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Greek and Roman Mythology

For all your mythological needs

Gods and goddesses? Freaky monsters? Hunky heroes? Check, check, and checkmate.

This course introduces you to the greatest hits of Greek and Roman Mythology. Split up into roughly two parts—the "debut" album of Greek stories and the "cover" album of the Roman reinterpretations—we'll get intimate with the mythological universe of two of the western world's most powerful cultures.

With an emphasis on critical reading and writing, our course is more than a cursory introduction to mythology. As you study the Greek myths and their Roman makeovers, you'll discover how these myths reflected how Greeks and Romans saw themselves—and how, despite sharing similar stories, these civilizations were also completely different.

In this course, you will

  • learn the characteristics and social purposes of myth through interactive activities and projects.
  • become familiar with the big names in Greek mythology, including the Olympian gods, the heroes, and lesser deities like Pan, and the must-read events, like the Trojan War.
  • get comfortable with the stars of Roman mythology, including the Roman versions of the Greek gods, native Roman gods (hey there, Janus!), and Rome's original myths, like the founding of Rome.
  • compare and contrast Greek and Roman myths, including how each culture's worldview and values are shown through their mythology.
  • analyze modern-day myths.
  • read a boatload of primary sources and write critically about them.

Course Breakdown

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    Unit 1. Greek Mythology 101

    After taking a deep dive into the characteristics and purposes of myth, this unit takes us back to the very beginning—creation, that is. We'll read a little Hesiod, meet the Titans, and figure out how the world came to be as it is.

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    Unit 2. The Olympians

    This unit will introduce us to the bigwigs of Greek mythology: the Olympians. In order to appease all fourteen of the gods, we've got a lesson devoted to each, where we'll learn about the gods, their stories, and their roles in the Greek pantheon.

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    Unit 3. The Other Greek Gods

    In this unit, we'll step away from the "normal" order of things and get a glimpse at the wild, mysterious, and strangely anthropomorphized deities of Greece, including nymphs, satyrs, Hecate, the Fates and the Furies. 

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    Unit 4. The Heroic Age

    Enter: the Heroic Age. In this unit, we'll explore the areas of Greek mythology related to hero worship—which we mean in the most literal sense. Besides the usual suspects like Hercules, Perseus, Jason, and Theseus, we'll also meet some lesser-known heroes like Bellerophon, Atalanta, and Pelops.

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    Unit 5. The Trojan War

    This unit explores the events of the Trojan War and their important to Greek (and modern) culture. We'll read excerpts from the Iliad and explore what its themes tell us about the Greeks.

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    Unit 6. Rome's "Borrowed" Gods

    Besides going over the Roman counterparts of the Greek gods, we'll focus in this unit on how the Romans made the gods their own (i.e. very, very Roman). Hint: Roman religion is important. 

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    Unit 7. Rome's Homegrown Myths

    The Romans didn't have a ton of homegrown myths, but you know that the ones they did have must have been pretty important. We'll learn about Roman myths as well as mysterious gods like Janus, Quirinus, and the Bona Dea, here.

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    Unit 8. Rome's Legendary History

    The Romans really, really loved Rome. So it's no surprise they dreamed up a whole host of myths about its divine founding. This unit will introduce us to them.

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    Unit 9. Myths Everywhere

    This short concluding unit provides time for reflection on the role of Greek and Roman Mythology in our world today. Why do we care? And what do we have that plays a similar role?

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  • Course Length: 18 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Course Type: Elective
  • Category:
    • Humanities
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