Classical Studies Summary Paragraph

Classical Civilization (Division 344)


Courses in this division do not require a knowledge of Greek or Latin. They are intended for students who wish to acquire knowledge of ancient literature, life, and thought, and of the debt modern civilization owes the Greeks and Romans.

102. Classical Civilization II: The Ancient Roman World (in English). (4). (HU).
This course serves as a general introduction to the history, literature, life, institutions, and contributions of ancient Rome - that is, to Roman civilization. In order to achieve some focus, we will consider in detail four periods of change or crisis: the founding of the Republic (509 B.C.); the Catilinarian conspiracy (63 B.C.); the Augustan "peace"; and the established principate of Nero. We will thus be able to follow the development and failure of institutions of government and society, and to trace the changing attitudes and values of the major writers of each period as they tried to give shape and meaning to their world and times and searched for order and consolation in times of civil war and the collapse of the social structure. We will read historians (Livy, Sallust, Tacitus), poets (Catullus, Vergil, Horace), and other writers (Cicero, Petronius). Lectures will follow certain common ideas and themes, with occasional presentations of special topics (e.g., Roman law; slavery; the ancient book; gladiators). Attention will be given to daily life through slide lectures. There will be two short papers (50% of the final grade), and a midterm (15%) and final (35%) exam. Cost:2 WL:4 (D.O. Ross)
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120. First-year Seminar in Classical Civilization (Humanities). (3). (HU).
Section 001 Death on Display in the Ancient World.
Extravagant public ceremonies, such as Princess Diana's recent funeral, are designed to celebrate the life and commemorate the memory of a famous individual. Yet all deaths, high and low, are met with ritual and remembrance. The desire to commemorate the dead was equally strong in ancient Greek and Roman times, and much evidence - both archaeological and textual testifies to the diverse practices followed. Burial practices, treatments of the body, grave types, tomb markers: all varied a great deal depending on such factors as the status, wealth, gender, or age of the person involved. Through its study of 'death on display', this course will examine the social organization of life, and attitudes to death, in ancient Mediterranean cultures. Students will also personally analyze actual ancient grave goods and grave markers now held in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and will be involved in some kind of public exhibit 'Death on Display'. Cost:2 WL:1 (Alcock)

