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Ancient Greek Culture
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Ancient Sumerian, Babylonian, and Hebraic Law Codes
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Roman Gods, Roman Society, and Christianity
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Module 2: Other voices: LGBGTQ, Gender non-conforming, and indigenous peoples
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M2 Discussion 1: How the Greek Gods Reflect their Society
Discussion Topic
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Here is a brief descriiption of some aspects of the society of the Greek Gods and Goddesses. Perhaps you recall some Greek myths as well to help you remember how the Greek gods interacted with each other:
Artemis was the huntress possessing her quiver and bow. She was goddess of the moon and chastity. She was a staunch defender of her virginity and those who threatened it met with a fatal end. This happened to Actaeon, who seeing her bathing was transformed by Artemis into a stag and the hounds were loosed on him whereupon he was torn to pieces. Orion the hunter, who made the mistake of trying to remove her robe, was killed on the spot. She was equally committed as well to defending her worshippers and priestesses from assault and rape. Artemis was merciless in defending their innocence.

Zeus was the supreme god of the pantheon, the sky thunder god whose name means “bright.” Often seen wearing a crown of oak leaves and bearing a giant shield. The youngest son of Cronus and Rhea, he escaped the threat of being eaten by his father like his siblings as Cronus when he discovered one of his children would overthrow him. Saved by his mother where he was hidden in a cave, Zeus was raised by nymphs. A fierce foe to those who opposed him, he could be prideful and irritable. When Prometheus stole fire from the gods and bestowed it to mortals, Zeus chained him to a rock and tormented him endlessly in order to make him reveal the name of the woman who would bear a mortal who would be greater than his father. The woman Thetis was revealed to Zeus to be the mother of this child. She was given to Peleus and from their union came the hero Achilles.

Athena was the goddess of both wisdom and war, known for her beauty, grace and air of authority. She was always dressed ready for battle with spear and shield. Accompanying her is an owl the sign of wisdom. Born under miraculous circumstances, she had an adventurous life. In a dispute with Poseidon over who was the patron of the city of Athens. She won the contest with the wise act of planting an olive tree that would bestow the gifts of wood, olive oil and fruit to the citizens of Athens. When Creops the king saw what she had done, he deemed this the better gift for the people in the long run.

Hermes was the messenger, herald and trickster god who invented speech and had the sole privilege of being able to travel between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead. In this role he bore the souls of the dead in Hades. Of his many exploits he was known to have killed a tortoise, then stretched seven strings of sheep gut over the shell to honor the Pleiades. He appeased his brother Apollo with the melodious music from the instrument after stealing Apollo’s cattle, bringing reconciliation between the two siblings.

Aphrodite was the goddess of love, sexual pleasure and fertility. She had sexual encounters and romances with a large number of the gods of Olympus except Zeus and Hades as well as with the mortals Anchises and Adonis.
Select one of the above gods of goddesses, relate the story of their myth, and compare it to a contemporary myth, story, hero or heroine from our cultural storehouse. Is there strong resemblance or divergence from the Greek myth? What does this particular story tell you about Greek society as compared to (some facet of) our own?
Please Note: Each discussion response must have a minimum of 125 words, spell checked, well written and citing references in support of arguments. Be sure to also respond to at least two classmates later in the week (making for a minimum of three posts total. More are encouraged)
M2 Discussion 2: You are there!
Discussion Topic
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With your current identity, which of these three cultures, Greek, Sumerian or Roman societies would you want to live in? Give three substantive supports for your answer, taken from these or other references.
Please Note: Each discussion response must have a minimum of 125 words, spell checked, well written and citing references in support of arguments. Be sure to also respond to at least two classmates later in the week (making for a minimum of three posts total. More are encouraged)
M2 Written Assignment: Aristotle’s Literary Legacy
Assignment
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As you learned in the section about Greek plays, we owe a remarkable debt to the Greeks for their legacy in theater. Aristotle captured some of these concepts in his works on the structure of plays in the Poetica. His legacy is still the foundation of literature that students learn in the ninth grade about stories: plot, character; theme, and beyond.
What does this tell us about the long legacy of Greek thought from ancient times to the present?
The concepts of Aristotle about stories, as outlined in his Poetica, are still the foundation of literary analysis. The Presspage website article, Lessons from Ancient Greece – Aristotle on Storytelling, describes how a good news reporter makes use of Aristotle’s concepts if he wants his reader to be engaged in what s/he writes. The basic concepts of plot, character, scene, and tone that we learned in the 9th grade are all straight from Aristotle.
View the following 7-minute YouTube to see how even modern stories like that of Star Wars make effective use of Aristotle’s concepts (a narrative transcriipt is available).
The Tragic Hero from Aristotle’s Poetics – The Fall of Anakin Skywalker (6:28)
For this assignment, think about how identity, including attributes such as gender, race, class and culture might play a role in a story’s plot, character development, and theme.
Then, make up a short story using one or more identity elements as a key part of the plot, character and theme. You can base your story on one that is well-known if you like.
Offer a paragraph or two about how the concepts of Aristotle contribute to your being able to create your story.
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