Myth Reading Group – Summer Term 2021: ATHENE

Athena holds a spear and the decorated stern of a trireme warship. Attic Red Figure vase, c. 480 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image from

Our theme for this term’s Myth Reading Group is Athene.

The Myth Reading Group is open to all who have an interest in the study of myth. Meetings are held over ‘Zoom’, with texts circulated in advance. Together we read extracts from the selected texts and have an open-ended discussion of them. The discussions are both scholarly and informal, always with a feeling for the power of the myth. Although you are encouraged to join in the discussion, you are also welcome simply to observe.

This term, we will focus on texts which engage with representations of the Olympian goddess Athene/Athena/Pallas/Minerva. She is born fully armed from the head of Zeus, and she bears the terrible, mysterious aegis. She is associated with battles and civilisation, and with owls and olives. She aids heroes in their quests, and (as in Ovid’s Metamorphoses), punishes mortal women. We will look at Athena’s presence on the stage, as seen in Aeschylus’ Eumenides and Sophocles’ Ajax, and in poetry ancient and modern.

We will meet on the following Tuesdays, between 5.30 and 6.30 pm:

  • 4 May: Roberto Calasso’s Athena in The Marriage of Cadmus & Harmony
  • 18 May: Minerva and Arachne in Ovid’s Metamorphoses
  • 1 June: Pindar’s Twelfth Pythian Ode & Osip Mandelshtam
  • 15 June: Athena on the stage: Aeschylus’ Eumenides & Sophocles’ Ajax
  • 29 June: Athena Open Session

Texts and Zoom links will be posted on this site in advance of each session

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