Summer Classical Mythology 2014


Updated 24 June 2014

Welcome to the Summer 2014 Classical Mythology online. Taking a class online presents its own opportunities and problems. Students will not have to attend class meetings, but they will need to be self-disciplined. This will be task-oriented study, meaning that students will have a number of assignments to be completed each week that will be sent to me by e-mail. There will be discussion available on Blackboard. Please note that the course will be interesting and enjoyable, but it will also involve a fair amount of reading. Do not take this course unless you have a fair amount of discipline and self-motivation. Do take it if you would like a very rewarding educational experience in which you actively participate.

How will the course work? Students will read the textbook Classical Myth (8th Edition), by Barry B. Powell (Pearson, 2014). Please get the 8th edition, even if you find a cheaper copy of the 6th or 7th. Students will complete weekly exercises (self-correcting quizzes) under Assignments at Blackboard. Note that I also have a myth web site with many study guides and links to other resources.

Recommended practice. Try to work regularly and not do several chapters in one day, since you will absorb tthe material more thoroughly through slow, regular work, and thus you will perform better on the two exams. I also recommend that you complete the quiz exercises with the book closed, retaking the quizzes if necessary. You will learn more this way. The exercises are designed to focus on important figures and themes by rereading the textbook. In other words, read, take the quiz, then reread, then retake.

Extra Learning Resources:

  • Powerpoint presentations at BB>Course Documents>Chapter Notes. I have adapted my Powerpoints from my normal mythology classes. If anything is too schematic in them, please ask questions that arise.
  • Online documentaries at BB>Course Documents>Movies. Temple's Library has access to a number of documentary movies about the ancient world. I have collected links to a series of 8 films about the Greek gods and several others about the major hero myths. Students have found these helpful after reading in consolidating their memory of the myths and their understanding of them.


A. Weekly exercises for each chapter:

To receive full credit for these exercises you must submit them by end of the week's period (e.g. Midnight, Sunday 6/1 for chapters 5-8); for the first week, because sometimes there are problems with book acquistion, students have until midnight, Wednesday 5/28. No exceptions. You can check the Blackboard Gradebook to make sure of the status of your work. You may take each exercise as many times as you want, but each time you see the test the questions and answers will be in a different order.

B. Two online exams on Blackboard

  1. Midterm available beginning Saturday 6/7 at 6 a.m. and due by Tuesday 6/10 at 6.a.m.
  2. Final exam available beginning Thursday 6/26 at 6 a.m. and due by Monday 6/30 at midnight.



    • Chapter exercise sets: 50%
    • Two exams: 50%


This course will be organized with Temple's Blackboard system. There you will find your grades, study guides, and other course materials. I will have set Blackboard to autoenroll, so if you have a Temple account you will be able to enter the course site immediately. Discussion and questions should be addressed to the Discussion Board section of BB.



This schedule should be followed as closely as you can. Each chapter title is linked to the appropriate part of the textbook's web site. Exercises will be due by specific dates, but you may work faster if that suits you. If you would like to start before 5/16, please go ahead. I will still record any work you do and respond to any questions you have.

For each week's reading you will find in Blackboard under Course Documents some notes and comments on the week's reading. Discussion may take place on the BB Discussion Board at any time.


  • 1. The Nature of Myth
  • 2. The Cultural Context of Classical Myth
  • 3. The Development of Classical Myth
  • 4. Myths of Creation: The Rise of Zeus


  • 5. Myths of Creation: The Origins of Mortals
  • 6. Myths of the Olympians: Zeus, His Wife Hera, and His Brother Poseidon
  • 7. Myths of the Great God Apollo
  • 8. Myths of Hermes, Pan, Hephaestus, and Ares


  • 9. Myths of the Female Deities
  • 10. Myths of Fertility: Demeter and Related Myths
  • 11. Myths of Fertility: Dionysus
  • 12. Myths of Death: Encounters with the Underworld


  • 13. Gilgamesh: Introduction to Heroic Myth 
  • 14. Perseus and Myths of the Argive Plain
  • 15. Heracles
  • 16. Theseus and the Myths of Athens
  • 17. The Myths of Crete


  • 18. Oedipus and the Myths of Thebes
  • 19. Jason and the Myths of Iolcus and Calydon
  • 20. The Trojan War
  • 21. The Fall of Troy and Its Aftermath


  • 22. The Return of Odysseus
  • 23. Legends of Aeneas
  • 24. Legends of Early Rome
  • 25. Theories of Myth Interpretation