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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS)

CAMS 045 (GH;IL) Classical Mythology (3) Introduction to Greek and Roman divinities, heroes and heroines; survey of the major myths and their influence on Western culture.

CAMS 045 Classical Mythology (3)
(GH;IL)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

The aim of CAMS 045 is to introduce students to the stories that have shaped western art and civilization for a longer time and more profoundly than any others: the myths of ancient Greece and Rome. It is a common assumption that the ancients needed myth because they had no science, and that the birth of science was the death of myth. We beg to differ. A recurring theme of this course is that while science has replaced myth to explain how the world works, myth has always played several other roles in human experience, and continues to do so. Even today myth is everywhere: in literature, the performing arts, and the visual arts, in both high and popular culture. Myth reveals truths about our humanity, and it reaches people at a gut level--which is why it is still of vital interest to novelists, theologians, psychologists, politicians, ad agents, poets, and scriptwriters

The course has several objectives. First and foremost, we want students to come to know, appreciate, and enjoy the myths themselves, by reading them directly in English translations of ancient epics, dramas, and other literary works. Second, we hope that students will come to appreciate the pervasiveness of myth, and its power, not just in past cultures, but also in other cultures throughout the world as well as our own. Third, central to the course are the significant differences between classical antiquity and modern Western societies including the contrast between Polytheistic Paganism and Judeo-Christian Monotheism. The differences in values and practices such as the attitudes toward human sexuality, general relations, slavery, and socioeconomic relations are also discussed. This course will provide valuable experience in the fundamental skills requisite for success both in the University and the workplace: reading, writing, and research. Examples of the evaluation methods may include: a five-page paper, which will be critiqued and returned for correction and rewriting before receiving a final grade, carried out collaboratively with three or four other students, and a group project involving library research and the creation of a WWW-based exhibition of a mythological theme.


General Education: GH
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Summer 2005

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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