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Ancient Greece & Mythology


Ancient Greece & Mythology



WHAT IS TRAGEDY

Specifically designed to raise grades and performance, this Teaching System module correlates directly to state standards and was designed by teaching professionals recognized for their expertise and mastery of the subject material.

Topics Covered
  • Defining tragedy
  • Oedipus Rex
  • Medieval tragedy
  • Shakespeare and tragedy

    Item no.: MK02190768
    Format: DVD (With CD-ROM)
    Audience: Grade 7 or above
    Duration: 26 minutes
    Copyright: 2008
    StdBkNo.: 1594430888
    Price: USD 80.00

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    WHO'S WHO IN GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY?

    Learn about the gods, heroes, and weird creatures that provided Greek and Roman mythology with a bizarre but interesting cast of characters. Hear about their rather complicated interactions and understand why myths were important to ancient people.

    Learning Objectives:
    1) Students will learn why Greek and Roman mythologies are closely related.
    2) Students will learn about the most important characters of mythology and they'll hear about some of their deeds.
    3) Students will see how a belief in gods and goddesses helped ancient people to explain natural phenomena.

    Award
  • The Communicator Awards "Award of Distinction"

    Item no.: VC04240388
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Grades 6-12
    Duration: 34 minutes
    Copyright: 2006
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 80.00

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    HISTORY OF GREEK CIVILIZATION

    Journey through the history of Greece and examine its legacies to the governments, literature, and languages of the western world.

    Learning Objectives
    1) Students will explore, in chronological order, the most influential and pivotal periods of ancient Greece.
    2) Students will gain a working knowledge of the cultural and social elements of ancient Greece.
    3) Students will understand that Greece has greatly influenced the culture of the western world.


    Item no.: GU00101428
    Format: DVD
    Audience:
    Duration: 62 minutes
    Copyright: 2005
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 60.00

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    ADVENTURES OF ULYSSES

    Follow Ulysses, the craftiest of Homer's heroes, as he invents the Trojan horse, struggles to return home, and triumphs over his wife's suitors.

    Learning Objectives:
    1) Students will be given an introduction to the classic literary works of ancient Greece.
    2) An overview of the adventures and exploits of one of literature's greatest heroes will be provided


    Item no.: AR04240364
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Grades 6-12
    Duration: 59 minutes
    Copyright: 2004
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 48.00

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    CLASSICAL GREEK PHILOSOPHY

    What is "the good," and why is it that one can never step into the same river twice? This program featuring Princeton University's Alexander Nehamas and Richard Sorabji, honorary fellow at Wolfson College, the University of Oxford, addresses core topics in ancient philosophy such as freedom and fate, permanence and change, happiness, the nature of the cosmos, and the immortality of the soul. Concepts as articulated by key figures including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and the Milesian and Eleatic philosophers -in combination with quotations drawn from Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Physics, and other influential sources - make this program an excellent tool for building a solid understanding of Western philosophy.

    Review
  • "I hope that all public library media collections of any size will buy this film - and the others in the series. Since they are BY FAR the best educational films I have ever seen on serious philosophy íK they should be shown wherever possible, including in public library philosophy and film series, to high school and college students, and to adult students who still are asking questions." - Counterpoise Magazine

    Item no.: TG00270070
    Format: DVD
    Audience:
    Duration: 51 minutes
    Copyright: 2004
    StdBkNo.: 9781421314952
    Price: USD 170.00

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    GREEK THEATRE

    The Greek play was an essential element of the ancient Mediterranean culture, and it eventually evolved into modern theatre. Explore the origins of Greek theatre and learn how the staging of a play changed over the course of time.

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
    1) Students will learn that ancient Greek plays were designed to provide a religious experience to the masses.
    2) Students will learn how ancient Greek playwrights competed against one another for awards.
    3) Students will learn about the purpose of the 'Greek chorus.
    4) Students will learn about the physical structure of the Greek theatre.


