Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Hans Mueller




divinity, classics, mythology, intervention, folklore


This thesis explores the reasons for divine intervention in Greek, Roman, and Japanese literature and how it impacts the cultures and traditions of ancient Greece,Rome, and Japan. In the first chapter, I discuss the main motivations of divine intervention in human affairs in Homer’s Iliad. In the second chapter, I examine the lack of divine intervention in Lucan’s Bellum Civile and the changing attitudes toward the role of divinities. In the third chapter, I examine divine intervention in both the ancient mythology and contemporary folklore of Japan, and ask whether or not we can find its impact on traditional values incorporated in the country’s culture. I selected these three areas because divinities play a crucial role in the literature of all three civilizations. For ancient Greece and Rome, the epic genre taught values and traditions that many took seriously. For Japan, its mythology is considered history and important to the nation’s identity. I conclude this thesis with a comparison of all three civilizations and the meaning of divine intervention in literature as a general concept.