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CLAS238 Fantasies, Phobias and Families in Graeco-Roman Myth

Examines mythic figures from a psychological perspective and their role as models for positive and negative social relationships.

Graeco-Roman myth is full of sinister themes, tragic choices and reprehensible actions. Oedipus killed his father and married his mother; Atreus fed his own sons to Thyestes; and Romulus slew his brother Remus to found Rome. This paper explores the darker side of Graeco-Roman myth through some of the great literary works written by Virgil, Ovid and Seneca.

Paper title Fantasies, Phobias and Families in Graeco-Roman Myth
Paper code CLAS238
Subject Classical Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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(18 CLAS, GREK or LATN points) or 54 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff
Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Dr Sean McConnell
Paper Structure
The paper covers the following mythological topics and figures from a psychological approach:
  • Cosmogonies
  • Foundation myths
  • Paradise
  • Prometheus
  • Oedipus
  • Electra
  • Phaedra
  • Heracles
  • Plato's Myth of Atlantis
  • Thyestes
Internal Assessment 50%
Teaching Arrangements
24 lectures, 6 tutorials.

Virgil, Aeneid (trans. C. Day Lewis). Oxford World's Classics, 1998.

Ovid, Metamorphoses (trans. David Raeburn). Penguin, 2004.

Seneca, Six Tragedies (trans. Emily Wilson). Oxford World's Classics, 2010.

Course Reader.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • A knowledge and understanding of selected mythic narratives
  • An understanding of gender dynamics as represented in myth
  • An understanding of the construction of gender stereotyping
  • An understanding of family dynamics as represented in myth
  • A knowledge and understanding of the psychological and social function of mythic narratives

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 15:00-15:50 9-14, 16-22
Wednesday 15:00-15:50 9-14, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A2 Thursday 14:00-14:50 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22
A3 Thursday 16:00-16:50 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22
A4 Thursday 09:00-09:50 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22