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Classical Mythology

Wednesday., 6:30pm (U.S. Eastern Time)

Course Description: This overview of Greco-Roman mythology will examine the heroic myths using the ancient Greek writer Apollodorus as a guide, with treatments by Ovid, Virgil, and Hyginus for Roman perspectives. All readings will be in translation. We will study Creation and the Flood, the adventures of Jason and the Argonauts, Perseus, Hercules, and Theseus, the Trojan War and its aftermath, as well as some popular lesser tales, and conclude with a look at changing concepts of heroism in the later period, as seen in the tale of Cupid and Psyche told by Apuleius. Some attention will be given to medieval and modern treatments of the Classical myths, with a nod to notable motion picture adaptations.


Level: This course is open to students at all levels. No prior knowledge of mythology nor any knowledge of Latin or Greek is required.

Textbook: The Bibliotheke (“Library”) of Apollodorus (or Pseudo-Apollodorus, as some prefer to call the author), preferably in the translation by Robin Hard (Apollodorus: The Library of Greek Mythology, Oxford University Press, 1997). There are different translations of this text available online, including a good alternative by Sir James George Frazer (at the Perseus Digital Library and Theoi). Also recommended (but not required) is Ovid’s Metamorphoses, particularly in the translation by A.D. Melville (Oxford University Press). Additional materials provided by instructor.

Sections capped at: 5 students. If the course is sold-out, please fill out this waiting-list form.

Regular price $250.00

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Robert Ziomkowski has degrees in History from Siena College (B.A., 1991) and Cornell University (M.A., 1994; Ph.D., 2000), and a post-doctoral degree from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (L.M.S., 2002). His research focuses on medieval Platonism and cosmology. His publications include a translation and study of a text by the eleventh-century polemicist Manegold of Lautenbach, as well as a study guide for Western Civilization and articles in the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas and PLOS ONE (“Mathematical Philology”). He attended Fr. Reginald Foster’s summer Latin course in 1994 while doing manuscript research in the Vatican Library, and his fascination with human languages has merged with an interest in computer languages (JavaScript, Python) for the creation of computerized Latin exercises. His other interests include animation and video editing; with his former students at Ithaca College, he produced a short film in Latin on Homer’s Odyssey entitled Ulixes.