In this class we consider two broad themes: the creation of human beings and the misogynistic heritage of stories about the bifurcation of the human race into two genders. In the first discussion, we will consider the multiform tales of the creation of human beings in the Greek tradition in comparison to tales from the Ancient Near East (in particular Genesis and the Enuma Elish). These narratives reveal a meaningful metaphysical connection between how human beings are created and what their lives are like (esp. their relationship with the divine, their basic ‘nature’, and the conditions which can be expected for their lives).
In the second part we look at narratives about the creation of women and explore how fears of mortality are at the root of Ancient Greek misogyny.
Ancient Authors Discussed
Homer, Archaic Age
Hesiod, Archaic Age
Semonides, Archaic Age
Plato, Philosopher, 4th Century BCE
Ovid, Roman Imperial Period
Apollodorus, Roman Imperial Period?
Some Suggested Course Texts
Semonides’ Diatribe against Women
Hesiod, Works and Days
Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
Links to Blogposts
Modern Authors Mentioned
Other Articles for Additional Reading
Christobel Hastings. “The Timeless Myth of Medusa, a Rape Victim Turned Into a Monster.” Broadly.Vice.Com April 9, 2018.
Marguerite Johnson. “A Feminist Nightmare: How Fear of Women Haunts our Earliest Myths.” The Conversation, February 24, 2015.
Marilyn Katz. “Ideology and the “Status of Women in Ancient Greece.” History and Theory 31: 70-97.
Katie Tuttle, “Tracing the Roots of Misogyny to Ancient Greece and Rome with Mary Beard.” LA Times, December 28, 2017.
Babylonian Enuma Elish