Humanities 103.07: Mythology

(3 credits)

Fall 2016

Dr. Lynn Gordon


The purpose of this course is

  • to introduce the study of myth,

  • to examine some traditional Greek, Roman and Indian (Sanskrit) myths from several different theoretical approaches,

  • to consider what these myths can tell us about proto-Indo-European culture, and

  • to observe how they have influenced art, music and literature over time.


By the end of the semester, Humanities 103 students will be able

    • to identify the characters, events and themes of sections of Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days, Homer's Iliad, Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Vālmīki's Rāmāyaṇa and the myths that lie behind these works;

    • to identify mythic references in later works of literature, art and music and discuss coherently how these myths play a role in later artistic works;

    • to analyze myths using different theoretical approaches; and

    • to relate the structure and content of the myths to the culture(s) in which they developed.


Required: The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Volume A. 3rd edition. ISBN 978-0393913293 (NAWL-A)

(Available at the Bookie,,, etc.)

Other required readings will be linked in the Course Materials section of the class website and in the class schedule below.


5 short papers (2-4 double-spaced pages 500-1000 words)

Midterm Exam

Final Exam

40 points (8 points per paper)

20 points

40 points


Every week I will post questions relevant to what you are reading and we are discussing in class. By the end of very third week of class (so by the end of week 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15), a paper addressing one of these questions will be due. If you turn in a paper 7 days before the due date, I will give you feedback and you can revise the paper to be considered for a higher grade if you choose. Short papers will be turned into the Class Dropbox (linked above). You may turn in up to seven papers; your top five grades will count toward the 50 points allocated to short papers.

Your papers will be accepted only at the time due or before--even if you feel your attempt is unsatisfactory, turn it in. No homework will be accepted late (unless there is a major disaster which calls you out of school; colds, the press of other classes, or the general difficulties of life do not constitute major disasters).


The midterm and final exams are closed book and closed notes and consist of multiple choice, short answer, fill-in the blanks and essay questions. The essay questions will be adapted from the weekly paper questions. You will be allowed to bring one standard letter-size page of notes into each exam.

The midterm exam is scheduled for class on Thursday, 13 October.

The final exam is scheduled for 8:00-10:00 am on Monday, 12 December. The final exam will be cumulative. Note that it is not possible to reschedule the final exam, so please do not arrange your departure from Pullman for a time that interferes with taking the exam.


You must make your own decisions as an adult whether or not to come to class. However, you should realize that coming to class is part of your job as a student, as is completing the papers on time and passing the midterm and final exam. Just coming to class will make meeting your other responsibilities in this class easier. I do not take attendance in this class, but I do reserve the right to give an attendance quiz (worth 50% of a regular quiz short paper) without warning if the attendance in class falls too low.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (links to more readings will be added through the semester--check the on-line syllabus regularly)

University Announcements

  • Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities or chronic medical conditions. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Access Center website to follow published procedures to request accommodations: Students may also either call or visit the Access Center in person to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. Location: Washington Building 217; Phone: 509-335-3417. All disability related accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. Students with approved accommodations are strongly encouraged to visit with instructors early in the semester during office hours to discuss logistics.

  • For more information contact a Disability Specialist: 509-335-3417, e-mail

  • Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is the cornerstone of higher education. As such, all members of the university community share responsibility for maintaining and promoting the principles of integrity in all activities, including academic integrity and honest scholarship. Academic integrity will be strongly enforced in this course. Students who violate WSU’s Academic Integrity Policy (identified in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 504-26-010(3) and -404) will fail the paper or exam; if the violation is repeated or very serious (copying an entire paper or cheating on the final exam, for example), you will fail the class, you will not have the option to withdraw from the course pending an appeal, and you will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.

  • Cheating includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-010(3). You need to read and understand all of the definitions of cheating: If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, you should ask course instructors before proceeding.

  • If you wish to appeal a faculty member's decision relating to academic integrity, please use the form available at

  • Grade Appeals: According to the Education Policies and Procedures Manual (EPPM), “Students having complaints about instruction or grading should refer them first to the instructor. If the complaint is not resolved, then the student may refer the complaint in writing to the chairperson of the department in which the course is offered by the end of the last day of the following semester.”

  • Safety and Emergency Notification: Classroom and campus safety are of paramount importance at Washington State University, and are the shared responsibility of the entire campus population. WSU urges students to follow the “Alert, Assess, Act,” protocol for all types of emergencies and the “Run, Hide, Fight” response for an active shooter incident. Remain ALERT (through direct observation or emergency notification), ASSESS your specific situation, and ACT in the most appropriate way to assure your own safety (and the safety of others if you are able).

Please sign up for emergency alerts on your account at MyWSU. For more information on this subject, campus safety, and related topics, please view the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight video and visit the WSU safety portal.

  • Severe Weather: For severe weather alerts, see and In the event of severe weather affecting university operations, guidance will be issued through the alert system.

  • E-Mail: In compliance with WSU policy, I can only respond to e-mail sent from your WSU e-mail address (the address in your myWSU account). I cannot respond to e-mail sent from non-WSU accounts.