    Item no.: GN04300373
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Grades 6-12
    Duration: 19 minutes
    Copyright: 2004
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 80.00

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    ORIGIN OF THE DRAMA AND THE THEATRE

    Vulgar jests became comedies, hymns became powerful tragedies, and magnificent theatres were built, as Greek drama emerged from ancient religious festivals.

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
    1) To provide background information concerning the development of drama in Classical Greece, and especially to explain the different ceremonial sources for comedy and tragedy.
    2) To introduce the student to the great playwrights of Greece and to the innovations for which they are known, while investigating the subject matter of Greek drama and its significance for the spect.
    3) To explain the origins of the Classical Greek theatre and to demonstrate the importance of theaters to Greek civilization, regardless of where Greek settlers were living.
    4) To explain acting techniques and costume requirements of early Greek theatre, to detail the design modifications in the Greek theatre, and to discuss the reasons behind these alterations.


    Item no.: KS04240383
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Grades 6-12
    Duration: 24 minutes
    Copyright: 2004
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 80.00

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    GREEK MYTHOLOGY

    Learning about Greek mythology has never been so much fun! This program provides an introduction to Greek mythology with a modern-day twist. Meet legendary heroes such as Zeus, Apollo, Ares, Hera, Artemis, Hermes, Hestia, Aphrodite

    Item no.: AP08120496
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Grade 6 or above
    Duration: 48 minutes
    Copyright: 2003
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 110.00

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    SECRETS OF THE ISLAND OF MINOS

    A Modern Look At Ancient History

    An architect form 1500 B.C. gives a guided tour of archaeological sites at Akrotiri, Ayia, Knosses, and more, culminating in a visit to the palace of Minos, with its legendary Labyrinth

    Review
  • Recommended: School Library Journal, Video Librarian

    Item no.: RP08540447
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Junior High, Senior High, College, Adult
    Duration: Approx. 25 minutes
    Copyright: 2003
    StdBkNo.: 1575572753
    Price: USD 204.00

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    THE CIVILIZATIONS OF HEROES (THE MYCENAEANS)

    A Modern Look At Ancient History

    A visit to the heart of the first great civilizations between the Euphrates and the Aegean Sea takes us to the pre-Hellenic cities and the legendary Babylonian city of Troy.

    Review
  • Recommended: School Library Journal, Video Librarian

    Item no.: KN08540449
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Junior High, Senior High, College, Adult
    Duration: Approx. 25 minutes
    Copyright: 2003
    StdBkNo.: 157557280X
    Price: USD 204.00

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    ANCIENT GREECE

    Can you imagine not changing for 250 million years? The horseshoe crab, an arachnid, has remained true to its form during that time.

    Item no.: ZF07980097
    Format: DVD (Closed Captioned)
    Audience: Grades 9-12
    Duration: 25 minutes
    Copyright: 2001
    StdBkNo.: 1602881146
    Price: USD 80.00

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    MYTHOLOGY IN LITERARY CULTURE

    Take literary studies to the next level with this interactive digital examination of the mythological underpinnings of story construction. Students will examine the heroes, tricksters, transgressors, temptresses, and destroyers of classical Greece

    Item no.: EP07982108
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Grades 6-8
    Duration: 22 minutes
    Copyright: 2000
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 90.00

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    KING MIDAS AND THE GOLDEN TOUCH

    Meets King Midas, who learns that some things in life are more precious than gold. Music by Yo-Yo Ma; illustrated by Rodica Prato; narrated by Michael Caine.

    Item no.: RZ07982206
    Format: DVD
    Audience: Grades K-2
    Duration: 21 minutes
    Copyright: 1991
    StdBkNo.: 9781616296254
    Price: USD 45.00

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    TROJAN WOMEN, THE

    Director: Michael Cacoyannis
    Starring: Genevieve Bujold, Irene Papas, Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgra

    For this ambitious screen version of one the most powerful works of classic Greek theater, director Michael Cacoyannnis (ZORBA THE GREEK, THE CHERRY ORCHARD) unleashes the talents of four of the screen's most exciting actresses(NY DAILY NEWS). Four time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn (THE LION IN WINTER, A DELICATE BALANCE), Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave (JULIA), Oscar nominee Genevieve Bujold (ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS) and Greek screen legend Irene Papas (ANTIGONE, Z) seamlessly mesh into an unprecedented ensemble cast that one could never hope to see on stage (Pauline Kael, NEW YORKER).

