Myths & Legends of Ancient Greece

October 1, 8, 15, 22

This four-week course will offer an introduction to the rich mythology of the ancient Greeks as well as background on the cults and practices connected with their legends. The myths of the Greeks played a deeply important role in their society and had great influence on the Romans, and then Western literature and art. This course will explore the origins of these myths, looking back to influences from Near Eastern societies like the Mesopotamians and Egyptians. In addition, History Professor Angela Ziskowski will share some of the earliest texts of the Greeks, such as Homer, Hesiod and Herodotus, in order to see how they conceived of their religious universe and the deities within it. Why were their gods so fickle and cruel?

The series will explore the major gods in the Greek pantheon and explain why some, like Zeus and Athena, are included while others, such as Hades or Dionysos, often are not. Attendees will consider the roles each god or goddess played in the Greek world and some of the more famous stories associated with them. The course will conclude with a survey of famous Greek heroes, such as Theseus and Herakles, who occupied unusual roles as demi-gods in Greek myth and legend.

Angela Ziskowski
Angela Ziskowski
Assistant Professor of History