Ancient History Sourcebook
a valuable resource on topics concerning the ancient world. See especially
and the page on studying
history, which offers advice on using both primary sources and secondary
works. Other topic sourcebooks that pertain to this class:
Indian History Sourcebook
East Asian History Sourcebook
my research resources
for information on evaluating sources and tips on research techniques.
Don't forget to consult the nice folks in the Kelley
Library for help, either.
F. Max Muller,
to the Science of Mythology (e-text; London: Longmans, Greene, 1897)
is one of the seminal works in the study of myth.
History of Mythology by Scott A. Leonard (Youngstown University) outlines
the development of the ways in which myths have been studied over time.
His essay, "What
is Myth?" (from the same course) is also helpful, and offers
a somewhat different perspective from mine.
Myths and Legends in Art from the Minneapolis Institute of Art includes
a page on "What Is Myth?" and sections on different mythic traditions
around the world as they're reflected in artworks.
and Legend from Ancient Times to the Space Age. Nice introductory
page and links to topics in myth and folklore.
to the Universe: Mythology: myths about many aspects of human experience;
for kids (primarily) but with good information.
in Western Art lists links to resources on images of particular gods
Links is website composed primarily of annotated links to various
aspects of myth. It's a bit new agey, but that may appeal to some of my
students. The author is not a web designer, so the site can be awkward
to use; the table of contents is way toward the bottom of the home page.
Note: many of the following websites have
been around for several years without being consistently updated. If any
of them are so full of dead links as to be annoying or less useful than
you'd like, please let me know and I'll delete them from the list.
Farrell's Myth notes Joe Farrell teaches a course on mythology at
Penn, and these lecture notes offer a perspective similar to mine.
A. Johnson (Bucknell University), has constructed a very useful website
for his course (it goes back to 1998) Classical
Mythology. His lecture notes and links are particularly helpful. Another
well-documented site maintained by Laurel Bowman at the University of
Victoria can be found at Classical
Myth: The Ancient Sources, which includes links to images and texts,
arranged by mythic character. Yet another solid source is the Greek
Mythology Link, which offers biographies of mythical figures, images,
and other information. It's supported by ads that can be off-putting,
but the information is there.
Myth, & Legend This site from the University of Calgary in Canada
provides good sources for fairy tales and stories; there are lots
of links here.
Perseus Digital Library provides a searchable database of images
and texts from ancient Greece and Rome and related areas. Although it's
a little tough to negotiate if you're not familiar with classical studies,
the information you can gather is well worth the effort. Primary sources
for most Greek and Roman myths can be found through Perseus.
Mythology Resources This is a links list generated by Joseph
Farrell who teaches a course on mythology at the University of Pennsylvania.
The links are mostly Classical Greek and Roman, but some other sources
are listed at the end.
and Legends Links are divided by country or culture; this University
of New Hampshire site also includes a general information category on
myths, and a number of other reference lists.
effort from Penn, for a course which concentrates on the Greeks and later
understandings of Greek myth: Prof. Peter
Struck's Mythology course page. I found about him from a review in
the Penn Gazette (the alumni magazine).
Mary Magoulick teaches at Georgia College and State University, and her page, What Is Myth, is extremely helpful. See especially her descriptions of Structuralism and Functionalism for a clear view of these two scholarly frameworks for understanding how myth works.
Mythology--The Age of Fable: one of the most beloved compilations
of numerous stories.
interesting page for an online course on Mythology
and Folklore from the University of Oklahoma. I found it while looking
for Gilgamesh images, but it includes quite a bit more, and the approach
Heroes, & Cycles
we'll be exploring the concept of archetypes, particularly as they influence
the work of modern film makers such as George Lucas and writers
R. R. Tolkien. This clever page (or pages, a subset of moongadget.com)
explores the origins
of Star Wars, including its debt to The Lord of the Rings.
helpful article about Carl
Jung by Dr. George Boeree, a retired professor of personality theory
and the history of psychology (this is also linked on the schedule).
pages on Carl
Jung and Jungian
Archetypes are both quite useful, especially their bibliographies.
tales appear in many cultures and in many guises: Odysseus and Hermes
among the Greeks, Loki in Scandinavia, Raven and Coyote among Native Americans,
and Anansi (who originated in West Africa and came to the United States--where
we know him as Brer Rabbit--via the Caribbean) all provide rich sources
for stories and new interpretations.
and other discuss the Trickter on this episode of To
the Best of our Knowledge (Wisconsin Public Radio; originally broadcast
September 12, 2010). Hyde's Trickster
Makes This World is the best book I've ever read on any topic related
I just found
this terrific page from Mexico (in Spanish) on Homer:
tons of information and background on the stories and the texts. The approach
is historical, using archaeological and textual evidence to shed light
on the stories. It's not finished, but if it ever is it'll be really helpful.
