Course Description

This course, taught completely in Greece, will explore the mythology and history of ancient Greece. The first stage of our itinerary will take us to the mountainous island of Crete in the south Aegean, where we will explore the ruins of Bronze Age palaces, temples and cave sites that gave rise to the myths of Theseus, Minos, and the labyrinth of the Minotaur. The second stage will take us by ferry from Crete to Athens. Here we will investigate the Parthenon (Athena’s temple) atop the Acropolis and its extensive artistic program designed both to recall myths and to make them anew. We will also visit the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion and the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. The third stage will take place in southern Greece (the Peloponnese), where most ancient Greek myths have their start. We will explore (among other places) the archaeological ruins of Corinth (Pegasus), Mycenae (Agamemnon), Tiryns (Hercules), Argos (Perseus), and the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, home of the ancient Greek Olympic games. In addition to placing students precisely where ancient Greek myth-making and history took place, it also explores the dynamics of myth and history, the numerous ways that ancient Greek cities relied on oral histories and mythologies to construct identities, and the ways in which myth influenced the artists of the Renaissance and Romantic period.