Grant Voth

Grant Voth >

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The World’s Oldest Myth: Gilgamesh
Episode 1 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 2 - The Middle East and South Asia
Start these riveting lectures at the only appropriate point: the oldest story in the world. In looking at the epic of Gilgamesh, you'll learn how this foundational Babylonian myth reflects real historical tensions between ancient Eastern city-states; tensions mirrored in…
The Titans in Greek Mythology
Episode 1 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Welcome to the ancient Greek myths: some of the most popular, well-known stories in Western civilization. When did these tales emerge, and what are our earliest sources for them? Find out in this lecture on father-son conflicts between Uranus, Kronos,…
The Beauty of African Mythology
Episode 1 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 3 - Africa
Jump into the distinctive elements of African mythology with the story of Shango--a fearsome king of the city-kingdom of Oyo who later became a god. Explore how the cyclical structure of the story is another distinctive feature of African myths.…
The Great Indian Epics
Episode 7 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 2 - The Middle East and South Asia
Get inside Indian culture with this lecture on its two great epics: the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Both are frame narratives that bring together hundreds of smaller stories. Both help establish Vishnu's importance among other Hindu gods. And both have…
The Babylonian Creation Story
Episode 2 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 2 - The Middle East and South Asia
Where did ancient Babylonians believe the world came from? What startling similarities does their account have with the Bible's? Explore these and other questions in this look at the Enuma Elish, a sophisticated creation story (or cosmogony) that casts the…
Complex Goddesses: Athena, Aphrodite, Hera
Episode 2 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Meet three iconic goddesses whose personalities and stories reflect how the ancient Greeks viewed women. They are: Athena, who emerged fully-formed from Zeus's head and is linked to legal courts; Aphrodite, best known for her wild love affair with Adonis;…
Romulus, Remus, and Rome’s Origins
Episode 7 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Not all Roman mythology is indebted to Greece. Focus on several uniquely Roman myths about the empire's founding, including the lives of the brothers Romulus and Remus and the abduction of the Sabine women. What's the difference between creation and…
The Bhagavad Gita
Episode 8 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 2 - The Middle East and South Asia
Turn now to a section of the Mahabharata known as the Bhagavad Gita. You'll peel back the layers behind the popular story of the warrior Arjuna; learn how to read the Gita as a devotional story and a manual for…
African Religious Cosmology
Episode 3 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 3 - Africa
The hierarchy of African religious myths is similar to that of many Western cultures. A single god occupies a high position of authority, responsible for the creation of the world. In variations across Africa, this supreme creator has many different…
Stories of the Buddha
Episode 9 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 2 - The Middle East and South Asia
According to Professor McClymond, it's best to understand the mythology of Buddhism as a grand anthology of short stories. With this in mind, explore the life and beliefs of the Buddha, ponder the teachings of Buddhist myth as told through…
Norse Tales of Odin and Thor
Episode 11 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Dark and brooding, Norse mythology reflects the harsh living conditions of ancient Germanic and Scandinavian people. Here, focus on two of the most well-known Norse gods: Odin (the god of war who sacrificed himself on a tree) and Thor (the…
Culture and Cosmos in Chinese Mythology
Episode 1 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 4 - Asia and the Pacific
Begin your journey into the mythology of Asia and the Pacific with the story of Fu Xi, which illustrates a profound truth about both Chinese society and the mythology of the Pacific Rim: culture and human relations come first. See…
One Thousand and One Nights
Episode 11 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 2 - The Middle East and South Asia
Can an overwhelmingly secular text be read as mythology? Find out in this lecture on the One Thousand and One Nights, known in the West as The Arabian Nights. You'll get insights into great heroes like Sindhbad the sailor, mythical…
Odysseus, Master of Schemes
Episode 5 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Turn now to the hero of Homer's celebrated Odyssey: Odysseus. From his plans for the Trojan horse to his tricking of a murderous cyclops to his final arrival back in Ithaca, learn how Odysseus's scheming and lying led to heroic…
Gods and Humanity in Greek Thought
Episode 3 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Discover fresh insights into several Greek myths that teach us about the relationship between gods and humans. Is Prometheus a troublemaker (according to Hesiod) or a liberator (according to Aeschylus)? What happened after Pandora's box of evil spirits was opened?…
Nature Gods and Tricksters of Polynesia
Episode 8 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 4 - Asia and the Pacific
Polynesian tales center around spirits of the natural world, some of whom are compassionate helper-deities and some, like the nasty menehune, that delight in causing trouble. Meet the supreme figures Ku and Hina, who have myriad subordinate versions; Lono, who…
Inca Myth as Imperial Mandate
Episode 12 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 5 - The Americas
Comparing the Incas to the Roman Empire, you'll find some fascinating parallels, both in history and in mythology. Hear the Kolla creation story from the Incas, based on their understanding of their world, which can still speak to us across…
Persia’s Book of Kings
Episode 10 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 2 - The Middle East and South Asia
The Book of Kings is widely regarded as the national epic of the world's Persian-speaking community. Go inside this 11th-century epic poem that traces 50 generations of Persian kings and heroes, including Rostam--whom you'll follow on his famous "seven labors"…
Native American Tricksters
Episode 9 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 5 - The Americas
Go in-depth with the Trickster archetype. Although not exclusive to Northern American tales, the Trickster is the most popular character in Native American myths. There are likely more stories about him than about anyone else.
Herakles and the Greek Hero
Episode 4 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Investigate the mythological roots and legacies of the powerful--but flawed--Greek hero, Herakles. Explore common threads that run through some of his twelve labors, including the slaying of the Hydra and the cleaning of the Augean stables. Also, ponder Herakles's role…