Steve Kershaw is the author and tutor of Oxford University's Greek Mythology Online Course.


What are Greek myths? How can we interpret them? Why are they still so powerful? How much history do they contain? How do they differ from legends and fairy tales? Who told them and why? Did the Trojan War really happen? What might lie behind the tales of Odysseus and the Cyclops, Prometheus, Perseus and Medusa, or the myth of Atlantis? Are the myths damaged history, allegories, or reflections of the inner workings of our minds? By going back to the original texts (in translation), and the analysis of ancient works of art, this course will explore some of these fascinating tales from the past and evaluate various ways in which scholars have tried to make sense of them from antiquity to the present day.

The course covers the following topics:

  1. Myths and mythology
  2. Homer's Iliad, Troy and the historicity of myth
  3. Homer’s Odyssey, allegory and comparative mythology
  4. Hesiod: the origins of the Gods and the world
  5. Sophokles' Oedipus Rex, Freud and the psychoanalysis of myths
  6. Hidden meanings: Medusa and Prometheus
  7. The Labours of Herakles: myth, art and ideology
  8. Jason and the Argonauts
  9. Structuralism and beyond
  10. Plato and the myth of Atlantis.

The course aims develop an understanding of the presentation, content, and context of some of the major Greek myths, and of ways in which these might be interpreted. The course will:

  • Seek to gain a knowledge of some on the most important mythical tales to come down from antiquity;
  • Analyse the different contexts and media in which Greek myths are narrated;
  • Attempt to understand and assess different ways in which these tales have been interpreted from antiquity to the present day;
  • Endeavour to develop skills of observation and analysis with further applications in study, work and leisure, and provide an interesting, enjoyable and relevant course of study.

The course is accredited and you are expected to take the course for credit. To be awarded credit you must complete written contributions satisfactorily. Successful students will receive credit, awarded by the Board of Studies of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The award will take the form of 10 units of transferable credit at FHEQ level 4 of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). A transcript detailing the credit will be issued to successful students.

The Programme Fee is currently £210.00 (EU Fee) or £285.00 (Non-EU Fee)

For further details and to apply for the course, visit:[]=100