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CLASSICS 2D03 Greek & Roman Mythology

Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2017

Term: Spring

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Patricia White

Email: whitepl@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 702

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24372


Office Hours: Mondays, 5:30-7:00 p.m. (TSH 702)

Course Objectives:

This course focuses on the myths of the ancient Greeks and Romans. We will consider what types of evidence are available for these myths, as well as the problems and/or limitations associated with this evidence. This course examines the details of the myths, but we will also consider larger questions that will arise from an examination of these myths: How did these myths function within their cultural context? What do these myths reveal about how the Greeks and Romans conceived of themselves and the world in which they lived? Through a close reading of the literary texts, as well as consideration of artistic media, students will understand the elements and details of the myths considered and will be able to think critically about how this material was used by the Greeks and Romans and what this says about the cultural context of the myths.

Regular class attendance is necessary to do well in this course. Important terms, concepts, and events will be explained and discussed in lecture. Content discussed in the readings will also be examined in lecture; since there are no tutorials for this class, the only time at which the readings will be examined is during lecture. In addition, PowerPoint slides of lecture content will not be posted online.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The following text is required for this course, and can be purchased at Titles Bookstore:

  • Classical Mythology in Context, Lisa Maurizio (Oxford University Press, 2016)

A schedule of readings is provided below; readings are to be completed in preparation for lecture.

Method of Assessment:

The following is a breakdown of the final grade for the course:



Midterm Test


Final Exam


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor prior to any scheduled test in order to figure out alternate accommodations. A missed test will receive a mark of zero unless the student has a legitimate excuse and can provide the instructor with the necessary documentation.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:



Lecture Topic


Important Dates


May 1

Classical Myths and Mythology

p. 3-5, Ch. 1



May 3

Myths of Creation

Ch. 2



May 8: no class (online)

Zeus/Jupiter and Hera/Juno

Ch. 3



May 10: no class


May 15

Demeter/Ceres and Hades/Pluto; Aphrodite/Venus, Hephaestus/Vulcan, and Ares/Mars

Chs. 4 and 5



May 17

Athena/Minerva and Poseidon/Neptune

Ch. 6

Midterm Test (35%)


May 22: Victoria day (no classes)


May 24

Hermes/Mercury and Hestia/Vesta; Artemis/Diana and Apollo

Chs. 7 and 8



May 29


Ch. 9



May 31

Heroes I: Achilles

Ch. 10



June 5

Heroines I: Medea

Ch. 11



June 7

Heroes II: Odysseus and Quest Heroes

Ch. 12



June 12

Heroines II: Iphigenia and Quest Heroines

Ch. 13



June 14



Final Exam (in lecture)