cycle of revenge, of which this story is but one episode, carries questions of justice and competing loyalties well beyond Agamemnon’s immediate family, eventually ending up on the Athenian Acropolis itself. Readings: Aeschylus, Agamemnon; Aeschylus, Eumenides Video Lectures: 7.1-7.10 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 8: Unstable Selves This week we encounter two famous tragedies, both set at Thebes, that center on questions of guilt and identity: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Eurpides’ Bacchae. Oedipus is confident that he can escape the unthinkable fate that was foretold by the Delphic oracle; we watch as he eventually realizes the horror of what he has done. With Odysseus, we saw how a great hero can re-build his identity after struggles, while Oedipus shows us how our identities can dissolve before our very eyes. The myth of Oedipus is one of transgressions—intentional and unintentional—and about the limits of human knowledge. In Euripides’ Bacchae, the identity of gods and mortals is under scrutiny. Here, Dionysus, the god of wine and of tragedy, and also madness, appears as a character on stage. Through the dissolution of Pentheus, we see the terrible consequences that can occur when a god’s divinity is not properly acknowledged. Readings: Sophocles, Oedipus Rex; Euripides, Bacchae Video Lectures: 8.1-8.9 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 9: The Roman Hero, Remade Moving ahead several centuries, we jump into a different part of the Mediterranean to let the Romans give us their take on myth. Although many poets tried to rewrite Homer for their own times, no one succeeded quite like Vergil. His epic poem, the Aeneid, chronicles a powerful re-building of a culture that both identifies with and defines itself against previously told myths. In contrast to the scarcity of information about Homer, we know a great deal about Vergil’s life and historical context, allowing us insight into myth-making in action. Readings: Vergil, Aeneid, books 1-5 Video Lectures: 9.1-9.10 Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. • Week 10: Roman Myth and Ovid's Metamorphoses Our consideration of Vergil’s tale closes with his trip to the underworld in book 6. Next, we turn to a more playful Roman poet, Ovid, whose genius is apparent in nearly every kind of register. Profound, witty, and satiric all at once, Ovid’s powerful re-tellings of many ancient myths became the versions that are most familiar to us today. Finally, through the lens of the Romans and others who "remythologize," we wrap up the course with a retrospective look at myth. Readings: Vergil, Aeneid, book 6; Ovid, Metamorphoses, books 3, 12, and 13. Video Lectures: 10.1-10.9. Quiz: Complete the quiz by the end of the week. *********************************************************************************************************** READINGS There are no required texts for the course, however, Professor Struck will make reference to the following texts in the lecture: • Greek Tragedies, Volume 1, David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, trans. (Chicago) • Greek Tragedies, Volume 3, David Grene and Richmond Lattimore , trans. (Chicago) • Hesiod, Theogony and Works and Days, M. L. West, trans. (Oxford) • Homeric Hymns, Sarah Ruden, trans. (Hackett) • Homer, The Odyssey, Robert Fagles, trans. (Penguin) • Virgil, The Aeneid, Robert Fitzgerald, trans. (Vintage) • Ovid, Metamorphoses, David Raeburn, trans. (Penguin) These translations are a pleasure to work with, whereas many of the translations freely available on the internet are not. If you do not want to purchase them, they should also be available at many libraries. Again, these texts are not required, but they are helpful....



7. Juli 2020

Well thought out well presented. I feel I have gained a very knowledgeable and thorough understanding of both Greek and Roman mythology and their historical gods and goddesses from taking this course.


19. Aug. 2020

I loved this course. It covers material that is generally available to those who can afford an expensive private education. It was a great way to keep myself occupied during the coronavirus lockdown.

