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Greek and Roman myth: stories and histories

Since myth permeated nearly every aspect of Greek and Roman life, it is impossible to study the classical world without encountering myths in some form or other. In this module, you’ll study a rich and fascinating range of art, literature, and material objects, looking not just at individual mythical figures and stories but also broader uses of myth in classical Athens, Augustan Rome, and beyond. As well as extending your knowledge of Greek and Roman myth, you'll be able to develop as an independent learner and hone your skills of communicating with both academic and non-specialist audiences.

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Module code




  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.

Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
3 10 6

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

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What you will study

In this module, you’ll develop an understanding of the key features of Greek and Roman myth by exploring art, literature and objects that take Greek and Roman myth as their subject matter. You’ll do this in three stages: first by studying different versions of specific myths in the ancient world and beyond, then by looking more broadly at the uses of myth in classical Athens and Augustan Rome, and finally by undertaking your own project on a figure from Greek and Roman myth. As you study, you’ll explore versions of myths in a wide range of media, including poetry, drama, prose, painted pottery, paintings and sculpture and be introduced to key academic debates connected with the myths and themes that you’ll study.

You’ll begin by thinking about what is meant by ‘myth’ and the functions it performs. By studying different versions of the myth of Andromeda and Perseus, you’ll learn about some of the ways in which myths change, depending on how, when, and by whom they are told.

Block 1: The Myth of Medea
The character of Medea is intriguing and multi-faceted: she was of divine descent, a princess, a sorceress, a priestess, a wronged woman and a child-slayer. You’ll explore how Medea was characterised and represented in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, tracing the myth from its earliest appearance in literary and visual sources in archaic Greece, through Greek and Roman antiquity and beyond.

Block 2: Myth in Classical Athens: Identity, Ideology and Experience
You'll explore how mythological stories were used in one time and place, namely Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, focusing on two main strands: how the Athenians used myth to express ideas about their society and the world around them, and how they experienced myth in their day-to-day lives. Your studies in this block take in public art and architecture, oratory, history, tragedy and religious beliefs and practices.

Block 3: Myth in Rome and Beyond: Ovid’s "Metamorphoses"
You'll focus on Augustan Rome, exploring the significance and ideological functions of myth in Roman culture and Ovid’s epic poem, the Metamorphoses. As well as considering its relationship to the cultural context in which it was written, you’ll also explore post-classical, including modern, receptions of the Metamorphoses in media ranging from poetry to painting to film, considering how Ovid’s myths link to themes with particular currency in the 21st century.

Block 4: Researching and Communicating Greek and Roman Myth
You'll design your own project on Greek and Roman myth, with the option of either writing an extended essay or, alternatively, curating a ‘one-room exhibition’ (using bespoke software specifically designed for this module). You’ll be guided through the various stages of planning this end-of-module project, such as identifying a topic, locating sources and scholarship, and communicating your findings effectively. You’ll initially work on a detailed plan, which you’ll then develop into your completed project in the final weeks of the module.

You will learn

By studying this module, you will:

  • gain an in-depth knowledge of a range of myths, and learn how these functioned in a range of historical, social and cultural contexts
  • communicate information, arguments and ideas accurately and effectively, taking account of your audience
  • become familiar with a range of scholarship and make informed contributions to debates relating to Greek and Roman myth
  • develop as an independent learner with ideas and strategies for exploring, analysing and learning about a given subject area
  • gain experience of planning, researching and writing an extended piece of independent work in the form of an end-of-module project.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:
  • marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • facilitating online discussions between your fellow students in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.
Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Future availability

Greek and Roman myth: stories and histories starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2033.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Course work includes:

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably at the OU. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

No preparatory work is required for this module. However, if you would like to do some pre-module reading in preparation, you may enjoy the following:

A350 Set Texts:
  • Euripides, Medea (transl. J. Harrison, Cambridge Translations from Greek Drama, Cambridge University Press)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses (transl. D. Raeburn, Penguin Classics). Please note that only selected episodes of this poem are studied in this module. 
Introductory books on Greek and Roman myth:
  • Helen Morales, Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press)
  • Robert A. Segal, Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press)

When you register, you’ll have access to the Arts and Humanities subject site, where you will find information on Introduction to Level 3 Study: A350 Greek and Roman myth: stories and histories for further advice on pre-module reading.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Jun 2025 £3636.00

Registration closes 05/09/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2033.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Joint loan applications

If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and, therefore, the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 16/07/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

Module books and access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • module materials, including both print and electronic versions of the books
  • bespoke audio and video content designed to support your study of the module
  • online activities
  • module guide and assessment guide
  • online tutorial access.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Euripides: Harrison, J. (ed) Medea Cambridge University Press £9.95 - ISBN 9780521644792
  • Ovid: Feeney, D. (Intro) & Raeburn, D. (trans.) Metamorphoses Penguin £9.99 - ISBN 9780140447897
  • Sophocles: Taplin, O. (ed) Oedipus the King and Other Tragedies Oxford World's Classics £8.99 - ISBN 9780192806857 (This volume was originally published in hardback under the title 'Sophocles: Four Tragedies' ISBN 9780199286232)
  • March, J. Dictionary of Classical Mythology (2014 edition) Oxbow Books £29.95 - ISBN 9781782976356

Note: We are aware of the availability issues around print copies of Dictionary of Classical Mythology (ISBN 9781782976356) and apologise for the inconvenience. Whilst we work to rectify this, please note that a Kindle version of the title is available through Amazon, and the eBook is freely available through the Open University Library here: https://search-credoreference-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/title/oxbocm?tab=contents

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying A350 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.