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Classical Mythology cover art

Classical Mythology

Written by: Elizabeth Vandiver,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Elizabeth Vandiver
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Publisher's Summary

These 24 lectures are a vibrant introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you'll investigate are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

Professor Vandiver anchors her presentation in some basics. What is a myth? Which societies use myths? What are some of the problems inherent in studying classical mythology? She also discusses the most influential 19th- and 20th-century thinking about myth's nature and function, including the psychological theories of Freud and Jung and the metaphysical approach of Joseph Campbell. You'll also consider the relationship between mythology and culture (such as the implications of the myth of Demeter, Persephone, and Hades for the Greek view of life, death, and marriage), the origins of classical mythology (including the similarities between the Theogony and Mesopotamian creation myths), and the dangers of probing for distant origins (for example, there's little evidence that a prehistoric "mother goddess" lies at the heart of mythology).

Taking you from the surprising "truths" about the Minotaur to Ovid's impact on the works of William Shakespeare, these lectures make classical mythology fresh, absorbing, and often surprising.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Classical Mythology

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Great stuff, worth buying.

Bravo Madame Vandiver...you know your stuff...Very interesting historical "mise en context". I enjoyed it very much.

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It isn’t a story as much as it is an appropriation of a story line

It isn’t a story as much as it is an appropriation of a story line. It provides all the whys and shows you all the ways of getting further information about the societal concepts whereof our societal culture & symbolism is built upon. It was certainly captivating from beginning to end and I highly recommend it!!

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Captivating

I found Elizabeth Vandiver’s lectures captivating, well-organized and passionate. Great for anyone interested in story, history, psychology, and of course, mythology.

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Thank you professor Vandiver

With great passion and story telling expertise professor Vandiver guide us through a magical journey into the Classical Mythology!! I highly recommend this series!!

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learned SO much!

I've heard references to and quotes associated with ancient Greece, but not until having listened to this excellent course, have I understood them and their contexts. I liked the weaving of the academic perspective of today with the myths, their possible purposes, and the explanations for their enduring value. I look forward to more listening and learning.

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Good basics, Mythology 101

Interesting and great to listen, but if you already had classes on Mythology or like to read info or watch video on the internet, most of the content will at least be familiar. The differents interpretation of myths will at least be new for those who never attended a class.

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Highly recommend it

Amazing lecture series. Very concise chapters, extremely clear and gives context whenever something out of the cultural consciousness is brought up. The only thing I worry about is it the lecture series is also clearly significantly outdated. She drops some cultural touchstones like Disney’s Hercules and the Titanic movie, for instance. So, I wonder if (and sure there are) advancements or “updates” in critical thought on the subject.

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Great!

Very interesting topic (general overview of Classical mythology) and excellent presentation by Professor Vandiver. I'll be certain to listen to all of her lectures - on to the next right now!

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Great quality education!

I loved listening to every moment of Professor Vandiver's lectures on the Classical Myths. The myths selected are intriguing, Vandiver explores many interpretations including those she doesn't agree with, and makes powerful suggestions regarding history and its interplay with myth that I found very enlightening.

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