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A status update

To all who use my course notes.


This is one of the charities that I support. The group has raised 50% of their target. They have a lovely book that you can download for free. Will you help them along the way to providing safe water for the world’s inhabitants?

“No donation is too small, no thought insignificant.”

Of Words and Water

It’s been almost four months since Of Words and Water was published. Let’s take a look at one of the important numbers connected with this publication. No, not downloads, even though they are very interesting to follow. No, what I’m talking about are the donations for WaterAid – the reason why we put together this anthology in the first place. Well, one of the main reasons anyway (another being our love for words).
After almost four months we’ve actually managed to raise half of our target of £500 with a total of 22 donations.

justgive22
To all of you who have donated to the cause and downloaded the anthology we would like to say a huge thank you! Thank you for backing us up, for reading our words, and helping to improve access to clean water in some of the world’s poorest communities by donating to our cause – all the…

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Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Ovid Background and Themes

Ovid with laurel wreath (credit : Wikimedia)

The reading for this module was from Ovid (43 to 17 CE). Again these are my notes from the lectures by Peter Struck of Penn University.

Due to time constraints we read very little of this book. Ovid, Metamorphoses, books 3, 12, and 13. Although we only covered three books each book contains several individual stories or chapters. Book three has six stories with a seventh embedded into the sixth. Book twelve has stories about the Trojan War. Book thirteen is the longest book in Metamorphoses  and has a wide variety of stories in many genres.

From Virgil’s stately, grand long form poetry we move to the poetry of Ovid, which is more playful, intimate and prone to digression.  It is episodic in nature. Ovid can’t quite keep his focus on any specific thing, he likes to move from one piece of the story to a totally different story then back to the story he was telling. (more…)

Golden Bough from Roman mythology ‘found in Italy’

Italian archaeologists claim to have found a stone enclosure which once protected the legendary “Golden Bough”.

Virgil and the underworld.

Aeneas in the Underworld (credit ; museumwales.ac.uk)

Last week we reached book five of Virgil’s Aeneid. This week we cover Book six and explore the underworld. We also start reading ‘Ovid’. This is the last week of lectures on the coursera course from The University of Pennsylvania.

I have separated the lectures on the Aeneid and Ovid. These are my course notes as usual. The options are rational are those of Peter Struck, the most excellent lecturer.

In Book VI, we see one of the most well-known parts of Virgil’s Aeneid, the trip to the underworld. We saw a similar scene in the Odyssey before but Virgil’s is quite different. (more…)

Vergil’s Aeneid – The Roman Hero Remade

Aeneid (Credit: pgapworld.wikispaces.com)

Time constraints of the coursera course means that we only have time to read the first five books of Virgil’s Aeneid. As we did with the Odyssey we started with a close look at the opening eleven lines of Virgil’s Aeneid which gives the full panoply of what’s about to happen. (more…)

Myth, History and Virgil

In my Greek and Roman Mythology course with Peter Struck we started to read Virgil. In doing so we moved 500 years forward from Euripides’ and from classical Athens to classical Rome.  Virgil is also more recent that Herodotus who I studied in my Ancient Greek Hero course.

Herodotus was an historian, Euripides a playwright and Virgil like Homer a poet. With Peter Struck we explored the boundaries between Myth and History.   (more…)

Eurpides’ Bacchae.

Euripides (Credit : crystalinks.com)

The next play that Peter Struck spoke about is Euripides’ Bacchae. 

In this story the identity of gods and mortals is under scrutiny. Dionysus, the god of wine and of tragedy, and also madness, appears as a character on stage. Through the dissolution of Pentheus, we see the terrible consequences that can occur when a god’s divinity is not properly acknowledged.

In the story of Oedipus we saw the disillusion of identity in the Bacchae  we to see another identity dissolve before our eyes. It happens in a slightly different way and is completely tied up with Dionysus. (more…)