Beyond the Odyssey: Myths and Poems of Ancient Greece

Ref: C2228606

What else survives of early Greek mythology and poetry besides the Odyssey and the tragedies? In this course we will discover a selection of remarkable texts which take in all aspects of life, from dramatic and vivid creation myths to scurrilous drinking songs, and everything in between. We will read and discuss a variety of works, including Hesiod's Theogony, which tells the history of the gods, and his Works and Days which describes everyday toils. We will read some of the more informal lyric poems, focusing on Sappho, whose fragmentary works offer a tantalising glimpse of a rare surviving female voice from ancient literature. We will also explore what survives the "Epic Cycle" -- all those epic poems which are now lost -- alongside a look into some famous episodes from Homer’s rage-filled Trojan epic, the Iliad. Through these texts, and more, we will deepen our understanding of the scope of ancient Greek poetry.

Course aim

To discover, read, and discuss a selection of fascinating myths, tales, and poems from Ancient Greece.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recall the historical context of the performance and transmission of ancient Greek poetry
  • Identify common themes in ancient epic and lyric poetry
  • Discuss the relevance and meaning of famous episodes from Greek mythology
  • Develop skills in expressing your opinions based on the evidence in the texts.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Extracts from the essential texts will be provided as PDFs to download, but you will also be provided with a recommended reading list if you want to read more.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Beyond the Odyssey: Myths and Poems of Ancient Greece

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This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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