Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Canvas Info
ClSt / ComL 100: Mythology
Peter Struck
I. Course Description
  Myths are traditional stories that have endured many years. 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 entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Are they a set of cultural blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? We will investigate these questions through a variety of topics including: the creation of the universe and the structure of the cosmos, relations between gods and mortals, religion and divination, justice, society, family, sex, love, madness, and death.
II. Academic Integrity
Final Exam
Collaboration with your fellow mythologists during the final exam counts as cheating. Specific things that count as cheating include but are not limited to:
  • having someone else take the exam for you
  • copying an essay or any part of an essay from any one else's work -- including friends, aquaintances, any writing online or on paper -- and claiming it as your own.
All other assignments
Collaboration with your fellow mythologists in the course's other assignments (papers, worksheets, responses)is allowed and encouraged in every way EXCEPT:
  • having someone else fill in your weekly worksheet
  • having someone else write your writing assignments on your section's bulletin board
  • downloading an essay from any one of the commercial sites that will sell you garbage for $12.95 / page and using it, or any part of it, as any part of your writing. (These people are the lowest of the low and they don't care if you get kicked out of college for using their site, they just want your money and they prey on your anxiety. They make the Cyclops look humane by comparison.)
This kind of cheating is not only a breach of University's the Code of Acdemic Conduct, it is also stupid.
Putting time into the online worksheets is a great preparation for performing well on the short answer sections of the midterm and final. Questions in these sections will surely include, though they are not limited to, material drawn from the worksheets. Putting time into your weekly web post is your best preparation for performing well on exams.
III. Grading
45% Final:
2500-word essay. You should expect it to take about 10 hours total. Open book and open note.
10% Regular worksheets on web units:
worksheets on web units: 8 out of 11 worksheets completed on time = full 10%, less than 8 completed on time = you will earn percentage points toward your final grade equal to the number of worksheets completed on time multiplied by 1.25.
10% Participation (=Attendance + kleos points)
Miss one live session, no penalty. For missing any other live session, you lose 3 points per live session you miss. The rest of this grade is made up by lively participation in live class sessions.
35% Writing Assignments:
You will be responsible for weekly writing assignments throughout the class. Once, you will write a 1000-word essay on the readings for that week (15%). You will post that essay for those in your writing tribes to read. Every week, starting with week 3 (including the week when you are a featured writer) you will post a paragraph response to one of the longer essays for that week. (5% x 4 = 20%)
IV. Required Texts

Purchase them any way you like. If you're on campus, the Penn Book Center (not the Penn Bookstore) may have some of these in stock.

Greek Tragedies, Vol. I, ed. by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (Chicago: University of Chicago Pr.)

Greek Tragedies Vol. III, ed. by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (Chicago: University of Chicago Pr.)

Hesiod, Theogony (Oxford World's Classics), M. L. West, trans. (New York: Oxford University Press)

Homeric Hymns, Sarah Ruden, trans. (Hackett)

Homer, The Odyssey, Emily Wilson, trans.

Virgil, The Aeneid, Robert Fitzgerald, trans. (Vintage Books)

Roland Barthes, Mythologies (Farrar, Strauss, Giroux)

V. Teaching Staff
Peter Struck
Office: Cohen 291
Phone: 898-5137
Office Hours: by appointment

Teaching Assistant:
Theodora Naqvi, Classical Studies, Penn (tnaqvi@sas.upenn.edu)
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