The Archetypal Hero in Literature, Religion, and Popular Culture
This is a graduate project on the hero archetype, which is not only
well-designed (lots of photos), but it makes connections that will be
especially interesting to folks interested in popular, contemporary heroes,
such as Simba in The Lion King and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
The Designer is Bryan Davis at Stephen F. Austin University. One of the
links from this page is to a site at Berkeley which features a nice visual
representation of the Hero Journey.
Hero's Journey Designed for teachers to use in classrooms, this interactive too provides a simple outline of the hero journey (click on the images around the central figure, beginning at the top).
What Makes a Her0? This is a TED-ed talk designed for kids by Matthew Winkler, but it's short and useful.
Mythopoeic Society has information on Tolkien and his group of friends,
the Inklings, and links to abundant myth sources.
of William Morris's The
Roots of the Mountains, one of the books that inspired Tolkien's Middle
Earth stories. Morris essentially invented the fantasy novel, and relied
heavily on his knowledge of Scandinavian myths. This is also available,
along with Morris's other fantasy novels, at the Morris
to the sources linked on the Schedule for Tolkien, Tolkien:
Archetype and Word by Patrick Grant offers a lucid analysis of The
Lord of the Rings in Jungian terms. A series of three illustrated
lectures on Tolkien's work (as well as an interview focusing on Tolkien
and Jung) is available through the Gnostic Society's pages.
substitute ancient mythic cycles in this class, and one of my favorites
to debunk is the "legend" of Atlantis. Here are some reputable
sources if you want to pursue this topic beyond what we consider in class.
History: Echoes of Plato's Atlantis
No Way, No How, No Where by Kevin Christopher for CSICOP is a solid
debunking of the efforts to claim validity for Plato's story. This guy
is even more skeptical than I am; he thinks Plato made the whole thing
up, while I think he may have used bits of history to add verisimilitude
to his story.
Timaeus and Critias:
the dialogues that inspired all the legends and misinterpretations that
followed, especially in the nineteenth century.
Santorini Archaeological Sites: a portal to information and images of the Minoan sites on Thira/Santorini
(Thera): Wikipedia's article.
the links to Theseus and his background.
Leaner's new program, Invitation
to World Literature, includes a wonderful segment on Gilgamesh.
Ancient History Sourcebook: MesopotamiaElectronic
Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature ( Oxford University): Gilgamesh
transcription of the tablets (in Cuneiform)
Project Gutenberg eBook, An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh
Epic, by Anonymous, Edited by Morris Jastrow, Translated by Albert
Study Guide--another of Prof. Thompson's excellent course pages.
finding of Gilgamesh's tomb
like to see where the historical Gilgamesh fits into the scheme of Mesopotamian
history, see this Mesopotamian
King List 2700-330 BCE, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. For even more information and superb images, search the timeline (use terms like Mesopotamia, Sumer, Gilgamesh).
interested in information on the role of women in Mesopotamia, see this
from the Women in World History curriculum.
Mythology FAQ--lots of background. See also the Assyro-Babylonian
Mitchell's new translation
of Gilgamesh, with an extensive introduction, is available at local
bookstores or through online sellers like Amazon.
Kingsley's (1819-1875) version of the story, How
Theseus Slew the Minotaur
Man's" Theseus page This guy is hilarious; he's apparently
a Greek restaurateur with a weird sense of design and a lot of time
on his hands. His "Homework Help Center" has links and info
on all kinds of Greek gods, heroes, and history. You'll have to locate
the "Homework Help" page, then look for the Greek Heroes section
and finally Theseus, but it'll be worth the trouble.
of the Quest, Part III, Chapter III by Padraic Colum (1881–1972): Theseus
and the Minotaur Colum was a pretty good storyteller, and this is
his version of the myth. Parts I through VI are the sections that tell
of Theseus's life from birth through the events on Crete.
King Must Die, covers the same territory, but it's a terrific read
and rather more modern, even though it was written in the '50s. You
can probably pick up a copy at Half Price Books for a couple of bucks.
Note: we now have a copy of this book in the Kelley Library--great
read. Also, there's a sequel (The Bull from the Sea) that tells what
happens after Theseus leaves Ariadne and Crete behind.
and archaeological background
Ancient History Sourcebook: Crete
to the Theseus story (Daedalus built the Labyrinth):
into Reality: The Metamorphosis of Daedalus and Icarus
by Marjorie Hoefmans. The quoted text is in Latin, but even if you don't
feel like going out and learning it, there's some good information in
here. (As of the last update, this site may no longer be available;
until I know whether or not it's gone for good, I'll leave the link.)
background, see this Lecture
on Ovid's Metamorphoses, by Ian Johnson. There's also a good bibliography
at the end. The essay is long, but reads quickly and you'd be amazed
at how much you can learn about ancient Roman life and how Ovid fits
into the picture.
