Page name: Greek mythology classroom [Logged in view] [RSS]
2014-08-07 21:32:32
Last author: SilverFire
Owner: Aristotle
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Greek Mythology Classroom

Teacher: [SilverFire]


Brief Outline:

1. Introduction
3. Creation of the Universe



Welcome to the Greek Mythology classroom, where you'll be able to find information on the Greek gods, heroes and tales. But first, a note - there's no student list for this classroom, I don't see the point - you are not obliged to study, I will set no "homework" and thus there is no need for me to keep track of who reads this page - dip in and enjoy when it suits you.

One important thing to bear in mind when dealing with myth of any kind is that it is not an exact science - the answer to 2 + 2 isn't always 4. Sometimes, it's not even a number. Every writer who took it upon themselves to write about the gods and heroes put their own spin on it. Hesiod's Theogony is not a definitive guide to the divine genealogy of the Greek pantheon, but just one version of it; Homer's is another. If someone else thinks that Poseidon is the father of Pegasus, and you believe otherwise, you need to bear in mind that in all probability, neither of you are wrong. You've just read different sources.


Creation of the Universe

Before I commence this segment, I'd like to remind you of a thing mentioned earlier, namely the diversity and multitude of the Greek myth. This class is not to teach you Greek myths as stories. It is about the analysis of Greek myth - what ideas it is expressing, what purpose it served, etc. That means that we'll look at a myth in an ancient source, and then discuss the myth and possible interpretations of it - psychoanalytical, structuralist, etc. We will approach them from a variety of angles - as classicists, anthropologists, psychologists, theologists. Because of this I will expect you to do a lot of primary reading - me simply summing up a few versions of the fall of the titans just isn't going to give you enough information to analyse the texts, so instead, I shall provide links to online translations of the sources I want you to read. If you can afford to buy copies of these, that would be far better, since the translation will almost inevitably be better, but don't worry if you can't, the online translations are good enough for our current purposes.

Hesiod's Theogony at


Key Texts:

No study of Greek Mythology should be made just by reading secondary sources, If you're serious about learning you need to get out there and read what was being written about myths at the time, here are some texts that you will find useful if you care to read them:

Primary Sources:

Hesiod, Theogony
Homer, Iliad
Homer, Odyssey
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
Sophocles, Antigone
Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes
Aeschylus, The Oresteia
Ovid*, Metamorphoses

*Ovid is, of course, a Roman author, but many of the myths he covers in the Metamorphoses are Greek in Origin. Sometimes, though we know previous accounts existed, we no longer have those earlier sources, so Ovid can be the only, or one of the only sources remaining for that myth.

Secondary Sources:
Alan Dundes, Sacred Narrative 1984 - a collection of essays by some of the most famous and revolutionary mythologists, including Bronislaw Malinowksi, C. G. Jung, and Claude Levi-Strauss. It focuses on more than Greek myth but as a general introduction to mythology - that is, how we study and interpret myth - it's very good.
Robert A. Segal, Myth: A Very Short Introduction 2004 - the 'Very Short Introduction' series are not to be sniffed at - they're written by academic experts in the field and despite it being a "very short" introduction it's packed with information summarising several different approaches to myth from a variety of perspectives, and details the ideas of the most important scholars in myth.
Roger D. Woodard (ed) The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology A collection of articles by the some of the current most distinguished scholars in the study of myth, covering a wide variety of topics including how myth interacted with other areas of Greek life such as politics, and modern reception of Greek myth. 

Other Elftown pages with relevant information:


Go or return to:
- Mythology
- Elftown Academy

Past teachers: [Aristotle]

Username (or number or email):


2004-07-25 [papertrail89]: [haskeerdc], if you want to be a student, add your name to the list

2004-12-05 [Sylwyn]: how does one join classes?

2005-02-12 [Dancersweet]: i would love to join this class!

2005-02-12 [BlacK_HearT]: there are never any new lessons....

2005-02-12 [Aristotle]: I did outsource the class due to never having time (and being a bit lazy) but that seems to have stopped as well. I'll try to get a moveon again. Promise.

2005-02-13 [Aristotle]: There. New class. Oh, and does anyone really think that the student list is worth having here? I mean, what does it really do? Anyone is free to read the lessons and if I add a new one before everyone is done, then the rest can just look at the old classes. Any objections to me removing it?

2005-02-13 [BadCat]: It's probably not necessary, but it 1) encourages new students, when they see how popular and fashionable it must be to have so many sign-ups (grin), and 2) it helps with a sense of community. Mmm.

2005-02-13 [Aristotle]: Haha! BadCat made a grammatical mistake! You wrote 'it' two times! There shouldn't be any 'it' after the 2). Hurrah! BadCat is human. Eh. Though you're right about the communion thingy. And the popularity thingy. I'll let it stay.

2005-02-14 [BadCat]: Damnation! So I did... oh dear, my reputation is in tatters.

2005-02-25 [Leo_205]: your class seems good! i'll start watch

2005-02-25 [Aristotle]: Excellent. Now all I have to do is keep writing...

2005-04-22 [Aristotle]: Next lesson is on the way. I'm halfway through it. Now all I need is some spare time...

2005-05-18 [Aristotle]: Added a bit to the last class, about the river Styx.

2005-06-25 [Rynnde]: I'd like to be part of this class as well

2005-06-25 [Aristotle]: Just sign up. No permission needed. I'll see when I have the time for another lesson.

2005-06-30 [Rynnde]: maybe a stupid question, but how do I sign up then?? =S

2005-07-07 [Aristotle]: Click on 'Edit this page', find the list of students and add your name at the bottom of the list.

2005-07-09 [Rynnde]: Ok, thanx.

2006-07-25 [Ace118]: can i join please

2008-01-31 [Imperator]: Question: What is "The Seven Against Thebes" about? And is the author unknown?

2008-02-01 [SilverFire]: No, it's not unknown, I jsut got distracted at that point. <.< It's by Aeschylus.

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