Introduction to Mythology

Ref: C2225647

This course covers a range of myths from around the world, beginning with tales from Ancient Greece. We recall the tragic story of Antigone, who rebelled against her uncle the king and buried her outcast brother. We see how Odysseus’ decade-long journey home embodies the theme of The Quest. Then Dionysus, the wild god of wine, reveals the pleasures and dangers of losing control. In other weeks, we uncover the world’s first ecological catastrophe: the killing of the forest spirit Humbaba in the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh. We draw on the themes of metamorphoses and paradox common to sources as diverse as Hindu creation myths and the Welsh Mabinogion. The course ends, appropriately, with a look at mythical visions of the end of the world (including Ragnarök), and we ask if mythical apocalypses can help us understand the catastrophes of the present. During the course, students will also have the opportunity to discuss myths of their own choosing.

Course aim

Why were myths so important to people in the past? This course explores a variety of ancient myths to show how they offer a unique way of understanding the world.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Outline the relevance and importance of some famous world myths
  • recognise major mythical themes that are common throughout the world
  • evaluate the role that myth still has to play in modern life

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • All texts will be covered in class, but if you wish to read further, you may refer to a supplied list of recommended texts. Students will also have the opportunity to present a myth of their choice to the class, if they wish.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • You may want to bring a pad and pen for note-taking. Extracts from the essential texts will be supplied.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • You are invited to recommend myths for discussion towards the end of the course.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Introduction to Mythology


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • 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 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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