The following list offers required readings and choices for the M.A. in Classical Antiquity, Special Field examination in Greek Mythology and Religion. Students are expected to consult with an advisor and finalize a list which will form the basis of their special field examination.

I. Primary Readings

All readings may be done in English. Note that the list assumes that you will devote most of your effort to literary sources. If you wish to devote substantial time to art and archaeology as sources for myth and religion, you may discuss modifications with the Chair of your Examination Committee.

  • Aeschylus, Oresteia, Prometheus Bound
  • Apollodorus, Library
  • Euripides, Alcestis, Medea, Hippolytus, Electra, Iphigenia in Tauris, Bacchae
  • Hesiod, Theogony
  • Homer, Iliad, Odyssey
  • Homeric Hymns to Apollo, Demeter, Hermes, Aphrodite
  • Pindar, Olympian 1, Pythian 4, Pythian 8, Nemean 6, Isthmian 8
  • Plutarch, Theseus
  • Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Ajax, Electra

II. Introduction: Mythology

A. Required

  • Graf, Fritz, Greek Mythology (Johns Hopkins 1993).

B. Choose one

  • Bremmer, Jan, Interpretations of Greek Mythology (Totawa, NJ 1986).
  • Csapo, Eric, Theories of Mythology (Oxford 2005).
  • Edmunds, Lowell, ed., Approaches to Greek Myth (Johns Hopkins 1990).

III. Introduction: Religion

A. Required

  • Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion (Harvard 1985).

B. Choose one

  • Mikalson, Jon, Religion in Hellenistic Athens (Berkeley 1998).
  • Ogden, Daniel, ed., A Companion to Greek Religion (Oxford 2007).
  • Parker, Robert, Athenian Religion: A History (Oxford 1996).
  • Parker, Robert, Polytheism and Society at Athens (Oxford 2005).

IV. Cults, Forms of Worship, and Issues

Choose two, or one with follow-up of your choice, to be approved by the Chair of your Examination Committee.

  • Bowden, Hugh, Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle: Divination and Democracy (Cambridge 2005).
  • Burkert, Walter, Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth (Berkeley 1983).
  • Burkert, Walter, Ancient Mystery Cults (Harvard 1987) and George Mylonas, Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries (Princeton 1961).
  • Cole, Susan G., Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space: The Ancient Greek Experience (Berkeley 2004).
  • Connelly, Joan B., Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece (Princeton 2007).
  • Detienne, Marcel, and Jean-Pierre Vernant, eds., The Cuisine of Sacrifice Among the Greeks (Chicago 1989).
  • Foley, Helene, The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays (Princeton 1994).
  • Goff, Barbara, Citizen Bacchae: Women’s Ritual Practice in Ancient Greece (Berkeley 2004).
  • Johnston, Sarah I., Ancient Greek Divination (Oxford 2008).
  • Kearns, Emily, The Heroes of Attica (Oxford 1989).
  • Kurtz, Donna and John Boardman, Greek Burial Customs (Cornell 1971).
  • Neils, Jennifer, Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens (Princeton 1992) and Jennifer Neils, ed., Worshipping Athena: Panathenaia and Parthenon (Madison 1996).
  • Otto, Walter, Dionysus: Myth and Cult (Indiana 1965) and Thomas H. Carpenter and Christopher A. Faraone, eds., Masks of Dionysus (Cornell 1993).
  • Parke, H.W., Festivals of the Athenians (Cornell 1977) and Erika Simon, Festivals of Attica: An Archaeological Commentary (Wisconsin 1983).
  • Parker, Robert, Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion (Oxford 1983).

V. Myth and Religion in Greek Literature

Choose two, or one with follow-up of your choice, to be approved by the Chair of your Examination Committee.

  • Bowie, A.M., Aristophanes: Myth, Ritual and Comedy (Cambridge 1993).
  • Clauss, James J. and Sarah Iles Johnston, eds., Medea: Essays on Medea in Myth, Literature, Philosophy and Art (Princeton 1997).
  • Clay, Jenny S., The Politics of Olympus: Form and Meaning in the Major Homeric Hymns (Princeton 1989).
  • March, Jennifer, The Creative Poet: Studies on the Treatment of Myths in Greek Poetry (London 1987).
  • Mikalson, Jon, Honor Thy Gods: Popular Religion in Greek Tragedy (Chapel Hill 1991).
  • Nagy, Gregory, The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry (Johns Hopkins 1979).
  • Segal, Charles, Dionysiac Poetics and Euripides1 Bacchae (Princeton 1982).

VI. Landmark books

Choose two, or one with follow-up, in consultation with the Chair of your Examination Committee.

  • Burkert, Walter, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual (Berkeley 1979).
  • Buxton, Richard, Imaginary Greece: The Contexts of Mythology (Cambridge 1994).
  • Buxton, Richard, Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis (Oxford 2009).
  • Dodds, E.R., The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley 1951).
  • Gordon, R.L., ed., Myth, Religion and Society: Structuralist Essays by M. Detienne, L. Gernet, J.-P. Vernant, and P. Vidal-Naquet (Cambridge 1981).
  • Lloyd-Jones, H., The Justice of Zeus (Berkeley 1971).
  • Nietzsche, F., The Birth of Tragedy, along with M.S. Silk and J.P. Stern, Nietzsche on Tragedy (Cambridge 1981).
  • Nilsson, Martin, The Mycenean Origins of Greek Mythology (Cambridge 1932).
  • Seaford, Richard, Reciprocity and Ritual: Homer and Tragedy in the Developing City-State (Oxford 1994).