World Literature


Cities have important functions in the heroic works of the ancient world. Choose two cities from the following
list: Uruk (Gilgamesh), Troy (Iliad) and/or Corinth (Medea). After selecting two cities, consider what
characteristics these cities share. Then consider how the attitudes toward city life expressed in these texts
Hospitality is one of the chief virtues of ancient and heroic cultures. Compare the nature and extent of the
hospitality displayed in two of the following texts: Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid.
Aristotle said that the man who is incapable of working in common, or who in his self-sufficiency has no need of
others, is no part of the community, like a beast or a god. Compare the figure of Achilles with either Odysseus or
Gilgamesh in light of this statement. What does this comparison reveal about the meaning of a hero’s relationship
to his community?
Compare the relationship of Odysseus and Athena with that of Job and God. What meaning or ideas does this
comparison suggest about the religious attitudes of the Hebrews and Greeks? (Pay particular attention to the long
interview between Odysseus and Athena in Odyssey XIII.)
Look closely at Augustine’s tribute to his mother, Monica. What virtues does he particularly commend in her?
Compare her virtues, her view of marriage, and her ideas about a woman’s responsibilities to her husband with
those of Rebekah in Genesis or Penelope in The Odyssey.
Compare Augustine’s and Dante’s spiritual journeys. Explore the pilgrims’ processes of learning, their “guides,”  and the methods of teaching/learning they encounter.

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