Classical Mythology (The Great Courses)

Classical Mythology The Great Courses From Athena to Zeus the characters and stories of classical mythology have been both unforgettable and profoundly influential They have inspired and shaped everything from great art and literature t

  • Title: Classical Mythology (The Great Courses)
  • Author: Elizabeth Vandiver
  • ISBN: 9781565852921
  • Page: 306
  • Format: Audiocd
  • From Athena to Zeus, the characters and stories of classical mythology have been both unforgettable and profoundly influential They have inspired and shaped everything from great art and literature, to our notions of sexuality and gender roles, to the themes of popular films and TV shows Classical Mythology is an introduction to the primary characters and most importantFrom Athena to Zeus, the characters and stories of classical mythology have been both unforgettable and profoundly influential They have inspired and shaped everything from great art and literature, to our notions of sexuality and gender roles, to the themes of popular films and TV shows Classical Mythology is an introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology Among those you will study are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod s Theogony and Ovid s Metamorphoses the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite the Greek Heroes, Theseus and Heracles Hercules in the Roman version and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.How Should We Study Mythology Professor Elizabeth Vandiver anchors her presentation in some basics What is a myth Which societies use myths What are some of the problems inherent in studying classical mythology She also discusses the most influential 19th and 20th century thinking about myth s nature and function, including the psychological theories of Freud and Jung and the metaphysical approach of Joseph Campbell You consider the relationship between mythology and culture What are the implications of the myth of Demeter, Persephone, and Hades as recounted in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter for the Greek view of life and death, marriage and gender roles What are the origins of classical mythology Professor Vandiver examines similarities between the Theogony and Mesopotamian creation myths and considers the possible influences that the prehistoric Greek cultures, the Minoans and Mycenaeans, may have had on classical mythology She also cautions you about the dangers of probing for distant origins For example, there is little evidence, as many today believe, that a prehistoric mother goddess lies at the heart of mythology This notion may simply be wishful thinking a modern myth about ancient myth In addition, Professor Vandiver explores the challenges we face in studying mythology which is rooted in oral tradition and pre literate society through the literary works that recount them How do we disentangle the original myth from its portrayal in Aeschylus s The Oresteia, or Sophocles s Oedipus the King The renowned the author, the difficult this task becomes From the Truth of the Minotaur to Ovid s Impact on Shakespeare Professor Vandiver s approach makes classical mythology fresh, absorbing, and often surprising The many such topics you will consider include The fact that most scholars see significant flaws in the work of Joseph Campbell, one of the best known and most popular theorists of myth They believe he makes a variety of assumptions that myth has a spiritual meaning, or that certain narrative elements are the same in all cultures that he fails to support, or that are highly questionable The differences between the classical notion of the gods and our concepts of what gods, or God, should be The ancient gods did not create the universe or earth, were not omniscient or omnipotent, were not consistently good, and did not even care much about humanity The absence of a well defined belief in the afterlife in Greek mythology and religion In general, it was the opposite of what we believe both less important and less pleasant than this life The small kernel of truth, as represented in the bull leaping fresco of Knossos, that may lie at the heart of the myth of the Minotaur, the half man, half bull like monster Chronological inconsistencies in mythology For example, in the story of Theseus, characters interact who in other stories did not even live at the same time The way various mythological depictions of females the s, the myth of Medea, and such monsters as Medusa and Scyllare present Greek males anxiety about women s power, particularly their sexual power This theme is embodied in Medea s name, which means both genitals and clever plans The Romans near wholesale borrowing of Greek mythology, in the context of their ambivalent view of Greek culture They considered the Greeks to be better artists, poets, and rhetoricians than they were, but also saw them as decadent, soft, and treacherous The extensive influence of Ovid s Metamorphoses on the works of William Shakespeare Because of this relationship, Ovid has had an incalculable effect on English literature In her final lecture, Professor Vandiver surveys aspects of the enormous influence that classical mythology has had, and still exerts, on Western Civilization She offers her opinions as to why this is the case She also demonstrates that the ancient gods, monsters, and heroes are very much alive and active today in contemporary beliefs in UFOs and visits from extraterrestrials and in popular entertainment such as Star Trek and films such as the Road Warrior and the Terminatorseries A Popular and Top Award Winning Teacher Professor Vandiver is an outstanding teacher with a clear mastery of her subject, writes Teaching Company customer Barbara Brumbaugh of Auburn, Alabama She examines the subject in impressive depth, yet keeps the lectures interesting and accessible to non specialists Professor Vandiver is the 1998 recipient of the American Philological Association s Excellence in Teaching Award, the most prestigious teaching award given to American classicists She also teaches the related Teaching Company courses The Iliad of Homer, The Odyssey of Homer, and Virgil s Aeneid.

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    About "Elizabeth Vandiver"

    1. Elizabeth Vandiver

      Elizabeth Vandiver is Associate Professor of Classics and Clement Biddle Penrose Professor of Latin at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington She was formerly Director of the Honors Humanities program at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she also taught in the Department of Classics She completed her undergraduate work at Shimer College and went on to earn her M.A and Ph.D from The University of Texas at Austin.Prior to taking her position at Maryland, she held visiting professorships at Northwestern University, the University of Georgia, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, Loyola University of New Orleans, and Utah State University Professor Vandiver is the author of Heroes in Herodotus The Interaction of Myth and History She has also written numerous articles and has delivered many papers at national and international conferences.In 1998, The American Philological Association recognized her achievements as a lecturer with its Excellence in Teaching Award, the most prestigious teaching prize given to American classicists Her other awards include the Northwestern University Department of Classics Excellence in Teaching Award and two University of Georgia Outstanding Honors Professor Awards.

    218 thoughts on “Classical Mythology (The Great Courses)”


    1. I loooooved listening to this lecture series on audiobook. Vandiver gives a fantastic introduction to classical mythology - mainly Greek, but some Roman too - examining what it meant to its contemporaries and how it has affected history and even our culture today. Each lecture is engaging, entertaining and informative, and the series as a whole is coherent and accessible. I basically didn't want it to end.


    2. Myths are never myths to those who believe. The stories we tell ourselves in order to encode our hopes, aspirations and fears are one way we shape our understanding. Hegel used concepts, St. Thomas Aquinas saw our understanding through actions (the ‘to be’), and the pre-Socratic myths (and the post ‘Being and Time’ Heidegger) focused on our experiences. Classical mythology is more relevant today than any blog post by Brietbart News, or radio show by Laura Ingram or any news broadcast on [...]


    3. Humans are naked apes, that came from the brink of extinction, and without fangs, claws and fur, somehow found a way to the top of the food chain, and are now successful as a species to the extent that we may kill everything else and ourselves along with that. There are several commonly held ideas about precisely which trait(s) conferred humans with this ridiculous advantage. But all of them seem to boil down to the human ability to collaborate and think and communicate in language.Other animals [...]


    4. I love this 24-lecture series about Greek and Roman mythology. What is most helpful to me is the overview of what the actual sources are, whereas I mostly know the stories as stories -- with this idea that develops that myth is timeless, and doesn't come from an original source. On the contrary, this lecture series helped me look at the myths from the perspective of text and context, rather than from the perspective of the stories themselves as they've survived rewritten down through the centuri [...]


    5. I decided to listen to this set of lectures after reading Jo Walton's The Just City. It had been sitting in my digital library for a couple of years for no reason other than I was waiting for the perfect time to delve into it.In the back of my mind, I was thinking it would be a set of lectures along the lines of Bullfinch's Mythology. While there were plenty of myths discussed, the strength of this series is the historical context and intriguing analysis Elizabeth Vandiver put forth. Moreover, I [...]


    6. Absolutely five stars. Even though I knew all the stories already, the insight Elizabeth Vandiver brings into them is accurate, unique and invaluable.


    7. I could honestly listen to Elizabeth Vandiver talk about Ancient Greece and Rome forever. I wish she had a course on Ovid.



    8. This was such a mind-blowing experience for me. I thought I was familiar with Classical Mythology but I was not. Elizabeth Vandiver, the lecturer, explained the myths in a way I had never heard. The classical myths are a huge part of our culture and I never realized it. Everyone should hear these lectures.


    9. Vandiver's course on Classical Mythology offers both a broad overview of Greek and Latin myth and also a precise, scholarly approach to mythology. The first couple of lectures don't talk about the myths themselves, but rather about the study of mythology, some key mythologists, and a definition of how she approaches myth. She then delves into discussing the Greek pantheon, then a few heroes (Theseus and Herakles, in particular) and finally addresses how Romans adapted Greek myth for their own cu [...]


    10. I've loved Classical Mythology since I was 12. I loved the stories of these childish and petulant gods, their petty schemes and squabble. And the adventures of their various heroic offsprings, triumphant or tragic they may be. I swallowed them whole (like Cronos with his children).I didn't know what I was expecting when I purchased this thing. Did I want to hear the stories read to me? Did I want the Trojan War brought to life? This course isn't that, but an examination of the theories and studi [...]


    11. This was a very interesting and informative book. The lecturer made the subject matter interesting, and she even injected humor at times. I had expected a somewhat dry book about various myths involving names I couldn't pronounce or remember. Instead, this was a fascinating book about ancient cultures, how myths evolved, what myths are, the purpose of myths, and the actual myths themselves. I learned quite a bit about this topic and now have a better understanding of the derivation of many commo [...]


    12. I got more than I expected out of this series of lectures. The aspect I enjoyed the most, much to my surprise, was learning how to examine myth. Thinking about myth, interpreting myth and answering the question of why these stories exist and have remained so much a part of our storytelling toolbox. I particularly liked the Professor Vandiver's suggestion in the last lecture that science fiction is our new mythology. Now that we have explored all the edges of our world, we have to hide out monste [...]


    13. Elizabeth Vandiver is a wonderful teacher. The most important thing I’ve learned is to approach mythology critically.


    14. Ever since i was a child, i've been fascinated by Greek mythology. I never thought of the stories in the "religious" way they were meant for, rather it was the imagination that pulled me in, which is only natural for a child with my tendency to daydream. As i grew up, their stories stuck with me, also for the same reason, and i grew to appreciate "imagination" more, to the extent perhaps that i never thought to actually look at them in a critical way, despite how strange and irrational that is. [...]


    15. A fascinating insight into classical mythology. Professor Vandiver is a born story-teller, so the lecture is funny, interesting, easy to follow and fun! It encourages you to study the classical myths more deeply and lets you develop your own thoughts. It helps to be familiat with classical mythology (I think), but she tells a relevant myth prior to discussing and analysing it. I particularly loved her closing statement about what our myths today look like.


    16. After all these years waiting to do this course I wasn't very interested, a disappointment, some parts were interesting, but I guess I like my mythology from Hercules much better!!! but cleaned off a spot on my shelf anyways


    17. An interesting overview of Classical Mythology. Great for anyone curious where myths come from, history, or ancient culture.


    18. Elizabeth Vandiver is an excellent teacher and gave me a simply wonderful introduction to classical mythology. It was really interesting to learn about the different fads and interpretive approaches that scholars have used to view mythology over the years; some seeing it as all being allegorical, others as being all about religious ritual, some claiming it is all misremembered history, or primitive attempts as science, we have those who think (quite ridiculously) that symbols mean the same thing [...]


    19. These 24 30-minute lectures constitute the equivalent of an introductory college-level course in which the basis of classical (Greek & Roman) mythology is traced.ly in the works of surviving literary works from that era. This is not a course in which the individual myths are read and explained is so much more. Like a college class, the definition of mythology is firmly established using a variety of modern scholars' points-of-view. Then the classical sources, mostly from Hesiod's 'Theogony', [...]


    20. This audio lecture set in the Teaching Company series is a wonderful listen! As a lecturer, Vandiver is everything you'd want in a faculty member: she is a clear and interesting speaker, addresses different theoretical viewpoints, leaves room for further research, and never speaks over her listeners' heads. I would love to be in one of her classes as I think the discussion-- the only part you miss in these lectures-- would be great. The first 6 cds cover the various schools of interpreting class [...]


    21. Who knew listening to a bunch of lectures could be so darn captivating? I learned so much from these lectures, not only about classical mythology, but about Greek culture also. I found especially fascinating the recurring themes in the stories and what they may have represented in Greek society itself. I knew that Greek society in this time period was extremely patriarchal and misogynistic, but the possibility that many aspects of myth reflected a deep seated resentment and fear over the power w [...]


    22. It started out a little slow, but as it gained momentum it got really good. I took a class in my undergrad where that had me read Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles but after reading them, listening to lectures on them, and watching movie adaptations of them I could still hardly tell you a thing about them or why they had survived as classics. I did already in the class, but it just didn't make anything clear or comprehensible. This course fixed all of that for me and much more. It gave me the [...]


    23. This was an audible listen of 24 lectures, each about a half hour in length regarding classical Greek and Roman myths ranging from the stories of the creation of the gods to Shakespeare. I found the information within these lectures absolutely fascinating. I learned more about some stories I already knew about. A few other stories I knew about I learned different perspectives and what they might have meant to the people of ancient Greece. I learned new stories I personally had not heard before. [...]


    24. A "Great Courses" audiobook, this was fairly interesting. It was less a survey course and more of an advanced critical analysis of myth and its place in the world. The first couple of lectures don't talk about the myths themselves, but rather about the study of mythology, some key mythologists, and a definition of how she approaches myth. She then delves into discussing the Greek pantheon, then a few heroes (Theseus and Herakles, in particular) and finally addresses how Romans adapted Greek myth [...]


    25. A thoroughly entertaining recap of the major myths of the classical period, with just the right amount of context and interpretation. She covers the main readings, critiques them, and never pushes her own ideology, choosing instead to put forth alternatives, arguments for and against, and then let the listener choose. Essential reading given the numerous ways that classical myth still pervades our culture, especially for seeing how Hollywood bastardizes the stories of Ancient Greece. Classical m [...]


    26. This was an excellent series of lectures that I got through the Great Courses on audible. I suppose since seems to think that it is twelve audio cassettes that it is not particularly new, but since it is on ancient Greece and Rome, I don't think it suffers much for that. What it did quite well was to put mythological stories with which I was already familiar into their historical, cultural, and literary contexts, which was a refreshing change of pace from other presentations of mythic stories t [...]


    27. This is a tough one to review. I learned a lot from the audio book, but I can't say I "enjoyed" it. This was my first Classical Courses audiobook - and it was significantly more scholastic then I was naively expecting. It was less focused on the myths themselves and more focused on the historical and culture significance. For someone like me, whose primary exposure to Mythology is movies and the 1.5 Percy Jackson books I'm reading with my daughter, this is probably a little too deep just to pick [...]


    28. One of the many Great Courses series offered by The Teaching Company. This one is in 6 sets I believe. Each set contain 6 CD'S with usually 2 lectures on each CD. Of the courses offered on DVD, the # of discs may vary. I usually get the CD courses from my library, and so far I've enjoyed almost all the ones I've ordered. This is one of the best. There are a few lectures I've skipped, because I wasn't interested, but you can always backtrack, and re-listen as you wish. One of the best features is [...]


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