Syllabus for Classics 1130 / Religious Studies 1144

Classics 1130 / Religious Studies 1144
Classical Mythology and Literature (CRN 22427 / 22385)
Spring, 2005 (05-2)
MWF 12:00-12:50 PM
C. L. 332

This is a detailed, but tentative syllabus. Some changes may be made in the official syllabus, to be distributed in class at the first meeting, Wednesday, January 5, 2005.
Edwin D. Floyd, 1518 C. L.
Office hours: Probably, MTWH, 2:00-2:45 and by appointment - but this is subject to modification, depending on developments in the instructor's schedule.
office: (412)-624-4483 [direct line] or (412)-624-4493 [Classics Department]
fax: (412)-624-4419
home: (412)-621-3429

Trzaskoma, Smith, & Brunet, Anthology of Classical Myth
Homer, Iliad, tr. Lattimore
Homer, Odyssey, tr. Lombardo
Sophokles, Complete Plays, tr. Mueller & Krajewska-Wieczorek
Miller, Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation

The focus in this course is on the handling of mythology in original texts of very high literary merit.

Literary merit, to be sure, is more or less a "judgment call", and not everyone will have the same opinion. The instructor, for example, tends to rank Hesiod lower than most critics do. (For a more positive view of Hesiod, cf. the statement in Trzaskoma, Smith, and Brunet [henceforth abbreviated "TSB"], near the bottom of p. 129, concerning the "greatness" of this poet.) On the other hand, there is really not much debate about some texts, such as the Iliad and Odyssey and the works of Sophocles.

Besides specifically "literary" texts, dealing with individual areas of myth (such as the Trojan War material covered by Homer and the Theban material covered in several of Sophocles' plays), there are also various more or less comprehensive treatments of Classical myth generally. Well-known modern treatments of mythology, such as Edith Hamilton, Mythology or Barry Powell, Classical Myth, present such a synthesis of mythology. There were also ancient equivalents of these, such as the Library of Apollodorus (TSB, pp. 17-57), or, in a more disjointed and/or incomplete fashion, the works of Proclus (TSB, pp. 378-382), Antoninus Liberalis TSB, pp. 9-16), and Hyginus (TSB, pp. 216-276).

It should perhaps also be noted that there was a fair amount of skeptical treatment of myth in antiquity, illustrated, for example, by Xenophanes (TSB, pp. 433-434 and Miller, pp. 107-111), Lucian (TSB, p. 279-297), Palaephatus (TSB, pp. 329-339), Lucretius (TSB, pp. 298-305), and perhaps Critias (TSB, pp. 92-93).

It is probably legitimate to say this is a challenging course. To be sure, there are typically quite a few A's and A-'s - but there also always seem to be a handful of students who expect to do relatively little work and are correspondingly disappointed. Perhaps students whose main goal is to do relatively little work should drop the course as soon as possible.
Calendar. Note that you will additionally be responsible for the material presented in lectures and in subsequent handouts (including, probably, the assignment of a few additional pages or parts of pages in our texts), as well as some material which is available on-line; also, as the term progresses, there may be some adjustments in the order in which material is covered. (Also, some of the material listed below may eventually be left out.) Overall, there will be about 50 pages of handout material through the term.

