Discover the literature and ancient Greek hero or heroes through the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, the tragedies of Sophocles, the dialogues of Plato, and more.
About this course on Ancient Greek Hero by Harvard
Explore what it means to be human today by studying what it meant to be a hero in ancient Greek times.
In this introduction to ancient Greek culture and literature, learners will experience, in English translation, some of the most beautiful works of ancient Greek literature and song-making spanning over a thousand years from the 8th century BCE through the 3rd century CE: the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey; tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; songs of Sappho and Pindar; dialogues of Plato, and On Heroes by Philostratus. All of the resources are free and designed to be equally accessible and transformative for a wide audience.
You will gain access to a supportive learning community led by Professor Gregory Nagy and his Board of Readers, who model techniques for “reading out” of ancient texts. This approach allows readers with little or even no experience in the subject matter to begin seeing this literature as an exquisite, perfected system of communication.
No previous knowledge of Greek history, literature, or language is required. This is a project for students of any age, culture, and geographic location, and its profoundly humanistic message can be easily received without previous acquaintance with Western Classical literature.
What you will learn from this course on Ancient Greek Hero?
- To read “out of,” rather than “into,” a literary text, which is the art of close reading
- The definition of a “hero” in the Classical Greek sense, contrasted with modern concepts of heroism
- The relationship between epic and lyric in the ancient Greek tradition
- To explore the interaction of text and image in the ancient Greek tradition
- About hero cult and the role of heroes as objects of worship in ancient Greece
- About the connection between myth and ritual in ancient Greece
- The concept of the hero as conveyed in dramatic performance and as activated through Socratic dialogue
Syllabus on Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours:
Hours 0. Introduction
- Understanding Homeric Poetry
- The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (H24H)
Hour 1. Introduction: The Glory of the Unseasonal Hero
Hour 2. Introduction: Achilles as an epic hero and the idea of total recall in song
Hour 3. Introduction: Achilles and the Poetics of Lament
Hour 4. Introduction: Achilles as a lyric hero in the songs of Sappho and Pindar
Hour 5. Introduction: When mortals become ‘equal’ to immortals
Hour 6. Patroklos as the other self of Achilles
Hour 7. Ancient Greek Hero: The sign of the hero in the visual and verbal art
Hour 8. Ancient Greek Hero: The psychology of the hero’s sign in the Homeric Iliad
Hour 9. Introduction: The return of Odysseus in the Homeric Odyssey
Hour 10. Introduction: The mind of Odysseus in the Homeric Odyssey
Hour 11. Introduction: Blessed are the heroes
Hour 12. Introduction: The cult hero as an exponent of justice in Homeric poetry and beyond
Hour 13. A crisis in reading the world of heroes
Hour 14. Ancient Greek Hero: Longing for a hero
Hour 15. Ancient Greek Hero: What the hero ‘means’
Hour 16. Heroic aberration in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus
Hour 17. Looking beyond the cult hero
Hour 18. Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus and the power of the cult hero in death
Hour 19. Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus and heroic pollution
Hour 20. Introduction: contexts of Hippolytus
Hour 21. The hero’s agony in the Bacchae of Euripides
Hour22. The living word I: Socrates in Plato’s Apology of Socrates
Hour 23. The living word II: Socrates in Plato’s Phaedo
Hour 24: Ancient Greek Hero: The Hero as Savior
Afterword: Achieving Telos
- Fundamental truth and the Ancient Greek Hero
- Epilogue: Don’t forget to sacrifice a rooster to Asklepios
Note: Your review matters
If you have already done this course, kindly drop your review in our reviews section. It would help others to get useful information and better insight into the course offered.
- Harvard University
- Online Course
- 3+ Months
- Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
- Greek History History