|ClSt 100/ ComL 108: Mythology
I. Course Description
Myths are traditional stories that have endured many years. Some of them have to do with events of great
importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits
and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into
trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them?
This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function
it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans
themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on
the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? Are
they a set of cultural blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? We will investigate these questions
through a variety of topics including: the creation of the universe and the structure of the cosmos, relations between
gods and mortals, religion and divination, justice, society, family, sex, love, madness, and death.
II. Academic Integrity
Cheating will not be tolerated. You are responsible for familiarizing
yourself with and following the University of Pennsylvania's Code of Academic Integrity.
Collaboration with your fellow mythologists during exams counts as cheating. Specific things that count as
cheating include but are not limited to:
- having someone else take the exam for you
- copying an essay or any part of an essay from any one else's work -- including friends, aquaintances, any writing
online or on paper -- and claiming it as your own.
Collaboration with your fellow mythologists in the course's weekly online assignments is allowed and encouraged in
every way EXCEPT:
This kind of cheating is not only a breach of University's the Code of Acdemic Conduct, it is also stupid.
- having someone else fill in your weekly worksheet
- having someone else write your writing assignments on your section's bulletin board
- downloading an essay from any one of the commercial sites that will sell you junk for $14.95 / page
and using it, or any part of it, as any part of your writing. (These people are the lowest of the low and they don't care if
you get kicked out of college for using their site, they just want your money and they prey on your anxiety. They make the Cyclops look humane by comparison.)
Putting time into the online worksheets is a great preparation for performing well on the short answer sections
of the midterm and final. Questions in these sections will surely include, though they are not limited to, material drawn
from the worksheets. Putting time into your weekly web post is your best preparation for performing well on the essay sections
of the exams.
Mixture of short answer and essay questions.
of short answer and essay questions.
||Weekly worksheets on web
10 out of 12 worksheets completed on time = full 10%, less than 10 completed on time = you will
earn percentage points toward your final grade equal to the number of worksheets completed on time.
Based on cumulative performance in discussions, exercises, quizzes, and (not least!) attendance.
You will be
responsible for writing assignments throughout the quarter, usually every week, sometimes a paragraph, sometimes
slightly longer. You will submit these electronically on the bulletin board area of the Blackboard site. See your TA for details.
IV. Required Texts
Books are available at the Penn Bookstore.
Greek Tragedies, Vol. I, ed. by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (Chicago: University of Chicago Pr.)
Greek Tragedies Vol. III, ed. by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (Chicago: University of Chicago Pr.)
Hesiod, Theogony (Oxford World's Classics), M. L. West, trans. (New York: Oxford University Press)
Homeric Hymns, Sarah Ruden, trans. (Hackett)
Homer, The Odyssey, Emily Wilson, trans. (Norton)
Virgil, The Aeneid, Robert Fitzgerald, trans. (New York: Vintage Books)
Roland Barthes, Mythologies (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
V. Teaching Staff
Office: Logan 291
R. J. Barnes