       Jan. 5 - 7: Introductory and general material in TSB, as follows: "Note to Students", pp. xvi-xxiii, along with several pages in "Note to Instructors", viz., "Ancient Approaches to Myth" through "Myth as a Source of Inspiration", pp. xxvi-xxx ). Also, note the maps, pp. xxxiii-xl ; genealogical charts, pp. xlii-liii ; timelines, pp. liv-lvii, and "Note on Names and Transliteration", pp. 483-485. Both the maps and genealogical charts are more for reference than memorization, but you should definitely be familiar with the map on p. xxxiii, along with other locations to be mentioned from time to time in the class lectures. Particularly important among the genealogical charts are nos. 2, 8a, 8c, 15, and 16. (Also, in connection with the transliteration of Greek names, dealt with by TSB, pp. 483-485, note that the Mueller & Krajewska-Wieczorek translation consistently uses a fairly extreme position - extending even to spelling the author's name as "Sophokles", rather than the much more familiar "Sophocles".)
       Most of the preceding is both useful and accurate. As will eventually be pointed out in class, though, a statement at TSB, p. xix ("The Homeric poems do not treat the death of Achilles...") is a bit of an oversimplification. Actually, Achilles' mortality - the impending death of the epic hero - could be said to be the overarching theme of the Iliad.
       Apollodorus on the origin of the gods, TSB, "A1, A2, B1" pp. 17-19. Xenophanes in Miller, frs. 1, 5-13 (nos. are Miller's, pp. 107-108, 110-111 ).
       Jan 10 -12: Hesiod, Theogony, TSB summary, pp. 129-131; Theogony, lines 1-115 (TSB, pp. 131-135; various children of Zeus and other gods, lines 886-969 (TSB, pp. 156-158). Discussion of the Parthenon pediments. Note that throughout the term there will be some - but not a great deal - treatment of ancient artistic representations of myth.
       Jan. 14: Proclus, on Trojan War, TSB, pp. 378-382. Homer, Iliad, Book 1, Lattimore, pp. 59-75. Ideally, one should read the entire Iliad, but Book 1 may give enough of a sense of the whole. In addition to Book 1, though, a few additional passages from the Iliad will be discussed in class. Lucian on Prometheus, Zeus, and Thetis (TSB, pp. 280-281); Eris at wedding of Peleus and Thetis (TSB, p. 285).
       Jan. 17: MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY- no class.
       Jan. 19: Remarks on oral poetry. Introduction in Lattimore, pp. 37-40; Introduction in Lombardo (by Sheila Murnaghan), pp. li-lxiii. Homer, Odyssey, Book 1 (Lombardo, pp. 1-14). In this course, the entire Odyssey is assigned; however, this involves an admittedly large amount of reading. The overall concentration, at least as far as the Feb. 9 test and April 25 exam are concerned, will probably be on Books 1, 5, 8, 11, 19, 20.1-103 (Lombardo's line nos., pp. 309-312), 23, and 24. For the essay, due March 4, though, you may find it additionally useful to consider the books dealing with Telemachos, viz., Books 1-4 and parts of Books 15 and 16.
       Note that Lattimore and Lombardo represent quite different styles of translation. It therefore needs to be stressed that, despite a few differences in style between the Iliad and the Odyssey in the Greek original, these two works are far more similar in style than one would gather from juxtaposing Lattimore and Lombardo.
       Lattimore attempts to keep the original Homeric pattern of patronymics and epithets. He also attempts to reproduce, more or less, the Greek dactylic hexameter line; hence, he uses a rather longer and perhaps more cumbrous line than is usual in English verse - but in doing so he manages to keep pretty exactly to the original line numbers in the Greek text.
       Lombardo, on the other hand, is more varied in his use of patronymics and epithets. At Iliad, 1.7, for example, Lattimore has a fairly literal "Atreus' son the lord of men", whereas Lombardo has "Agamemnon the Greek warlord". Apparently, Lombardo is simultaneously aiming at greater clarity (by using the name "Agamemnon" instead of the patronymic "Atreus' son") and a more vivid, "poetic" effect in English (by using the phrase "the Greek warlord" rather than the more literal "lord of men".)
