C C 303 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Norse Mythology, Latin Literature, Ancient Greek

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What is Classical Mythology?
“Classical” means
L. classicus- a class
Ancient greek or latin literature, art or culture
‘Zeniths’ of Greek and Roman culture (i.e. Greek: 500-323 BC/ Roman: 70 BC-30
AD)
classical/greek mythology (mostly in greek origin)
“Mythology” means
Mythos (“tale” or “story”) + logos (“account” or “explanation”)
Not necessarily false
The formal study of myths
A culture’s body of myths
Ex. Norse mythology, Greek mythology, etc
What is a Myth?
Not a myth:
Not inherently false
May carry truth in it
Not religion(set practice), not an orthodox bible about how to believe in a God
May be religious in nature, may give credibility to a God
Not history (deals with past, self-reflective, factual),
Not entertainment (as origin, not meant for fun)
Myth
Stories about Gods and Demigods
Myth/Legend/Folktale (doesn’t function as well to distinguish types)
“Myth Proper” or “True Myth”
Gods and their relationship with humankind
Set in timeless era
Different world
Religious in nature
Explains something about the Gods
Legends (heroic myth or saga)
Concerns humans, particularly great ones, demigods
Set in ‘historical’ past
‘Possible’ events/adventures
Symbolic value for society
Important to society
Folktales (or fairy tales)
Everyday humans (archetypal)
Ex. wolf=trickster, girl=innocence
Timeless, generic setting
Magical elements/impossibilities
Entertainment or moral instruction
Anachronistic
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