Classics

2020-21

111 The Bodies of Tragedy

Since its invention in Athens, tragic drama has focused upward on the great or mighty as they fall but also outward on the disempowered as they are for once given public voice: women, slaves, and barbarians. The cosmic forces of fate and the gods play out along social fault lines with conflicting viewpoints. We look to a “hero,” but, changing his mask, a Greek actor could go from god to wife to peasant. This multiplicity complicates itself in modern stagings and films as they cast actors with specific gender and racial identities. Female actors now have indisputable claim on the once-male roles of Antigone, Cassandra, Medea, and Electra, as they do on Shakespeare’s Juliet, Lady Macbeth, and Cleopatra.  

In this course we look at the performance of plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare in their historical context, as well as at adaptations in film and dance. We also consider Rita Dove’s remaking of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King in The Darker Face of the Earth and, for the bodies of comedy, Spike Lee’s recasting of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata in Chi Raq.   

The requirements are regular attendance and participation, brief before-class responses, and three essays.

The course aims to give students independent command of influential plays, as well as insight into the aesthetics and politics of putting contemporary bodies into classic roles. We consider and apply core concepts relating to the representation of gender, race, and sexuality.

The course will be taught in multiple sessions each day, both synchronous and asynchronous, along with the assigned films and filmed performances. Most days, there will be a brief interaction with the instructor about an observation or question about the reading. 

2.5 hours per day. Limit of 18. If over-enrolled, preference to first-year students and sophomores. 

Other years: Offered in January 2021, January 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

121 Greek Mythology and Religion

A survey of the myths of the gods and heroes of ancient Greece, with a view to their original context in Greek art and literature as well as their place in Greek religion. We will give particular attention to myths that live on in Western art and literature, in order to become familiar with the stories which were part of the repertory of later artists and authors. Three class hours per week.

Limited to 75 students. Omitted 2020-21.

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

123 Greek Civilization

(Offered as CLAS 123 and SWAG 123) We read in English the major authors from Homer in the 8th century BCE to Plato in the 4th century in order to trace the emergence of epic, lyric poetry, tragedy, comedy, history, and philosophy. How did the Greek enlightenment, and through it Western culture, emerge from a few generations of people moving around a rocky archipelago? How did folklore and myth develop into various forms of “rationality”: science, history, and philosophy? What are the implications of male control over public and private life and the written record? What can be inferred about ancient women if they cannot speak for themselves in the texts? How does slavery work in a culture when it is based on capture rather than racial difference? What do we hear when people in bondage are given voice in epic and drama? Other authors include Sappho, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Thucydides. The course seeks to develop the skills of close reading and persuasive argumentation.

The requirements are three essays, the first ungraded, as well as two open-book tests with time and word limits. This online course will be synchronous. On weeks with formal assignments, Friday class will be replaced with conferences; in other weeks, students are asked to interact with the instructor about some observation or question about the reading.  

Three class hours per week.

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2023

124 Roman Civilization

A study of Roman civilization from its origins to the Empire, with emphasis on major Roman writers. The material will be interpreted in the light of Roman influence upon later Western civilization. The reading will be almost entirely from Latin literature, but no knowledge of the ancient language is required. Three class hours per week.

Limited to 50 students. 

Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2024, Fall 2024

132 Greek History

A chronological survey of ancient Greece from the Bronze Age to the age of Alexander, with attention to the range of Greek political systems and religious life in each historic period, and to the wars that punctuated and to a large extent defined the different phases of Greek history. We will focus on primary sources, including a variety of texts as well as the fundamental histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, and also the archaeological evidence of monuments and other physical remains that contribute to our understanding of the Greeks, their borrowings from neighboring cultures, and their legacy to the modern world. 

Spring semester. Professor R. Sinos. 

Other years: Offered in Fall 2024

135 History of the Roman Empire

This course considers the Roman Empire at its height, tracing the political, social, and religious changes that shaped Rome from the death of Julius Caesar through the fifth century CE. We will seek to understand the longevity of this extraordinary empire as well as the roots of its eventual decline. Using literary, historiographical, and archaeological sources, we will see how Rome's once unitary society was challenged and transformed by the diverse cultures and religions of its empire.

Omitted 2020-21. Professor Zanker.

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015

136 History of Rome

This course examines the political and social systems and struggles that marked Rome's growth from a small city-state to a world empire. Through various sources (Roman works in translation and material evidence) we will focus on the development of the republican form of government and its transformation into an empire. We will study also the daily life of the people and the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire.

Three class hours per week. Friday class sessions will consist of prerecorded lectures uploaded early in the day for asynchronous viewing.   

Students who have taken CLAS 124 (Roman Civilization) in a previous semester are required to email the instructor before enrolling.

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Zanker.