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551 - 575 von 640 Bewertungen für Greek and Roman Mythology

von aybige t

28. Jan. 2018


von Vivian

26. Juli 2017


von Edouard G

12. Dez. 2017


von Murdo A M

7. Sep. 2016


von Christopher N

27. Mai 2016

The course was absolutely fantastic. I apologize for giving it 4 stars; I feel that, to get that high a score, the course would need to have been constructing critical arguments rather than just observing those of others. HOWEVER, I definitely improved the basis of my knowledge of mythology, which was my goal. Professor Struck's presentation of the information was wonderful; he communicated a palpable enthusiasm in his subject, and had this wonderful habit of hilarious understatement: "The most powerful piece of this episode is that Odysseus's men get turned into pigs. Now that's...terrible." I consistently laughed at these understated descriptions, and appreciated the contextual explanations that Professor Struck gave. I would definitely take additional in-depth courses by Struck if they were to be offered in the future!

von Johnny L

19. Apr. 2020

Great start of an entry level course. This is for noobies whom want to have general preview of the Ancient Greek and Roman mythologies. It covers a vast amount of Gods, Goddesses, creatures and legendary moral beings. I had hope it would give a deeper dive into the study of Ovid and Aeneid. However, it would probably lengthen the course into a Part 2 type of structure. I do hope more classes are offered to have a detailed review on the classics. I did study Homer back in College and we spent a semester each on Iliad and Odyssey. I felt there was not enough time to be spent on most of the books, however given the nature of the course and the depth for an introductory, it is understandable.

A great companion piece on Amazon can be found - GREAT GREEK MYTHS. It is a two season long 25 min episodes on the same subjects.

von Hunter J K

25. Juni 2020

I would have liked more interactive and different forms of learning as opposed to just video and the end of week quizzes - or at least more resources referenced however I thoroughly enjoyed this course and Struck did a wonderful job at engaging us in the classics for both beginners and those more versed in myth. I would recommend some prior knowledge if going into this course, however, I fully believe that you can perform just as well even with no previous experience. These past 10 weeks have been enjoyable and engaging. I also really appreciated the captions and transcript (albeit it wasn't always accurate) as someone with hearing processing issues. Thank you, Professor!

von Lorna

18. Apr. 2021

I really enjoyed the beginning half of the course and bought The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles to read. The latter half of the course my interest started to wane and I started making less notes. A lot of the lectures just seem to be mentioning names and touching on an event briefly. The lecturer had a great enthusiasm in his presentation which i liked and as he mentions in the end, the course really only skims the surface but hopefully should give more interest to the subject which it has.

von Kimberly R

9. Juni 2020

It was an excellent course - the only thing that made me give it 4 stars instead of 5 was that the course said there was no required readings, yet the quizzes referred to things that were NOT in the lectures, so must have been in the "suggested" readings. If you're not going to require particular texts/readings (and not provide the whole text either), then those questions should NOT be in the quizzes either! Otherwise, it was a delightful course and really interesting and informative to take!

von Fabio C

11. Juli 2020

The course tried to cover so much material in so little time that the professor did a masterful job ,planting the seeds of curiosity and opening up a glorious world full of Myth, enchantment and rich literature.

The only important comment I have to make was that he missed for several decades the opening of the Coliseum ( about 80 AD) when he said that Ovid had lived during that era ( Ovid died in 17 or 18 AD), he even had a picture of the Coliseum in the background to illustrate.

von Gary

16. Dez. 2020

I have been interested in Greek and Roman Mythology, but was only familiar with the intriguing stories and never realized that we could actually integrate different tools of analysis into our reading. The beginning lectures were easy as they start from well-known stories. As we continue, however, we should be very careful since we have to know different poets, some of whom are not so familiar. Anyway, this is the first course I select. I finished and benefited a lot.

von Griffin E

26. Juni 2020

It's not perfect, but I still took a ton of notes just because some of the material is so interesting. I wanted to learn about Mythology and definitely have a much better understanding of it and I loved the stories as well. While I think some lectures are a little longer and irrelevant than they need to be, Professor Struck does a great job overall and I'm definitely thankful he put all the time and effort in to make this informative and entertaining course.

von Christina L

13. Juni 2021

It was very interesting to delve into all the concepts of mythology. My only complaint was that there were many mispronounciations of Greek words and it would have been a nice touch if this was looked into beforehand. For example, "Nostoi" would be pronounced "Nosti", as OI in Greek is read like an I, among other specific nuances. Other than that thank you for the experience. Will definitely dwelve deeper into both Greek and Roman mythology from here on.

von Irina

13. Aug. 2016

The course is interesting, but Professor rhitoric skills are not good. He stumbles over his words, repeats his words, and doesn't have a structure of lessons, jumping from thought to thought. It's difficult to listen to him.

Nevertheless, I like Professor's enthusiasm and I like Greek and Roman Mythology. Professor makes me look at the myths from a different point of view. It's amazing! I hope I will finish this course, which I took for my pleasure.

von Sindhura B

11. Aug. 2016

This course is a wonderful introduction to greek and roman mythology. I was always interested in knowing more about it, but didn't know where to start. The suggested reads in the course are a good starting point. I learnt a lot and got lots of pointers to read more. And most of the course was really fun.

One suggestion I have though is to reduce the number of lectures, and make the content a bit more succinct.

von Justin O J Y J

16. Aug. 2020

I highly recommend this course! The course is great even for beginners who have no basics about this field. I really enjoyed the first few weeks the most as Peter Struck's retelling of Odyssey was so good, it actually got me on the edge of my seat. He is also great is analysing the philosophy of mythology so you understand why myths are the way they are so you that you can appreciate them better.

von Jonathan G

24. Feb. 2018

Interesting course. However, I don't believe it covers everything that needed to be taught. You can easily read the Iliad and other ancient Greek books, but you don't need to be quizzed on it. It would make more sense if this course was about votive offerings and polytheistic worship. Much like a world religions course! If it covered Olympianism and its practices it would've made more sense

von Samantha S

15. Juni 2022

I really liked this class. The instructor, you could tell is really passionate about the subject matter! I know some courses are breadth of subject matter and some are depth...I would have loved if this were multiple courses; one on Illiad, one on Odysseus, one on Vergil, etc... Or one on Greek and one on Roman... would have loved a more in depth on each. But I highly recommend this course.

von María H R R

3. Jan. 2021

Me gustó porque el maestro explicaba de una forma interesante cada tema a tratar y sí logró generarme una curiosidad hacia toda esta mitología que es muy interesante;pero lo que no me gustó es que no se trataran algunos aspectos importantes de cada historia o mito y en dos o tres ocasiones no hubo subtítulos en español.

Fuera de eso,se me hizo muy interesante y lo recomendaría totalmente.

von Alejandra C R

3. Dez. 2016

Excellent course. The professor is a Master in the theme. He is also very communicative and funny! The problem is that the course is like a class, and online course should include more media resources available in order to be more "interactive". I confess that I already taken the first week. So, I hope that it will change.

Thank you for letting me take this course, I am learning a lot!

von Lata P

17. Mai 2020

Enjoyed the course thoroughly. Got to know about many new things and also learnt about how to see mythology from theories point of view. Many thanks to Peter Struk for designing an informative, engaging course. I would be interested if you have any further course just on 'Mythologies and various theories'. Many thanks to the University of Pennsylvania.

von Paula S

21. Jan. 2022

I enjoyed this class but it was a little bit too difficult for a beginning class. I had no background in Mythology and found this class really hard! Maybe it would be good to have more basic class for beginners. On the up side, you could really tell that the instructor knew his stuff and had a huge passion for it. That made the class very enjoyable.

von Ivelina M

17. März 2016

It requires some more time then other courses on the website. And it sometimes it's hard to follow the teacher on all videos (they are longish). But I like the subject a lot and it is nice to have it explained by someone who has a deep understanding of it.

If you think the videos are too long, try increasing the playback speed. It worked for me!

von Walter O

19. Nov. 2022

thx for (re-)introducing fundamental cultural heritage, Greek and their way of thinking, left a massive imprint on my background, more than I was aware of. How Greek interacted with their neighbors, showed hospitality is adorable. Greeks impact on Philosophy and Democracy is all to obvious.

Much more reading has to been done; and very soon.

von Sanya K

13. Juni 2020

Astounding teaching by Mr. Struck, he really striked different chords of myths to help us understand its core, which is really helpful. This quarantine period was made fruitful by this course. I wish it included Homer's Iliad as well, so we could get a better understanding of the same. Still, this course manages to be a brilliant one!!