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CLAS 430 A: Greek and Roman Mythology

Meeting Time: 
MWF 12:30pm - 1:20pm
PCAR 192
Olga Levaniouk
Olga Levaniouk

Syllabus Description:



Fall 2018                    MWF 12:30-1:20                    PACCAR 192



Olga Levaniouk          

Denny M262B, (206) 543-2266

Office hours:  Mondays 2-3pm and by appointment


Welcome to Greek and Roman Mythology! This course will introduce you to the principal myths of ancient Greece in Greek and Roman sources, to the main places and characters involved, to some of the ways in which myth functioned in real life in Ancient Greece, and ways it functions in human societies in general. You will get a sense of how Greek myth fitted together into a system, and we will look for connections and patterns that made that system work and for developments, events and influences that made it change. You will read some excellent literature and, of course, encounter some fantastic stories—which are more than simply stories. We will approach myth as stories that people tell to create the (virtual) worlds in which they live, and our goal in this course will be to reconstruct some of these worlds on the basis of stories that survive from Antiquity.


None. Though this is listed as a 400-level course, anyone from freshman to senior is welcome and no previous knowledge of the myths or texts will be assumed. Please note, however, that the course will nevertheless make demands on your memory, concentration, and analytical abilities.

Course structure
The course is conducted by lecture but questions and discussion will be welcomed whenever possible. Please be brave and raise your hand if you have a question or a comment! There will be a few minutes set aside at the end of each lecture for an online/live “chat” using Canvas: you will be able to use the chat function to ask questions, which I will answer in class, or, if we run out of time, online. Please come prepared to ask questions and please use the brief time we have only for questions pertaining to the content of the class rather than grading and logistics (“Why do you think Achilles’ talking horses lost their voice?” is a question suitable for the chat period; “Is our next quiz on Monday?” is not).

Texts and images shown in class will be available on the website.

Note: This quarter you can take a writing seminar in conjunction with this course:

English 297C – Writing Seminar linked with CLAS 430 A - Greek & Roman Mythology

M, W, F    1:30 – 2:20pm,   MEB 245

To enroll or for further information please contact Alan Williams at


Lisa Maurizio, Classical Mythology in Context. OUP 2017.

e-book version is available for purchase or rent at:


Additional readings (if any) and images will be posted on course website.

Four multiple-choice quizzes in weeks 4, 6, 9, and 11, 25% each.

NB: the quizzes require mark-sense forms (scantrons).


Each quiz will consists of 40 questions.

36 questions will derived directly from the lectures. 18 of these questions you will have seen in advance: they will be posted online weekly under “quiz practice.” 18 further questions will be new, but of the same type as those seen in the practice quizzes.

The remaining 4 questions will be based on the textbook and address material not covered in lectures. These questions will be posted on Canvas in advance, but you will not be given the answers to them. You will, however, be given precise indication about the sections of the book you need to read in order to answer these questions. For example:  How did Panhellenic sanctuaries such as Olympia contribute to the formation of shared identity among Greeks? (find out on pp. 44-46)



Quizzes will test both memorization and your understanding of important concepts.


Quotations from the primary (Greek) texts will feature on the quizzes.


Each quiz will also contain some questions pertaining to the modern theories and interpretation presented in class (For example, a question may start with “According to the interpretation presented in class…” or “L. Muellner describes the initial sequence of Hesiod’s Theogony as…”).


Make-up quizzes will be given only in cases of illness, personal or family emergency, or for university-approved events (athletics, etc.) that are cleared with me in advance. Make-up exams are not given for vacations, long weekends, oversleeping, confusion about the date or time of the exam, etc.


I don't offer extra credit, so focus on doing the work well the first time around and please don’t hesitate to ask for help!



Course policies
Attendance at lectures is up to the student, but please note that not coming to lectures will inevitably put you at a considerable disadvantage. THE TESTS WILL BE BASED PRIMARILY ON LECTURE. If you miss a lecture, it's your responsibility to get notes from another student.


PowerPoint presentations will be posted on the course website. Please bear in mind, however, that although the slides will give you some idea about the lectures they are not designed to substitute for attending class. Often, the slides presentations will tell you only which topics were discussed, not what was actually said about them.


The course schedule may be updated as need arises and the latest version will be posted on the website.



Electronics Policy

Phones and other devices should be turned off and out of sight during class, except for discussion periods when they may be used for submitting questions or participating in a “chat”.


Laptops are welcome for note-taking purposes, but not for email, internet surfing, or other activities that could distract other students. I may ban laptops if their presence comes to have a disruptive effect on the class.


I do not provide Panopto recordings of my lectures. Please do not record lectures without my explicit permission.



Email and Course Website


I will communicate with you through Canvas announcements or the class email list, which is generated automatically using the address you have on file with the university (usually your address).


I do not always check my email in the evenings, so please do not wait until the night before a quiz to email me with questions!


Your e-mail messages should be polite and informative. It should be clear from your message who you are and in what course you are enrolled in.


Questions about Greek myth are always welcome, even when they don’t directly pertain to lecture or reading. It does not all have to be about the quizzes! If you are curious, just ask.



Accommodations and Extra Help

If you require disability-related accommodations please provide me with a letter (or email) from the Disability Resources for Students Office

( as soon as possible. Correspondence from DRS will remain confidential.


