CIV 205: Greek and Roman Mythology

Instructor: Office Hours:
W.E. Hutton MWF 12-1
Morton 326 and by appointment

Time and Place of Class: T-R 2:00 - 3:20 p.m. Rogers 100

Required Texts:

Important Electronic Addresses:
Course Description:

This is an introductory course with the following goals: 1) To acquaint students with the most important themes, characters and images of Greek and Roman myth; 2) To introduce students to modern theories of mythological interpretation; 3) To give students practice in thinking about and expressing ideas having to do with myth, literature, history and culture. While part of this class will consist of learning exciting stories about figures like Hercules, Achilles and the Amazons, that’s not all we’ll be doing. We’ll be looking at a wide variety of evidence from literature, art, history and archaeology in order to understand the impact these myths had both in antiquity and in subsequent generations.

Components of your Grade:
Quizzes and assignments: 10%
Research report 20%
Midterm exam 35%
Final exam 35%

The Research Report will be an essay of at least 1000 words (ca 4-5 pages with regular font and margin sizes) on a figure from Greek, Roman, Egyptian or Near Eastern mythology. It will survey the ancient evidence for the figure, analyze the role it plays in the myth and/or religion of ancient society and how it shows up in later or modern literature or imagery. Reading in ancient literature and modern scholarship beyond what is assigned for class is required: guidelines on the type and number of cited sources required will be given to you later in the semester. The use of visual material, where appropriate, is encouraged, and you may also submit your report as a Web site. With certain requirements and limitations, a creative project, such as a work of creative writing or a visual artwork, can be substituted for the research report. Topics for research reports must be approved in advance, by the date listed on the course schedule. No papers on unapproved topics will be accepted. One week before the due date you will also be required to hand in an annotated bibliography describing the sources you are using for the project. No paper will be accepted for which a satisfactory bibliography has not been turned in on time.

Exams will consist of questions requiring answers that range form one word to one paragraph. Both exams, including the final, will be designed to last one hour and twenty minutes, and the final will NOT be comprehensive (though the ability to bring up material from the whole semester in your answers will be a plus).

This is too large a class for me to give grades for attendance and class participation, but students who distinguish themselves through regular attendance and attentive and active participation will receive favorable consideration in borderline grading situations. Those who do not, will not.

Your grade will be calculated on a percentage basis and converted to a letter grade at the end of the semester. The conversion will operate as follows: 93-100% = A; 89 - 92% = A-; 85-88% = B+; 81-84% = B; 78 - 80% = B-; 74-77% = C+; 70 - 73% = C; 65 - 69% = C-; 61-64% = D+ ; 57 - 60 = D; 53 - 56 = D-; below 53% = F

Policy on Unusual Circumstances:

As stated above, there will be no make-ups for quizzes and assignments, and no make-ups or special arrangements for the exams or the research report will be granted without verifiable evidence of severe personal affliction. If circumstances prevent you from meeting deadlines, or writing tests you must notify me of your situation within 48 hours after the deadline, otherwise no special arrangements will be made.


This schedule is subject to change, so find some way to keep abreast of things if you can't make it to class. Changes will be announced in class and posted to Blackboard as soon as possible. Reading assignments given here are the least that will be required. Additional assignments WILL be made in class. Reading assignments are to be completed BEFORE the class for which they are scheduled.

Jan 17 Introduction

22 Greek culture and religion; the sources of myth; Powell, Ch. 1 & 2

24 Indo-Europeans and Near Eastern origins; Powell, Chapter 3 QUIZ

29 Greek myths of creation; Powell, Ch. 4 & 5

31 Mythological theory and interpretation; Powell, Ch. 23

Feb 5 The Olympian gods: Zeus and his siblings; Powell, Chapter 6 + pp. 152-4

7 Zeus the Tyrant: Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound (in Course Pack) QUIZ

12 The younger generation: Male Deities; Powell, Chapter 7

14 Female Deities; Powell, Chapter 8.

19 Gods at odds: Euripides' Hippolytus (in Course Pack)

21 Demeter and myths of fertility: Powell Chapter 9; QUIZ

26 Dionysusand the Bacchae; Powell, Chapter 10

28 Death and the Underworld; Powell, Chapter 11.

Mar 5-7 Fall Break, no class


14 Heroes: Perseus; Powell, Chapters 12 & 13.

19 Heracles; Powell, Chapters 14

21 Heracles' Demise: Sophocles' Women of Trachis

26 Theseus, Athens and Crete: Powell, Chapter 15 & 16

28 The Theban Cycle, and other Heroes: Powell, Chapters 17 and 18; QUIZ


Apl 2 Introduction to the Trojan War: Powell, Chapter 19

4 Special Event: TBA

9 Homeric poetry: Iliad 1-8

11 Iliad 9-16 QUIZ


18 The Returns: Powell, Chapter 20

23 The Story of Odysseus: Powell, Chapter 21     RESEARCH REPORT DUE

25 Roman Myth and Religion, Powell, Chapter 22. QUIZ

Tuesday, May 7, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.: FINAL EXAM