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Inca Myth as Imperial Mandate
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Inca Myth as Imperial Mandate

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60 episodes in this series

Episode 1 The Titans in Greek Mythology
Welcome to the ancient Greek myths: some of the most popular, well-known stories in Western civilization. When did these tales emerge, and what are our earliest sources for them? Find…
Episode 2 Complex Goddesses: Athena, Aphrodite, Hera
Meet three iconic goddesses whose personalities and stories reflect how the ancient Greeks viewed women. They are: Athena, who emerged fully-formed from Zeus's head and is linked to legal courts;…
Episode 3 Gods and Humanity in Greek Thought
Discover fresh insights into several Greek myths that teach us about the relationship between gods and humans. Is Prometheus a troublemaker (according to Hesiod) or a liberator (according to Aeschylus)?…
Episode 4 Herakles and the Greek Hero
Investigate the mythological roots and legacies of the powerful--but flawed--Greek hero, Herakles. Explore common threads that run through some of his twelve labors, including the slaying of the Hydra and…
Episode 5 Odysseus, Master of Schemes
Turn now to the hero of Homer's celebrated Odyssey: Odysseus. From his plans for the Trojan horse to his tricking of a murderous cyclops to his final arrival back in…
Episode 6 The Golden Fleece and the Hero’s Return
An altogether different--and darker--mythological adventure story is Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. In pondering the best-known versions of both Jason's story and his wife, Medea's, you'll begin to see…
Episode 7 Romulus, Remus, and Rome’s Origins
Not all Roman mythology is indebted to Greece. Focus on several uniquely Roman myths about the empire's founding, including the lives of the brothers Romulus and Remus and the abduction…
Episode 8 Roman Heroes and Traitors
Discover why Aeneas, the ancestor of all Romans, and Tarpeia, who betrayed Rome for personal gain, are two sides of the same coin. As you explore their stories, you'll see…
Episode 9 The Mother Goddess in Rome and Beyond
What does Cybele reveal about the great mother goddesses of mythological traditions? Learn how this classic figure evolved over thousands of years, how it adapted to different cultures, how it…
Episode 10 The Dagda’s Harp and Other Celtic Myths
Using the intriguing tale of Dagda and his magic harp as a framework, Professor McClymond introduces you to the often unappreciated world of Celtic mythology. Meet unforgettable heroes like Cu…
Episode 11 Norse Tales of Odin and Thor
Dark and brooding, Norse mythology reflects the harsh living conditions of ancient Germanic and Scandinavian people. Here, focus on two of the most well-known Norse gods: Odin (the god of…
Episode 12 Hammers, Rings, and Other Norse Magic
Skidbladnir, the ship of the gods that can also fit in your pocket. Andvarinaut, a powerful ring that inspired a cycle of mythological stories. These and other magical items are…
Episode 13 The World’s Oldest Myth: Gilgamesh
Start these riveting lectures at the only appropriate point: the oldest story in the world. In looking at the epic of Gilgamesh, you'll learn how this foundational Babylonian myth reflects…
Episode 14 The Babylonian Creation Story
Where did ancient Babylonians believe the world came from? What startling similarities does their account have with the Bible's? Explore these and other questions in this look at the Enuma…
Episode 15 Chaos and Order in Egypt
Perpetual violence. A destructive struggle between order and chaos. Welcome to the mythography of ancient Egypt, which includes multiple creation stories tied to different city centers; a fantastic pantheon of…
Episode 16 Horus, Osiris, and Ra
Focus on three Egyptian gods who are inextricably linked with the pharaohs. They are the murdered and resurrected Osiris, associated with nature; Horus, the sky god responsible for unifying Upper…
Episode 17 Myths of the Pharaohs
The pharaohs themselves played a vital role in Egyptian culture: maintaining cosmic order throughout the land. Investigate the lives and deaths (and possible afterlives) of several of ancient Egypt's 330…
Episode 18 The Book of Job
Examine the biblical Book of Job through a mythological lens and learn how it addresses the same basic questions of other myths. How do Job's trials and tribulations at the…
Episode 19 The Great Indian Epics
Get inside Indian culture with this lecture on its two great epics: the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Both are frame narratives that bring together hundreds of smaller stories. Both help…
Episode 20 The Bhagavad Gita
Turn now to a section of the Mahabharata known as the Bhagavad Gita. You'll peel back the layers behind the popular story of the warrior Arjuna; learn how to read…
Episode 21 Stories of the Buddha
According to Professor McClymond, it's best to understand the mythology of Buddhism as a grand anthology of short stories. With this in mind, explore the life and beliefs of the…
Episode 22 Persia’s Book of Kings
The Book of Kings is widely regarded as the national epic of the world's Persian-speaking community. Go inside this 11th-century epic poem that traces 50 generations of Persian kings and…
Episode 23 One Thousand and One Nights
Can an overwhelmingly secular text be read as mythology? Find out in this lecture on the One Thousand and One Nights, known in the West as The Arabian Nights. You'll…
Episode 24 Tales of Flood and Fire
Fire and flood are universal images, so it's not surprisingly that many myth traditions in South Asia and the Middle East include them in their stories of destruction and eventual…
Episode 25 The Beauty of African Mythology
Jump into the distinctive elements of African mythology with the story of Shango--a fearsome king of the city-kingdom of Oyo who later became a god. Explore how the cyclical structure…
Episode 26 African Creation Stories
Many myths found across the globe wrestle with the concept of how the world started. African mythology is no exception, embracing a variety of philosophies including ex nihilo ("out of…
Episode 27 African Religious Cosmology
The hierarchy of African religious myths is similar to that of many Western cultures. A single god occupies a high position of authority, responsible for the creation of the world.…
Episode 28 Tricksters of Africa
Tricksters are prevalent in mythologies around the world. From Anansi the Trickster spider to Norse Loki and Japanese Susa-no-wo, the archetype of the Trickster has resonated in storytelling worldwide. Tricksters…
Episode 29 Africa’s Gods and Humanity
A recurring theme in African myth is the physical separation between the original creator god and humanity and how that separation came about. While there are parallels to biblical stories…
Episode 30 Close Encounters with African Divinities
Lesser divinities are often heavily involved in human affairs. The interactions between African gods and mortals express many different ideas about the relationship between mortal life and the divine. Examine…
Episode 31 Culture Heroes of African Myth
The earliest superheroes were the heroes of mythology. Though they're known for playing pivotal parts in the founding of societies, it's often impossible to know whether they actually ever existed.…
Episode 32 The African Morality Tale
Myths about the creation of the world or the establishment of a society provide people with an important sense of shared origins and beliefs. Stories play an essential role in…
Episode 33 The Dausi and African Epics
The epic looms large as a storytelling genre in world mythology. Because of their customary length and level of detail, epics often provide a more comprehensive sense of the early…
Episode 34 The Epic of Bakaridjan Kone
The epic of Bakaridjan Kone is much more recent than the Dausi, but it comes from almost the same part of Africa. Much of its history was wracked by war…
Episode 35 Death and the Afterlife in African Myth
Since the goal of mythology is often to provide reason to the unexplainable, it is no surprise that death and the afterlife are major themes throughout African stories, expressing yearning…
Episode 36 African Heroes in the Underworld
In African mythology, as in myths around the world, it's not uncommon to find characters traveling to the land of the dead to face an ultimate challenge and experiencing a…
Episode 37 Culture and Cosmos in Chinese Mythology
Begin your journey into the mythology of Asia and the Pacific with the story of Fu Xi, which illustrates a profound truth about both Chinese society and the mythology of…
Episode 38 Chinese Heroes, Kings, and Destroyers
Chinese myths about the feats of culture heroes and the deeds of rulers, while relating stories about how things came to be, also engage with questions of what ought to…
Episode 39 Peasant Folktales and Chinese Scholarship
After centuries of oral retellings, the myths and sayings of rural peasants were transformed into formal verse by scholars, becoming the foundation for a highly sophisticated and nuanced body of…
Episode 40 Spirits and Syncretism in Korean Myth
Early Koreans interacted with the spirit world through spirit mediums, primarily women, who perform shamanic rituals and preserve cultural knowledge even up to the modern day. These traditions incorporate religious,…
Episode 41 Korea’s Warring Kingdoms and Flying Dragons
Meet some pivotal figures of Korean mythology: the mythical culture hero Mireuk and his rival Seokga, the legendary king Hyokkose of Silla, and the self-sacrificing magistrate Pak Che-sang. Consider the…
Episode 42 Japanese Tales of Purity and Defilement
Prepare yourself for stories of decaying goddesses, befouled maidens from the underworld, deities emerging from a parent's dirty nostrils, and the contamination of the gods' most sacred spaces with divine…
Episode 43 Gods, Rice, and the Japanese State
Discover how centuries of borrowing religious and political mythology from China and Korea led to a syncretic blending of political myth-making that was heavily influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism. Consider…
Episode 44 Nature Gods and Tricksters of Polynesia
Polynesian tales center around spirits of the natural world, some of whom are compassionate helper-deities and some, like the nasty menehune, that delight in causing trouble. Meet the supreme figures…
Episode 45 Creation and Misbehavior in Micronesia
Compare versions of the same myths found all over Micronesia, such as the creation story of the cosmic spider and the rebellious acts of the Trickster Olofat. Consider how the…
Episode 46 Melanesian Myths of Life and Cannibalism
Delve into variations of myths about the sun and moon, how humans and other creatures were created, and how death came into the world. Learn about the development of anthropology…
Episode 47 Origins in Indonesia and the Philippines
Examine many variants on common mythological themes in this region: accounts of humanity emerging from eggs, intricate tales of the origins of different animals, and stories of how humans acquired…
Episode 48 Aboriginal and Colonial Myths of Australia
Australian mythology, like its wildlife, has features found nowhere else. Discover the mysterious underworld, from where most of life arose from the ground; encounter the Totemic Ancestors; hear tales of…
Episode 49 Nature in Native American Myth
Nature spirits take on a variety of forms in various cultures. Discover the maize myths and other stories about the origins of nature in the Americas. Learn how these stories…
Episode 50 Inuit and Northern Forest Mythology
Hear a riveting Inuit story of Sedna, the Old Woman (or Earth Mother) who lives under the sea. You'll also encounter the Nanabushu stories and the archetype of the Trickster,…
Episode 51 Tales and Rituals of the Iroquois League
Get an introduction to the "earth-diver" creation myths, and learn how many other peoples near the Iroquois and far away tell the same kind of story. You'll also consider myths…
Episode 52 Southeast Amerindian Origin Stories
The Southeast region of the United States was home to many different Native American cultures. Five major languages were spoken in the area, and a sign language was invented for…
Episode 53 Mythology of the Plains Peoples
Journey through the Great Plains to look at new myths involving creatures and environments that can't be duplicated in other regions. Hear the fascinating story of the Buffalo Woman, and…
Episode 54 Amerindian Tales from the Northwest
Life on the Northwest coast did not fit our image of typical Native American civilizations. Learn about how myths helped create these societies, villages, governing systems, and even an economic…
Episode 55 The Navajo Emergence Myth
Revisit the concept of "earth-diver" and "emergence" origin stories and see how they differ in the Southwest as you explore "air-spirit people" and their intriguing fables. Gain a deeper understanding…
Episode 56 Stories of the Pueblo
Explore an excellent example of an emergence myth from the Zuni people, involving Awonawilona All-Father, his two boys, and the first writhing creatures of the deep. Compare this to a…
Episode 57 Native American Tricksters
Go in-depth with the Trickster archetype. Although not exclusive to Northern American tales, the Trickster is the most popular character in Native American myths. There are likely more stories about…
Episode 58 The Popol Vuh - Creation and Hero Twins
In 1701 a Spanish priest fluent in Mayan translated a secret copy of the ancient Maya story of creation, the Popol Vuh. The original has long since disappeared, but the…
Episode 59 Aztec Myth Meets Hernán Cortés
Mesoamericans gods have several "manifestations" or "aspects," and each different manifestation has a different appearance, different powers, and is responsible for different things. Meet some of the major characters, and…
Episode 60 Inca Myth as Imperial Mandate
Comparing the Incas to the Roman Empire, you'll find some fascinating parallels, both in history and in mythology. Hear the Kolla creation story from the Incas, based on their understanding…

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