You are here

CLAS 430 A: Greek and Roman Mythology

Meeting Time: 
MWF 11:30am - 12:20pm
SMI 120
Joint Sections: 
CLAS 430 B
Hollmann portrait
Alexander Hollmann

Syllabus Description:


Winter 2020

Prof. Alexander Hollmann

Lectures: MWF 11.30-12.20 Smith 120

Office: Denny M 262 E


Office hours:  M W 12.30 - 1.30 and by appt


Welcome to Greek and Roman Mythology! This course will introduce you some of 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 the 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 see some excellent images and, of course, encounter some fantastic stories—which are more than simply stories. 

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 from time to time I will be asking for questions and comment. I also welcome questions and discussion outside these occasions, so please be brave and raise your hand if you have a question or a comment, and I will try to incorporate this in our discussion, time permitting.

All texts and images shown in class will be posted on the website after the class.

Important dates

Please note the dates of the three quizzes (and note policies on make-ups further below)

M Jan 27 TEST ONE(multiple choice, material from Weeks 1 through 3)

M Feb 24 TEST TWO (multiple choice, material from Weeks 4 through 7)

W Mar 18 TEST THREE(FINAL EXAM)2.30-4.20 PM (multiple choice, material from Weeks 8 through 10)


Required Textbook: 

Anthology of Classical Myth, ed. Trzaskoma, Smith, Brunet. SECONDedition only (2017).

Links to readings from other texts will be provided on syllabus. Other texts may also be placed on Powerpoint slides,


3 multiple choice quizzes, each worth 33.33% of the final course grade

Note change to previous version (2/7/2020): Test 1 has 25 questions. Tests 2 and 3 will include at least 30 questions, possibly more, with some extra credit questions



Grade Scale

Percentage Earned 

Grade-Point Equivalent





























































59 and x < 59





















-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.

-Attendance at classes is up to the student, but please note that not coming to class will inevitably put you at a considerable disadvantage. THE TESTS WILL BE BASED PRIMARILY ON WHAT IS DISCUSSED IN CLASS. If you miss a class, it's your responsibility to get notes from another student.

-I do not offer any extra credit questions or assignments. [Changed 2/7/2020: Tests 2 and 3 will contain at least 2 extra credit questions.]

-PowerPoint presentations shown in class will be posted on the course website after each class. Please bear in mind that although the slides will give you some idea about what was discussed in class they are not designed to substitute for attending class. Often, the 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 always be posted on the website. Students will always be informed by email when a change is made. -Phones and other devices should be turned off and out of sight during class, except for those times when I may invite you to use them during discussion periods for submitting questions or comments.-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 or post my Powerpoint presentations or portions of them on other sites.

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:

Warnings about material

Greek and Roman mythology contains many stories that involve personal violence, including murder, cannibalism, incest, 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 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.

Religious accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (

Academic Honesty and Other Legalities

UW guidelines on academic honesty are outlined at (Links to an external site.)

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.


SCHEDULE  (as of 3/20/2020)

AnthologyAnthology of Classical Myth, ed. Trzaskoma, Smith, Brunet. SECOND edition. Readings listed for a class should be read in advance of that class.


Week 1

M Jan 6 Introduction. What is myth? What is different about Greek myth?

W Jan 8 Beginnings: Before Zeus

Read: Apollodorus (A1 The Early Gods…, Anthology17-18)

Hesiod, Theogony(The First Gods, The Castration of Ouranos, Birth of Aphrodite: Anthology 135-138; The Birth of the Olympians: Anthology144-146)

Ovid, Metamorphoses(Bk I:1-20 The Primal Chaos; Bk I:21-31 Separation of the elements; Bk I:32-51 The earth and sea. The five zones: all at


F Jan 10 Beginnings: Reign of Zeus

Apollodorus (A2 The Titanomachy: Anthology18; D1, D2 The Gigantomachy and Typhon: Anthology21-22)

Hesiod, Works and Days(Anthology, 160-167)

Ovid, Metamorphoses(Bk I:68-88 Humankind; Bk I:89-112 The Golden Age; Bk I:113-124 The Silver Age; Bk I:125-150 The Bronze Age. All at


Week 2

M Jan 13 Beginnings: Reign of Zeus cont’d

 W Jan 15 Other myths of beginnings: Deucalion, Lykaon

Hesiod, Theogony(Prometheus: Anthology146-147; Pandora: Anthology148-149)

Hesiod, Works and Days(Why Life is Hard: Anthology162-164)

Apollodorus (E1-E3 Prometheus and Humanity: Anthology23)

Ovid, Metamorphoses(Bk I:77-198 Jupiter threatens to destroy humankind; Bk I:199-243 Lycaon is turned into a wolf; Bk I:244-273 Jupiter invokes the floodwaters; Bk I:274-292 The Flood; Bk I:293-312 The world is drowned; Bk I:313-347 Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha; Bk I:348-380 They ask Themis for help; Bk I:381-415 The human race is re-created: all at

