Are the Greek gods just? Do they have to be? Can murder be justified under certain circumstances? In ancient myth, characters like Prometheus, Achilles, Agamemnon and Hector, Oedipus and Antigone, Orestes, Electra, Jason and Medea wondered about these questions, and the why of their fates. Their questions echo in the great works of art and literature produced in antiquity and after.
Classical Mythology examines the origins of the concept of myth and its manifold interpretations, ancient and modern. Pro­minent themes in classical mythology are explored by means of ancient literary and artistic sources: from the creation of the cosmos, through the rise of the Olympians, till the heroic exploits and family sagas which touch upon historical reality. Are these stories or histories? Can they be traced in the archaeology of the Aegean prehistory? How are Greek mythology and its Near Eastern counterparts of various periods linked?
Myth and religion pervaded ancient Greek and Roman civilization, and this prominent position will be discussed in topics like cult and myth; the histories of myth; myth, society and pol­itics; myth in Roman culture; and the artistic manifestations of myth. Classical mythology’s formative role in culture and thought after antiquity is another important issue in this course this year.