In classical myth we find the very beginnings of western philosophy and thought. This course investigates the myths of ancient Greece and Rome and what they tell us about how ancient peoples understood and explained their universe, deities, religion, gender, warfare, codes of behavior and justice, and attitudes about life and death. The course starts in Mesopotamia with the legends of Gilgamesh and continues into the world of the Greeks (the mainstay of the course), with a focus on the Olympians and sagas of famed heroes like Achilles, Hercules, Jason, Perseus, Odysseus, and Theseus. We end with the myths of Rome and legends of its foundations by Romulus & Remus and Aeneas. Students learn the significance of these stories for humanity and how to recognize and explain motifs and patterns of myth in art, literature, science, culture and everyday life.