    After their ten-year siege, the victorious Greek army seeks to curse those Trojans whom fate has yet spared. Separated from their children, denied their mourning and destined for slavery, the women of fallen Troy huddle within the parched wreckage of their once glorious city. Beautiful Cassandra (Bujold) is betrothed against her will despite her vanishing sanity. Andromache (Redgrave) discovers her son is to be executed to end her royal bloodline. Helen (Papas) desperately wields the arrogant beauty that leveled a city as she pleads for her life. But it is Hecuba (Hepburn), widowed queen of Troy, whose enduring dignity and unfaltering strength makes cowards of Troy's captors.

    Building on his famed New York stage adaptation, Cacoyannis shepherds this extraordinary cast through a richly cinematic rendition of Euripides' definitive anti-war drama. With a score by Mikis Theodorakis that rivals the spare intensity of his music for Z, THE TROJAN WOMEN is both a re-energized and evocative denunciation of human cruelty and a passionate chorus of redemption and survival.


    Item no.: PB11990253
    Format: DVD (Color)
    Audience:
    Duration: 105 minutes
    Copyright: 1971
    StdBkNo.:
    Price: USD 189.00

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    ORFEO ED EURIDICE

    In 1762, Christoph Willibald von Gluck wrote his Orfeo ed Euridice, heralding a new era in the history of opera. Combining the classical ideals of beauty and simplicity with an innate sense of dramatic impetus, it broke down many of the overwrought formal conventions of the Baroque and set the standard for a whole generation of operatic composers. Based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, Orfeo ed Euridice is one of the oldest operas in the repertoire. Its beautiful simplicity, poignant story and moving arias have made the work a favorite of audiences since its first production in 1762.

    Item no.: WT08541126
    Format: DVD
    Audience: College, Adult, A.P.
    Duration: Approx. 25 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 176.00

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    CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY

    Taught by Elizabeth Vandiver

    From Athena to Zeus, the characters and stories of classical mythology have been both unforgettable and profoundly influential. They have inspired and shaped everything from great art and literature, to our notions of sexuality and gender roles, to the themes of popular films and TV shows.

    Classical Mythology is an introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you will study are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek Heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

    How Should We Study Mythology? Professor Elizabeth Vandiver anchors her presentation in some basics. What is a myth? Which societies use myths? What are some of the problems inherent in studying classical mythology? She also discusses the most influential 19th- and 20th-century thinking about myth's nature and function, including the psychological theories of Freud and Jung and the metaphysical approach of Joseph Campbell.

    You consider the relationship between mythology and culture. What are the implications of the myth of Demeter, Persephone, and Hades-as recounted in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter-for the Greek view of life and death, marriage and gender roles?

    What are the origins of classical mythology? Professor Vandiver examines similarities between the Theogony and Mesopotamian creation myths and considers the possible influences that the prehistoric Greek cultures, the Minoans and Mycenaeans, may have had on classical mythology.

    She also cautions you about the dangers of probing for distant origins. For example, there is little evidence, as many today believe, that a prehistoric "mother goddess" lies at the heart of mythology. This notion may simply be wishful thinking-a modern myth about ancient myth.

    In addition, Professor Vandiver explores the challenges we face in studying mythology-which is rooted in oral tradition and pre-literate society-through the literary works that recount them. How do we disentangle the original myth from its portrayal in Aeschylus's The Oresteia, or Sophocles's Oedipus the King? The more renowned the author, the more difficult this task becomes.

