This version of the course guide is provisional until the period for editing the new course guides ends.

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Mythology and Religion

Code: 104214 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OT 4 0


Joan Pages Cebrian

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


PREVIOUS: In this teaching guide the grammatical gender is used without any relation to the distinction of sexes, in accordance with the uses and norms of the Catalan language and common sense. For example, when we talk about gods and heroes, we include all the characters that can be designated with these denominations without distinction of sex, race, nationality or any other consideration that could establish any kind of category that is not contained in the semantics of the term.
											The subject does not presuppose prior knowledge on the part of the students but it will be advisable for them to be already familiar with Greek myths at a basic level. Work will be done on documents in Greek and, occasionally, in Latin, but their translation will be facilitated so that the subject can also be followed by students who do not have sufficient command of the ancient languages.

Objectives and Contextualisation

Mythology and religion are so closely linked in ancient societies that it is often difficult to distinguish the "religious" from the "profane." Life was myth and religion and beliefs and rites penetrated all spheres of private and public life of ancient peoples. Greece was especially prolific in creating a rich and complex mythological universe that must be thoroughly understood if one wants to delve deeper into the study of Greek texts, Greek literature, history and society, as well as philosophy and politics. This interdisciplinary dimension is essential for good training in Humanities in general, and in Classical Studies in particular.
											In Greek (and Latin) literary texts, then, myth, worship, and rites are ubiquitous, to such an extent that it is impossible to attain an adequate capacity for interpretation without the knowledge of this whole frame of mythical-cultic references. On the other hand, significant progress has been made in this field over the last fifty years. With the competition of diverse disciplines such as anthropology, psychology and sociology, the understanding we are reaching of the meaning of Greek myth and rite and its impact on the individual, family and society, make this discipline one of the most appealing to any student who aspires to in-depth knowledge that transcends the traditional approach, perhaps more attentive to the mythological anecdote and its various symbolic and iconographic interpretations.
											We propose two general objectives:
											1. Reflect on the myth and its relation to ritual from different perspectives.
											2. Carry out a critical analysis of textual and iconographic documents.


  • Be able to express oneself orally and in writing in the specific language of history, archaeology and philology, both in one's own languages and a third language.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  • Understand and interpret the evolution of ancient societies in the Mediterranean – from Egyptian civilisation to the disbanding of Western imperial Rome – through analysis of the political, historical, social, economic and linguistic factors.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the principles of ancient rhetoric to oral and written discourse in the mother tongue.
  2. Autonomously searching, selecting and processing information both from structured sources (databases, bibliographies, specialized magazines) and from across the network.
  3. Critically analyse ancient sources.
  4. Establishing relationships between science, philosophy, art, religion, politics, etc.
  5. Explain the main characteristics of Greek idiosyncrasy.
  6. Preparing an oral and written discourse in the corresponding language in a proper and organized way.


											1. Introduction to Greek myth and religion
											2. The myths
											3. Worship practices. The rituals. Ritual typology
											4. Sacred spaces: shrines.
											5. Introduction to the Olympic religion: gods, heroes and other deities
											6. Zeus, Hera and related heroes
											7. Poseidon, Athena and related heroes
											8. Apollo, Artemis and related heroes
											9. Aphrodite, Hermes and other related deities and heroes.
											10. Dionysus and Dionysism.


The teaching methodology of this subject will consist of combining the theoretical explanations of each of the topics with comments on textual and iconographic documents that serve to illustrate and apply the knowledge acquired and, most importantly, to know the sources of 'this knowledge.
											Throughout the course a selection of texts will be provided to work on in class. Complementary ones may be added, depending on the needs and interests of the students.
											Students, in groups, will choose a topic from those that will be proposed and will make a written summary, a brief selection of texts and images to comment on and a presentation in class with the same format as ordinary classes. The summaries of each topic will be supervised by the teachers, a copy will be provided to the rest of the group and will be subject to assessment in the second part.
											Suggested topics for the works (students will have to choose one, or propose a different one):

Mysterious cults:

1. The myth of Orpheus and Orphism
2. Orphic conceptions: the immortality and transmigration of the soul
3. Orphic cosmogonies and their relation to Hesiod's theogony
4. Mysterious cults and initiations: Eleusis, Cybele, the Cabirs, etc.
5. Orphic Dionysus

Myths and cults of heroes
6. Heroic myths and cults: generalities and problems
7. Some case studies: Pelops, Hippolytus, Hyacinth, Heracles, Achilles.
8. Greek heroines: Atalanta, Deianira, Ifigenia.

Transition rites
9. Initiations and rites of passage: Brauron and the archaea
10. River cults, transvestism, ekdysia: Achilles in Scythia
11. The Spartan and Cretan agate
12. Homoerotic initiation: the myths of Ganymede and Pelops

Myths and rites of purification
13. Conceptions of impurity and purification. Rites of purification
14. Purification inmyth and ritual: The cases of Odysseus and Orestes
15. Myths of human sacrifice: Iphigenia
16. The scapegoat (farmakós)
17. Catapontism: Phaeton, Hippolytus, Blueberry, and Ino-Leukotea, etc.
18. The foundation of colonies as rites of purification.


Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Exposició de temes d'acord amb la programació de l'assignatura 32 1.28 3, 2, 6, 4, 5
Participació en discussions 15 0.6 1
Type: Supervised      
Exposició oral 14.5 0.58 3, 1, 4
Treball cooperatiu 15 0.6 3, 2
Type: Autonomous      
Lectura de bibliografia 25 1 2
Recerca de material 20 0.8 2


The final grade of the course will be the average between:
											- Oral presentation of a topic (30%)
											- 1st partial exam (35%)
											- 2nd partial exam (35%)
											It is important for the student to keep in mind that the assessment includes regular class attendance and the completion and delivery of the proposed activities in class within the established deadlines. Unjustified continued non-attendance and failure to deliver the activities within the stipulated time limit presuppose the loss of the right to continuous assessment.
											A student who has not taken any of the written tests will be considered "Not Presented".
											In the re-assessment, the student will be able to recover the mark corresponding to the two partial exams and the oral presentation.
											If the mark of any of the revaluable parts is less than 3, it will be necessary to recover it, even if the average mark of the subject is passed.
											The revaluation will only be able to do in case that the partial examinations or the oral exhibition is suspended and the average note of the asignatura is inferior to a 5, or if some of these proofs could not realize in his moment for a reason that can be justified with an official document.
											A date for an evaluation activity can only be changed if the absence or non-delivery can be justified by an official document.
											If the tests cannot be done in person, their format will be adapted (maintaining their weighting) to the possibilities offered by the UAB’s virtual tools. Homework, activities and class participation will be done through forums, wikis and / or exercise discussions through Teams, etc. The teacher will ensure that the student can access it or offer alternative means, which are available to them.
											In the event that the student commits any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade of an assessment act, this assessmentact will be graded with 0, regardless of the disciplinary process that may be instructed. In the event of several irregularities in the evaluation acts of the same subject, the final grade for this subject will be 0.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Exposició oral 30 25.5 1.02 3, 1, 2, 6, 4, 5
primer examen parcial 35 1.5 0.06 3, 6, 5
segon examen parcial 35 1.5 0.06 3, 6, 5



[En negreta els manuals i obres de consulta especialment recomanats]


Diccionaris i obres de consulta
Aghion, I. et alii.1997. Guía iconográfica de los héroes y dioses de la antigüedad. Madrid.
Bonnefoy, I. (ed.) 1981. Dictionnaire des mythologies et des religions des sociétés traditionnelles et du monde antique. Paris.
Grimal, P. 2008. Diccionari de mitologia grega i romana. Barcelona
Harrauer, C., Hunger H. 2008. Diccionario de mitología griega y romana con referencia sobre la influencia de los temas y motivos antiguos en las artes plásticas, la literatura y la música de Occidente hasta la actualidad. Barcelona
LIMC = DD.AA. 1981- .Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae. Zürich.
Ogden (ed.) 2007. A Companion to Greek religion. Malden.
Olalla, P. 2001. Atlas mitológico de Grecia. Atenes.
Price S. (ed.), 2004. The Oxford dictionary of classical myth and religion. Oxford.
Roscher, W. (ed.) 1884-1937. Ausfürlischen Lexicon des Griechischen und Römischen Mythologie. Leipzig.
ThesCRA = Thesaurus cultus et rituum antiquorum Los Angeles-Basel 2004.
Woodward (ed.) The Cambridge companion to greek mythology. Cambridge.
Bibliografia general
Bernabé Pajares, A. 2008. Dioses, héroes y orígenes del mundo: lecturas de mitología. Madrid.
Bremmer, J. 1994. Greek religion. Oxford.
Burkert, W. 1985. Greek religion archaic and classical. Oxford. (També en versió en castelà: Religión griega arcaica y clásica)
Buxton, R. 2004. Todos los dioses de Grecia. Madrid.
Buxton,R. 2000. El Imaginario griego. Los contextos de la mitología. Madrid.
Chirassi Colombo, I. 2005. La religión griega: dioses, héroes, ritos y misterios. Madrid.
Delattre, C. 2005. Manuel de mythologie grecque. Bréal.
Díez de Velasco Abellán, Francisco P. 1998. Lenguajes de la religión: mitos, símbolos e imágenes de la Grecia. Madrid.
Ekroth, G. 2002: The Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero Cults in the Archaic to the Early Hellenistic Periods, Kernos, supl. 2, Lieja.
Gantz, T. 1993. Early Greek myth : a guide to literary and artistic sources. Baltimore.
García Gual, C. 2007. Introducción a la mitología griega. Madrid.
Gómez i Cardó, P. 1997. La Religió i els déus dels grecs. Barcelona.
Graf, F. 1993. Greek mythology: an introduction. Baltimore.
Kirk, G. S. 1971. Myth : its meaning and functions in ancient and other cultures. Cambridge.
Larson, J. 2007. Ancient Greek cults : a guide. New York.
Nilsson, M. 1980. A History of Greek religion. Westport.
Parker, R. 1996. Athenian religion : a history. Oxford.
Redondo,J. 2006. Introducció a la religió i la mitologia gregues. València.
Rice, D. G. 1979. Sources for the study of Greek religion Missoula.
Vernant, J. P. Vidal-Naquet, P. 2002. Mito y tragedia en la Grecia antigua. Barcelona.
Vernant, J. P. 1990. Mythe et religion en Grèce ancienne. Paris.
Vernant, J. P. 2000. L'Univers, els déus, els homes. Barcelona.