This course surveys the history of ancient Greece from its occluded origins in the pre-Homeric past to the widespread diffusion of Hellenic culture that accompanied the conquests of Alexander the Great. At the heart of the course will be a careful study of the emergence and development of the Greek city-state in its various incarnations. The course will provide a solid grounding in political history but will also explore aspects of the cultural milieu--for example, religion, sexual mores, and the economy--that fostered some of the greatest literary and artistic works produced by Western civilization. We will read from the celebrated Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides, as well as from a variety of other sources, ranging from the familiar to the recondite. The course will combine lecture and discussion. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
It is impossible to understand the literatures of the West without some knowledge of classical mythology. Not only are some myths wildly entertaining, they permeate popular imagination and life to this day. This course focuses on the evidence from ancient Greece and Rome but may also include material from other traditions. Class discussion will explore some of the overarching themes contained within the myths themselves and also how these stories have influenced modern culture through literature and art. At the same time, students will have a chance to observe how the treatment of different myths changes from author to author, thus revealing what issues were important to the people who told them. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
The ancient city-state of Athens is renowned for its achievements in architecture, art, politics, literature, philosophy, and drama. In this course we will study the development of Athens from the Bronze Age to the Roman period in order to understand the context of these accomplishments. Our examination of Athenian topography and monuments will include the geography of the city and its natural resources, the architectural plan of the city as it develops over time, and the functions of different areas of the city, such as sanctuaries, cemeteries, and private dwellings. This study of the archaeological record, along with ancient texts, will reveal many aspects of Athenian society, including religion, economy, government, and social stratification. No prerequisite. Offered occasionally.
In this capstone course, the content of which will change on a regular basis, students will study closely a particular topic in classics that benefits from an investigation based on a wide range of approaches (e.g., literary, historical, archaeological). The course seeks to further students' skills in written and verbal communication: each student will write a major research paper on a subject related to the topic of the seminar and will outline the results of his or her inquiry in an oral presentation. This course is required of and restricted to classics majors and minors in their senior year. Offered every year.
It is a great pleasure to read Homer in Greek, and this course seeks to help students do so with accuracy and insight. Students will acquire a working knowledge of Homer's vocabulary and syntax, and will explore some of the key literary and historical questions that have occupied his readers. Offered every spring.
Emphasis will be placed on improving reading efficiency both through careful translation of passages from Vergil's poetry and through grammar review. In addition, students will develop an appreciation of the often subtle intricacies of Vergil's poetic language and the untranslatable music of his verse. Attention will be given both to understanding Vergil in his cultural and historical context and to exploring his continuing significance. Offered every spring.