Through its innovative distance learning program called EDX, Harvard University is offering a class called “The Ancient Greek Hero.”
More than 40,000 people have already registered.
According to the course description, the course will explore what it means to be a human today by studying what it meant to be a hero in ancient Greek times.
“In this introduction to ancient Greek culture and literature, learners will experience, in English translation, some of the most beautiful works of ancient Greek literature and song-making spanning over a thousand years from the 8th century BCE through the 3rd century CE: the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey ; tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; songs of Sappho and Pindar; dialogues of Plato, and On Heroes by Philostratus. All of the resources are free and designed to be equally accessible and transformative for a wide audience.”
“You will gain access to a supportive learning community led by Professor Gregory Nagy and his Board of Readers, who model techniques for “reading out” of ancient texts. This approach allows readers with little or even no experience in the subject matter to begin seeing this literature as an exquisite, perfected system of communication.”
The course may be popular since no previous knowledge of Greek history, literature or language is required.
The course is described as “a project for students of any age, culture, and geographic location, and its profoundly humanistic message can be easily received without previous acquaintance with Western Classical literature.”