    From the "Truth" of the Minotaur to Ovid's Impact on Shakespeare

    Professor Vandiver's approach makes classical mythology fresh, absorbing, and often surprising. The many such topics you will consider include:

  • The fact that most scholars see significant flaws in the work of Joseph Campbell, one of the best-known and most popular theorists of myth. They believe he makes a variety of assumptions-that myth has a spiritual meaning, or that certain narrative elements are the same in all cultures-that he fails to support, or that are highly questionable.
  • The differences between the classical notion of the gods and our concepts of what gods, or God, should be. The ancient gods did not create the universe or earth, were not omniscient or omnipotent, were not consistently good, and did not even care much about humanity.
  • The absence of a well-defined belief in the afterlife in Greek mythology and religion. In general, it was the opposite of what we believe: both less important and less pleasant than this life.
  • The small kernel of truth, as represented in the "bull-leaping" fresco of Knossos, that may lie at the heart of the myth of the Minotaur, the half-man, half bull-like monster.
  • Chronological inconsistencies in mythology. For example, in the story of Theseus, characters interact who in other stories did not even live at the same time.
  • The way various mythological depictions of females-the Amazons, the myth of Medea, and such monsters as Medusa and Scyllare-present Greek males' anxiety about women's power, particularly their sexual power. This theme is embodied in Medea's name, which means both "genitals" and "clever plans."
  • The Romans' near wholesale "borrowing" of Greek mythology, in the context of their ambivalent view of Greek culture. They considered the Greeks to be better artists, poets, and rhetoricians than they were, but also saw them as decadent, "soft," and treacherous.
  • The extensive influence of Ovid's Metamorphoses on the works of William Shakespeare. Because of this relationship, Ovid has had an incalculable effect on English literature.

    In her final lecture, Professor Vandiver surveys aspects of the enormous influence that classical mythology has had, and still exerts, on Western Civilization. She offers her opinions as to why this is the case. She also demonstrates that the ancient gods, monsters, and heroes are very much alive and active today in contemporary beliefs in UFOs and visits from extraterrestrials and in popular entertainment such as Star Trek and films such as the Road Warrior and the Terminator series.

    (24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    Item no.: TD09280064
    Format: 4 DVDs
    Audience:
    Duration: 720 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 255.00

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    GREEK MYTHS, THE: PART I - MYTH AS FICTION, HISTORY, AND RITUAL

    This program explores myth as primitive fiction, as history in disguise, and as the outgrowth of prehistoric ritual. The study shows how mythology becomes a source for literature, art, and music.

    Item no.: PD11080409
    Format: DVD
    Audience: High School, College
    Duration: 27 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 111.00

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    GREEK MYTHS, THE: PART II - MYTH AS SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND DRAMA

    This engrossing program shows how ancient man developed myths to explain natural phenomena as well as religious, moral, and psychological problems.

    Item no.: HB11080410
    Format: DVD
    Audience: High School, College
    Duration: 25 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 111.00

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    GREEK TRAGEDY

    Taught by Elizabeth Vandive

    Professor Elizabeth Vandiver explores fully 25 of the 32 surviving tragedies that the great Athenian playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides have left to us.

    Now two-and-a-half millennia old, ancient dramas such as Eumenides, Oedipus the King, and Trojan Women retain a compelling, almost incantatory power.

    Professor Vandiver observes early on in this course:

    "It is a notable paradox that Greek tragedy, a dramatic form that flourished for less than a full century, a dramatic form that began in a particular religious festival of a particular god some 2,500 years ago, remains vibrant, alive, and productive today.

    "It seems that there is something about tragedy that lifts it out of its particular circumstances and beyond its particular gods, social issues, and political concerns to give a kind of universality that is, in the last analysis, very surprising."

    These plays have attracted focus and reflection from Aristotle, Freud, Nietzsche, and others who look deeply into the human condition. The great tragedies shed light on the extraordinary time, place, and people that produced them.

    And they may help us-as perhaps they helped their original audiences-to grasp a fuller sense of both the terror and wonder that life presents.

