Week 5: Myth and Geography


Plato, Timaios 20d-25d

Plato, Kritias 108e-121c)

Lysias, Funeral Oration 2.4-6

Strabo, Geography 11.5.1-3

Herodotos, Histories 4.13, 32-36



Study questions for mythology and geography:


1. In what sense(s) can it be said that Plato tells his story of Atlantis as a myth rather than as history?

2. Conversely, how does Plato try to make his story of Atlantis seem like real history even when it isn’t? Why does he do this?

3. How does Plato use his “myth” of Atlantis? To judge from the way he tells the story what is/are his reason(s) for telling it?

4. In the excerpt from Lysias, what lesson(s) does the speaker drawn from the myth of the Amazons?

5. What do you think of Strabo’s distinction between mythology and history?

6. Alexander the Great lived some 300 years before Strabo. Is Strabo’s story of Alexander and Thalestria myth? history? something else? what?

7. To your thinking, are Strabo’s stories about the Amazons myth or history? Why?

8. Is Herodotos’ story about the Hyperborean Maidens myth? history? something else? what?