Myth of Greeks Paper (1200-1500 words)

Hi there,

the following guidelines and instructions are given by the instructor.

“Please write a referenced essay addressing one (1) of the following topics. The target audience is an intelligent person, but one without substantial knowledge of mythology or creation accounts. The sources to be used are Hesiod’s Theogony, Apollodorus’ Library, Hyginus’ Fabulae, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and/or the Bible, as appropriate for the topic. Direct quotations are not allowed in this paper. The purpose of this assignment is to gain practice in using and accurately documenting sources without resorting to the “quote-quilt” approach, in which students stitch together large numbers of direct quotes. You are to extract information and express it in your own words, while at the same time accurately directing the reader to the underlying source of information. This assignment does not employ modern sources, so citations will follow the system used for ancient Greek or Roman sources explained in the syllabus; citations of the Bible should simply provide the book, chapter, and verse, e.g. (Genesis 2:3). The names of Biblical books are not italicized. The reference list may use MLA, APA, or Hesperia format.

The paper should be 1200-1500 words in length; it must be typed and double-spaced. Margins should be no greater than 1.5 inches on the left and no greater than 1 inch on the others. Use a 12-point font and black ink/toner only; do not use a cursive font. Be sure to include a separate “Work Cited” page with the title of the works in the appropriate format for the documentation system that you selected. In addition to the hard copy you will turn in to me, upload a copy to and to, using the course information provided in the syllabus. Submission of the assignment is not complete until you have turned in a hard copy to me AND performed the necessary uploads.

This assignment will have two phases. After submitting the assignment, I will return it to you with corrections, suggestions, and comments. You must then revise the paper and re-submit it within a week of its return. Both draft and final paper will be graded on a 100-point scale, and the two grades averaged for the recorded grade.

The topics:

1) Hesiod’s Theogony, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and the creation stories set forth in the Biblical Genesis present different ideas about the origins of the world and the supernatural forces that direct it. Compare and contrast these accounts, using specific examples. What do they have to say about the Greeks’ and the Hebrews’ perceptions about why the world was created, the divine forces operating in it, and their purposes and plans. If you wish to use Apollodorus, Hyginus, or the Mesopotamian flood story with Utnapishtim, that is acceptable too. The Utnapishtim story is from the Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet 11; a serviceable translation is available at

2) We have seen that the relationship between human beings and the Greek gods is a complex one. Using specific examples, explain the typical types of interactions that occur between humans and gods in the myths we have examined so far. What kinds of obligations, if any, do people have toward the gods, and what, if any, obligations do the gods have toward humans? Are there any common factors or behaviors in myths that consistently lead to humans being punished or rewarded?”

The following is the the system used for ancient Greek or Roman sources explained in the syllabus

Citing ancient sources in papers:

Part of the goal in “Writing Across the Curriculum” classes is to learn disciplinary conventions, and learning how Classical Greek and Roman works are cited is a course objective. Many ancient authors’ works are available in scores of original-language editions and translations into a variety of modern languages. Most academic works about Greek and Roman literature and history have usually assumed, rightly or not, that the reader can read the texts in the original languages or at least find a translation after being provided with a reference to a passage. Standardized ways of referencing the basic original-language text have been developed over time. These are far more useful in practice than citing the page number of a translation that may not be readily available. Hesperia uses the system described below as its standard, so whether you are employing it, MLA, or APA for your documentation system, you will need to read the section below and follow it.

Greek and Latin texts are usually cited in an abbreviated form, with the name of the author first, the name of the work second, followed by some information that sends the reader to the correct place in the text. Some lengthy texts were divided in antiquity into “books”; long poems and plays also are able to use the natural divisions of lines. Collections of short poems generally organize them into a certain order, with a number assigned to each of the poems. At some point in the Middle Ages, divisions of books into chapters and/or sections were made for non-poetic works. Exactly who made these divisions is generally not known, but they are always indicated in an original-language text and often in a translation. One usually finds these divisions on the outer side of the page. Major divisions into chapters have sometimes been given with Roman numerals and minor ones with Arabic numerals. It is standard now to indicate all book/chapter/section/line in Arabic numerals. Line numbers may be on the inner sides of the page. If these re-start the numbering at the top of each page, they are generally not part of the standard divisions, but only there for the convenience of the reader.

