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Showing Revision 7 created 01/22/2019 by Wyatt284.

  1. Welcome back, now, in this orientation
    module, we're going to do a few more

  2. little videos and exercises, just to get
    started, so we can all feel like we're
  3. figuring out what's going on in this
    class.
  4. This is of course an online class. So
    we'll be doing just about all of our
  5. work here on Canvas, and so there
    are a few things we want to just
  6. get through first of all.
  7. But we wanted to talk a little bit
    about what we're doing in this
  8. class as well.
  9. This is an introduction to
    classical mythology.
  10. And so we probably want to make sure
    we're on the same page of what
  11. classical mythology is.
  12. It after all can mean a few different
    things to different people and so
  13. there are things we can lay out
    definitionally.
  14. Now, in particular, the idea of
    classical mythology tends to land
  15. in the area of Greek and Roman
    antiquity.
  16. So some students come into the class
    thinking that this is a broad eclectic
  17. class that's going to touch on things
    like say Norse mythology, or Hindu
  18. mythology, or various other mythological
    traditions that are of course very
  19. important and exciting, but this really
    squares on Greco-Roman Mythology
  20. of the period of classical antiquity.
  21. Now, just as a helpful visualization, when
    we talk about Greece and Rome,
  22. you might think of say the modern state
    of Greece or Rome, the city, the capitol
  23. city of Italy.
  24. When we use those terms, we're talking
    about much larger cultures that cover
  25. enormous expanses.
  26. Here's a map of the Roman Empire
    at its largest extent.
  27. In 117 A.D. or C.E. that's 117 years
    after the date ascribed to the birth
  28. of Jesus.
  29. And this was the largest extent of
    conquests that the Romans achieved
  30. during that period.
  31. So you can see that the Romans
    pushed the boundaries of empire
  32. all the way to northern Britain,
    where I'm from.
  33. Actually, I'm from southern Britain,
    but that's my accent,
  34. all the way down to the middle east
  35. to Egypt in the south and over
    to what we would say is Morocco
  36. in the west.
  37. So a huge amount of area, and this
    is roughly speaking, the parts of the
  38. world where these cultures have
    their greatest influence and exerted
  39. various kinds of power.
  40. And there are lots of different ways that
    historians and archaeologists and
  41. literary critics have studied these
    cultures.
  42. For example, Lizzie I know that you --
    which - first of all,
  43. which side do you, we usually split
    into two sides, you know, Roman
  44. and Greek or Latin and Greek.
  45. Do you have a particular one or the other?
  46. >> I do, I do, I have a particular
    fondness for Latin, so--
  47. >> Oh hey, me too!
  48. >> Yeah, I tend to study Latin poetry
    in particular.
  49. I'm really interested in how language
    reflects ideas of gender and of sexuality.
  50. So really how language brings the cultural
    context into the forefront
  51. of what people are saying.
  52. >> And we've talked about this before,
    that you have a particular interest in
  53. sort of Roman comedy. In Claudius and
    stuff like that?
  54. >> I do, I do. I'm growing fonder of
    Claudius as I work more on Claudius,
  55. um, I - right now I'm doing research
    on Roman wordplay generally.
  56. So Claudius is involved because
    he has lots of puns and insults
  57. and uh, yeah.
  58. >> Cool. I wonder if there will
    be any puns or wordplay in this class?
  59. Moving on. I've studied, as an
    intellectual historian, I've looked - I've
  60. also looked at language, I've looked at
    the way that philosophies about
  61. language can express various kinds of
    political or ideological commitments,
  62. particularly as Rome was becoming
    a bigger and bigger empire.
  63. But these are really sort of social
    linguistics, or say politics, or um,
  64. you know cultural questions. Uh,
    lots of different kinds of ideas.
  65. We can also study the ancient
    Greek and Romans for their
  66. mythological legacy.
  67. And that's really what we're doing
    in this class.
  68. So we're going to be looking at
    figures, many of which you've
  69. probably already heard of.
  70. You've probably already
    heard of the king of the gods
  71. in Greek and Roman mythology,
    that's Zeus for the Greeks,
  72. or Jupiter for the Romans.
  73. And here is a picture of that figure
    wielding his mighty thunderbolt.