Section 002 Warriors, Women, and the Gods: Epic and Ancient Society. In this seminar we will examine the nature and function of epic poetry in Classical Greece and Rome. Approaches will include the origins and characteristics of heroes; the cultural, social, and mythic dimensions of epic narration; and the emerging of the anti-hero. Our texts will include the epics of Homer and Vergil, Apollonius of Rhodes, Petronius' Satyricon and Apuleius' The Golden Ass. Discussions, reports, short papers. Cost:2 WL:1 (Witke)
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375. War in Greek and Roman Civilization. (4). (HU).
This course traces the evolution of different ideologies connected with war in the Greco-Roman world. It begins with the link between war and the state in Herodotus' Histories, moves on to Thucydides' analysis of the effect of war on civil society in his History of the Peloponnesian War, and then considers the phenomenon of mercenary soldiers in Xenophon's Anabasis. In the second half of the course, we look first at the role of war in Roman imperial ideology, as depicted in Caesar's Gallic War, and then consider civil war and rebellion in the Roman Empire, by comparing and contrasting Tacitus' Histories with Josephus' Jewish War. Throughout the course, we shall pay attention to the tension between theories and the actual practice of war. Three short computer assignments, one take-home writing assignment, a midterm, and a final examination. Cost:2 WL:1 (Loomis)
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456. Egypt After the Pharaohs: Public and Private Life in an Ancient Multicultural Society. (3). (Excl).
This course aims to study a major ancient culture that is not consistently represented in the traditional core curriculum for the study of ancient Mediterranean societies. The focus is reversed towards one of the major ancient cultures that has fascinated both the ancient super-powers of Greece and Rome and the moderns alike with its peculiar gods and mysterious religious practices. Our study will move beyond anachronistic stereotypes to deal with Egypt as an ancient multicultural society where Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and other cultural groups co-existed for more than a millennium. In a time of rapid change the study of civilizations with roots radically different from our own can provide an interesting form of reorientation. And a multicultural society, such as Egypt, that managed to survive for centuries on principles we no longer share presents something of a challenge. Egypt offers great advantages in the exploration of what we want to think of as "contemporary" issues, such as ethnicity, class, gender, and social mobility. The arid climate of the desert has preserved several thousands of documents on papyrus in Greek, Egyptian, and other alphabets which span over a millennium after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great. The survival of such a corpus of "raw" data provides a unique gateway for an intimate look into the spheres of public and private life in Egypt, the complexity of the Egyptian culture, and its interface with the Greeks and the Romans, as well as modes of reaction to foreign rule. Egypt was the oldest and most prestigious culture known to the Greeks, and it impressed many of the ancient Greek writers. This course has an exemplary rather than a comprehensive aim: after an historical and geographic orientation, the study will proceed with case studies in a diachronic form on concrete themes such as life in the towns and the countryside, ethnicity, gender, religion, army and administration, social mobility. The planned readings will include recent secondary work as well as primary texts in translation. Much of the documentary material is hard to use or remains unpublished, but it will be provided in photocopy as unpublished translations. At the end of the course, we will attempt a study of how ancient Egypt has influenced certain forms of modern popular culture, such as literature, opera, and the visual arts. Requirements will include two critical papers of ten pages each and a final examination. Students meeting the Jr/Sr ECB Writing Requirement can exchange the final examination with a third critical paper. (Gagos)
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462. Greek Mythology. (4). (HU).
Greek Mythology is designed to acquaint the student with the major myths and epic cycles of ancient Greece from the creation myths and their Near Eastern prototypes through the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus. The development of various myths will be illustrated through Greek literature and art. At the focus of the course is the location of myth in Greek culture (religion, politics, art) as well as the reception of Greek myth in later traditions. We will consider a variety of theoretical approaches to myth from antiquity to recent structuralist and anthropological models. Required texts will include M. Morford and R. Lenardon Classical Mythology and selections from Homer, Hesiod, and Greek tragedy. An additional course pack will provide readings for discussion sections which will meet once a week to consider a variety of theoretical approaches to mythology, and other critical questions. Course requirements include two hour tests and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:1 (Dobrov)
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465. The Individual in Greek Society. (3). (Excl).
This course will examine relations between the individual and his or her community in ancient Greece from approximately the eighth through fourth centuries B.C. Topics to be addressed include: What were the individual's obligations to the community and what did he or she receive back from the community? How did these obligations and benefits change over time? How did socioeconomic status and gender affect an individual's role in society? Was there a concept of individual freedom? How does the Greek concept of freedom compare to our own concept of freedom? We will read excerpts from ancient authors in translation (Homer, Sophocles, Thucydides, Aristotle) as well as modern scholarship. Although some knowledge of ancient Greek civilization would be an asset, no previous knowledge is required. Students will be required to give one class presentation and write two papers of approximately 10 pages. (Forsdyke)
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472. Roman Law. Not open to freshmen. (3). (HU).
This course acquaints students with the fundamental concepts of Roman private law, with their origin in the society and government of the High Roman Empire, and with their all-important influence in the development of Western European legal theory and institutions. The course aims primarily to meet the interests of undergraduates with a bent toward law as a profession, but it is open to all students (except freshmen). We will use a direct application of the American case-law method to the teaching of Roman law. Our basic text will be a series of actual problems from the Roman jurists, which we will discuss in class; only as the occasion demands will the instructor "fill in the gaps" with short lectures on other relevant legal material. Thus students should develop a feel for legal analysis and for the contribution made through such analysis by the Roman jurists; at the same time, students will learn Roman law in a form that will be directly relevant to future legal studies. Besides the handouts, one general introduction to Roman law (ca. 250 pages) will be required reading. There will be one hour test on material covered in class, in addition to the final examination; one paper (10 pages) will allow the student to analyze in detail a particular legal problem. Cost:2 WL:1 (Frier)
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480. Studying Antiquity. Class. Civ. 101 or 102, and permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 Greek Theater and Society.
In Studying Antiquity (Greek Theater and Society) we will study the historical and sociopolitical contexts of drama in ancient Athens. Tragedy and comedy were highly visible and influential media that were played to the assembled city in magnificent national festivals. Heroic myth and comic fantasy alike were traditional vehicles for the study of contemporary political, social, intellectual, and ethical issues. As we read works such as the Oresteia of Aeschylus and the "women's plays" of Aristophanes we will work to recreate the physical performance in the theater of the mind (with some help from video, and perhaps live performance). We will ask difficult questions about what we see there questions about power, violence, justice, and the construction of gender. Greek Theater and Society will be taught as a seminar in which priority will be given to discussion. Students will write two substantial papers and give two oral presentations. Cost 2 (Dobrov)
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