       Still another illustration of the difference between Lattimore and Lombardo comes in their treatment of the often repeated Greek phrase thea glaukopis Athene. (Frequent repetition of such phrases is typical of Homer, and this phenomenon is now generally thought to be an indication that the Iliad and Odyssey were orally composed.) Thea glaukopis Athene is literally something like "the goddess grey-eyed Athena", just as Lattimore translates the phrase at Iliad 1.206, 2.166, etc. In contrast, Lombardo has three different translations in the first three occurrences of this phrase in the Odyssey. At Od. 1.44, Lombardo has "Athena glared at him with her owl-grey eyes" (his line 49); at Od. 1.80, he has "And Athena, the owl-eyed goddess, replied" (his line 87); and at Od. 1.178 he has "Athena's seagrey eyes glinted as she said" (his line 192). Overall, Lombardo's idea appears to be that such variation produces a more "poetic" effect in English and/or one that is more accessible to a modern audience.
       Both the Feb. 9 test and the April 25 exam are likely to include some passage or passages from the Iliad or Odyssey, in different translations, for comment concerning such differences in effect.
       Jan 21: Discussion of writing systems: Linear B, alphabetic Greek, development of the text of Homer. Thomas Palaima on Linear B in TSB, pp. 439-454.
       Jan. 24-26: Homer, Odyssey, Books 2-4. (Lombardo, pp. 15-69.)
       Jan. 28-31: Homer, Odyssey, Books 5-8. (Lombardo, 70-124.) Feb. 2: Homer, Odyssey, Books 9-12. (Lombardo, pp. 125-191.) Feb. 4: Xenophanes, fr. 3 (7a), Miller, p. 109. Plato, et al. on Greek views of death. Selection from Republic ("Myth of Er"), TSB, pp. 367-372; also, material from Apology (handout will be provided). Critias on Sisyphos, TSB, pp. 92-93. Lucian on Odysseus and Ajax, TSB, pp. 279-280.
       Feb. 7: Catch-up and Review, etc.
       Wednesday, Feb. 9: TEST. Specific information concerning this test will be provided around the third week of January; also, cf. the information concerning previous offerings of this course, available near the end of the instructor's homepage. On the other hand, the fact that a different modern treatment of mythology (TSB), along with a different translation of the Odyssey, is being used this term will mean that some of the material from previous terms may not be so immediately useful.
       The test will consist of about 9 questions and/or passages for identification. Each of these 9 or so items will require a paragraph or so of discussion.
       Feb. 11: Homer, Odyssey, Books 13-16. (Lombardo, pp.192-255). Discussion of phrase, "Cretans are always liars", found at Paul, Epistle to Titus, 1.12.
       Feb. 14: Homer, Odyssey, Books 17-20. (Lombardo, pp. 256-321).
       Feb. 16: Murnaghan, "The Fame of Penelope", pp. xl-xlvi in Lombardo. Pandareos in Antoninus Liberalis, TSB, pp. 14-15. Also, handout will be provided for additional material from Antoninus Liberalis.
       Feb. 18: Homer, Odyssey, Books 21-24. (Lombardo, pp. 322-381).
       Feb. 21: Proclus' summary of Telegony, TSB, p. 382. Tennyson, Ulysses. (Handout will be provided.) Discussion of March 4 paper.
       Feb. 23: Discussion of structure of Greek tragedy. Definition of the term "trilogy", discussion of the way in which dialogue and choral sections are combined, etc.
       Feb. 25: Beginning of Aeschylus, Agamemnon, handout will be provided. Iphigeneia / Iphianassa, as dealt with by Antoninus Liberalis, TSB, p. 13; Hyginus, TSB, p. 245, p. 251; Lucretius, selection from Book 1, TSB, pp. 298-301.
       Feb. 28: Theban cycle in Apollodorus, TSB, pp. 45-54 (L1-M10). Hyginus, 66-76, TSB, pp. 235-239. Riddle of Sphinx, as given by Apollodorus, TSB, p. 50. Cf. Athenaeus, handout will be provided. Pausanias, TSB, N-O, pp. 352-353. Also, cf. Palaephatus, "The Cadmeian Sphinx", TSB, pp. 331-332.
       March 2: Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, Mueller, pp. 207-267. Discussion of concluding seven lines of play, omitted by Mueller & Krajewska-Wieczorek. (See last paragraph on p. 42 in "A Note on the Translation".) Handout will be provided.
