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HUM 1015 Mythology


Course Description

Introduces classical, Norse, and medieval mythology through the study of themes and narratives that emphasize the importance of mythical elements to the modern world.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to

  • Explain the major western mythologies of Greece and Rome, Scandinavia (i.e., Norse myth), Celtic myth, and the legends and tales of Arthurian myth
  • Describe how major western mythologies continue to affect their own lives in the modern world
  • Explain the cultural and social importance of western mythology on history and art
  • Describe some of the most significant literary readings of western mythology and how these texts reflect challenges faced by students in their application of mythological themes to other mediums

Week 1


Lecture: Introduction to Mythology

Outcomes

  • Identify and discuss the three primary types of myths: divine, legends, and folktales
  • Explain the cultural milieu in which Greek myth was centered. This will include a discussion of Greek history from the Bronze Age through the Classical period ending in 323 B.C.
  • Discuss the origins of Greek myth in the Mediterranean world and how it historically changed alongside the development of Greek civilization

Week 2


Lecture: Myths of Creation
Lecture: Zeus as an Example of Olympian Mythology

Outcomes

  • Explain the difference between cosmogony and theogony in Greek myth
  • Provide a brief outline of the creation of the world according to the various different Greek myths
  • Compare and contrast the different discussions about the creation of humanity and its place in the world
  • Identify the 12 Olympian gods and their respective places in the Greek pantheon of gods
  • Discuss the importance of fertility and death in developing Greek mythology

Week 3


Lecture: Legend of Hercules
Lecture: Legend of Jason and the Argonauts
Lecture: Other Legendary Greek Heroes
Lecture: The Trojan War: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

Outcomes

  • Discuss what the heroic ideal was in Greek myth and how it is exemplified in the tales they have read
  • Explain how different regions of Greece had specific mythological heroes and why these legendary figures remained important throughout ancient history
  • Compare and contrast the legendary adventures of Heracles with those of Jason and the Argonauts
  • Discuss how a more complete history of the Trojan War developed beyond the writings of Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey

Week 4


Lecture: The Origins of Roman Mythology
Lecture: Roman History and Roman Heroes

Outcomes

  • Identify the differences between the Greek and Roman pantheons of gods
  • Discuss the unique Roman contributions to ancient mythology and the tales of creation and mankind
  • Compare and contrast the Iliad with Virgil’s Aeneid and the importance of this Roman contribution to the history of the Trojan War

Week 5


Lecture: Background to Norse Mythology: Common Themes
Lecture: Norse Gods, Part 1
Lecture: Norse Gods, Part 2
Lecture: Norse Myths: Thor and Loki
Lecture: Other Northern Myths: Slavic and Finnish Myths, Part 1
Lecture: Other Northern Myths: Slavic and Finnish Myths, Part 2

Outcomes

  • Identify the Norse gods and their respective places in the pantheon of gods
  • Discuss the importance of Fate and the battle of Ragnarok in the development of Norse mythology
  • Compare and contrast Thor and Loki with the other Norse gods
  • Discuss the influence of Scandinavian myths on Finnish and Slavic myths

Week 6


Lecture: Celtic Mythology: Origins
Lecture: Celtic Mythology: The Mabinogion, Part 1
Lecture: Celtic Mythology: The Mabinogion, Part 2
Lecture: Celtic Mythology: The Myths of Ireland, Part 1
Lecture: Celtic Mythology: The Myths of Ireland, Part 2
Lecture: Celtic Mythology: The Myths of Ireland, Part 3

Outcomes

  • Discuss the historical origins of Celtic mythology
  • Identify the differences between Welsh and Irish myths
  • Compare and contrast the heroic qualities of the members of the Fianna and their contributions to Irish mythology

Week 7


Lecture: The Real World of Arthurian Myth
Lecture: The Legendary Heroes
Lecture: The Round Table and the Grail Quest, Part 1
Lecture: The Round Table and the Grail Quest, Part 2

Outcomes

  • Discuss the historical origins of Arthurian myth and answer the question: Was King Arthur real?
  • Discuss the importance of romance and chivalry in Arthurian myths
  • Compare and contrast the importance of the Grail Quest with other Arthurian myths and Christianity
  • Provide examples of how Christianity transformed Arthurian myths from their ancient Celtic roots

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. March 2012