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Unformatted text preview: INTRODUCTION TO INTRODUCTION TO CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY •What is the study of myth, mythology? •What is MYTH? What does the scientific study of What does the scientific study of myth have to offer to us today? • From the mythic invention of biological weapons to olympic games and psychoanalysis. Philosophical approaches. Aesthetic approaches. The use of myth to understand modernity. From astrophysics to archaeology and art history, politics to sociology. Quote Clinton’s Odyssey to Freud’s Oedipus complex. Do we use the myth, do myths use us? • • Basic Terminology Basic Terminology • Myth from ancient Greek mythos =utterance, speech. A myth • involves a story that is told and heard by people, product of a storyteller or singer transmitted by tradition from person to person. The stories are primarily concerned with gods and mortals. Myth (a story about gods/goddesses and mortals) cognate with the word mythos in ancient Greek. The word mythos synonymous with logos, and epos. A mythologos was a storyteller. Already in classical Greece, in Herodotos, we see the use of the word mythos in a sense closer to our notion of myth. Terms as saga or legend have a more specific relationship to history and the making of history (as in family legend, local legend). Folktale. Are all non­historical narratives classed as myth? Towards a definition of myth (personal myth, local myth etc.) • • Where does myth come from? Where does myth come from? • Origins of Greek Mythology in oral tradition. Influence by other traditions of the East (Egypt, Mesopotamia etc). • The oldest surviving myths as they appear in the narrative of Homer and Hesiod, epics in a crystallized form that spring from a rich oral tradition. Basic Sources of Classical Mythology Basic Sources of Classical Mythology • Ancient Greek Literature • Latin Literature • Archaeological Evidence Myth and Literature Myth and Literature • Literature the most important source of myth. A • myth transcends literature. It does not coincide with a particular text or literary genre. We will often investigate the same myth through a variety of sources, looking at different versions due to the traditional character in the transmission of myth, and the absence of an apocalyptic religion. Traditional character of myth Traditional character of myth • Traditional character of myth. Case of the myth of Atlantis in Plato (heard it from Critias, his uncle, who heard it from his grandfather, from his father, from Solon, from Egypt, and intended this to be the subject matter for a poem that was either never composed or lost for ever as Atlantis (Plato, Timaeus 20e­21e) Myth and history Myth and history • Myth as prehistory. The mythic past incorporates stories from the world’s beginning to the Trojan war. Special concern of this course: How do these stories affect the ancient and modern life? • Myth as history? The Trojan example So what are our sources, really? So what are our sources, really? • • • Contextualizing Greek Literature Contextualizing Greek Archaeology Introduction to the ancient World. ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2009 for the course CLASSIC 22030 taught by Professor Karanika during the Fall '07 term at UC Irvine.

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