       Friday, March 4 - ESSAY (400-600 words) is due. The essay should deal with Tennyson, Ulysses as a treatment of Odysseus. To what extent is Tennyson's poem a valid development from the Odyssey and other ancient presentations of Odysseus / Ulysses? In dealing with this topic you should consider both the Odyssey and other ancient accounts of Odysseus. The Odyssey has come to be the "canonical" version, and people often judge any treatment of Odysseus simply in terms of the Homeric version. The ancient view of Odysseus, though, was broader, as will be discussed in class.
       The rationale for using Tennyson, rather than Homer (or Sophocles, Philoctetes or Vergil, Aeneid, or the like) as a basis for an essay on Odysseus / Ulysses is that nuances of language are important in dealing with any literary treatment of myth. Obviously, though, translations from Greek or Latin cannot always handle such nuances very well. Tennyson, Ulysses, on the other hand, is not subject to distortion through translation and this poem can be used to bring out the underlying subtlety in any of a number of ancient treatments of Odysseus / Ulysses.
       Class lecture on March 4 will cover possible term paper topics. Handout will be provided.
       March 6-13: SPRING BREAK. No classes.
       March 14: Thucydides, introductory note in TSB, p. 404. Thucydides on plague at Athens, etc. (handout will be provided).
       March 16-18: Sophocles, Antigone. Mueller, pp. 103-152.
       March 21: OUTLINE or PROPOSAL or SUMMARY (one-page) for term paper DUE.
       March 21-23: Sophocles, Philoctetes. Mueller, 325-384.
       March 25: Lecture on Near Eastern and Indo-European background of Greek mythology.
       March 28-30: Sappho in Miller, introductory note and frs. 1, 4, 6 , 8, 12 (Miller's nos.), pp. 51-52, 54-56, 58. Discussion of priamel and ring-composition, cf. Miller, bottom of p. 19 and bottom of p. 54. (Miller refers to "ring-form", rather than "ring-composition".) Pindar, Olympian 1 in Miller, pp. 125-131. Xenophanes, frs. 2, 4 (Miller, pp. 108-109, 110). Pindar, Olympian 2 in Miller, pp. 131-136.
       April 1: Inscriptions and papyri, TSB, pp. 455-478.
       April 4: Herodotus, introductory note in TSB, p. 123. Herodotus on Croesus (handout will be provided); Bacchylides, Ode 3 in Miller, pp. 201-205.
       April 6: Vergil, Aeneid, introductory note and selections from Book 2 (2a-2f), TSB, pp. 410-417; also, opening lines of Aeneid (handout will be provided).
       April 8: Vergil, Aeneid, selections from Book 6, TSB, pp. 421-430.
       Optional - Friday, April 8 is the last day to submit a preliminary version of your term paper for full comment, etc. by the instructor.
Such comments often seem to be quite helpful. Students, though, unfortunately have a tendency to put things off, and then, a couple of days before a term paper is due, hope I will have time to quickly and efficiently look over a preliminary version and make all sorts of helpful suggestions. Obviously, it is virtually impossible to do this for potentially large numbers of students in a space of just a couple of days or so; hence, the relatively early date for optional submission of a preliminary version.
       April 11: Vergil on "mission of Rome" and gates of horn and ivory (handout will be provided).
       April 13: Greco-roman mythology and other world views, especially Christianity. Sallustius, TSB, pp. 383-384.
       April 15-18: Material concerning Nonnus; handout will be provided. (Some information concerning Nonnos is available at Tony Prost's website.)
       April 18: TERM PAPER (1500-2500 words, i.e., about 6 to 8 pages) DUE. Papers which are handed in late, without an excellent excuse, will be accepted; however, an unduly late paper is likely to have a negative impact on one's grade at the end of the term.
       April 20-22: Catch-up and Review.
       April 25, 10:00-11:50: EXAM. The test will probably consist of about 18 questions and/or passages for identification. Each of these items will require a paragraph or so of discussion.

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services, 216 William Pitt Union, (412)-648-7890 / (412)-382-7355 (TTY), as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.