CLAS 430 C: Greek And Roman Mythology

Meeting Time: 
MWF 12:30pm - 1:20pm
KNE 210
Olga Levaniouk

Syllabus Description:


Winter 2018               MWF 12:30-1:20                    KNE 210



Olga Levaniouk           

Denny M262B, (206) 543-2266

Office hours:  TTh 2:30-3:30 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 you if have a question or a comment! Texts and images shown in class will be available on this website.

Lisa Maurizio, Classical Mythology in Context. OUP 2017.

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

Four multiple-choice quizzes in weeks 4, 6, 8, and 10, 25% each.

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

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

Primary attention will be paid to your knowledge of the primary texts and quotations from them 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…”).

You are expected to arrive on time for exams; students who arrive late will not be granted additional time. Make-up exams 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, and they must be taken within a week of the original exam (barring exceptional circumstances). 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!


Course policies
Attendance at lectures is up to the student, but please note that simply reading the textbooks without 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 note, 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.

Under no circumstances may you 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.


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 Counceling 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 every class and take notes. If you miss a class, get notes from someone who was there.

2) Complete readings as they are assigned, using the lectures to guide you as to what is important for you to retain. Ideally you should take notes on the readings to make sure you remember the main points.

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

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

5) 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.

6) If you don’t understand something, just 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 (especially when it comes to rape) 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 some 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

A      3.9     93

A-     3.8     92

A-     3.7     91

A-     3.6     90

A-     3.5     89

B+     3.4     88

B+     3.3     87

B+     3.2     86

B       3.1     85

B       3.0     84

B       2.9     83

B-      2.8     82

B-      2.7     81

B-      2.6     80

B-      2.5     79

C+     2.4     78

C+     2.3     77

C+     2.2     76

C       2.1     75

C       2.0     74

C       1.9     73

C-     1.8     72

C-     1.7     71

C-     1.6     70

C-     1.5     69

D+    1.4     68

D+    1.3     67

D+    1.2     66

D      1.1     65

D      1.0     64

D      0.9     63

D-     0.8     62

D-     0.7     61-60

F       0.0     59 or lower




Week One



no reading



What is Classical Mythology?

Maurizio 1.2, 1.3


Week Two


Creation I

Maurizio 2.1



Creation II




Zeus and Hera

Maurizio 3.1, 3.2

Week Three







Demeter and Hades

Maurizio 4.1, 4.2, 4.4



Demeter and Hades II


Week Four



Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Ares

Maurizio 5.1, 5.2, 5.3







Athena and Poseidon

Maurizio 6.1, 6.2

Week Five


Hermes and Hestia

Maurizio 7.1, 7.2



Artemis and Apollo

Maurizio 8.1, 8.2, 8.3



Dionysus I

Maurizio 9.1

Week Six


Dionysus II

Maurizio 9.2







Heroes and Heroines

Maurizio 10.1

Week Seven


Heracles, Theseus

Maurizio 10.2, 103.









Week Eight











Maurizio 11.1

Week Nine



Maurizio 12.1. 12.2, 12.3



Odysseus and Penelope




Medea and the Argonauts

Maurizio 11.1, 11.2, 11.3

Week Ten



Maurizio 11.4




Maurizio 13.1, 13.2






 Useful links:

R. Blondell. Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation. Oxford 2013 (available online through our library)


W. Hansen, The Book of Greek and Roman Folktales, Legends and Myths. Princeton 2017. (available online through our library)


Sententiae Antiquae (Joel Christensen's blog for those seeking wisdom from the ancients - his words)










Catalog Description: 
Principal myths found in classical and later literature. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:14pm