The Odyssey, trans. Lattimore

Also, they will be revising initial writing and understanding of what is being read; While teaching this curriculum unit, teachers can use the background information for themselves or to present to students.

Theogony, Works and Days, and Elegies

Then, we will look at the epic of  and its impact historically and literarily.

LAY: An alternative spelling of --see above.

Indeed, it can be argued that the Modern Myths are far more important than classical Myths such as Odysseus and the Grail Legends because their impact on modern people and the familiarity that most people have with them is far greater than with the Myths of old. In the minds and imagination of a lot of everyday folk today, and especially in the younger generations, Modern Myths like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and Dune; have a level of influence, relevance and meaning that perhaps in previous ages Myths like Odysseus and the Grail Legends would have had for their respective cultures. So generally speaking, the power of Myth in modern times really derives from the Modern Myths such as those mentioned. But what is the power of Myth? What is their influence on modern society and might be their effect on the greater scheme of things?



The power of Myth is multi-faceted and exists in various aspects some subtle and some quite direct. On a simple and direct level Myths entertain and excite, i.e. they serve as stimulating stories and gripping yarns. On a slightly higher level Myths can inspire. They can instill in people a sense of idealism, selflessness and even heroism. Especially in children and young people, Mythic Heroes can serve as role models or exemplars. It is probably not an uncommon phenomenon whereby impressionable young people have imagined themselves as Mythic Heroes after exposure to Myths and in particular Modern Myths. It has probably been fairly common for certain people to have identified with some of the characters of Modern Myth, perhaps Luke Skywalker of Star Wars, one of the Heroes from the Lord of the Rings or perhaps Neo from the Matrix. But then this has always been the effect of Mythology. People have always been inspired powerfully by Mythology for better or worse. To give two examples of famous historical figures who were driven by the Mythic imagination, for instance we know that Alexander the Great was heavily influenced by the Illiad/Odysseus myth. The infamous and perhaps not so great Adolf Hitler was much inspired by the Grail Legends and the story of Parsifal.

Does Gilgamesh neatly fit into the definitions we had?

At the same time this process of borrowing and re-telling is not something peculiar to modern myths but is also part of the process by which many of the ancient Myths were synthesized. For instance we have already mentioned how Homer the writer of the Illiad and Odyssey was influenced by some of the Myths which were known to him such as Gilgamesh. And the Grail Legends were constantly re-worked and re-retold such that there exist many versions of it to be found all over Europe, with some quite different storylines and inclusion of a variety of different Mythic motifs and themes. In this way Modern Myths shouldn’t be seen as being somehow less because they have borrowed ideas from the ancient Myths, because this has always been part of the process by which Myths have come into being. So in a very real sense people like George Lucas, J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert are like the modern day Homers of this world and present age.

Learning about the epic cycle and the epic hero is where the curriculum unit will begin.
All of these elements become viable topics for discussion and analysis.

The poems are often generated by times of struggle and adventure.

By making Enkidu Gilgamesh's friend, the composer has turned the Epic into a tale of growth--of discovery of human suffering, limitation, death, and, finally, human meaning.

I hope to find many areas that my students can relate to and connect to themselves and the world.

In the invocation, the subject and the epic question are introduced.

This diagram shows the basic outline of the Myth Cycle and which was a concept formulated by the great scholar of World Mythology, Joseph Campbell. It was first introduced in his influential work ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces'. It represents the various stages of the Mythic processes described by Campbell's idea of the Mono-Myth, which captures the recurring and essential underlying storyline that is common to many of the Worlds Hero Quest Myths.

This unit is designed to utilize as much of the 82 minute block class as possible.

Essentially, the poem begins in the middle or during the action.

Whether after the the same man went on to write is a matter of additional conjecture. Some scholars point to differences in the epics regarding attitudes towards the gods and to differences of style to argue for distinct authors. seems to them more likely to be the work of a slightly later poet who put the Ulysses stories together with knowledge of the as written by Homer.