CLAS-C205-01 Classical Mythology

SprinG 2011

Dr. Damian Fleming


Research Projects:


Both of your projects for this course will ask you to compare presentations of a mythological character or story, and will result in online projects of about 750 words.


In your first project, due Thursday, February 17, you will compare ancient accounts of a myth or character from myth with a work of art. 


An “ancient account” is the primary texts found in our Anthology of Classical Myth, Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey, or Ovid’s Metamorphosis, for example.  To be considered an “ancient account,” the text must be written before 400 CE.  The story summaries found in our 100 Characters book and similar books and online resources are *NOT* ancient accounts.


Your work of art depicting a mythological theme can come from any time period, from the ancient work to the present day, but it must be a piece of stationary visual art such as a painting, sculpture, or piece of pottery (books and movies will be the focus of our second research project).


Step 1: Find a Work of Art


Browse the works of art available in, the largest online repository of art.  Try searching for names of particular gods or characters that interest you, then narrow your focus by time period.


[Using ArtStor: ArtStor is an incredible resource, but is subscription only.  You’ll be able to access it from any IPFW computer.  If you wish to use to from home, you’ll first have to visit the site on campus, set up an account and password, then you’ll be able to access it from any computer once you sign in].


You could also use our 100 Characters book is a great resource for this; it contains hundreds of images from throughout history, any of which would be appropriate for this project.  Bibliographic information for the works of art in 100CH can be found on p. 160.


This is also a very handy resource, with many ancient images and primary texts:


If you find a work of art outside of ArtStor, you still must visit ArtStor and try to find it there as well.



Step 2: Post your work of art on our Class Wiki


The first time you visit, you will have to “Request Access” to the wiki.  Doing so will send an email to me; I’ll get back ASAP so you can get on the site.


Your work of Art must be posted on our wiki before class on Thursday, February 3.


Posting your Art online:

If you have a digital image, then you could easily paste the image onto your project page or provide a link to an image.


If you are using something from 100 Characters, do your best to find an online image (especially in ArtStor); if you ultimately find nothing, post a page number and title of the work.



Step 3: Research the Art and Research the Myth


There are two distinct tasks here. 


One is to learn as much as you can about the work of art: who made it?  When is it from?  What do we know about its original purpose (is it a drinking vessel?  Is it a statue from a temple?  Is it a painting from a Church?).  Also research a little about the time period it was produced: views of mythology in 19th century France were very different from those in 14th century France, and both were very different from those in 1st century Rome.


The second task is to learn as much as you can about the myth or character being depicted.  100 Characters and similar modern summaries are a good start, but what really matters is the *ancient sources*.  Use the index to the Anthology of Classical Myths, Homer, and Ovid to find as many ancient sources as you can.


One of the primary goals of this project is to get you searching through ancient texts, and sharing you results.  To show that you have done this, provide large block quotations from whatever primary texts are relevant to your project.  Of course, pick and choose among the possible sources to see which are the most relevant for your project, but provide full quotations from the texts that are appropriate.  If a text is included in one of our course-books, you must cite from that translation.  Don’t copy and paste source texts from online translations unless you cannot find the given source in any of your books.  Using an online source for something which is available in one of our texts will result in a 25% reduction in the final project grade.  


Throughout all of this, think about how you work of art compares to the ancient stories.  Is there anything noticeably different?  What sorts of details are present in the art that are perhaps not mentioned in any ancient sources?  What sort of important details are found in ancient sources which are not in the art?  You should try to separate ancient Greek texts from ancient Roman/Latin texts.  Roman texts were widely available throughout European history, while Greek texts were not.  You might find that a Renaissance painting, for example, is based entirely on Roman sources.


Step 4: Write your Project.


In polished, concisely written, formal prose, write up a 750 word introduction to the work of art, its myth, and its ancient sources, including all the information listed in the sections above.  After introducing the art and its myth, offer a detailed comparison of what is depicted in the art, and what you have found in ancient sources.  All projects MUST contain textual quotations with appropriate citations from ancient texts.  As noted above, if the ancient source is available in one of our course texts, you MUST cite that translations (rather than copy-and-pasting one of the hundreds of online translations).  Your large quotations from primary texts do not count toward the 750 word limit.




Step 5: Publish: due Thursday, February 17


Upload your complete project onto our wiki before class starts on Friday Oct 1.  Late projects will not be accepted.




Step 6: Peer Evaluate: due Tuesday, March 1.


Read and Evaluate each other’s Projects


Evaluations must be (anonymously) posted online in the “Comments” box on the appropriate entry before class on Tuesday, March 1.


Additionally, bring in a print out with all your evaluations on it.


You will read carefully and formally evaluate 10 (ten) of your peers’ Projects.  You will then write a paragraph review of the entry and provide a grade on a scale of A – F.  Before class on March 1, anonymously post your evaluations onto our wiki, and also hand into me a typed collection of all your evaluations (so I can give you credit for your work).




Each student will review the 10 entries which follow their own on the wiki (looping back to the top when necessary).


 Use the anonymous log-ins listed in the sidebar (and below) to post your comments


End each assessment with a grade (A–F) which you would assign this entry


Hand into me a printout of all your evaluations



Thoughts on Peer evaluating:


You do not need to an expert on art or mythology to evaluate each other’s work.  On the contrary, everyone should write their project with their classmates in mind as an audience.  You should seek clarity without condescension.  When evaluating, clarity should be one of your primary criteria.  Can you follow the student-author’s explanations?  Is the student-author providing information at a level appropriate to this class?  Secondly, evaluators should feel free to consider the perceived effort put forth in preparing the project.  Is it clearly written, and free from basic typographical errors?  Is it interesting and well researched?  Has the author seemed to minimally follow the assignment, matched the assignment appropriately, or perhaps gone above and beyond the expectations of the assignment?  Feel free to mentally compare your peers’ projects with your own.


Also feel free to investigate any suspicious wording.  If you find that one of your peers appears to have plagiarized, let us know.  It’s often a good idea to directly compare a peer’s work with Wikipedia to see if they have taken the easiest way out.