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

138 Greek Drama

(Offered as CLAS 138 and SWAG 138) This course addresses the staging of politics and gender in selected plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, with attention to performance and the modern use of the plays to reconstruct systems of sexuality, gender, class, and ethnicity. We also consider Homer's Iliad as a precursor of tragedy, and the remaking of plays in contemporary film, dance, and theater, including Michael Cacoyannis, Electra and The Trojan Women; Martha Graham, Medea and Night Journey; Pier Paolo Pasolini, Edipo Re Medea; Igor Stravinsky, Oedipus Rex; and Spike Lee, Chi-Raq.

Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2020-21. Professor Griffiths.

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2016, Fall 2019

390, 490 Special Topics

Independent reading course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Greek

111 Introduction to the Greek Language

This course prepares students in one term to read Plato, Greek tragedy, Homer, and other Greek literary, historical, and philosophical texts in the original and also provides sufficient competence to read New Testament Greek. The course will be taught synchronously at an hour convenient for the students enrolled. Three class hours per week.

In the Fall semester, this course is normally followed by GREE 212 and then GREE 215 or 217. In the Spring semester, this course is normally followed by GREE 215 or 217 and then GREE 212 or 318.

Fall semester: Professor Griffiths. Spring semester: Professor R. Sinos.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024

212 Greek Prose: Plato's Apology

An introduction to Greek literature through a close reading of the Apology and selected other works of Attic prose of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Additional readings in translation. Three class hours per week.

Requisite: GREE 111 or equivalent. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Higgins.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

215 An Introduction to Greek Tragedy

An introduction to Greek tragedy as a literary and ritual form through a close reading of one play. We will read the Bacchae of Euripides, with attention to poetic language, dramatic technique, and ritual context. This course aims to establish reading proficiency in Greek, with review of forms and syntax as needed. Three class hours per week.

Requisite: GREE 111 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Hansen.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

217 New Testament

This course offers an introduction to New Testament Greek. We will read selections from the Gospels and Epistles and will discuss the social and philosophical context as well as the content of the texts. Three class hours per week.

Requisite: GREE 111 or equivalent. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer D. Sinos. 

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2022

318 An Introduction to Greek Epic

A reading of selected passages from the Iliad with attention to the poem’s structure and recurrent themes as well as to the society it reflects. Three class hours per week.

Requisite: GREE 212, 215, 217 or equivalent, or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor D. Sinos.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024

390, 490 Special Topics

Independent reading course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024

441 Advanced Readings in Greek Literature I

The authors read in GREE 441 and 442 vary from year to year, but as a general practice are chosen from a list including Homer, choral and lyric poetry, historians, tragedians, and Plato, depending upon the interests and needs of the students. GREE 441 and 442 may be elected any number of times by a student, providing only that the topic is not the same. In 2020-21 GREE 441 will read Herodotus, with a focus on his ethnography. Three class hours per week. Seminar course.

Requisite: A minimum of three courses numbered GREE 111 to 318 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Hart. 

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

442 Advanced Readings in Greek Literature II

The authors read in GREE 441 and 442 vary from year to year, but as a general practice are chosen from a list including Homer, choral and lyric poetry, historians, tragedians, and Plato, depending upon the interests and needs of the students. GREE 441 and 442 may be elected any number of times by a student, providing only that the topic is not the same. In 2020-21 Greek 442 will read Sophocles' "Electra," along with (in translation) related plays by Aeschylus and Euripides. Three class hours per week. Seminar course.

Requisite: A minimum of three courses numbered GREE 111 to 318 or consent of the instructor. 

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Latin

111 An Introduction to Latin Language and Literature

This course prepares students to read classical Latin. No prior knowledge of Latin is required. Three class hours per week.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

202 Intermediate Latin: Introduction to Literature

This course aims at establishing reading proficiency in Latin. Forms and syntax will be reviewed throughout the semester. We will read selections TBA. Three class hours per week.

Requisite: LATI 111 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Zanker.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

215 Latin Literature: Catullus and the Lyric Spirit

This course will examine Catullus’ poetic technique, as well as his place in the literary history of Rome. Extensive reading of Catullus in Latin, together with other lyric poets of Greece and Rome in English. Three class hours per week.

Requisite: LATI 202 or equivalent. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Scarborough.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

316 Latin Literature in the Augustan Age

An introduction to the literature and culture of Augustan Rome through a close reading of selections from Vergil, Horace and the Roman love elegy. Three class hours per week.

Requisite: LATI 202, 215 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Zanker.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

441 Advanced Readings in Latin Literature I

The authors read in LATI 441 and 442 vary from year to year, the selection being made according to the interests and needs of the students. Both 441 and 442 may be repeated for credit, providing only that the topic is not the same. In 2020-21 LATI 441 will read Roman philosophy, including Cicero's De Senectute and a selection of Seneca's letters. Three class hours per week. Seminar course.

Requisite: LATI 215 or 316 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Zanker.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

442 Advanced Readings in Latin Literature II

See course description for LATI 441. In 2019-20 LATI 442 will read Horace's satires. Three class hours per week. Seminar course.

Requisite: LATI 215, 316, 441 or equivalent. 

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

490 Special Topics

Fall and spring semester. Members of the Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

Spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Related Courses

- (Course not offered this year.)