Courses

CLAS 30321 Gordion and its Neighbors: Central Anatoli During the Iron Age

(NEAA 20333/30333, CLCV 20321)

This class is an in-depth study of central Anatolia's most important archaeological site during the early first millennium BCE: Gordion, the capital city of the kingdom of Phrygia. In addition to learning the archaeology of this site in great detail, we will also use it as a foundation to explore neighboring excavations in the region, including the Iron Age levels of Hattusha, Kaman-Kalehöyük, Kınık Höyük, and others

James Osborne
2021-22 Autumn

CLAS 32921 Embodiment in Ancient Greece

(CLCV 22921, ARTH 2/30320)

This course examines how the human body was represented and conceptualized in ancient Greek art and literature. Moving through three themed units ­– Objects and Bodies, Gender and Sexuality through the Senses, and Fragile Bodies – we will consider how concepts of embodiment were constructed and articulated in a range of social and spatial contexts, including sanctuaries, drinking parties, grave sites, and battlefields. A central goal of this course is to bring together two types of evidence – material objects and written sources – from classical antiquity that are traditionally studied apart. Through primary texts (in translation), discussions of objects, and museum visits, we will develop strategies for thinking across methodological divides and between word and image to arrive at a richer, more textured understanding of the body in ancient Greece. 

Sarah Nooter, Seth Estrin
2021-22 Winter

CLAS 33721 Women in Ancient Greece and Rome

(CLCV 23721)

This course will examine both the historical record and the literary imagination in order to gain insight into the lives of women in ancient Greece and Rome. In both societies, women were a highly marginalized group, albeit in different ways. In this course, we will look at the forms of marginalization and the (male) anxieties that led to them, but we will give particular attention to the manner in which women were able to assert themselves and take agency in various social, civic, and religious spheres. Readings will all be in English, and will focus on both the everyday lives of women in the Greco-Roman world and on those of certain elite women. 

2021-22 Spring

CLAS 34021 Between Polemics and Encounter: "Jews" and "Christians" in Rome and Sasanian Persia

(HCHE 37213, BIBL 37213, HUD 37213 RLST 27213, CLCV 24021)

In recent decades, scholars of biblical and early Christian literature have examined the various ways literary sources constructed the relationship between “Jews” and “Christians” in Late Antiquity. These resources prove challenging for reconstructing the situation on the ground. This course will introduce students to the various models that scholars have advanced for making sense of the evidence and debated categories such as “Jewish-Christianity.” Against this backdrop, students will undertake a close reading of a select, representative examples to examine the development of adversus Iudaeos (“against the Jews”) literature. The readings will focus our attention on evidence from Greek- and Syriac-speaking Christians living within the multilingual and religiously diverse regions at the boundary of the Roman and Sassanian Persian Empires. Familiar sources such as the Pauline epistles, Apostolic Fathers, and John Chysostom will be accompanied by readings from the pseudo-Clementine literature, the Didascalia Apostolorum, poetry, and Persian Martyr Acts. We will explore how new discoveries within Syriac studies are currently reshaping our approaches to traditional questions. 

None; those with skills in Greek and Syriac will have the opportunity to apply them.

Erin Galgay Walsh
2021-22 Winter

CLAS 34521 Politics and Political Space in Ancient Rome

(CLCV 24521)

Aristotle called human beings “political animals,” suggesting an inherent connection between politics and the human propensity to live in cities. Using the city of Rome as its focus, this course aims to deepen our understanding of how urban spaces are not just backdrops to history but fundamentally shape political power. Focusing on the late Republic and early empire, in the first half of the class we will debate how the Roman forum, Campus Martius, and imperial fora altered the possibilities for political activity—from large public assemblies to restricted, autocratic displays focused on the emperor. We will also explore how “private” or seemingly “apolitical” spaces, such as houses and theaters, were used for the demonstration and negotiation of political and social power. This course will encourage students to use a variety of methodologies and source materials, from literary sources to digital archaeology, to construct arguments about the relationships between politics and space. We will also discuss how the lessons of Rome can be applied to battles over the landscapes of modern US cities. 

2021-22 Autumn

CLAS 35121 Solitude in the Ancient Greek World

(CLCV 15121)

This course will explore how the poets and philosophers of archaic and classical Greece conceptualized “being alone,” particularly insofar as solitude occasioned both unparalleled achievements and unique dangers (both for the individual and the community.) We will read portions of Homer’s Iliad, Hesiod’s Theogony, Sophocles’ Philoctetes, and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, together with excerpts of ancient philosophy, with an aim of thinking through the relationship between individual and community, which is fraught with tension in so many time periods and cultures. We will also reconsider our understanding of the ancient Greeks as primarily “public” in their motivations and values, in light of the array of possibilities offered by solitude in many of these texts. 

2021-22 Winter

CLAS 35516 Strabo's World: Early Geographic Traditions

(CLCV 25516)

This course traces the emergence of geographic thought in the Mediterranean world and the diachronic representations of space and place that became the foundations for the humanistic and social science of geography. Discussions will examine the practices that led to diverse modes and styles of spatial expression, travel and mapping, the tensions between the known world and the exotic imagined other, and the political, social, and cultural dimensions of geographic works and their historic contexts. Beyond our sustained focus on Strabo, writing under the Roman Empire, we will explore and interrogate both earlier and later traditions, from Hecataeus and Herodotus to Dionysius and Pausanias.

