The Heroic and the Anti-Heroic in Classical Greek Civilization: a free lectures series

Gregory Nagy, PhD, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature, Professor of Comparative Literature, and Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University
Kevin McGrath, PhD, Associate in Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University

The true “hero” of this ancient Greek literature course is the logos, or word, of logical reasoning, as activated by Socratic dialogue. The logos of dialogue requires careful thinking, realized in close reading and reflective writing. The last “word” read in the course comes from Plato’s memories of the last days of Socrates. These memories depend on a thorough understanding of concepts of the hero in all their varieties throughout the history of Greek civilization and beyond. This course is driven by a sequence of dialogues that lead to such an understanding, guiding the attentive reader through some of the major works of the ancient Greek classics, from Homer to Plato.

Course website

For a detailed syllabus and additional class materials, see the CLAS E-116 course website.

Lecture videos on the hero in ancient Greek civilization

The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course Literature and Arts C-14, which was offered as an online course at the Extension School.

Watch the lectures as streaming video or audio. Each lecture is about 50 minutes.

Introductions and Initiations

Section

Section #1

Dialogue #2

Section

Section #2

The Poetics of Lament

Equal to a God

Section

Section #3

Equal to a daimôn

Patroklos as alter ego of Achilles

Section

Therapon; Hora

The Sign of the Hero

A Psychology of Signs in Ancient Greek Visual Arts

Section

Paean

The Return of the King (Physical and Metaphysical)

The Return of the King (Physical and Metaphysical); part II

Section

Nostos

Blessed are the Heroes

Section

Section #7

Longing for a hero

Better off Dead

Section

Revenant

Champions of dikê

Initiation into Tragedy

Section

Niké

Birth of a Polis

The "Swan Song" of Sophocles

Section

Pathos

Shades of the Hero

Section

Soter

Pollution of the Body Politic

A Masterpiece of Metonymy

Section

Initiation

Loose Hair and Social Disorder

The Living Word, Part I

The Living Word, Part II

The Last Word: The Hero as Savior

Section

Phobos

Section

Hora

Enroll in Harvard Extension School courses

If you enjoyed this free ancient Greek civilization course, Harvard Extension School offers a wide variety of courses in numerous fields. Search for classes and enroll for credit during the fall and spring registration periods.

 

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