Humphries' translation from Metamorphoses
translation comes from the Perseus
Project, edited by Brookes More. Perseus is a hugely popular and
useful (and authoratative) site, so it may load slowly.
and Daedalus page (include Thomas Bulfinch's version of the text
and lots of images)
Fall of Icarus and Re-imagining Technology" (a rather long
but interesting essay on the metaphorical and philosophical value of
and resources for other mythic traditions
(for primary texts and commentary, see the Texts and Readings page)
Camelot Project is a comprehensive site on Arthur and related material.
is an online scholarly journal devoted to Arthur studies. The "Teaching"
page has links to educational sources.
lore: links to pages about the grail and grail quests.
Mythical Quest: In Search of Adventure, Romance, and Enlightenment: from the British Library's collection of manuscripts of Mallory's works. These are least for reading than for viewing--unless you've got some Latin, Medieval French, etc. in your linguistic backpack. The illuminations are frequently lovely and inspiring.
Sword and the Grail: Restoring the Forgotten Archetype in Arthurian
Myth, by John Adcox (2004). An interesting article by a writer (as
he says, an enthusiast, not a scholar) that discusses some of the issues
we're dealing with.
The Mabinogion, translated by Lady Charlotte Guest (Project Gutenberg). This is a bit stilted, but a standard retelling of this cylce of Wesh stories related to Arthuriana. For background on the stories, see "What is the Mabinogion" from Celtic Studies Resources.
and Cultural Identity
Ancient World Cultures: India
of Indian Traditions (Prof. Frances Pritchett, Columbia University)
and History of Ancient India from the Gateway
to India page.
Because, as with Christianity and other world religions, the myths and figures of Hindu tradition are inextricable from the belief system, see this page on The Heart of Hinduism for background on the faith.
Mythica's page on Norse
Mythology can lead you to further resources; click on "available
articles" for a list on characters you can look up. The "principle
gods" link provides a genealogical chart.
A. Mackenzie's classic (1912) treatise, Teutonic
Myth and Legend: An Introduction to the Eddas & Sagas, Beowulf,
The Nibelungenlied, etc. (from Sacred
Myths, Legends, and Sagas includes sources for most Scandinavian
a Wikipedia page that maps the
influence of Norse myths (and others) on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
The documentation is pretty solid, and there are links in the footnotes
to some of the scholarly sources.
from the Prose
Morris's translation of the Volsung
Saga from the Morris
Online Edition (the second link is to his other translations).
of Chinese Religion, from Donald S. Lopez, Jr , Religions of
China in Practice, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).
A long article that covers the major Chinese religions.
of The Emperor and the Assassin that discusses its historical accuracy.
of Hero that discusses Zhang Yimou's take on the same story.
First Emperor of Qin: Between Legend, Science, and Nationalism (PDF)
by Brian Miller. This is a thorough essay with a good analysis of the
relationships between history and legend as they apply to early dynastic
Myths and Legends from China, on a Chinese cultural page.
to Read and Tell: China links to several stories--including a variant
on the Cinderella theme, and one contemporary with the Qin dynasty ("The
Journey of Meng"). The page is a littel goofy, but the stories are reasonably told.
For background and geographical information on ancient China, see the British Museum exhibits.
Desert is a site devoted to rock art, that uses a variety of visual
media (paintings, photography, historical images) to illustrate the
relationship between cosmology and imagery among native peoples of the
Park Service Museum Collections: Chaco Culture National Historical
Park features wonderful old photos and solid information on the park,
including a useful
chronology in .pdf.
See also the developing resources for my Humanities pages on Aztlan (ancient Americas; under construction as of January 2015).
course page on the Maya has some good sources linked, fairly recently
to look at: The
Most Pleasant and Delectable Tale of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche.
From Books IV to VI of The Golden Ass, by Lucius Apuleius [2nd
Cent. A.D.], trans. by William Adlington . This old but amusing
translation is from a Chaucer page, because of its relationship to "The
Clerk's Tale" in Canterbury Tales; Comparing
Tam Lin to Cupid and Psyche ("Tam
Lin" is an English ballad--my favorite version is by the group,
Fairport Convention): this site offers further information on all three
stories at the end of the article. Don't forget (if you did indeed already
know) that Mononoke
Hime--Princess Mononoke--was originally (pre-Miyazaki) one of many
Japanese Beauty/Beast stories (along with the Crane
Wife and others; here you can preview a beautiful edition of The
Crane Wife, retold by Odds Bodkin and illustrated by Gennady Spirin).
Annotated Beauty and the Beast contains some useful information
on symbols and motifs.
of the Creation of the World from a variety of sources.
As always, more to come . . .