  74. That's one of his iconic weapons
    that we'll often see him depicted with.
  75. You might also have heard of
    one of Jupiter or Zeus's
  76. many hero sons.
  77. The hero Hercules, that's his Latin name.
  78. In fact, he's probably more commonly known
    by his Greek name, Heracles.
  79. And here he is in the Disney movie
    that is actually more than 20 years old.
  80. (laughter) Would you believe?
  81. There are, of course,
    sagas that these heroes belong to,
  82. that they participate in,
  83. and Hercules wasn't at the Trojan War,
    he was slightly before that,
  84. but it was descendants
    or people coming after Hercules
  85. that fought at Troy
    and used the Trojan Horse
  86. to deviously make their way into the city.
  87. This is where fighters like Achilles and
    Odysseus and Agamemnon and Hector
  88. all fought, and we're going to be reading
    more of that as the course progresses.
  89. So you can see that these stories,
    even if you have only a cursory knowledge
  90. of classical antiquity, these are names
    that have filtered their way through
  91. to modernity and are constantly being
    reevaluated, reconsidered,
  92. criticized, reused.
  93. A couple years ago, the movie Wonder Woman
    was a big hit in summer blockbusters,
  94. and Wonder Woman is an Amazon, who is--
  95. they're a tribe of women
    in classical mythology.
  96. I don't want to give out any spoilers,
    but Diana's main rival
  97. in the Wonder Woman comics is
    the god Ares, who is the Greek god of war.
  98. Now, once we start to look
    more and more at this,
  99. the idea of classical mythology
    starts to become a lot more clear.
  100. We could just call this class
  101. "Introduction to Ancient Greek
    and Roman Mythology,"
  102. but for a long time,
    it's been called "classical" mythology.
  103. And that might have something to do
    with the fact that
  104. the idea of "classical" connotes
    something that's exemplary,
  105. that is given a high
    kind of cultural value,
  106. and that is considered enduring in a way
    that these stories still have
  107. a kind of resonance,
    even 2,000 years after their retelling.
  108. Is that what you think of when you
    think of the idea of "classical?"
  109. >> Yeah, I mean, I do, I think there's
    definitely the element of classics as
  110. very foundational, but I think there's
    also a problematic element to classics
  111. in that calling something "foundational"
    or "ideal" and idealizing the past
  112. really contributes to kind of othering
    the other cultures
  113. that we're overlooking to look at these.
  114. >> Absolutely. And that's, I think,
    something that we're going to look at
  115. over the next couple of weeks,
    that-- in fact, the original use
  116. of "classic," the word "classic"
    or "classicus" in Latin
  117. to denote something
    of being high value
  118. was precisely in opposition to
    the word "proletarian".
  119. There was a sort of guy,
    and we'll look at this later,
  120. called Aulus Gellius
    who was saying,
  121. well you know the good authors,
    the classical authors because
  122. they used language in this way,
    but the proletarian authors
  123. use them this way.
  124. And he was saying that-- making
    that distinction as a matter
  125. not merely of aesthetic judgement,
    but also sort of social judgement.
  126. And sure enough, throughout history
    people have used the idea of
  127. a classical precisely as you say,
    to create in and out groups,
  128. to say that some people belong
    and some people don't,
  129. and also to draw lines of inheritance
    from antiquity to the present
  130. that may not be justified when
    we look at the historical record.
  131. So there's a lot that we
    can dig into there,
  132. and we want to be able to use
    this idea of classical not simply to
  133. investigate cultures that are
    long removed from us,
  134. but cultures that are still--
    that still have stakes today.
  135. And we want to join in that discussion
    with you throughout the semester
  136. and find out where classical mythology
    might show up in your lives.
  137. So we'll be doing that in videos here,
    you're going to be seeing a lot of me
  138. in videos that we've recorded
    before this semester.
  139. As you're watching this video,
    I'll just say right now,
  140. occasionally you will see a question
    show up, and that's one way that we can
  141. see how you're getting on in the class.
  142. We call those instapolls, and an example
    of that is showing up right now.
  143. So that's not worth any credit, we want
    to make sure that everything's working.
  144. For now we've got a few more things
    we want you to take a look at,
  145. and we'll come back and talk some
    more about classical mythology.