    A Rounded View of a Grand Art Form

    Professor Vandiver has designed these lectures to give you a full overview of Greek tragedy, both in its original setting and as a lasting contribution to the artistic exploration of the human condition. There are three main points to the course:

    First: The Plays In Their Context. You learn to see Greek tragedy as a genre in its cultural context. Why did this powerful art form flower in the Athens of Pericles and the Peloponnesian War? What is tragedy's deeper historical background? Did it grow out of rituals honoring the god Dionysus, as is so often said? What role did it play in Athenian civic and religious life? How was it related to earlier performance traditions such as bardic recitation? How did Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides each make unique contributions to tragedy's expressive power?

    Second: The Plays On The Stage. Too often, the surviving tragedies are seen purely as texts to be read, rather than as scripts to be played. Hence the second aim of Dr. Vandiver's course is to teach what scholarship can reveal about the performance of tragedy, including its physical and ritual settings, actors and acting methods, conventions of staging and stagecraft, and even how productions were financed.

    Third: The Plays In Rich Detail. Third, you explore with Professor Vandiver a broad group of tragedies in close detail. In particular, you will ask how individual tragedies use traditional myths (often tales from the Trojan War), and what Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides intended to accomplish by changing or adding to the basic story. You examine what certain tragedies imply about the world of 5th -century Athens, and the importance, in turn, of the cultural background for explaining those tragedies.

    Surveying Key Scholars and Critics

    While Professor Vandiver frequently refers to modern critical approaches and theories to help illuminate the tragedies, she has chosen not to adopt any one theory as a framework for the lectures. Accordingly, you will find that she carefully and fairly discusses a number of views of tragedy, including those of Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud, the Cambridge Ritualists, and even Aristophanes, who included the tragic stage in his wide-ranging satires of Athenian institutions, mores, and personalities.

    Three for the Ages

    Perhaps one of the most intriguing opportunities this course offers, even if you are a seasoned lover of literature and the classics, is the chance to compare and contrast the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

    Aeschylus (525-455 B.C.)

    Lectures 5 through 9 focus on Aeschylus, the eldest of the three. The plays and themes discussed include The Oresteia (a trilogy about the accursed House of Atreus in the aftermath of the Trojan War, it includes Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides), as well as the earlier plays Persians, Suppliant Maidens, and Seven Against Thebes.

    Sophocles (496-406 B.C.)

    Lectures 11 through 14 and 22 are devoted to Sophocles. He is well known for creating heroes such as Oedipus, Ajax, and Philoctetes, who are characterized by intense isolation. In his Poetics, Aristotle credits Sophocles with introducing the third actor (not counting the chorus) and the use of scenery.

    Euripides (484-406 B.C.)

    Lectures 15 through 21 concentrate on Euripides. The most overtly political and least traditional of the three, he wrote plays featuring an especially vivid array of strong, disturbing female characters, including Medea and Phaedra. Two other plays with female protagonists, Hecuba and Trojan Women, paint harrowing portraits of the horrors of war and were written while Athens was locked in a deadly struggle with Sparta and her allies.

    The course moves toward a finish by examining the revivals of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides put on in the Hellenistic theater, and then briefly discusses Roman adaptations and later "revivals" of Greek tragedy, from the Renaissance to modern times. It closes with Professor Vandiver's reflections on how the characteristic themes and tone of the Athenian tragic stage continue to inspire audiences and artists in a variety of media today.

    (24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    Item no.: EN09280175
    Format: 4 DVDs
    Audience:
    Duration: 720 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 255.00

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    ILIAD OF HOMER

    Taught by Elizabeth Vandiver

    When John Keats first read Chapman's translation of the epics of "deep-brow'd Homer," he was so overwhelmed, so overcome with the joy of discovery, that he compared his experience to finding "a new planet."

    When you join Professor Elizabeth Vandiver for these lectures on the Iliad, you come to understand what enthralled Keats and has gripped so many readers of Homer.

    Her compelling look at this epic masterpiece-whether it is the work of many or indeed the "vision" of a blind poet who nevertheless saw more deeply into the human heart than almost anyone before or since-demonstrates why she is held in such immense regard.

    Share Homer's Compelling Meditation on the Human Condition

    Professor Vandiver makes it vividly clear why, after almost 3,000 years, the Iliad remains not only among the greatest adventure stories ever told, but also one of the most compelling meditations on the human condition ever written.

    Indeed, it is probably true to say that only the Bible rivals Homer for sheer depth and scope of cultural and literary influence.

    How is this so?

    At first glance, the Iliad tells of a long-dead epoch that seems utterly alien to us. Indeed, the Bronze Age Aegean was a distant memory even to the original audience for this great work.

    Yet the grandeur and immediacy of the Homeric world seem to defy time and space.

  • He depicts a legendary era in brilliant, unforgettable hues.
  • He peoples it with towering heroes who thirst for honor, fight shattering wars, and deal face-to-face with gods.
  • He acts out, in words memorized and passed on verbally long before they were ever set to paper, mankind's awesome passions for glory, love, and vengeance.

    An Inquiry into Timeless Human Issues

    Or perhaps age seems only to burnish the luster of the Iliad precisely because of its very strangeness and distance, which throw so sharply into focus the timeless human issues it raises.

    These issues are evoked by the power of a single dramatic question: Why does Achilles rage?

    Around these questions Homer weaves a narrative that makes us ask many questions:

  • What are the limits of our freedom?
  • Who or what shapes our actions and our ends?
  • Is there a common humanity that we share, or is life only "a constant seeking of power after power"?
  • What holds people together and keeps them going in extreme situations such as war?
  • Why do we love our own so strongly?
  • Where is the line between justice and revenge?
  • And above all, what does it mean to be alive?

    Meticulous and Insightful

    Professor Vandiver builds her analysis skillfully around meticulous, insightful examinations of the most important episodes in the Iliad.

  • She explains the cultural assumptions that lie behind Homer's lines, and you join her in weighing the basic critical and interpretive issues.
  • She probes the relationship of this great epic to the tradition of orally transmitted poetry and surveys the archaeological evidence for an actual conflict.
  • She repeatedly visits the Iliad's overriding theme of what it means to be human and what the Iliad has to say about the human condition.
  • She explains with passion and clarity why Homer remains our contemporary.

    Moreover, with her skillful organization and way of looking at the events and intents of this great masterpiece, she gives you a key to heightened enjoyment and comprehension in all of your encounters with literature.

    A Clearly Organized and Comprehensive Examination

    Lecture 1 sets the stage for our reading of the Iliad by providing an introduction to the plan of the course and summarizing the mythological background assumed by both the Iliad and the Odyssey (also available as a course taught by Dr. Vandiver).

    Lecture 2 addresses the question of the 400- to 500-year gap between the events described in the Iliad (and, subsequently, the Odyssey) and the time when they were first written down.

    It describes the Iliad's relationship to traditional orally transmitted poetry, and considers the implications of that oral tradition for the question of who "Homer" was.

    Lectures 3-12 address the plot, characters, and interpretations of the Iliad itself. Each focuses on a particular scene, character, or theme as we read through the Iliad.

    Lecture 3 introduces the cultural concepts of kleos (glory) and time (honor) and explains their significance for understanding the wrath of Achilles.

    Lecture 4 moves inside the walls of Troy to discuss Homer's presentation of the Trojans as sympathetic characters, rather than stereotypical enemies.

    Lecture 5 looks in detail at Book IX of the Iliad, where three of Achilles's comrades try to persuade him to return to battle, and discusses how the concepts of kleos and time factor into his refusal to do so.

    Lecture 6 is devoted to a fuller discussion of the concept of kleos, which demonstrates that it is one of the key elements in the Iliad 's examination of the human condition.

    Lecture 7 turns to an examination of the gods in Homer, discussing what types of beings they are and what their presence in the narrative adds to the Iliad.

    Lectures 8 and 9 give a detailed reading of the most important events of the day of Hektor's glory and Patroklos's death-the Iliad 's longest day, which lasts from Book XI through Book XVIII-with Lecture 8 focusing on Hektor and Lecture 9 on Patroklos.

    Lecture 10 covers Achilles's return to battle, discussing the implications of his actions, his divinely made armor, and his refusal to bury the dead Patroklos.

    Lecture 11 examines Hektor and Achilles together, highlighting the contrasting elements in their characters and the inevitability of their final encounter in battle.

    Lecture 12 concludes the course with a discussion of the resolution of the Iliad, which is brought about by Achilles's encounter with his dead enemy, Hektor's aged father, King Priam.

    The encounter of these two enemies offers one final opportunity to take from this great work a true understanding of the nature of mortality, the Iliad's constant underlying theme.

    (12 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    Item no.: SV09280218
    Format: 2 DVDs
    Audience:
    Duration: 360 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 200.00

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    LIFE LESSONS FROM THE GREAT MYTHS

    Taught By Professor J. Rufus Fears, Ph.D.

    Change the way you think about some of the greatest stories ever told with Life Lessons from the Great Myths. A powerful work of storytelling prowess and historical insight, these 36 captivating lectures explore events and individuals that so gripped civilizations, they transcended to the level of myth and played an important role in shaping culture, politics, religion, and more. Taking you from the battlefields of Alexander the Great and the ships of Viking explorers to the conquests of Napoleon Bonaparte and the rough-and-tumble drama of the American West.


    Item no.: ZJ09280606
    Format: 6 DVDs
    Audience:
    Duration: 1080 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 375.00

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    ODYSSEY OF HOMER

    Taught by Elizabeth Vandiver

    Keats compared discovering Homer to "finding a new planet."

  • What is it in Homer's great works-and especially the Odyssey-that so enthralled him?
  • Why have readers before and since reacted the same way?

    By joining award-winning classics professor Elizabeth Vandiver for these lectures on the Odyssey, you can get answers to these and hundreds of other questions.

    At first glance, those first two questions indeed seem troubling.

    For the Odyssey tells of a long-dead epoch that seems utterly alien to us. Indeed, the Bronze Age Aegean was a distant memory even to the original audiences of these works.

    But age seems only to have burnished the luster of this epic.

    It may be precisely because of its very strangeness and distance that generation after generation of readers have come to love it so much.

    This strangeness and distance throw sharply into focus the timeless human issues that ride along on Odysseus's journey, voyaging to strange lands on the shores of wine-dark seas, dealing face-to-face with gods and monsters.

    A Single Riveting Question... and the Others It Raise

    The epic's exploration centers around a single question about the protagonist, and the two related questions it immediately suggests:

  • Why does Odysseus long so powerfully to go home?
  • What holds people together and keeps them going in extreme situations such as war or shipwreck?
  • Why do we love our own so strongly?

    It is this universal theme that seems of paramount importance. What does it mean to live?

    Professor Vandiver builds her analyses skillfully around meticulous, insightful examinations of the most important episodes in the Odyssey.

    She explains the cultural assumptions that lie behind Homer's lines, and you join her in weighing the basic critical and interpretive issues.

    Just as knowledge of the Trojan War legend is necessary for understanding the Iliad-available as a companion course-the Odyssey assumes that its audience knows how the war ended and what happened next.

    Learn the Story between the Epics

    Lecture 1. We begin with an overview of the traditional Trojan War story that took place after the Iliad. Next we examine the difference between kleos epic, with its primary focus on glory, and nostos epic, which focuses instead on homecoming.

    Lecture 2. This lecture defines and examines xenia, a concept that is of key importance for understanding the Odyssey and the characters of Telemachos and the suitors.

    Xenia is usually translated "guest-host relationship." It is a reciprocal relationship between two xenoi-a word which means guest, host, stranger, friend, and foreigner. It is not based on friendship, but rather on obligation.

    In addition to examining xenia, the lecture also highlights two other important narrative elements established in the Telemachy:

  • the use of Agamemnon's story as a parallel for Odysseus's own
  • Telemachos's need to assert his maturity.

    Lecture 3. In this lecture, we turn to Odysseus himself as a character in the Odyssey.

    The lecture concentrates on the aspects of Odysseus's character that are introduced in these two books:

  • his desire to return home as a desire to reestablish his own identity
  • his superb skills as a rhetorician, able to craft his speech to appeal to whomever he is addressing.

    Enter Odysseus... in His Own Voice

    Lecture 4. This lecture continues to follow Odysseus's interactions with the Phaiakians, and moves on into the beginnings of his own great narrative of his past adventures.

    The lecture addresses several key themes, including the continued importance of xenia as offered by the Phaiakians and how the conception of kleos in the Odyssey differs from that of the Iliad.

    Professor Vandiver also discusses how the appearance of the bard Demodokos in Book VIII may reflect the original three-day performance structure of the Odyssey.

    As the lecture concludes, we see how the encounter with the cyclops Polyphemos shows Odysseus at his most clever and quick-thinking but also causes all his subsequent troubles.

    Lecture 5. We continue following Odysseus's own narrative of the "Great Wanderings"-Odysseus's narrative of his trip to Hades-including an examination of his encounter with Circe and the implications of the sexual double standard reflected in it and in the rest of the Odyssey.

    A Journey into Hades

    The lecture looks at the first half of the pivotal episode in the Great Wanderings and ends with a discussion of the reasons for and effects of the abrupt break in the text, where the poem returns briefly to the third-person narrative.

    Lecture 6. This lecture continues to look at Odysseus's narrative of his journey to Hades.

    Professor Vandiver notes elements in the Hades narrative that seem particularly designed to enchant Odysseus's Phaiakian audience.

    She also considers the vexing question of Odysseus's own veracity before moving on to the final episode of the "Great Wanderings"-the killing of Helios's cattle and the death of Odysseus's remaining companions.

    Lecture 7. This lecture moves to the second half of the Odyssey by discussing the change in pace and subject matter in the "Ithakan" books.

    The lecture looks in detail at several important moments in the story:

  • Odysseus's arrival on Ithaka
  • the significance for xenia of the formulaic lines he speaks here for the third time
  • his encounter with the disguised Athena
  • their plan for his vengeance on the suitors.

    Lecture 8. The two books covered in this lecture, XVI and XVII, include Odysseus's reunion with his son Telemachos and his entry into his own palace disguised as a beggar.

    Follow Odysseus's Trials of Suppression

    Throughout this section of the Odyssey the poet stresses Odysseus's emotional trials, for he must not:

  • show joy at the sight of Telemachos
  • display anger at the evil goatherd, Melanthios
  • reveal sorrow at the death of his dog Argos.

    Each encounter reiterates Odysseus's supreme self-control and moves him closer to his utmost danger and most extreme trial.

    Lecture 9. This lecture looks in close detail at the two lengthy conversations between Odysseus-still disguised as a beggar-and Penelope in Book XIX, and the scene that separates those conversations, in which Eurykleia recognizes Odysseus.

    Lecture 10. This lecture, which covers Books XX through XXII, examines the "contest of the bow," Odysseus's revelation of his identity to the loyal slaves Eumaios and Philoitios, and the slaughter of the suitors.

    Professor Vandiver continues her consideration of Penelope's knowledge and motives, as well as her focus on Homer's narrative strategies for increasing the sense of inevitability as the suitors' doom approaches.

    Lecture 11. This last lecture on the Odyssey itself discusses the final reunion of Odysseus and Penelope in Book XXIII and the resolution of several themes and issues in Book XXIV.

    Does Homer's Ending Work?

    The lecture concludes with an examination of the Odyssey's ending and a discussion of whether or not it is effective.

    Lecture 12. In this final lecture, Professor Vandiver turns to the question of whether the Trojan War has any historical basis.

    After looking at the history of this question, she recounts the story of Heinrich Schliemann's 19th-century excavations at Hisarlik and Mycenae and examines some of the issues still left unresolved by those excavations.

    (12 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    Item no.: LV09280263
    Format: 2 DVDs
    Audience:
    Duration: 360 minutes
    Copyright:
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    Price: USD 200.00

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