2021-22 Winter

CLAS 35721 Rhetoric vs. Philosophy

(CLCV 25721)

This course will introduce undergraduates to the Greco-Roman sources of a key tension that has shaped contemporary humanities: the debate between philosophy and rhetoric, between ideals of truth and powers of persuasion. Beginning with an in-depth examination of Plato’s scathing attack on rhetoric in the Gorgias, a deeply ambiguous text in which Socrates’ championing of philosophy actually seems to fail, we will examine Plato’s rehabilitation of rhetoric in the Phaedrus as a means of leading souls towards truth, Cicero’s attempt to combine rhetoric and philosophy in Book III of his dialogue On the Orator, and Quintilian’s effort to inspire moral commitment in the readers of his rhetorical treatise On the Education of the Orator.  In the latter part of the course, we will encounter new voices entering the debate and adding their own unique concerns: Augustine’s conflicted feelings towards his rhetorical education in the Confessions, Isotta Nogarola’s spirited entrance into a tradition of rhetorical and philosophical debate defined and dominated by men, and Petrus Ramus’ attack on the unity of rhetoric and morality that dramatically altered the shape of humanistic studies.  We will conclude the course with Danielle Allen’s chapter “Rhetoric, a Good Thing” in Talking to StrangersAnxieties of Citizenship Since Brown v. Board of Education,  which engages in this debate via Aristotle and frames rhetoric as a useful tool for forging civic bonds in troubled political times.  

2021-22 Spring

CLAS 36421 Augustine, De Civitate Dei

(LATN 2/36421, CLCV 26421, BIBL 35301, HCHR 35301, RETH 35301, THEO 35301)

Augustine’s City of God is a major work of history, politics, and religion. Written after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410, the work begins an apology (justification) of the Empire’s turn to Christianity and expands to offer a sweeping and deeply theological account of human history and society in terms of earth-bound versus heaven-centered community. Augustine’s citizenship and politics entails living out membership in either fellowship while commingled on earth with the other. Augustine analyzes Roman history and politics as well as the new religion first encouraged and eventually imposed in the wake of Constantine’s conversion.
We shall read the entire work in translation, attending to historical observations, political stances, and religious views. Augustine made arguments of his own but saved huge swaths of Varro and other otherwise lost sources to fashion his historical critique of Rome, social analysis, and many ultimately fresh views on matters like human sexuality in paradise and in heaven.
The class will meet once a week. A supplementary Latin reading group will also convene once a week for close reading of important and demanding selections in the original. There will be some invited international guest speakers.

There will be a weekly Latin reading group (F. afternoon, 90 minutes) for classics and other students who want to tackle Augustine's Latin.

Michael I. Allen, Willemien Otten
2021-22 Autumn

CLAS 36721 Peripheries of the Greek World

(CLCV 26721)

What happens when we consider the cultures, histories, and politics of the ancient Greek world from outside its Aegean ecumene? From Homeric ethnographies to Hellenistic expansion, the borders and peripheries of Greek life became rich spaces for both imagining and constructing Greek identity and civilization through interactions with myriad “others”: barbarians, allies, kings, and monsters. And in recent decades, interdisciplinary research has examined what life was like on these peripheries, at the intersections of Greek colonization, trade, religion, and the state. In this course we examine the concept of peripheries (and cores) and question the methodologies that historians and archaeologists use to consider the dynamic spaces around the edges of the Aegean sea: colonial settlements, sites of pilgrimage, industrial districts, and exotic fringes, among others. Using textual and material evidence, and taking a broad approach by exploring case studies from Iberia to India, we consider the practices through which diverse peripheries became intertwined with Greek culture (or not), and how current postcolonial approaches are decentering the study of ancient Greek culture.

2021-22 Winter

CLAS 40921 Seminar: Mediterranean Societies Beyond the Polis I

This two-quarter seminar introduces students to key debates and challenges in the study of ancient Mediterranean societies outside or elliptical to the boundaries of the city-state. In the first half, readings and discussions will interrogate Greek and Roman concepts of territoriality and border-making, frontiers and hinterlands, and political community, as well as assess limitations in method and evidence for studying the material histories of nonurban social formations. The course takes a broad approach by exploring diverse regional and chronological case studies. In the second quarter, students will write a major research paper. Non-Classics students may enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors.

CLAS 40922 Seminar: Mediterranean Societies Beyond the Polis I

This two-quarter seminar introduces students to key debates and challenges in the study of ancient Mediterranean societies outside or elliptical to the boundaries of the city-state. In the first half, readings and discussions will interrogate Greek and Roman concepts of territoriality and border-making, frontiers and hinterlands, and political community, as well as assess limitations in method and evidence for studying the material histories of nonurban social formations. The course takes a broad approach by exploring diverse regional and chronological case studies. In the second quarter, students will write a major research paper. Non-Classics students may enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors. C. Kearns/C. Ando.  Winter.

CLCV 15000 Myth and Its Critics

(HISTT 17000, SIGN 26307)

Myth is essential to how humans make sense of the world: our foundational stories explain the nature of the world; they justify and explore social and sexual difference; they teach and test the limits of human agency. The course will survey contexts and uses of myth-making in the ancient Mediterranean world. We will also explore the many traditions of critique and anxiety about myth-making among philosophers, literary critics, and religious authorities.

2021-22 Spring

CLCV 20321 Gordion and its Neighbors: Central Anatoli During the Iron Age

(NEAA 20333/30333, CLAS 30321)

This class is an in-depth study of central Anatolia's most important archaeological site during the early first millennium BCE: Gordion, the capital city of the kingdom of Phrygia. In addition to learning the archaeology of this site in great detail, we will also use it as a foundation to explore neighboring excavations in the region, including the Iron Age levels of Hattusha, Kaman-Kalehöyük, Kınık Höyük, and others.

James Osborne
2021-22 Autumn

CLCV 22700 History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy

(PHIL 25000)

An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good.

Agnes Callard
2021-22 Autumn

CLCV 22914 The Italian Renaissance

(HIST 12203, FNDL 22204, ITAL 16000, KNOW 12203, MDVL 12203, RLST 2203, SIGN 26034)

Florence, Rome, and the Italian city-states in the age of plagues and cathedrals, Dante and Machiavelli, Medici and Borgia (1250-1600), with a focus on literature and primary sources, the recovery of lost texts and technologies of the ancient world, and the role of the Church in Renaissance culture and politics. Humanism, patronage, translation, cultural immersion, dynastic and papal politics, corruption, assassination, art, music, magic, censorship, religion, education, science, heresy, and the roots of the Reformation. Assignments include creative writing, reproducing historical artifacts, and a live reenactment of a papal election. First-year students and non-history majors welcome.

Ada Palmer
2021-22 Spring

CLCV 22921 Embodiment in Ancient Greece

(CLAS 32921, ARTH 2/30320)

This course examines how the human body was represented and conceptualized in ancient Greek art and literature. Moving through three themed units ­– Objects and Bodies, Gender and Sexuality through the Senses, and Fragile Bodies – we will consider how concepts of embodiment were constructed and articulated in a range of social and spatial contexts, including sanctuaries, drinking parties, grave sites, and battlefields. A central goal of this course is to bring together two types of evidence – material objects and written sources – from classical antiquity that are traditionally studied apart. Through primary texts (in translation), discussions of objects, and museum visits, we will develop strategies for thinking across methodological divides and between word and image to arrive at richer, more textured understanding of the body in ancient Greece. 

Sarah Nooter, Seth Estrin
2021-22 Winter

CLCV 23721 Women in Ancient Greece and Rome

(CLAS 33721)

This course will examine both the historical record and the literary imagination in order to gain insight into the lives of women in ancient Greece and Rome. In both societies, women were a highly marginalized group, albeit in different ways. In this course, we will look at the forms of marginalization and the (male) anxieties that led to them, but we will give particular attention to the manner in which women were able to assert themselves and take agency in various social, civic, and religious spheres. Readings will all be in English and will focus on both the everyday lives of women in the Greco-Roman world and on those of certain elite women. 

2021-22 Spring

CLCV 24021 Between Polemics and Encounter: "Jews" and "Christians" in Rome and Sasanian Persia

(HCHE 37213, BIBL 37213, HUD 37213 RLST 27213, CLAS 34021)

In recent decades, scholars of biblical and early Christian literature have examined the various ways literary sources constructed the relationship between “Jews” and “Christians” in Late Antiquity. These resources prove challenging for reconstructing the situation on the ground. This course will introduce students to the various models that scholars have advanced for making sense of the evidence and debated categories such as “Jewish-Christianity.” Against this backdrop, students will undertake a close reading of select, representative examples to examine the development of adversus Iudaeos (“against the Jews”) literature. The readings will focus our attention on evidence from Greek- and Syriac-speaking Christians living within the multilingual and religiously diverse regions at the boundary of the Roman and Sassanian Persian Empires. Familiar sources such as the Pauline epistles, Apostolic Fathers, and John Chysostom will be accompanied by readings from the pseudo-Clementine literature, the Didascalia Apostolorum, poetry, and Persian Martyr Acts. We will explore how new discoveries within Syriac studies are currently reshaping our approaches to traditional questions. 

None; those with skills in Greek and Syriac will have the opportunity to apply them.

Erin Galgay Walsh
2021-22 Winter

CLCV 24221 Jesus the Divine Physician: Disability, Healing, and Medical Knowledge in the Ancient World

(HCHR 42250, HCHR, 42250, RLST 2250, CLAS 44221)

Christianity arose in a world with competing conceptions of the body, health, and the sources of disease. How did the categories of magic, miracles, and medicine intersect in the ancient world? What attitudes toward the body and disability do we find in ancient texts? In this class, students will examine Greek and Roman attitudes through material evidence such as amulets and healing shrines and the textual record of practitioners such as Hippocrates, Galen, and Soranus of Ephesus. The class will discuss the difficulties of mapping modern categories and terminology onto ancient paradigms. Alongside this material, students will gain familiarity with theories of disease and the sociology of health and illness in the Hebrew Bible. Against this historical background, we will approach select accounts of healings within New Testament and early Christian literature. What orientations toward the body and healing do we find? Working at the intersection of biblical and disability studies, students will read these narratives closely with an eye to the history of their interpretation and their implications for understanding early conceptions of Jesus and his ministry. While knowledge of Greek is not required, students with facility in the language will be provided ample opportunities to strengthen their skills. 

