This course introduces the artistic, architectural and archaeological remains of ancient Italy and the Roman Empire from c. 900 BCE to 330 CE. We will study Roman material culture from its early beginnings under Etruscan influence through the era of the Roman republic, the imperial period, the rise of Christianity and the dissolution of the empire. We will examine architecture, sculpture, pottery and coins in their social and political contexts, with the goal of understanding all aspects of Roman society and those under Roman rule. The course will be based on slide lectures with assigned readings to supplement the images seen and discussed in class. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
It is impossible to understand the cultures 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.
What did the ancient Greeks and Romans imagine faraway places and peoples were like? What were the social, religious, military, and economic factors that led them to contemplate and travel to distant locales? How did ancient notions of the periphery and the "Other" shape post-Classical perceptions of the world's fringes during, for example, the Age of Discovery? In this course we will study ancient descriptions of journeys to far-off places, ethnographic texts, the causes of human movement in the classical world and the development of views on the structure and dimensions of the earth that led to the achievements of early geographers. We will investigate Greek and Roman travel through archaeological and historical evidence, as well as through seminal texts ranging from Homer's Odyssey and Herodotus' Histories to Tacitus' descriptions of Britain and Germany. The course will consist mainly of discussion. 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 through careful reading and translation of passages from Vergil's poetry. 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.