University of Santa Clara archaeologist Isabelle Pafford is back with a new course about heroic narratives, Heroes & Heroism (iTunes). The course covers heroic figures in ancient works like the Iliad, the Gilgamesh epic, and the Bhagavad Gita, and explores the historical background behind these tales.
Pafford has many fans among my readers who have praised her speaking style and dry sense of humor. For myself, I find her pacing a bit slow, so she is not one of my favorite lecturers. However she does an admirable job in covering her material and is very well organized.
The lectures are best experienced with a device that has a video screen such as a computer or a video-capable portable player because the audio files include Pafford’s slides, which add immensely to the experience. For instance, in lecture 2 Pafford illustrates the rich culture of the Mycenaeans with a photo of the intricate artwork produced in that culture. You can then see the stark contrast with the simple pottery of the dark ages that followed the collapse of the Mycenaean culture.