Registration is now open for the latest session of “The Ancient Greek Hero,” a groundbreaking open, online project from HarvardX that uses Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) technology to introduce participants to the literature and heroes of ancient Greece. The project is directed by Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature, Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, which has a presence in Nafplio.
Based on one of Harvard College’s longest running residential courses, “HeroesX” invites learners to experience, in English translation, some of the most beautiful works of ancient Greek literature and songmaking: the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey; tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; songs of Sappho and Pindar; dialogues of Plato; and On Heroes by Philostratus.
Throughout the project, Nagy and his Board of Readers, chaired by Professor Leonard Muellner, model techniques for “reading out” of these ancient works instead of reading into them, all the while referencing a wide variety of cultures, popular as well as canonical, modern as well as ancient. Ultimately, even participants with little experience in the subject can gain an understanding of how classical literature serves as an exquisite system of communication, revealing what it means to be human today through the lens of the Greek heroes of the past.
The project began on January 11, 2018. Registration via edX is open to all. HarvardX learners may explore the content and the project’s activities for free, or may register for an edX Verified Certificate through another registration procedure. Students seeking college or graduate credit for their transcripts may enroll in an associated course through Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education.
The Ancient Greek Hero Project
The HeroesX online learning experience is part of a broader project, centering on the role of heroes in ancient Greek civilization. For the HeroesX team, the “C” in the acronym “MOOC” stands for the ongoing efforts of the team to promote “content, community, and conversation.”
Since it was launched in March 2013, HeroesX has logged over 110,000 enrollments from over 170 countries. Through this project, Nagy is sharing his latest research on ancient Greek heroes, a subject that he has been studying for over four decades. Participants in previous sessions describe being transformed by the content, the community, and the profound experience of “reading closely.” HeroesX participants in good standing are also eligible to register for the Kosmos Society, an open-ended, community-driven companion project hosted by Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies.