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Humanities 1103: Introduction to World Mythology


How did the world come into existence in the great stories of the Greek, Indian, Chinese Norse, and Mayan peoples?  In Humanities 1103, you will thrill to the exploits of Nu Kua, Brahma, Odin and Zeus.  And after we study the creation of the world, we will see how different cultures envision the end of the world.  In three short weeks of the semester, we will see the world created—and destroyed. 


Beowulf and the dragon.

Every culture has created myths of heroes who battle monsters and make the world a safer place.  And the heroic figures all seem to possess the same heroic qualities, which is why we can relate to heroic stories from cultures other than our own.  However, as Joseph Campbell has shown, the way these heroic qualities are expressed will differ from culture to culture. 

Beowulf is a warrior’s warrior; he cares only for glory and honor.  He will battle the biggest warrior, and the biggest monster, for the accolades of his fellow warriors and to be remembered for his deeds of valor by future generations.

Sigurd falls in love with the beautiful Valkyrie Brunhilde whom Odin has punished for defying him.  Sigurd of Germanic myths is a more complex hero, one who wants glory and honor but also the forbidden love of a Valkyrie.  Sigurd wakes Brunhilde

Thor raises his hammer

The gods of ancient myths have received a new lease on life from the movies, comics and graphic novels.  The recent release of Thor is a film adaptation of Norse myths dating back more than 1000 years.  Of course, the film takes many "dramatic liberties" with the myths of Thor, but you can still recognize some of the original myths in the storyline of the film.  Moreover, the Norse gods are such sympathetic characters because they will all perish in a fiery "Doom of the Gods" called Ragnarok.  Find out how the evil giants led by Loki battle the gods.

The gods and goddesses of ancient India are fascinating, perhaps because there are so many of them.  More than a thousand deities were thought to populate the universe.  Many of them took human form to assist (or sometimes harm) mortal humans. 

Rama and his wife Sita were avatars of the god Vishnu and his divine wife.  After Sita is kidnapped by a demon king, Rama must rescue her.  But did she succumb to the charms of the evil king, or did she remain faithful to Rama?  Join us and find out. You will enjoy their story of love, war, betrayal, and rescue.  Romance and war—what more could you want in a myth?

Rama and Sita in the forest

About Humanities 1103

There are no prerequisites for this 3 credit hour course. Introduction to World Mythology is IAI transferable (IAI H9 901).

Students interested in Humanities 1103 online will need access to a computer with Internet capabilities. For further information about computer experience and equipment requirements, students should consult the COD Online web pages.


C.O.D. Online
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