Ancient Religion and Mythology in the Black Sea
This course's subject is the study of those mythological incidents, e.g. the Argonaut expedition, Hercules’ labours, wandering Odysseus, punished Prometheus in the Caucasus, etc., which associate the myths of Greeks with the Black Sea region. The comparative mythology, that is, the systematic comparison of myths from different cultures, seeks to discover underlying themes that are common to the myths of multiple cultures. Myths of the Black Sea region, both from the Greek and the local cultures shall be thoroughly examined in order to define their origin and their possible connection with actual historical events (Colonisation), distorted over many retellings. There will also be an approach to the religious life of the Black Sea population in Hellenistic and Roman times, through the study of Greek and local cults (Dionysus and Orpheus in Thrace, Apollo and Artemis in the Tauris Peninsula, Cybele/Mother of God, Attis and other Eastern deities, Egyptian cults). According to the myth-ritual theory, a myth is closely tied to rituals and it also provides a religious experience. This approach will be based on the study of written sources (inscriptions, literary sources) and archaeological evidence (sanctuaries, shrines, temples, votive offerings, religious articles).
Upon completing the course the students will have gained: