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BA Ancient History / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Ancient Greek Mythology

Unit code CAHE34702
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Mythology was integral to the history, philosophy, religion and art of the ancient Greek world. In this unit we will focus on the way mythology was represented in literature, as a response to individual and social change, a way to understand the natural world, and way of exploring fundamental issues of mortality and morality.


Pre-requisite units

for those reading the poems only in translation: none;

for those reading some parts of the poems in Greek: (at least) Advanced Greek 1 or equivalent (higher is fine); student must be at L3


Co-requisite units

Anti-requisite: this course cannot be combined with CAHE24702 Ancient Greek Mythology.

Those taking this course alongside Advanced Greek are expected to take it as linguists.  If you are in any doubt about which level of the course is appropriate for you, please ask.



This unit is designed to equip students with a range of techniques for the analysis of mythology as represented in Greek literature, as well as an ability to contextualize and compare material across different time periods, genres and cultures.  

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course all students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a good understanding of the issues we confront when dealing with texts in translation
  • Use appropriate terminology when discussing mythological and literary devices

Intellectual skills

  • Analyse a literary text with a range of theoretical approaches
  • Synthesize material from different sources to produce diachronic and synchronic analyses

Practical skills

  • Access relevant primary and secondary materials, e.g. in databases, catalogues of papyri.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Transferable skills and personal qualities include the ability to construct an argument in written and oral form, to pose questions about complex issues, to assimilate and summarise large quantities of evidence, to locate and retrieve relevant information from primary sources, to conduct bibliographic searches, and to present the results in a professional manner with appropriate reference to sources and modern published scholarship, to use e-resources and gain knowledge of research methods and resources, to manage time and resources, and to engage in critical discussion.

Employability skills

The course involves a large number of important employment skills, most notably an ability to analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information, an ability to see both sides of an argument, the ability to synthesise an argument in a cogent form, the ability to retrieve information from complex sources and present it in a compelling and cogent fashion.

Assessment methods

Commentary Plan 0%
Commentary  35%
Essay 65%


Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on formative assessment (see above); all coursework feedback is designed to contribute formatively towards improvement in subsequent assignments.
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment).

Recommended reading

Preliminary reading should include:

Set Texts Level 2:

1. Selections from M. Morford, R. Lenardon, M. Sham (edd.) Classical Mythology: International Edition.

(OUP, USA 2014 edition, ISBN: 978-0199997398)


Linguists will read a selection of texts in the original Greek. Passages will be provided from texts such as Euripides’ Herakles, Aristophanes’ Birds and Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, Book 4.


Indicative background Reading

Primary: Apollodorus, The Library of Greek Mythology.


E. Csapo, Theories of Mythology (Oxford 2005).

T. Gantz, Early Greek Myth (Princeton 1992).

E. Griffiths, Medea  (London 2006).

V. Zajko, M. Leonard (edd.) Laughing with Medusa (Oxford 2008).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Emma Griffiths Unit coordinator

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