Academic Catalog 2017-2018 
    
    Jun 26, 2019  
Academic Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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CLS 178 - Ancient World Mythology

Course Units: 1
(Not Offered this Academic Year) The myths of Greece, Rome, and the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Sumer, Babylonia, India, et al. reveal surprising similarities and startling differences. A comparative approach illuminates the peculiar characteristics of the various traditions. No culture exists in isolation. These societies were all subject to manifold political (and sometimes even violent) “multicultural” pressures. Rome itself, whose poet Ovid composed the “Bible” of the Western mythological tradition, stood at the head of a vast amalgam of peoples from the cold forests of Northern Europe across the god-infested lands of Greece to the ancient sands of Egypt and beyond. Everywhere we look we will find the interactions and conflicts of differing peoples, traditions, gods. We will listen to their sacred stories, their myths, and, through active comparison and investigation, strive to gain a general overview of the facts, a general understanding of their differing religious conceptions, and perhaps, we may hope, a glimpse into their ancient wisdom. The course will cover broad mythical themes: creation, gods, the underworld, and heroes. Other topics will include the nature of sacrifice and ritual, ancestor-worship, the afterlife, divine kingship, the role of myth in political propaganda, the role of politics and religion in myth, gender issues, and related themes. Given the vast range of the material, our journey will of necessity be selective. Lectures will range, for example, from general presentations of one cultural system to detailed examination of one particular type of god across several cultures. Although much of the focus will be on the ancient myths of Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Near East, and India, we will examine some (relatively) more recent myths from Africa and the Americas as well. CC: LCC, HUM



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