BIBL 32500 (Introduction to the New Testament) recommended; those with skills in Greek will have the opportunity to apply them.

Erin Galgay Walsh
2021-22 Spring

CLCV 24521 Politics and Political Space in Ancient Rome

(CLAS 34521)

Aristotle called human beings “political animals,” suggesting an inherent connection between politics and the human propensity to live in cities. Using the city of Rome as its focus, this course aims to deepen our understanding of how urban spaces are not just backdrops to history but fundamentally shape political power. Focusing on the late Republic and early empire, in the first half of the class we will debate how the Roman forum, Campus Martius, and imperial fora altered the possibilities for political activity—from large public assemblies to restricted, autocratic displays focused on the emperor. We will also explore how “private” or seemingly “apolitical” spaces, such as houses and theaters, were used for the demonstration and negotiation of political and social power. This course will encourage students to use a variety of methodologies and source materials, from literary sources to digital archaeology, to construct arguments about the relationships between politics and space. We will also discuss how the lessons of Rome can be applied to battles over the landscapes of modern US cities. 

2021-22 Autumn

CLCV 25021 Augustus: Art, Literature, Politic

Augustus’ accession to power after decades of civil war was a moment of tremendous cultural and political change. Rome breathed a sigh of relief, but the price was virtual monarchy. We will examine contemporary painting, sculpture, and monuments, contemporary authors (Livy, Vergil, Horace, Propertius, and Ovid), historical accounts (Velleius, Tacitus, Suetonius), Augustus’ own writings, the marriage legislation and legal reform to evaluate his claim to have restored politics and society. Topics include: empire and constitution; orientalism and gender norms; the power of the prince and that of writers.

2021-22 Spring

CLCV 25121 Solitude in the Ancient Greek World

(CLAS 35121)

This course will explore how the poets and philosophers of archaic and classical Greece conceptualized “being alone,” particularly insofar as solitude occasioned both unparalleled achievements and unique dangers (both for the individual and the community). We will read portions of Homer’s Iliad, Hesiod’s Theogony, Sophocles’ Philoctetes, and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, together with excerpts of ancient philosophy, with an aim of thinking through the relationship between individual and community, which is fraught with tension in so many time periods and cultures. We will also reconsider our understanding of the ancient Greeks as primarily “public” in their motivations and values, in light of the array of possibilities offered by solitude in many of these texts.

2021-22 Winter

CLCV 25516 Strabo's World: Early Geographic Traditions

(CLAS 35516)

This course traces the emergence of geographic thought in the Mediterranean world and the diachronic representations of space and place that became the foundations for the humanistic and social science of geography. Discussions will examine the practices that led to diverse modes and styles of spatial expression, travel and mapping, the tensions between the known world and the exotic imagined other, and the political, social, and cultural dimensions of geographic works and their historic contexts. Beyond our sustained focus on Strabo, writing under the Roman Empire, we will explore and interrogate both earlier and later traditions, from Hecataeus and Herodotus to Dionysius and Pausanias.

2021-22 Winter

CLCV 25721 Rhetoric vs. Philosophy

(CLAS 35721)

This course will introduce undergraduates to the Greco-Roman sources of a key tension that has shaped contemporary humanities: the debate between philosophy and rhetoric, between ideals of truth and powers of persuasion. Beginning with an in-depth examination of Plato’s scathing attack on rhetoric in the Gorgias, a deeply ambiguous text in which Socrates’ championing of philosophy actually seems to fail, we will examine Plato’s rehabilitation of rhetoric in the Phaedrus as a means of leading souls towards truth, Cicero’s attempt to combine rhetoric and philosophy in Book III of his dialogue On the Orator, and Quintilian’s effort to inspire moral commitment in the readers of his rhetorical treatise On the Education of the Orator.  In the latter part of the course, we will encounter new voices entering the debate and adding their own unique concerns: Augustine’s conflicted feelings towards his rhetorical education in the Confessions, Isotta Nogarola’s spirited entrance into a tradition of rhetorical and philosophical debate defined and dominated by men, and Petrus Ramus’ attack on the unity of rhetoric and morality that dramatically altered the shape of humanistic studies.  We will conclude the course with Danielle Allen’s chapter “Rhetoric, a Good Thing” in Talking to StrangersAnxieties of Citizenship Since Brown v. Board of Education,  which engages in this debate via Aristotle and frames rhetoric as a useful tool for forging civic bonds in troubled political times.  

