Classical Mythology, Day 18

In this class we begin to turn from ancient Greek heroic myth as it is generally narrated to consider the relationship between stories and their historical contexts more deeply. in order to do this, we will look at two broad themes: the way that story patterns we know from myth are instrumentalized in narratives of foundational figures like Lykourgos of Sparta and Solon of Athens. Then, we will consider more generally the impact of mythical discourse on Archaic Greek concepts of ‘civilization’ and ‘justice’ by paying particular attention to the ways in which Homer uses monsters to define the ‘human’ and Hesiod uses myth to establish contested systems of justice.


Ancient Authors Discussed

Homer, Archaic Age

Hesiod, Archaic Age

Plutarch, Roman Imperial Period


Some Suggested Course Texts

Hesiod’s, Works and Days

Odyssey, book 9

Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus

Plutarch, Solon


A Few Terms



Links to Blogposts

Homer’s Lawless Kyklopes

Two Kinds of Strife

Hesiod on Justice and the Corruption of Power


Modern Authors Mentioned



Other Articles for Additional Reading



Similar Myths



Student Links



Image result for Ancient Greek sculpture Cyclops

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