What is the course about?
A detailed examination of the voyages and their fantastical encounters relating them to reality.
What will we cover?
Jason’s voyage to collect the Golden Fleece was described by Apollonius of Rhodes in his Argonautica written in Alexandria in the C3rd BC. He encountered the murderous women of Lemnos, the six-armed giant Gegeines, Phineas and the harpies, the clashing rocks, the sirens and the bronze giant Talos. We shall also look at the rest of his story and his relationship with Medea. Odysseus’s story comes from Homer’s Odyssey composed in the C8th BC. Odysseus encountered the Lotus Eaters, the Cyclopes, the cannibalistic Laestrygonians, the witch Circe, the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the nymph Calypso and the Phaeacians on his epic voyage home from Troy. We shall also cover the rest of his story briefly. Aeneas’s voyage from Troy to Italy was described by Virgil in his Aeneid written for the emperor Augustus round about 25 BC. He encounters Polydorus in Thrace, the harpy Celeano, Hector’s widow Andromache in Buthrotum, Scylla and Charybdis, the Cyclopes, and Queen Dido in Carthage. We shall briefly note the rest of his story.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Recognise different episodes from Myths of Voyages
- Understand the moral and ethical lessons in Greek Myths
- Appreciate the perils of sea voyages in the Ancient World.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Introductory, no prior knowledge necessary.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Illustrated lectures, discussions, questions, reading of original texts (in translation), visit to the British Museum.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring pen and paper to make notes. A good pair of shoes is recommended for the museum visit.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other Classics history or art history classes. See prospectus or online for details.