The Great Courses: Classical Mythology

Classical Mythology (The Great Courses) - Elizabeth Vandiver

The Great Courses is a series of audio classes with 24 half hour lectures taught by an expert in the field. I previously listened to a Critical Thinking one and picked up this one when it was on sale on Audible.


I know a fair amount of Greek Mythology, primarily from personal study over the years. I also took Latin in high school and have translated parts of Ovid's Metamorphoses and Virgil's Aeneid. 


But even with all my background I feel I learned a lot, not just the stories but how so many of them are connected and how they were connected to everyday Greek life. 


One part I found interesting is when talking of Heracles (Known to the Romans and most of today's society as Hercules), she mentioned the Disney movie and said it didn't make sense that since in the movie Hera and Zeus were his parents, why wasn't he a full god in Mount Olympus. While I can go on for days of how many ways the Disney movie stomped on the myth, why he is not in Mount Olympus with the gods as a full god is explained in the first 10 minutes, right after the first song. Actually, it's part of the first song. 


I do love the music from that movie, "I Won't Say I'm in Love" takes the top spot. But yeah, it barely relates to the myth. I'd be interested to see what she says if she actually saw the full movie. I did a bit of searching to see if she ever spoke on the Percy Jackson series for which the books actually do a great job of portray Greek myths but didn't find anything.


Fun fact about Heracles I didn't know. His name basically means "Glory for Hera". In case you aren't familiar with the myth, Hera hates Heracles. As the Goddess of Marriage, she dislikes it when Zeus steps out on her in general, but especially when it comes to humans. But the reason Heracles is such a well-known hero is because of all the trials she put him through from his birth to his death and as a result she is responsible for his greatness.


Listening to this series made me realize I do need to actually sit down and read The Iliad, The Aeneid, and Metamorphoses. I read The Odyssey in high school. But I want to learn more about the different myths.