This course surveys the history of the ancient Romans from their early years as a negligible people in central Italy, to their emergence as the supreme power in the Mediterranean, and, finally, to the eve of their displacement as rulers of the greatest empire in antiquity. The course combines a chronological account of the Romans' remarkable political history with an examination of Roman society, including subjects such as gender, demography and slavery. We will read from a variety of ancient sources, including the historians Polybius, Livy and Tacitus and the poets Horace and Vergil. We also will mine the evidence offered by coins, inscriptions, papyri and even graffiti, which provide invaluable insight into the realia of daily life. The course will combine lecture and discussion. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
This course introduces the techniques and methods of classical archaeology as revealed through an examination of Greek material culture. Emphasis will be placed on the major monuments and artifacts of the Greek world from the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period. Along with sculpture, architecture and painting, we will examine coinage, epigraphy and other material remains that reveal aspects of life in ancient Greece. 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, militar, 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 worlds 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.
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.