[Hittite Song of Emergence (Anthology492-497)]

F Jan 17 Gods: Hermes

Homeric Hymns (2. To Hermes: Anthology187-197)


Week 3

M Jan 20 Martin Luther King Day: NO CLASS

W Jan 22 Gods: Dionysus

Homeric Hymns (7. To Dionysus: Anthology203)

Ovid, Metamorphoses(Book III:253-272 Juno sets out to punish Semele; Bk III:273-315 Semele is consumed by Jupiter’s fire; Bk III:528-571 Pentheus rejects the worship of Bacchus; Bk III:572-596 Acoetes is captured and interrogated; Bk III:597-637 Acoetes’ story—the beautiful boy; Bk III:638-691 Acoetes’ ship and crew are transformed; Bk III:692-733 Pentheus is killed by the Maenads. All at:

F Jan 24 Heroes: Heracles

Apollodorus (K1 p. 33)


Week 4

M Jan 27 TEST ONE(multiple choice, material from Weeks 1 through 3)

 W Jan 29 Heroes: Heracles cont’d.


F Jan 31 Heroes: Theseus

Apollodorus (N1-7: Anthology54-57)

Plutarch, Life of Theseus(The Synoikismos of Attica: Anthology335-336)


Week 5

M Feb 3 Heroes: Theseus cont’d

W Feb 5 Heroes: Theban cycle (incl. Oedipus and family)

Apollodorus (M6-9: Anthology46-54) [Note: reduced from previous reading of M1-10]

Pausanias (N Did Oidipous Have Children By His Mother?, O The Sphinx: Anthology311-312)

Palaephatus (4 The Cadmeian Sphinx: Anthology290-291)

F Feb 7 Heroes: Theban cycle (Oedipus and family cont’d


Week 6

M Feb 10 Heroes: Jason and the Argonauts

Apollodorus (G1-G5:Anthology25-30)

W Feb 12 Heroes:  Jason cont’d, Medea

Pausanias (C The Tomb of Medeia’s Children in Corinth: Anthology304)

Aelian (5.21 Medeia’s Children: Anthology2)

Palaephatus (43 Medeia: Anthology297)

F Feb 14 Heroes: Medea (readings as above)

Gods: Demeter and Persephone

Homeric Hymn (2 To Demeter: Anthology169-178)

Diodorus of Sicily (5.69: Anthology98)

Pausanias (K Black Demeter: Anthology310)


Week 7

M Feb 17 President’s Day: NO CLASS

W Feb 19 Gods: Demeter cont'd 

F Feb 21 Instructor at conference: NO CLASS


Week 8

M Feb 24 TEST TWO (multiple choice, material from Weeks 4 through 7)

W Feb 26 Heroines and transformation: Daphne, Io; Procne and Philomela


Please read all the sections relating to Apollo (aka Phoebus) and Daphne


Please read all the sections relating to Io

Tereus, Procne, Philomela: Please read the following selections on the following page: VI:401-438 The marriage of Procne and Tereus; Bk VI:438-485 Tereus’s passion for Procne’s sister Philomela; Bk VI:486-548 Tereus forces Philomela; Bk VI:571-619 The truth is revealed; Bk VI:619-652 The pitiless feast; Bk VI:653-674 They are transformed into birds

F Feb 28 Heroes: Trojan War Cycle. Beginning

Proclus (A. The Cypria: Anthology337-338)

Lucian (7 The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis: Anthology 244; Judgment of the Goddesses: Anthology247-252)

Herodotus (The Egyptians on Whether Helen Ever Went to Troy: Anthology125-128)


Week 9

M Mar 2 Heroes: Trojan War intro, Helen 

W Mar 4 Heroes: Helen cont’d, Troy as city, Achilles

F Mar 6 Heroes: Achilles cont’d, fall of Troy


Week 10

M Mar 9 Heroes: Nostos of Agamemnon, Odysseus

Readings: Proem of Odyssey, anger of Poseidon: Odyssey book 1 lines 1-125


W Mar 11 Heroes: Nostos of Odysseus cont’d

Helen and Menelaos: Odyssey book 4 lines 296-408


Menelaos and Proteus, nostoi of Ajax, Agamemnon, Odysseus: Odyssey book 4 lines 600-770


Cyclops: Odyssey book 9 lines 138-713

F Mar 13 Heroes: Nostos of Odysseus cont’d


Odysseus in the Underworld: Odyssey book 11 lines 111-279,  86-821


FINALS WEEK:W Mar 18 TEST THREE2.30-4.20 PM (multiple choice, material from Weeks 8 through 10)


Catalog Description: 
Principal myths found in classical and later literature. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 16, 2019 - 9:11pm