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CLASSICS 1B03 Intro to Ancient Myth and Lit (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Mariapia Pietropaolo


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 709

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23455

Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00-3:00 and Thursday 11:00-noon

Course Objectives:

In this course students will become acquainted with some of the most important literary works dealing with the mythology of ancient Greece and Rome. Our objective will be to examine the development of literary forms over time and to explore how mythology was used by Greek and Roman authors to articulate their views of the world. We will focus on the relationship between myth and literature, paying particular attention to how this relationship is articulated in different genres. Among the questions to be examined are the following: What are the distinguishing features of each genre? How did the genres evolve? In what ways do the different genres make use of mythology? The learning objectives include understanding how myth helped shape the way the Greeks and Romans thought about themselves and the world around them. By the end of the course, students should have a good grasp of the fundamental myths of the ancient world and should feel confident about discussing various aspects of the contact between mythology and literature in different genres.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Stephen Russell. Readings in Classical Literature. Volumes 1, 2, & 3. Radix Antiqua Publishing.

Method of Assessment:

Quizzes - 15%

      Three quizzes will be written online (on Avenue to Learn), worth 5% each.

            #1: Thurs. Sept. 27th , #2: Thurs. Nov. 1st , #3: Thurs. Nov. 22nd

Assignment 1 - 15%

       A written assignment due in class on Thursday, October 4th

Assignment 2  - 30%

      An essay due in class on Thursday, November 15th

Participation - 10%

      Attendance and participation in tutorials

Final Exam - 30%   

      Date TBD

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Because the quizzes will be completed online, there are no make-up quizzes. Students who miss a quiz due to severe illness or grievous personal distress must provide appropriate documentation and will have the weight of the missed quiz transferred to the next element of the course requirements. Only illness and grievous personal distress are considered valid reasons for missing a quiz. It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete the quizzes on time.

Any student wishing to request a re-read of a written assignment must wait at least 24 hours from having it returned and must submit a written request to the person who marked it outlining the reasons for the request. If you are still dissatisfied with the grade after meeting with your TA, you may then submit the essay, along with a written explanation outlining your dissatisfaction, to me for evaluation. Please note that I have full faith in the TAs to perform a fair assessment of your work and that any reassessment may result in an increase or decrease in the initial mark assigned.

Your first written assignment is due in class on October 4th. Late assignments will lose 3% per day (including weekends). Should you require an extension, you must arrange one with your TA before the due date. Extensions will only be granted in cases of illness or grievous personal distress; general midterm busyness or extra-curricular activities are not suitable reasons for extensions.

Your essay is due in class on November 15th. Late essays will lose 5% per day (including weekends). Should you require an extension, you must arrange one with your TA before the due date. Extensions will only be granted in cases of illness or grievous personal distress; general midterm busyness or extra-curricular activities are not suitable reasons for extensions.

The date and time of the final examination will be set by the office of the registrar.

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

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 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 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:

September 4 – 7   * No Tutorial this week

     Lecture 1: Welcome and Introduction

     Lecture 2: Myth and literary genres (no readings)

September 10 – 14

     Lecture 1: Iliad 1 (p. 1-16) and Background to the Trojan War

     Tutorial: Iliad 1: p. 1-16

     Lecture 2: Iliad 3, 6, 7: p. 17-49

September 17 – 21

     Lecture 1: Iliad 9, 12: p. 49-73

     Tutorial: Iliad 14: p. 74-85

     Lecture 2: Iliad 16, 18, 19: p. 85-126

September 24 – 28

     Lecture 1: Iliad 22, 24: p. 126-156

     Tutorial: Odyssey 1: p. 157-166

     Lecture 2: Odyssey 4, 5, 6: p. 166-203

October 1 – 5

     Lecture 1: Odyssey 9, 11: p. 204-228

     Tutorial: Odyssey 14: p. 229-242

     Lecture 2: Odyssey 19, 21, 22: p. 242-275

    * Writing Assignment due on October 4.

October 8 – 12  Mid-term Recess

October 15 – 19

     Lecture 1: Odyssey 23, 24: p. 275-294

     Tutorial: Tyrtaeus 9; Mimnermus 2; Solon 3; Sappho 1: (Volume 2) p. 5-9

     Lecture 2: Hellenistic poetry;  Essay objectives and methods

October 22 – 26

     Lecture 1: Apollonius, The Argonautica, book 3: p. 10-42

     Tutorial: Agamemnon: p. 43-83

     Lecture 2: Libation Bearers: p. 84-118

October 29 – November 2

     Lecture 1: The Furies: p. 119-151

     Tutorial: No readings. Discussion of Aristotle and Plato’s views on tragedy.

     Lecture 2: Oedipus the King: p. 152-187

November 5 – 9

     Lecture 1: The Bacchae: p. 188-238

     Tutorial: Sappho 31, Catullus 51: p. 239-240

     Lecture 2: Catullus 64: p. 240-250

November 12 – 16

     Lecture 1: Horace Satire 5: p. 251-254  

     Tutorial: Aeneid 1: (Volume 3) p. 1-27

     Lecture 2: Aeneid 2, 4: p. 28-79

    * Essay due November 15

November 19 – 23

     Lecture 1: Aeneid 6: p. 79-110

     Tutorial: Aeneid 7: p. 111-140

     Lecture 2: Aeneid 8, 11: p. 141-203

November 26 – 30

     Lecture 1: Aeneid 12: p. 204-237

     Tutorial: Last Tutorial. No readings. Review, exam prep.

     Lecture 2: Ovid Art of Love: (Volume 2) p. 255-278

December 4th    *No Tutorial this week

      Lecture: How to write a great exam

Other Course Information:

In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn ( Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.