William Sterling

Great Voyages From Greek and Roman Myths

Great Voyages from Greek and Roman Myths – Jason, Odysseus and Aeneas

A detailed examination of the voyages and their fantastical encounters relating them to reality.

This course was run at the National Maritime Museum on Sunday 28th January 2018. It was repeated at the City Lit on Saturday 18th January 2020 and then online on Saturday 16th January 2021.

We covered Jason’s voyage to collect the Golden Fleece as described by Apollonius of Rhodes in his Argonautica written in Alexandria in the C3rd BC. He encountered the murderous women of Lemnos, the six-armed giant Gegeines, Phineas and the harpies, the clashing rocks, the sirens and the bronze giant Talos. We shall also look at the rest of his story and his relationship with Medea. Odysseus’s story comes from Homer’s Odyssey composed in the C8th BC. Odysseus encountered the Lotus Eaters, the Cyclopes, the cannibalistic Laestrygonians, the witch Circe, the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the nymph Calypso and the Phaeacians on his epic voyage home from Troy. We shall also cover the rest of his story briefly. Aeneas’s voyage from Troy to Italy was described by Virgil in his Aeneid written for the emperor Augustus round about 25 BC. He encounters Polydorus in Thrace, the harpy Celeano, Hector’s widow Andromache in Buthrotum, Scylla and Charybdis, the Cyclopes, and Queen Dido in Carthage. We shall briefly note the rest of his story.

Here are the slides from the course as printable handouts from the 2018 and 2021 versions

Jason slides as printable handouts

Jason slides 2021 PDF

Odysseus slides as printable handouts

Odysseus 2021 ancient PDF

Odysseus 2020 PDF

Aeneas slides as printable handouts

Aeneas 2021 PDF

Greek Ships slides as printable handouts

And some other information that might be of interest



The Argonauts assemble

The Odyssey Telegony and Cyclops

Summary of the Aeneid

Funeral Games of Anchises

The Shield of Aeneas

The following podcasts from Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time may be of interest

The Greek Myths

The epic

The Odyssey

Trojan War

The Aeneid