UW provides various resources for students experiencing academic or personal difficulties. A good place to start is the Counseling Center:


Academic Honesty and Other Legalities

UW guidelines on academic honesty are outlined at

Make sure to acquaint yourself with university policies if you haven’t done so already. If you are unsure about what constitutes academic misconduct, please ask.


UW prohibits the selling of notes online or through any other channels.


How to earn a good grade in this class


1) Attend class and take notes. If you miss a class, get notes from someone who was there.

2) Begin studying in advance of each quiz. You will be required to remember more names and plots than can be easily memorized at the last moment.

3) Review your notes and PowerPoint slides before each quiz.

4) Read questions carefully. Each quiz will have some transparent questions that merely test your basic knowledge and some trickier ones that require logical thinking or making fine distinctions. Think carefully and don’t go for the first option that sounds vaguely acceptable.

5) Make an appointment to see me if you are worried about your performance in the class and would like suggestions about how to do better. It’s always better to do so early, while there is still a chance to improve your grade— please do not wait until the last week of class!

6) If you don’t understand something, please ask!




Greek and Roman mythology contains many stories that involve personal violence, including murder, cannibalism, and rape. No matter how horrifying these acts may be to us, we cannot edit them out of Greek myth. We are dealing with a different culture from a different time and place and with sensibilities different from our own, but with many insights that are still surprisingly relevant. Our task will be to learn about this world and possibly to learn from it (what not to do as much as what to do), not to hide from the evidence. I will do my best to discuss such disturbing stories in a way that does not make people too uncomfortable. Please be prepared, however, to hear mention of these subjects.


The course may also involve occasional mentions of contemporary religions and prevalent cultural notions. At least one reading from the Old Testament and an excerpt from “The Acts of Paul and Thecla” are included in your textbook for the purpose of comparison with Greek and Roman mythology. As you will learn in the class, “myth” does not have to be false—or true—to be a myth, and it will not be our goal in this course to make a judgment regarding the relative truth value of different peoples’ myths. This position includes granting no special status to any contemporary religion.




A      4.0     100-94         38-40 correct answers            

A      3.9     93               37                       

A-     3.8     90               36                                                  

A-     3.6     88               35                       

B+     3.4     85               34                                                  

B+     3.2     83               33                       

B       3.0     80               32                                         

B       2.8     78               31                       

B-      2.6     75               30                       

C+    2.4     72               29                       

C+    2.2     70               28                                         

C       2.0     68               27                       

C-     1.8     65               26                       

C-     1.6     63               25                                

D+    1.4     60               24                                

D+    1.2     58               23                       

D      1.0     55               22                       

D-     0.8     53               21                        lowest passing grade






Week One



no reading



What is Classical Mythology?


Maurizio 1.2, 3.3


Week Two


Creation I

Maurizio 2.1

Primary reading: Hesiod, Theogony (Maurizio pp.56-76).




Creation II

Maurizio 2.2




Zeus and Hera

Maurizio 3.1, 3.2

Week Three


Demeter and Hades

Maurizio 4.1





Demeter and Hades II


Primary text: Hymn to Demeter  (Maurizio pp.163-174)




Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Ares


Maurizio 5.1, 5.2

Primary text: Hymn to Aphrodite (Maurizio pp. 219-226)

Week Four






Athena and Poseidon

Maurizio 6.1, 6.2





Hermes and Hestia

Maurizio 7.1

Primary text: Hymn to Hermes (Maurizio pp.295-309)

Week Five



Maurizio 8.1. to page 344, 8.2.

Primary text: Hymn to Artemis (Maurizio p.358)




Maurizio 8.1 pp. 344-348

Primary text: Hymn to Apollo (Maurizio pp. 349-358)




Dionysos I



Maurizio 9.1

Primary text: from Euripides, Bacchae (Maurizio pp.401-410)

Hymn to Dionysos (Maurizio pp. 410-411)

Week Six


Dionysos II

Maurizio 9.2








Heroes and Heroines



Maurizio 10.1 to page 442, 10.2, 12.1 (to page 551)

Week Seven


Heracles, Theseus

Maurizio 10.1 pp. 442-448




Maurizio 10.1 pp. 451-452

Primary text: from the Iliad (Maurizio pp.453-466)


Primary text:

From the Epic of Gilgamesh (Maurizio pp.480-486)

Michael Longley, “Ceasefire” (Maurizio pp. 493-494)







Week Eight






Helen I

Maurizio 11.1 to page 505



Helen II


Blondell, "Helen, Daughter of Zeus"  Link

Week Nine






Transsexuality; Gender bending;

Greek and Indic myth

no reading










Week Ten


Oedipus and Antigone

Maurizio 10.1 pp.448-452,

11.2 (esp. pp.519-521)



Medea and the Argonauts

 Maurizio 21.1 pp. 552-555, 12.2







Maurizio 11.1 pp 508-510

Primary text: From Euripides, Medea (Maurizio pp. 511-519)

Primary text: from Ovid, Metamorphoses (Maurizio pp. 529-537)


13.1, 13.2

Week Eleven



Maurizio 12.1 pp.55-561.

Primary text: from the Odyssey (Maurizio pp. 562-574)




no reading






Catalog Description: 
Principal myths found in classical and later literature. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:21pm