Week 1: The Ancient Greeks’ creation myth
Beginning with Chaos, we’ll discuss mother Earth and the beginning of life according to the ancient Greeks, the two significant Titans—Prometheus and Epimetheus—who created life, and the psychological impact of Pandora’s box. This will be discussed in the setting of the Bronze period 2000-1200 BCE.
Week 2: The birth of the first Olympians
What did the ancient Greeks understand about the world’s limitations? What did they believe happened in the afterlife? After the eruptions of the Titans, the Olympians came to power. We’ll discuss birth, symbols and some stories about the first six Olympians—Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, et al.
Week 3: The remaining six Olympians
Altogether, there were 12 major Olympian gods and goddesses (sometimes 13). We’ll discuss the remaining six, their symbols, attributes and stories, as well as some of the myths that explain natural phenomena such as the seasons, narcissism (so relevant today), echo, thunder and lightning.
Week 4: Heroes and monsters
The Three Fates measured out the thread of life—a rather fatalistic way of viewing our lifespans: even Zeus revered The Fates. Was this significant in the lives of Bellerophon, Oedipus, Achilles and other heroes like Perseus, who slew Medusa, and Theseus, slayer of the Minotaur?
Week 5: The labours of Heracles and some love myths
We will discuss Heracles’ punishment—the successful completion of 12 (increased to 13) labours—along with two of the great love myths: Pygmalion and Galatea, and Orpheus and Eurydice. The role of the Underworld and its various parts will also be discussed.
Week 6: The Trojan War
What makes a hero? Why did Achilles choose to die a hero? Odysseus visited the Underworld on his return home to Ithaca; what did he find out from Achilles and other dead heroes about life? We’ll discuss some of the main events in the Trojan War.