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Classical Mythology

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Education
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History
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In this subject we explore Greek and Roman mythology, with particular reference to some core narratives and themes. Greek mythology is very focused around hero myths, and this is a central aspect of our study. Heroes studied in the subject include Heracles, Jason, Perseus, Bellerophon and Odysseus. We also examine some key thematic elements of Classical mythology- the figure of the monster, the sexual conduct of gods and mortals, conception and birth, fire, images of the underworld and life after death. The adaption of Greek myth in Italy (Entruscan and Roman) to meet the needs of different cultures will be explored. Sources dealt with in the subject include epic poetry, drama, painted vases, tomb paintings, and architectural remains. We conclude the subject with some modern cinematic adaptations of mythic themes from the ancient world.

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In this subject we explore Greek and Roman mythology, with particular reference to some core narratives and themes. Greek mythology is very focused around hero myths, and this is a central aspect of our study. Heroes studied in the subject include Heracles, Jason, Perseus, Bellerophon and Odysseus. We also examine some key thematic elements of Classical mythology- the figure of the monster, the sexual conduct of gods and mortals, conception and birth, fire, images of the underworld and life after death. The adaption of Greek myth in Italy (Entruscan and Roman) to meet the needs of different cultures will be explored. Sources dealt with in the subject include epic poetry, drama, painted vases, tomb paintings, and architectural remains. We conclude the subject with some modern cinematic adaptations of mythic themes from the ancient world.

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13 Ratings
Average Ratings
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1
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iTunes Ratings

13 Ratings
Average Ratings
7
4
0
1
1
Cover image of Classical Mythology

Classical Mythology

Latest release on Jun 05, 2013

All 25 episodes from oldest to newest

Myth in Film

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Classical myth and film have a long history of being intertwined, as myth was made into film from the days of silent movies, and ancient texts themselves often use what we might see as ‘cinematic’ techniques when framing a scene. This lecture explores how Greek and Roman myths have appeared on screen from the ‘historical’ epics of the 1950s and 1960s, through dubbed Italian musclebound heroes to the new CGI epics such as Clash of the Titans. It also considers how mythic tropes are recontextualised in modern scenarios, in films like Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? which models itself on the Odyssey.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

Jun 05 2013

40mins

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Greek Myth at Rome: Power

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Ovid’s Metamorphoses was written during the Augustan period, and it is clear that its author was often out of tune with the political regime. This lecture explores the different ways in which the poem transforms Greek mythology to explore issues such as power, justice and censorship. Ovid’s gods often exert power arbitrarily, punishing those who are already victims or taking revenge for perceived slights. Here we explore the ways in which Greek myth can function as a contemporary critique of Roman society.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

Jun 05 2013

39mins

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Greek Myth at Rome: Metamorphosis

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Ovid’s Metamorphoses is one of the most significant ancient texts for the study of Greek mythology, but we should remember that this is a Roman work, which absorbs influences from the whole of the Mediterranean world. This lecture looks at the poem’s cosmogony in book and compares it to the Hesiodic version (explored earlier in lecture 2), showing how various philosophical and scientific ideas have been added to the Ovidian mix. We also see how Ovid sets up the parallel between the Olympian gods, particularly, Jupiter, and the emperor Augustus, a fact which makes this poem both topical and politically contentious.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 31 2013

50mins

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Roman Identity II: Heroines

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Although Ancient Rome was clearly a patriarchal society (literally so, as the father had supreme power in the Roman household), Roman myth also features many prominent women, from the Sabine wives who intervene to end a war, to individualised women (both heroines and demonised women) who show us which qualities Romans valued in women. These myths are often connected to female sexuality, particularly in the case of Lucretia, whose rape brings about a political revolution, inspiring the end of the Monarchy and the foundation of the Republic.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 23 2013

45mins

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Roman Identity I: Heroes

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Rome’s mythic history is littered with heroes who exemplify positive and negative ways of behaving. Livy in particular is fond of using mythic figures as exempla in his historical work, but we see it elsewhere too, for example in poetry and in public monuments. This lecture explores the qualities which are celebrated in Roman heroes, and examine the way that the state is prioritised over personal relationships and the family in many of them.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 23 2013

46mins

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Rome II: Asylum: Romulus and Remus

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Romulus was revered as the founding hero of Rome, later made a god, but his myth is not without ambiguity. A significant element of the city foundation story is the murder of his brother Remus, and the most common version of this myth is that Romulus himself was responsible. This lecture explores the difficulties which fratricide presented to the Romans, how they tried to explain it, and how it has been analysed by scholars of Roman myth as a story which was makes sense of Rome’s social and political history.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 16 2013

45mins

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Rome I: Foundation

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Rome was famously founded by Romulus in 753 BCE, but that’s not the end of the story, for the Romans also traced their ancestry back to Aeneas, a survivor of the Trojan War. In this lecture and the next, we explore what these two lineages offer Rome and how Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, claimed descent from the gods themselves. Here we consider the significance of history in Rome’s mythic beginnings, and how Rome’s early history and kings reflect important facets of Roman identity.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 16 2013

49mins

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Thebes II: Destruction

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Incest, fratricide and patricideare central to the Theban myths explored in Athenian tragedy, particularly Sophocles’ Oedipus the King. Written during a plague at Athens, the play opens with plague at Thebes, which as Oedipus discovers, has been caused by his own unwitting murder of his father, Laius; he then marries and fathers children with his mother, Jocasta. This lecture explores the importance of the Oedipus myth at Athens; how it fits into the self-destructive and deviant myths which Athenian tragedy sets at Thebes, and how it still resonates for us, particularly after Freud wrote of it andused Oedipus’ quest for self-knowledge as an analogy for psychoanalysis.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 08 2013

39mins

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Thebes I: Foundation

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Thebes, in central Greece, had its own distinctive foundation myths, which combined divine origin, autochthony and immigrant stories. There are several myths of foundation: the walls were built by sons of Zeus, while the territory was laid out by Cadmus, a refugee fromAsia Minor, who peoples Thebes with the offspring of the Spartoi (‘the Sown Men’), warriors who grow from the ground when Cadmus plants the teeth of a monstrous snake. Featured in several Athenian tragedies, Thebes has been seen as a displaced location on which Athens enacts dangerous and confrontational ideas. This lecture investigates this idea by looking in detail at the anarchy wrought by Dionysus in Euripides’ Bacchae.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 08 2013

49mins

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Founding Athens II: Ion and Origin Myths in Tragedy

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Mythological stories dramatized in Athenian tragedy provide us with a good opportunity to explore how myth is used in aparticular political and social context. Dramatists choose specific mythological episodes, which make it possible to reflect on Athenian society and to question the validity of the myths themselves. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Euripides’ Ion, which retells the myth of one of Athens’ early kings, and highlights contemporary issues from Euripides’ own time, such as the exclusivity of Athenian citizenship and the Athenian claim to authority over all Ionian peoples.

Copyright 2013 Rhiannon Evans / La Trobe University, all rights reserved. Contact for permissions.

May 02 2013

50mins

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