Religious Foundations of Athenian Institutions
GHR Classics Honors 260
Tuttleman 202   TTh 1:10-2:30

student reports on the Olympian gods (to be linked)

student reports on assigned readings (to be linked)

student research papers (to be linked)

Your grade in this class will be determined by:

class participation (engaging the texts at hand, showing knowledge of reading assignments, sharing your critical thinking)

oral reports on various topics including special topics (gods, sites, history, art) and selected secondary criticism of ancient texts

final report, a 20-25 page research project that will be prepared digitally and be posted on the class webpage

GHR Classics: H260
Religious Foundations of Ancient Greece

TTh 2:40-4:00
Honors Seminar Room

Tuesday January 16 Introduction
Thursday January 18 The Theory of Mythology
Tuesday January 23  The Theory of Mythology (handout)
Required Reading: Hesiod's Theogony
Thursday January 25 Required Reading: Hesiod's Theogony
Introduction to 
Tuesday January 30 Required Reading: Oresteia
Dr. Mitchell-Boyask's Oresteia Study Guide

Dr. J's House of Atreus Guide
Dr. J's Illustrated Aeschylus' Agamemnon
Libation Bearers, and Eumenides
links: Morford and Lenardon on-line (House of Atreus)
Thursday February 1
Tuesday February 6
Thursday February 8
Tuesday February 13
Thursday February 15
Tuesday February 20
Thursday February 22
Tuesday February 27
Thursday March 1

March 4-11

Spring Break - NO CLASS

Tuesday March 13
Thursday March 15
Tuesday March 20
Thursday March 22
Tuesday March 27
Thursday March 29


Tuesday April 3
Thursday April 5
Tuesday April 10
Thursday April 12
Tuesday April 17
Thursday April 19
Tuesday April 24
Thursday April 26

General Links:

Morford and Lenardon on-line (Homeric Hymns and Olympian Gods)


Unit I: DELPHI and the worship of Apollo

Selected readings on Delphi from Pausanias:

start at 10.5.1 (in the book entitled "Phocis"). Points of interest along the way:

  • story of Oedipus (10.5.3)

  • founding of the oracle and Temple of Apollo (10.5.5)

  • the nature of the contests at the Pythian Games (10.7.2)

  • the beginning of a pages-long list of votives on site (10.9.1) in which are embedded passages on:

  • The Temple of Apollo (beginning at 10.24.4)

    • 7 Sages and their inscribed words of wisdom (10.24.1)

    • Pindar's chair (10.24.4)

    • the stone Cronos vomited up (10.24.6)

  • Building with Paintings - pages-long descriptions (10.25.1)

  • Corycian Cave (and sacred rites associated with Apollo and Dionysus...10.32.1)

  • interesting oracles mentioned and explained:

other internet sources: 

a decent run-down of basics, including the procedure of accessing the oracle:





Unit II: Theater and the worship of Dionysus

Intro to the worship of Dionysus

Required reading: Homeric Hymn to Dionysus

Morford and Lenardon on-line (Homeric Hymns and Olympian Gods)

Required reading: Simon Goldhill's "Modern Critical Approaches to Greek Tragedy" and Morford and Lenardon pp 204-205; 221-225
Dr. J's Illustrated Greek Theater
Dr. J's Illustrated Greek Drama
Optional reading: Staging a play for the Greater Dionysia

Required Reading: Professor Roger Dunkle's background lecture on Greek Tragedy and Historical Overview by Thomas Martin:
10.2 Development of Athenian Tragedy
10.2.1 The Nature of Tragedy
10.2.2. The Performance of Tragedy

Required reading: Euripides' Bacchae (Grene and Lattimore)
Professor Roger Dunkle's on-line study guide for the Bacchae
Professor Walter Englert: how to understand Euripides' Bacchae


links: Morford and Lenardon on-line (Delphi and Apollo)

Unit III: Olympic Games and the worship of Zeus

Historic overview of games: Thomas Martin's Lectures on Perseus:
4.10 The Olympic Games of Zeus and Hera
4.11 Competition and Community
4.12 Religion, Myth, and Community

Olympic Games and Literature
Neato clickable timeline for Olympic victors
Olympia athlete stories
The Temple of Zeus
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
little known facts about the Greek Olympics
Athens 2004
Olympics Through Time
VRML Representation of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia
ancient olympics museum
ancient Olympics

Unit IV: The Eleusinian Mysteries and the worship of Demeter

The Deme of Eleusis (AncientSites)
Eleusis Archaeological Project

PanHellenic Festivals (Nemea, Isthmia, Pythian, Olympian)

Dr. J's Illustrated Archaic Age Illustrated Lecture
a political view of the inception of the games (Dartmouth)

Isthmian Games
Ohio State University Isthmia excavations
University of Chicago Isthmia excavations
Reconstruction of Temple of Poseidon
Ostia pictures (mosaics similar to those in Roman bath at Isthmia)
Princeton University's CLA 212 site
Apollodorus on the founding of the Isthmian Games
Pausanias on the founding of the Isthmian Games
Pausanias continues

Nemean Games
Andrew Wilson' Nemea site
Princeton University's CLA 212 site
Bacchylides' Ode about victory at Nemea
Bacchylides' Ode mentioning all the games
Nemean Games foundation myth in Pausanias
Nemean Games foundation myth by Apollodorus
Apollodorus on Heracles killing the Nemean lion
Seven Against Thebes reference for names (Adrastus...)
Winter games at Nemea, reinstitution at Argos

Olympian Games
Princeton University's CLA 212 site
Pindar's Olympian Ode 1 (tame version of Pelops tale)
Pindar's Olympian Ode 2 (Heracles as founder of Olympian Games)
Pindar's Olympian Ode 10: another Heraclean foundation myth
Pausanias' version of the Olympian Games foundation myth
Pindar's Olympian Ode 3: why the olive tree is sacred at Olympia
Pausanias' version for different garlands for the different games
religious ceremonies at the Olympics

art sites:
Carlos Parada's Greek Mythology site
Heracles and the Nemean Lion (close-up)
Andrew Wilson's Olympics quiz

back to Dr. J's home page

Dr. J's Illustrated Archaic Age

Dr. J's Illustrated Greek Theater
Dr. J's Illustrated Greek Drama

A's Oresteia

Required reading: Aeschylus' Oresteia
Dr. J's House of Atreus Guide
Dr. J's Illustrated Aeschylus' Agamemnon

Dr. J's Illustrated Aeschylus' Libation Bearers

Dr. J's Illustrated Aeschylus' Eumenides

Hymn to Apollo

Delphi Guidebook handout pp 7-22

Required reading: Homeric Hymn to Apollo
Dr. J's Illustrated Delos
student reports on the Olympian gods, starting with Apollo
handout: excerpts from Herodotus on the oracles concerning the Battle of Thermopylae (pp 514-521 and 548-552)
Pausanias' Description of Delphi, pp 408-491
Morford and Lenardon pp


Pythian Games
Pausanias on the Pythian games
Dr. J's Lecture on Delphi as site of PanHellenic Games
Dr. J's Delphi page

Democritus University's Delphi page
History of the city of Delphi
The first Delphic Hymn: Inscription and translation

The Mobius Project's take on Delphi. WARNING: this is a religious prophecy group that claims to use geological changes and other "hard core scientific" facts to prove their spiritual beliefs. Delphi appeals to them on several levels. Links from their home page will also take you to sites devoted to the discovery of Atlantis and Noah's Ark. HINT: Do NOT skip ahead and read the last line of the article. Let it be a surprise.


Ancient medicine:
Rob's book