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University Minor ‘The Mirror of Myth’

From Greco-Roman antiquity to today, mythological heroes like Heracles, adventurers like Odysseus or powerful women like Medea have fascinated people all over the globe. Myths pop up in political messaging, populate much of Western art, and shape the games we play today. They continue to provide a mirror that we can use to think about ourselves: about how we see ourselves in the world, and how we distinguish fact from fiction.


In ‘The Mirror of Myth’ you will get to know some of the greatest stories of the Classical past. You will come to understand the deep impact they had throughout the ages. You will acquire the critical tools and concepts to analyze their structure, their functions and the many ways in which they have been appropriated for political and other purposes.

Students who complete this minor

  • will have the cultural literacy to identify and understand mythological figures in texts, music, visual art, and films;
  • will have developed the skills to interpret and contextualize mythological stories;
  • will know what different explanations have been given of the pervasiveness of myth and of specific mythological motifs;
  • will be able to dig beneath the surface of cultural narratives and to unmask mythological patterns;
  • will have insight into the societal needs which myths fulfil, in ancient societies and in modern ones;
  • will have an antenna for the vested interests behind the telling of myths.

Study Programme

This University Minor consists of 15 EC, divided into three 5 EC courses. The first, ‘Stories’, is centred on the stories themselves in their ancient and subsequent configurations; the second, called ‘Theories’, is devoted to the nature and history of the myths’ interpretation; in the third, ‘Functions’, the use made of myth in cultural, religious and political life is studied.

Brief Course Descriptions

Stories (5 EC) Theories (5 EC) Functions (5 EC)
Course code: LQM004B05

This is a highly accessible course which will acquaint you with the most significant figures and stories of ancient mythology. Expert lecturers will explain patterns and structures of myths. In the weekly reading sessions you will get hands-on experience with decoding and interpreting ancient myths.
Course code: THMIN-MMT

From the very beginning, people have thought hard about the relationship of myth to truth. In this course you will study the major attempts to come to grips with myth and their abiding allure. In a concluding essay you will develop your own view of how best to interpret a mythological figure or phenomenon.
Course code: LQM005B05

Myths have always served a purpose. This course helps you to understand the contexts, ancient and all too modern, in which myths serve to protect vested interests or to challenge power structures. You will work together to produce a video essay or audioguide in which you give your own take on myths and their functions. This course is capped by an excursion.

The minor will be offered in semester 1b (Nov-Jan). The course ‘Stories’ can also be taken as a stand-alone course.

‘The Mirror of Myth’ is offered by the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society.


This University Minor is open to anyone who has completed their first BA year. Students have to register for the whole minor (between the end of May and 5 July 2024) as well as for the course units of their choice within the minor (until 5 July 2024) via Progress.


For more information, please contact the minor coordinator, Jacqueline Klooster.

Last modified:03 November 2023 2.56 p.m.