Grant Voth

Grant Voth >

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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 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…
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;…
The Golden Fleece and the Hero’s Return
Episode 6 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
An altogether different--and darker--mythological adventure story is Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. In pondering the best-known versions of both Jason's story and his wife, Medea's, you'll begin to see Jason as a failed hero and Medea as more than…
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…
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…
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?…
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…
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…
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…
Japanese Tales of Purity and Defilement
Episode 6 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 4 - Asia and the Pacific
Prepare yourself for stories of decaying goddesses, befouled maidens from the underworld, deities emerging from a parent's dirty nostrils, and the contamination of the gods' most sacred spaces with divine excrement. The mythology of this culture, which prizes purity and…
The Dagda’s Harp and Other Celtic Myths
Episode 10 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Using the intriguing tale of Dagda and his magic harp as a framework, Professor McClymond introduces you to the often unappreciated world of Celtic mythology. Meet unforgettable heroes like Cu Chulainn and Lugh, and encounter powerful magical items and treasures…
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…
Roman Heroes and Traitors
Episode 8 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 1 - Ancient Europe
Discover why Aeneas, the ancestor of all Romans, and Tarpeia, who betrayed Rome for personal gain, are two sides of the same coin. As you explore their stories, you'll see how they offer inspirational (and cautionary) testaments to Rome's values--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…
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…
Spirits and Syncretism in Korean Myth
Episode 4 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 4 - Asia and the Pacific
Early Koreans interacted with the spirit world through spirit mediums, primarily women, who perform shamanic rituals and preserve cultural knowledge even up to the modern day. These traditions incorporate religious, mythological, and scholarly borrowings from Japan and China into a…
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.…
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"…
Chinese Heroes, Kings, and Destroyers
Episode 2 of Great Mythologies of the World Course 4 - Asia and the Pacific
Chinese myths about the feats of culture heroes and the deeds of rulers, while relating stories about how things came to be, also engage with questions of what ought to be. Utopian stories of sage-kings are often told alongside dystopian…