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FOR 106
Myth and Meaning



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  Every week ON TUESDAY be prepared for a quiz on the reading assigned for that week.

Spring 2004
Myth and Meaning FOR 106   3:35-4:50 TR, Stevenson 101
Professor: Janice Siegel
Office: STV 203F
OFFICE HOURS: Wednesday 3-4; Tuesday/Thursday 5-5:30

Graduate Assistants: Nikole Robinson (ndrobin@ilstu.edu) and Jennifer Van Dillen (jlvandi@ilstu.edu). Please feel free to write either to me or to my graduate assistants with questions. If you write to me, please put FOR 106 in the subject line.

REQUIRED TEXT: Morford and Lenardon, Classical Mythology 7th ed., Oxford 2003

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a general education course offering not only the basics of classical (Greek and Roman) mythology, but also an introduction to various interpretive theories of myth. Step One is for us to learn the stories from the primary sources (in translation from Greek and Latin) for classical mythology, i.e., the literature, art, archaeology and architecture of (mostly) ancient Greece. We will learn that unlike us, the Greeks did not consider mythology to be separate from science, philosophy, religion, or even politics it was all wrapped up together, an integrated life view. Step Two will be to try to understand what these myths meant to the Greeks. Why was mythology such an integral part of their culture? And Step Three will be to explore how their mythology has affected our own culture. When you are done with this course, you will wonder how you ever got along without it not a day will pass by without your seeing how the study of the classical world enriches are lives in so many ways.


  • 1. To learn the myths of the Greeks and Romans by reading primary literature.
  • 2. To understand the myths of the Greeks and Romans: origins, nature, categories (myth, legend, folktale) and functions (e.g., aetiological, charter, etc).
  • 3. To understand the representation of individual, cultural, social, political, and personal (including sexual) identity in myth.
  • 4. To learn about Greek myth in the context of Greek culture: topography, archaeological sites, history, religious festivals (e.g., the Olympics), the importance of competition, reason, moderation, etc.
  • 5. To become acquainted with some major theories of myth interpretation (e.g., myth in ritualism, structuralism, functionalism, feminist, psychoanalytic, etc.).
  • 6. To recognize mythological themes in high and low modern culture, including art, architecture, literature, music, film, cartoons, humor, etc.
  • 7. To become familiar with correspondences between the classical myths and those of other cultures (e.g., Native American, Norse, Celtic, Egyptian, African, etc.)


You are encouraged to attend class on a regular basis because we will have a short objective reading quiz every Tuesday and an in-class writing exercise on most Thursdays. Because of the large number of students in this class, missed quizzes and writing assignments CANNOT BE MADE UP. Your lowest grade in each category will be dropped, so that the very occasional absence here or there will not condemn you unfairly.

What if I miss class because I am involved in a Sanctioned University Activity?: http://www.policy.ilstu.edu/policydocs/equitable_treatment.htm

What if I have to miss class because of religious observance?

Here is a great webpage with student info: http://www.ilstu.edu/depts/studentlife

Academic Integrity

I expect that everyone in this class will do his or her own work, inside and outside of class. It is OK to collaborate with others to gain mastery of the material. It is not OK to be so dependent on a classmate or other knowledgeable soul that the work you hand in is not a product of your own effort and understanding. Academic dishonesty covers a lot of ground: cheating, computer dishonesty, plagiarism, grade falsification, and collusion are all defined in the Undergraduate Catalog handbook, page 57 (or in the on-line Student Code of Conduct, under General Regulations, section B), and more information is available at the Dispute Resolution Services Website (http://www.ilstu.edu/depts/SDRS). I do not expect any of my students to be dishonest, but it is only fair for me to tell you right up front that I will respond to deliberate acts of academic dishonesty appropriately. Professors are required to report suspected cheating. Please do not put me in that position.

Special considerations

If you need a special accommodation to fully participate in this class, please talk to me about it privately as soon as possible. You may also contact the Office of Disability Concerns directly at (309)438-5853 (Voice) or (309)438-8620 (TTY/TDD).


On Tuesdays we will begin with our reading quiz. The rest of the period will be devoted to my presentation of material as a supplement to the book. My lectures are often illustrated and sometimes accompanied by excerpts from instructional videos or other multi-media materials. I expect you to comport yourself in an appropriate manner: please, no talking during presentations (either my lectures or films or videos) and no eating in the lecture hall. My classes are grounded in the concept of mutual respect and the bigger the class, the more important this fundamental agreement becomes.

Although the size of the class may present a challenge in terms of productive class discussions, please do come prepared with questions or comments you would like to present. You are expected to read the material and to think about it. The (mostly in-class) writing assignments will be designed to allow you freedom to express yourself, but they will also demand that you put some thought into this class. Engage with the material and enjoy the process of discovery.

I am preparing an extensive website for your added pleasure and edification. Please get into the habit of checking the class webpage on a weekly basis. It will be updated (at the very least) every Monday night. It will be accessible via http://lilt.ilstu.edu/drjclassics.


Average of OPSCAN Multiple Choice Quizzes (25%)
Average of writing assignments (in class and out) (25%)
Two Tests (30%)
Final Examination or Final Project (20%)

No, you may not take the Final Examination at a different time. Please arrange to be on campus on WEDNESDAY MAY 5 AT 3:10 PM.

Final Project: Students who have an A average in the class after the second test may choose to complete a final project instead of taking the final exam. More information on this project will follow in time for you to make your decision.

copyright 2001 Janice Siegel, All Rights Reserved
send comments to: Janice Siegel (jfsiege@ilstu.edu)

date this page was edited last: 08/02/2005
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