Classical Mythology, Day 7

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, Theogony

Hesiod, Works and Days

Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite

Links to Blogposts

Gender and Smell: Greek Misogyny

Lamia and Misogyny

Namecalling and Misogyny

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.

Stephanie McCarter, “The Bad Wives” Eidolon, April 9 2018

Katie Tuttle, “Tracing the Roots of Misogyny to Ancient Greece and Rome with Mary Beard.” LA Times, December 28, 2017.

Susan R. Bowers. “Medusa and the Female Gaze.” NWSA Journal, vol. 2,          no. 2, 1990, pp. 217–235. JSTOR,

Similar Myths

Babylonian Enuma Elish


Student Links


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s