Greek Mythography (3) This graduate seminar focuses on ancient Greek mythographic authors from the beginnings of the genre (6th C.B.C.E.) to the Roman period.
GREEK 520 Greek Mythography (3)
This graduate seminar focuses on the ancient Greek mythographic authors from the beginnings of the genre in the sixth century B.C.E. to the Roman period. We shall define "mythography" simply as the prose exposition of mythic narratives (the most well-known Greek mythographer is Apollodorus, whose first-century C.E. "Bibliotheca" is consulted regularly by students of myth; some of the earlier practitioners include Hellanicus and Pherecydes). The seminar will consider selected readings in the theory of myth, alongside which we will examine in detail and evaluate the content of sources of the mythographers' writings. Some of these provide quite outlandish variants on known myths or bizarre stories otherwise unknown. Through a series of case studies of particular mythic stories, we shall place these texts in literary and cultural relief by seeking to understand how they interact with the more well-known mythic genres of Greece such as epic, lyric, and tragedy. We will also probe the borders of what we call "mythography" by examining other prose texts not normally associated with the genre, such as Herodotus' Histories or even philosophical texts such as Plato or Aristotle. In addition, since much of the material we will treat is in a fragmentary state, we will try our hands at reconstructing both texts and myths that survive in only incomplete form. Some attention will also be given to the Latin mythographic tradition (e.g. Hyginus and others) which is mostly, or perhaps wholly, dependent upon earlier or contemporary Greek mythography.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.