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Unit information: Myth in 2020/21

Unit name Myth
Unit code CLAS20065
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Zajko
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The aim of this unit will be to explore a number of aspects of Greek and Roman mythology, using texts from a variety of genres and periods. We will explore the significance of the way that the term myth-ology combines both 'muthos' and 'logos' and so can be seen to encode the struggle for mastery between a story and its interpretation. Myth has generally been negatively defined against other forms of discourse, against e.g. history, philosophy, or theology, and it has been claimed that it was the Greeks themselves who invented this kind of taxonomy. In the modern world this kind of negative definition of myth can be seen to structure on-going debates about e.g. the relation of myth to feminism or to science. We shall explore both ancient and modern debates in relation to particular stories and their numerous and various interpretations.


The aim of this unit will be to explore a number of approaches to Greek and Roman mythology, using a variety of texts and images as source material. Myths will be shown to respond to a range of different interpretative strategies.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this units, students will be able to:

  1. Identify a number of modem strategies for approaching myths;
  2. Analyse several key literary texts in which myths are retold;
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with some Greek and Roman iconographical representations of myths;
  4. Demonstrate skills in oral and visual communication (through discussion, questions and the video project) and in written communication (through essay work, informal tests and examinations), at a standard appropriate to level I.

Teaching details

This unit will involve a combination of independent investigative activities, long- and short-form lectures, and discussion. Students will be expected to engage with materials and participate on a weekly basis. Feedback will be provided for both formative and summative assessments, and this will be supported by meetings with tutors.

Assessment Details

One group video project (formative). [ILOs 1, 3, 4].

2,000 word essay (summative) (100%). [ILOs 1, 2, 4].

Reading and References

  • Richard Buxton, Imaginary Greece (1994)
  • Eric Csapo, Theories of Mythology (2005)
  • Lillian Doherty, Gender and the Interpretation of Mythology (2001)
  • Vanda Zajko & Helena Hoyle, A Handbook to the Reception of Classical Mythology (2017)