Some Greek authors have special systems. Works of Plato and Plutarch typically are referenced by their so-called “Stephanus pagination.” An early publisher of some complete works in printed book form was Henri Estienne, a French scholar; his Latinized name was “Henricus Stephanus.” Stephanus divided his single printed pages of Plato into five sections, a-e, although some had fewer than five. If you see a reference to a Platonic work that resembles “Pl., Phd, 58b,” you are looking at a Stephanus page reference (Plato, Phaedo, p. 58, section b). For Aristotle, “Bekker pagination” (named after the German scholar Immanuel Bekker) is used. Bekker divided each of his pages into two columns, “a” and “b.” A Bekker reference has the page number in his edition, column, and line, e.g., “1254b7.”

In English scholarship, the abbreviations for authors and works provided by the Oxford Classical Dictionary are the standard ones, although some particular journals specify the abbreviations used by the bibliographical reference L’Année Philologique. References to authors who only have a single preserved text, such as Herodotus or Thucydides, usually omit the name of the work. Other kinds of historical evidence (such as inscriptions, papyrus fragments, or compilations of material quoted by ancient authors from sources that are no longer extant) are usually cited using the name of the corpus within which they appear, with whatever number they have been assigned. I will put a copy of the Oxford Classical Dictionary abbreviations in the “Information” section of the Blackboard site for this course.


Hom. Il .2.100 = Homer, Iliad, Book 2, line 100.

Verg. Aen. 3.110-156 = Vergil, Aeneid, Book 3, lines 110-156.

Hdt. 2.91.3 = Herodotus, Histories, Book 2, Chapter 91, Section 3.

Xen. An. 1.10.6 = Xenophon, Anabasis, Book 1, Chapter 10, Section 6.

Plaut. Mil. 2.3 = Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, Act 2, Scene 3.

Plut. Vit.Flam. 2.3 = Plutarch, Life of Flaminius, Chapter 2, Section 3.

Suet. Vesp. 19 = Suetonius, Life of Vespasian, Chapter 19.

Callim. Hymn 2.50 = Callimachus, Hymn to Apollo, line 50.

Tac. Ann.4.38 = Tacitus, Annals, Book 4, Chapter 38.

Even in a footnote-style documentation system like that of Hesperia, citations to ancient primary sources are placed inside parentheses within the text, rather than the footnotes. The author’s name is spelled out in full when it is part of the actual sentence and not inside parentheses.

Some translations omit any divisions except ones into books. For the great majority of sources, you can find the standard divisions by consulting the work in the Loeb Classical Library series, which we have in the UE library. These editions give the ancient text on one side of the page, indicating the divisions, and an English translation on the other.

Note on the texts we are using:

Hesiod’s Theogony is a Greek poem divided into lines. The Theogony, along with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are the earliest extant pieces of Greek literature, dating to the 8th century BC.

Apollodorus’ Library is a Greek prose work divided into books and sections. The sections are given by numerals in bold type within the text. There are three regular books in which all or most of the original text has been preserved. The section on Phineus and the Harpies, for example, would be cited as 1.120 (i.e., Book 1, section 120). There is an also an epitome (summary) of sections that are incomplete or lost. Readings from the epitome are prefaced with a capital “E.” The section on the Judgment of Paris would be cited as E3.2 (i.e., Epitome, section 3.2). Virtually nothing is known about Apollodorus himself, and the date of the work is uncertain but probably falls within the 1st or 2nd century AD.

Hyginus’ Fabulae is a Latin prose work that starts with a theogony (origin of the gods) at the beginning, and then each story is numbered sequentially. Heracles’ labors, for example, are listed in Hyginus 30. As with Apollodorus, practically nothing is known about Hyginus for certain and the date of the work is the 1st or 2nd century AD.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a long Latin poem divided into books and lines. Ovid lived in the 2nd half of the 1st century BC and was a contemporary of the Roman emperor Augustus. Numerous poems of Ovid survive, but the Metamorphoses is by far the best known and was the primary source of Classical mythology for people living in the Middle Ages.

Sophocles’ Theban Plays are three separate Greek plays performed at different dramatic festivals. Each play is divided into lines. These works were written and performed somewhere between 440-401 BC, with the last play Oedipus at Colonus actually finished in 406 BC, the year of Sophocles’ death, but not performed until several years later.

Aeschylus’ Oresteia is a Greek trilogy of plays (Agamemnon, Libation-Bearers, and Eumenides) performed at the same dramatic festival in 458 BC. Each play is divided into lines.

Greek and Latin poetry does not work on the basis of rhyme or sequences of stressed syllables, as English poetry does. Rather, it works by sequences of long and short syllables. Hesiod’s Theogony and Ovid’s Metamorphoses are written in a meter called dactylic hexameter. The plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles use a base meter called iambic trimeter for dialogue, and a great variety of other meters for the parts sung by the chorus.

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