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CLAS238 Fantasies, Phobias and Families in Graeco-Roman Myth

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

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 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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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
  • 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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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 15:00-15:50 9-13, 19-22
Wednesday 15:00-15:50 9-12, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Thursday 11:00-11:50 11, 18, 20, 22
T2 Thursday 14:00-14:50 11, 18, 20, 22
T3 Thursday 16:00-16:50 11, 18, 20, 22