Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Office: Thomas 245

Office Phone: 526-5046



EMLY B001008:  Greek Myth

Carpenter B17

TTh 11:30-1:00

Office Hours: MWF 10-11

or by appointment


Required Texts:

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation (Editors: Trzaskoma, Smith, Brunet)

Homer: The Odyssey (Trans. Fagles)

Aeschylus: The Oresteia: Agamemnon, the Libation Bearers, and the Eumenides (Trans. Fagles)

Ovid: Metamorphoses (Trans. Melville)


Hacker, Diana: The Pocket Style Manual

Harvey, Gordon: Writing With Sources


Course Description:

                  For over two millennia, the myths of the Greeks have provoked outrage and fascination, interpretation and retelling, censorship and elaboration, beginning with the Greeks themselves.  As we explore one of the richest treasure troves of the ancient world, we will see how some of these stories have been read and understood, recounted and revised, in various cultures and eras, from ancient tellings to modern movies.  By close investigation into the ancient versions, we will gain a sense of the depth and complexity of these tales and their continuing resonance in the modern world. At the same time, this course should provide a more profound understanding of the meaning of these myths to the Greeks themselves, of the cultural context in which they were formulated. Starting from the poems of Homer and Hesiod, we will examine Greek myths recounted in tragedy and lyric, in learned collections and parodic prose, from the tales of gods such as Zeus, Demeter, and Persephone, to heroes such as Theseus and Hercules, perhaps even Plato's perennially popular tale of Atlantis.


Course Requirements:

Class participation:

                  Participation, of course, includes attendance, since you cannot participate if you are not in class.  If, for some reason, you cannot attend class, please inform me in advance.  You should come prepared with reactions to and questions about the readings for each class.  There will be a Forum set up for each week on Blackboard for you to post thoughts and questions that occur to you ouside of class and to continue the discussions we have started in class. For each reading, one or two students will be responsible for starting discussion on the material, but every student is expected to contribute intelligently to the discussion.  Mastering the skills involved in reading analytically and critically is one of the primary aims of this course, and learning how to articulate your thoughts in dialogue with other thinkers is a crucial part of this process.  Most of the readings will be in the required texts, but any shorter readings not in the Anthology will be available on Blackboard, and they can also be reached by link from the on-line version of the syllabus at: http://www.brynmawr.edu/classics/redmonds/Myth10.htm. If, for some reason, you cannot prepare for class, please attend anyway - you will be better prepared for the next class. 


Writing Assignments: 

                  Another of the primary aims of this course is to practice the art of writing, of communicating your thoughts in a clear and compelling way in a textual medium.  From the conventions of grammar and syntax to the structures of analysis and argument, the craft of writing depends upon many elements, and, as with any craft, the only way to master the techniques is through practice.  There will be four graded writing assignments over the course of the semester on topics related to the readings in the texts for that portion of the term.  For each assignment, you will produce a draft and a final version.  I will meet individually with each of you to discuss your draft and work on ways in which you can improve it for the final version.  The writing assignments will increase in length and significance over the course of the semester, reflecting the importance of improvement and progress in this learning process.  I will provide assignment sheets with suggested topics for each assignment, but you will always have the option to choose your own topic, and I encourage all students to discuss their choice of topic with me before they start writing.


Students who think they may need accommodations in this course due to the impact of a learning, physical, or psychological disability are encouraged to meet with me privately early in the semester to discuss their concerns.  Students should also contact Stephanie Bell, Coordinator of Access Services (610-526-7351 or sbell@brynmawr.edu), as soon as possible, to verify their eligibility for reasonable academic accommodations.  Early contact will help to avoid unnecessary inconvenience and delays.


Grade Distribution:

Class Participation                             30%

Writing Assignment 1                     10%

Writing Assignment 2                     15%

Writing Assignment 3                     20%

Writing Assignment 4                     25%



Week 1 Aug. 31 & Sept. 2  Introduction to Myth/ Homeric Hymn Aphrodite (Anthology)

Week 2 Sept. 7 & 9  Hesiod: Theogony and Works & Days (Anthology)

Week 3 Sept. 14 & 16  Homeric Hymns Demeter and Dionysos (Anthology)

- Writing Assignment #1: first draft due Sept. 17; final draft due Oct. 1

Week 4 Sept. 21 & 23  Homeric Hymns Apollo and Hermes (Anthology)

Week 5 Sept. 28 & 30  Homer: Odyssey 1-8

Week 6 Oct. 5 & 7  Homer: Odyssey 9-17

- Writing Assignment #2: first draft due Oct. 8; final draft due Oct. 29

Week 7 Fall break – Oct. 12 & 14

Week 8 Oct. 19 & 21  Homer:  Odyssey 18-24

Week 9 Oct. 26 & 28  Aeschylus: Oresteia

Week 10 Nov. 2 & 4  Euripides: Hippolytus

- Writing Assignment #3: first draft due Nov. 5; final draft due Nov. 19

Week 11 Nov. 9 & 11  Ovid: Metamorphoses

Week 12 Nov. 16 & 18  Ovid: Metamorphoses

Week 13 Nov. 23  Ovid: Metamorphoses - Thanksgiving (no Th)

- Writing Assignment #4: first draft due Dec. 3; final draft due Dec. 13

Week 14 Nov. 30 & Dec. 2  Mythographers and Allegorists (Anthology)

Week 15 Dec. 7 & 9  Mythographers and Allegorists (Anthology)