2021-22 Spring

CLCV 26216 Pagans and Christians: Greek Background to Early Christianity

(MDVL 20505, RLST 20505)

This course will examine some of the ancient Greek roots of early Christianity. We will focus on affinities between Christianity and the classical tradition as well as ways in which the Christian faith may be considered radically different from it. Some of the more important issues that we will analyze are: "The spell of Homer." How the Homeric poems exerted immeasurable influence on the religious attitudes and practices of the Greeks. The theme of creation in Greek and Roman authors such as Hesiod and Ovid. The Orphic account of human origins. The early Christian theme of Christ as Creator/Savior. Greek, specifically Homeric conceptions of the afterlife. The response to the Homeric orientation in the form of the great mystery cults of Demeter, Dionysus, and Orpheus. The views of the philosophers (esp. Plato) of the immortality of the soul compared with the New Testament conception of resurrection of the body. Ancient Greek conceptions of sacrifice and the crucifixion of Christ as archetypal sacrifice. The attempted synthesis of Jewish and Greek philosophic thought by Philo of Alexandria and its importance for early Christianity. 

2021-22 Winter

CLCV 26421 Augustine, De Civitate Dei

(LATN 2/36421, CLAS 36421, BIBL 35301, HCHR 35301, RETH 35301, THEO 35301)

Augustine’s City of God is a major work of history, politics, and religion. Written after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410, the work begins an apology (justification) of the Empire’s turn to Christianity and expands to offer a sweeping and deeply theological account of human history and society in terms of earth-bound versus heaven-centered community. Augustine’s citizenship and politics entails living out membership in either fellowship while commingled on earth with the other. Augustine analyzes Roman history and politics as well as the new religion first encouraged and eventually imposed in the wake of Constantine’s conversion.
We shall read the entire work in translation, attending to historical observations, political stances, and religious views. Augustine made arguments of his own but saved huge swaths of Varro and other otherwise lost sources to fashion his historical critique of Rome, social analysis, and many ultimately fresh views on matters like human sexuality in paradise and in heaven.
The class will meet once a week. A supplementary Latin reading group will also convene once a week for close reading of important and demanding selections in the original. There will be some invited international guest speakers.

There will be a weekly Latin reading group (F. afternoon, 90 minutes) for classics and other students who want to tackle Augustine's Latin. 

Michael I. Allen, Willemien Otten
2021-22 Autumn

CLCV 26721 Peripheries of the Greek World

(CLAS 36721)

What happens when we consider the cultures, histories, and politics of the ancient Greek world from outside its Aegean ecumene? From Homeric ethnographies to Hellenistic expansion, the borders and peripheries of Greek life became rich spaces for both imagining and constructing Greek identity and civilization through interactions with myriad “others”: barbarians, allies, kings, and monsters. And in recent decades, interdisciplinary research has examined what life was like on these peripheries, at the intersections of Greek colonization, trade, religion, and the state. In this course we examine the concept of peripheries (and cores) and question the methodologies that historians and archaeologists use to consider the dynamic spaces around the edges of the Aegean sea: colonial settlements, sites of pilgrimage, industrial districts, and exotic fringes, among others. Using textual and material evidence, and taking a broad approach by exploring case studies from Iberia to India, we consider the practices through which diverse peripheries became intertwined with Greek culture (or not), and how current postcolonial approaches are decentering the study of ancient Greek culture.

2021-22 Winter

CLCV 27300 Homer's Odyssey

(FNDL 21901)

A close reading of Homer's Odyssey in English translation. 

2021-22 Spring

CLCV 28321 10 things I hate (and Love) about Plato: Plato and His Critics

Plato’s intellectual influence in our everyday lives is apparent in phrases such as “Socratic method,” “Platonic relationship,” and “Platonic ideal.” In fact, even the name of our institutions for the development of the intellect, the Academy, derives from the name of Plato’s school. Despite this seeming ubiquity of Plato, popular understanding of him remains casual. It is equally true that widespread interpretations of Plato are often polarized. Rejection of his radical gender proposals and practical scorn for his too ethereal abstractions are two of the more common criticisms. On these same topics, on the other hand, others see in Plato proto-feminist sympathies and theoretical insight fundamental to the later development of theologians, e.g. Augustine, or philosophers, e.g. Kant, and even psychologists, e.g. Carl Jung. In this course we will examine the root of Plato’s vast ideological heritage by focusing on ten of his most influential, controversial and fascinating ideas. In doing so, we will turn both a sympathetic and critical eye to selections from Platonic dialogues with the following themes: women, love, poetry, Socratic method, psychology, immortality, virtue, the theory of Forms, and the transcendent/immanent. We will season our reading with some secondary literature addressing our topics directly. The examination of these themes will lead to a better understanding of Plato, as well as a greater sense of what both his friends and foes take the great thinker to be saying.  

2021-22 Autumn

CLCV 28921 Mythologies of Labor

(CMLT 29567)

Whether fighting incredible monsters or baking bread, mythological texts invite us to consider the value of labor in unique ways. By reading across a number of premodern traditions (including Greek, Roman, Near Eastern, Scandinavian, Iranian, South African, Indian), this course looks at differences between heroic labor and manual or domestic labor, labors usually expected of men and of women, labors with religious value versus labors with material consequences, as well as the role of affective labor in the ancient world. As we learn about labor in the past through these texts, the readings will allow us to raise new questions about labor today in the world of global capitalism. Examples of primary texts we will cover are portions of the Homeric epics, Hesiod’s Works and Days, Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Livy’s History of Rome, the Norse Edda and “Prose Edda,” Xhosa narratives, the Near Eastern Gilgamesh and Enuma Elish, chapters from the Vendidad, and some Vedic hymns. The course readings will be given in translation, and no prior language knowledge is expected, but students with knowledge of a relevant language can take the class for credit toward their major on the basis of a specifically tailored midterm exam and/or final paper. 

C. Sansone
2021-22 Winter

GREK 31700 Greek Lyric and Epinician Poetry

(GREK 21700)

This course will examine instances of Greek lyric genres throughout the archaic and classical periods, focusing on the structure, themes and sounds of the poetry and investigating their performative and historical contexts. Readings will include Alcman, Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Ibycus, Alcaeus, Simonides, Bacchylides, Pindar and Timotheus. In Greek.

GREK 20300 or equivalent

2021-22 Winter

GREK 31800 Greek Epic: Allies in the Illiad

(GREK 21800, FNDL 27602)

In this course we will read Iliad 12, 15, 16, and portions of 18 in Greek, focusing on how the poem depicts allies on the battlefield. We will explore the diversity of motivations among Homeric fighters and the heroic standards set by the Trojan allies Sarpedon and Glaukos. Our aim will be to evaluate the poem’s many answers to the question “why do men fight?” with an eye to relationality and heroic excellence. 

GREK 20300 or equivalent

2021-22 Autumn

GREK 31900 Greek Orators: Aeschines and Demosthenes

(GREK 21900, FNDL 27603)

These two orators were fierce rivals in Athens; the luck of textual transmission allows us to read both of them smearing the other, and to explore what apparently passed for valid argument in the Athenian lawcourts. Demosthenes produced his finest work in attacking Aeschines; in this class we will explore both men’s writings in depth. 

GREK 20300 or equivalent

2021-22 Spring

GREK 32700 Survey of Greek Literature I: Poetry

This course will cover the long life of ancient Greek poetry, touching on many genres in their first forms: epic and hymns, didactic, theogonic, iambic, elegiac, lyric, epinician, tragic, comedic, pastoral, dithyrambic poetry, and poems that are practically unclassifiable. We will seek to discuss key moments, passages, and poems that give entry to larger literary questions and themes. We will pay particular attention to details of genre, dialect, and meter, while also being attentive to the history of scholarship that attends on these traditions. We will read some secondary literature and a lot of Greek. 

2021-22 Winter

GREK 32800 Survey of Greek Literature II

(BIBL 32800)

A study of the creation of the canonical Greek prose style in the 5th and 4th centuries. Rapid reading and translation exercises.

2021-22 Spring

GREK 34400 Greek Prose Composition

The goal of this course is to pick up habits from introductory Greek class: producing Attic Greek sentences and longer pieces. The most obvious benefits of this exercise will be thorough review of basic morphology and syntax as well as fine-tuning our grasp of the more subtle nuances of the language, which should pay off when we go back to reading the ancient Greek texts themselves — or teach them! While this is a graduate level course, undergraduates are welcome to petition to take it.

2021-22 Autumn

GREK 36521 Three Greek Philosophical Texts

(GREK 26521, ANCM 46521, BIBL 36521, RLST 26521)

The three texts are: Epicurus’ Letter to Menoeceus; Epictetus, Discourses; and Diogenes of Oenoanda, Inscription. What all have in common is an urgent desire to inspire the reader to do philosophy—not just any philosophy, but the sort that will make a person happy. The first text is designed to inspire young and old alike to learn the basic principles of Epicurean hedonism; it’s up to us—not the gods, or fate, or chance—to attain the goal of life, pleasure. The second is intended for young men, who have just finished their secondary education. They have been sent by their family to Epictetus’ school on the edge of the Adriatic Sea to be steeped in Stoic morality prior to starting a career. The third text is an inscription by Diogenes of Oenoanda, a prominent local citizen, who confesses he was moved by the dire suffering of his fellow humans to erect a very long wall, inscribed with Epicurean teachings. It is intended for any passerby. We will look closely at the Greek text to investigate both the medium and the message. Open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

Prerequisite of two years of Greek

2021-22 Spring

GREK 44721 Aristophanes, the Frogs

(SCTH 35992)

Aristophanes' comedy The Frogs is perhaps the most profound - and it is certainly by far the funniest - meditation on the meaning and significance of tragedy to have reached us from  ancient Greece. Staged shortly after the deaths of Sophocles and Euripides, and during the last years before the catastrophic conclusion of the Peloponnesian War, Aristophanes' brilliantly comic play asks what kinds of tragedy are most and least beneficial to the city and indeed whether the city can survive at all without tragedy. His answer is of continuing interest for our own reflections on the question of the survival of our studies, and of our society, in today's world.

Knowledge of Ancient Greek or consent. Open to UG with instructor consent, only.

Glenn Most
2021-22 Spring

GREK 10100 Introduction to Attic Greek I

This course introduces the basic rules of Ancient Greek. Course work involves reading practice, presentational writing, and formal study of grammar and vocabulary. Throughout the course, students will encounter authentic Ancient Greek text. Students who complete this course will be able to understand simple sentences, and often to combine them into larger units of meaning.

2021-22 Autumn

GREK 10200 Introduction to Attic Greek II

This course continues the study of basic Ancient Greek. Course work involves reading practice, presentational writing, and formal study of grammar and vocabulary. Throughout the course, students will encounter authentic Ancient Greek text. Students who complete this course will be able to understand complex sentences, and often to combine them into larger units of meaning.

GREK 10100

2021-22 Winter

GREK 10300 Introduction to Attic Greek III

This course continues the study of basic Ancient Greek. Course work involves reading practice, presentational writing, and formal study of grammar and vocabulary. Throughout the course, students will encounter authentic Ancient Greek text. Students who complete this course will be able to track ideas across at least a paragraph of text, and will be ready to move into the intermediate sequence.

GREK 10200

2021-22 Spring

GREK 20100 Intermediate Greek I: Plato

We read Plato's text with a view to understanding both the grammatical constructions and the artistry of the language. We also give attention to the dramatic qualities of the dialogue. Grammatical exercises reinforce the learning of syntax.

GREK 10300

2021-22 Autumn

GREK 20200 Intermediate Greek II: Sophocles

This course includes analysis and translation of the Greek text, discussion of Sophoclean language and dramatic technique, and relevant trends in fifth-century Athenian intellectual history. 

GREK 20100

2021-22 Winter

GREK 20300 Intermediate Greek III: Homer

This course is a close reading of selections from Homer, with an emphasis on language, meter, and literary tropes.

GREK 20200

2021-22 Spring

GREK 21900 Greek Orators: Aeschines and Demosthenes

(GREK 31900, FNDL 27603)

These two orators were fierce rivals in Athens; the luck of textual transmission allows us to read both of them smearing the other, and to explore what apparently passed for valid argument in the Athenian lawcourts. Demosthenes produced his finest work in attacking Aeschines; in this class we will explore both men’s writings in depth. 

GREK 20300 or equivalent

2021-22 Spring

GREK 26521 Three Greek Philosophical Texts

( GREK 36521, ANCM 46521, BIBL 36521, RLST 26521)

The three texts are: Epicurus’ Letter to Menoeceus; Epictetus, Discourses; and Diogenes of Oenoanda, Inscription. What all have in common is an urgent desire to inspire the reader to do philosophy—not just any philosophy, but the sort that will make a person happy. The first text is designed to inspire young and old alike to learn the basic principles of Epicurean hedonism; it’s up to us—not the gods, or fate, or chance—to attain the goal of life, pleasure. The second is intended for young men, who have just finished their secondary education. They have been sent by their family to Epictetus’ school on the edge of the Adriatic Sea to be steeped in Stoic morality prior to starting a career. The third text is an inscription by Diogenes of Oenoanda, a prominent local citizen, who confesses he was moved by the dire suffering of his fellow humans to erect a very long wall, inscribed with Epicurean teachings. It is intended for any passerby. We will look closely at the Greek text to investigate both the medium and the message. Open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

Prerequisite of two years of Greek

2021-22 Spring

LATN 31800 Roman Historian

(LATN 21800)

Primary readings are drawn from the Tiberian books of the Annals, in which Tacitus describes the consolidation of the imperial regime after the death of Augustus. Parallel accounts and secondary readings are used to help bring out the methods of selecting and ordering data and the stylistic effects that typify a Tacitean narrative.

2021-22 Winter

LATN 31900 Roman Comedy

(LATN 21900, ANCM 41919)

Plautus' Pseudolus is read in Latin, along with secondary readings that explain the social context and the theatrical conventions of Roman comedy. Class meetings are devoted less to translation than to study of the language, plot construction, and stage techniques at work in the Pseudolus.

2021-22 Spring

LATN 32100 Lucretius

(LATN 22100, FNDL 27601)

We will read selections of Lucretius' magisterial account of a universe composed of atoms. The focus of our inquiry is: how did Lucretius convert a seemingly dry philosophical doctrine about the physical composition of the universe into a gripping message of personal salvation? The selections include Lucretius' vision of an infinite universe, of heaven, and of the hell that humans have created for themselves on earth.

2021-22 Autumn

LATN 36000 Latin Paleography

(LATN 26000)

The course will emphasize the development of Latin handwriting, primarily as book scripts, from its origins to the waning of the Carolingian minuscule, ca. AD 1100. By mastering the foundational types of writing, the students will develop skills for reading all Latin-based scripts, including those used for vernacular languages and the subsequent Gothics and their derivatives down to the sixteenth century.

2021-22 Autumn

LATN 36421 Augustine, De Civitate Dei

(LATN 26421, CLCV 26421, CLAS 36421, BIBL 35301, HCHR 35301, RETH 35301, THEO 35301)

Augustine’s City of God is a major work of history, politics, and religion. Written after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410, the work begins an apology (justification) of the Empire’s turn to Christianity and expands to offer a sweeping and deeply theological account of human history and society in terms of earth-bound versus heaven-centered community. Augustine’s citizenship and politics entails living out membership in either fellowship while commingled on earth with the other. Augustine analyzes Roman history and politics as well as the new religion first encouraged and eventually imposed in the wake of Constantine’s conversion.
We shall read the entire work in translation, attending to historical observations, political stances, and religious views. Augustine made arguments of his own but saved huge swaths of Varro and other otherwise lost sources to fashion his historical critique of Rome, social analysis, and many ultimately fresh views on matters like human sexuality in paradise and in heaven.
The class will meet once a week. A supplementary Latin reading group will also convene once a week for close reading of important and demanding selections in the original. There will be some invited international guest speakers.

There will be a weekly Latin reading group (F. afternoon, 90 minutes) for classics and other students who want to tackle Augustine's Latin. 

Michael I. Allen, Willemien Otten
2021-22 Autumn

LATN 10100 Introduction to Classical Latin I

This course introduces the fundamentals of the Latin language and the Ancient Roman culture in which it developed. The focus is on developing interpretive reading ability, but other language skills are also employed to enhance the learning of vocabulary, culture, and grammar. This course is intended for students with no previous experience in Latin.

2021-22 Autumn

LATN 10200 Introduction to Classical Latin II

This course continues the study of basic Latin. Course work involves reading Latin, translating from Latin into English and vice versa, and study of grammar and vocabulary. Throughout the course, students will encounter authentic Latin text. Students who complete this course will be able to understand complex sentences, and often to combine them into larger units of meaning.

LATN 10100

2021-22 Winter

LATN 10300 Introduction to Classical Latin III

This course continues the study of basic Latin. Course work involves reading Latin, translating from Latin into English and vice versa, and study of grammar and vocabulary. Throughout the course, students will encounter authentic Latin text. Students who complete this course will be able to track ideas across at least a paragraph of text, and will be ready to move into the intermediate sequence.

LATN 10200 or LATN 11400

2021-22 Spring

LATN 11400 Latin for Post Beginners I

This course is intended for students with some experience in Latin to quickly review what they know and upgrade their skills in reading and understanding Latin. In this course, students will expand their vocabulary, learn more advanced grammar, and practice extensive reading.

2021-22 Winter

LATN 20100 Intermediate Latin I

Readings concentrate on works of Roman prose (e.g. Cicero), with an aim to improve reading skills, discuss key concepts in Roman history and culture, and study problems of grammar as necessary.

LATN 10300 or equivalent

2021-22 Autumn

LATN 20200 Intermediate Latin II. 100 Units.

This course is a reading of selections from Roman poetry, such as the works of Ovid. The class involves discussion of poetic language, versification, and the literary and historical context of Roman poetry.

LATN 20100 or equivalent

LATN 20300 Intermediate Latin III

This course is a reading of selections from a major monument of Roman literature, such as Vergil's Aeneid. There will be discussion of the relationship between language and literary art, and the legacy of the work or works studied. 

LATN 20200 or equivalent

2021-22 Spring

LATN 21800 Roman Historian

Primary readings are drawn from the Tiberian books of the Annals, in which Tacitus describes the consolidation of the imperial regime after the death of Augustus. Parallel accounts and secondary readings are used to help bring out the methods of selecting and ordering data and the stylistic effects that typify a Tacitean narrative.

2021-22 Winter

LATN 21900 Roman Comedy

(LATN 31900, ANCM 41919)

Plautus' Pseudolus is read in Latin, along with secondary readings that explain the social context and the theatrical conventions of Roman comedy. Class meetings are devoted less to translation than to study of the language, plot construction, and stage techniques at work in the Pseudolus.

2021-22 Spring

LATN 22100 Lucretius

(LATN 32100, FNDL 27601)

We will read selections of Lucretius' magisterial account of a universe composed of atoms. The focus of our inquiry is: how did Lucretius convert a seemingly dry philosophical doctrine about the physical composition of the universe into a gripping message of personal salvation? The selections include Lucretius' vision of an infinite universe, of heaven, and of the hell that humans have created for themselves on earth.

2021-22 Autumn

LATN 26000 Latin Paleography

(LATN 36000)

The course will emphasize the development of Latin handwriting, primarily as book scripts, from its origins to the waning of the Carolingian minuscule, ca. AD 1100. By mastering the foundational types of writing, the students will develop skills for reading all Latin-based scripts, including those used for vernacular languages and the subsequent Gothics and their derivatives down to the sixteenth century.

2021-22 Autumn

LATN 26421 Augustine, De Civitate Dei

(CLCV 26421, CLAS 36421, BIBL 35301, HCHR 35301, RETH 35301, THEO 35301)

Augustine’s City of God is a major work of history, politics, and religion. Written after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410, the work begins with an apology (justification) of the Empire’s turn to Christianity and expands to offer a sweeping and deeply theological account of human history and society in terms of earth-bound versus heaven-centered community. Augustine’s citizenship and politics entails living out membership in either fellowship while commingled on earth with the other. Augustine analyzes Roman history and politics as well as the new religion first encouraged and eventually imposed in the wake of Constantine’s conversion.
We shall read the entire work in translation, attending to historical observations, political stances, and religious views. Augustine made arguments of his own but saved huge swaths of Varro and other otherwise lost sources to fashion his historical critique of Rome, social analysis, and many ultimately fresh views on matters like human sexuality in paradise and in heaven.
The class will meet once a week. A supplementary Latin reading group will also convene once a week for close reading of important and demanding selections in the original. There will be some invited international guest speakers.

There will be a weekly Latin reading group (F. afternoon, 90 minutes) for classics and other students who want to tackle Augustine's Latin. 

Michael I. Allen, Willemien Otten
2021-22 Autumn