Classics

2023-24

111 The Bodies of Tragedy

(Offered as CLAS 111 and SWAG 110) 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 Cleopatra. The dialects of tragic performance are multiple: translationese, Shakespeare, and Spanglish.

In this course we start with the formation of Hellenic identity and notions of heroism in Homer's Iliad and then 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 remakings of the myths within modern realities, including Antigone in Ferguson; Rita Dove’s The Darker Face of the Earth (Oedipus); and Luis Alfaro’s Mojada (Medea)Electricidad (Electra), and Oedipus El Rey. For the bodies of comedy, we’ll look at Spike Lee’s recasting of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata in Chi Raq.  

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. Three class hours per week.

Limited to 30 students. 

Omitted 2023-24.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, January 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2025

121 Greek Mythology and Religion

A survey of the gods and heroes of ancient Greece, their representation in Greek art and literature, and the sanctuaries and rituals in which these divine figures were worshipped. 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 2023-24.

2023-24: 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 eighth century BCE to Plato in the fourth 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 take-home, open book tests with time and word limits. Three class hours per week.

Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Griffiths.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2023

124 Roman Civilization

An introduction to Roman civilization covering the culture of the Republic with a particular emphasis on the Augustan Age. Historical, biographical, artistic, literary, and philosophical aspects of this period of political and social upheaval will all receive attention. The readings will introduce students to some of the classics of ancient literature in translation. Three class hours per week.

Limited to 50 students. Spring semester. Professor Zanker.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, 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. Three class hours per week.

Omitted 2023-24.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2024

133 Comedy and Free Speech Throughout Ancient Greek History

An introduction to the Ancient Greek world through the lens (or funhouse mirror) of comedy and free expression. Humorous writing is unusually suited to give us access to otherwise underlit areas of Greek history and culture. Through its transgressions of norms and taboos, comedy makes the contours of these often unspoken rules visible to us. In its rejection of literary decorum, comedy revels in the grittiness of everyday life and explores marginalized identities: of women, the enslaved, foreigners, prostitutes, and so on. And with its ambivalent relation to (people in) power—sometimes subversive, sometimes conservative—comedy forces us to interrogate the changing social structures and political institutions of the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Imperial Greek world. Even as the course draws on these frank, humorous accounts of Ancient Greek life, it also calls into question comedy’s self-image as a form of absolute free speech (“parrhesia”), a core democratic value in both Greek times and our own. What does it mean to speak freely under different kinds of regimes? Does comedy speak truth to power, or does it just reiterate received truths about ethnicity, gender, class, and slavery? 

Selections from Homer, Aesop, Archilochus and Hipponax, Aristophanes, Demosthenes and Aeschines, Hegemon and Matro, The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Theocritus, Machon and Herondas, Diogenes Läertius, the Laughter-Lover, the Palatine Anthology, Julian the Apostate, and—perhaps antiquity’s greatest satirist—Lucian. Three class hours per week.

Spring semester. Professor Janssen.

134 Archaeology of Greece

Excavations in Greece continue to uncover a rich variety of material remains that are altering and improving our understanding of ancient Greek life. By tracing the architecture, sculpture and other finds from major sanctuaries, habitations, and burial places, this course will explore the ways in which archaeological evidence illuminates economic, political, philosophical, and religious developments in Greece from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Period. Three class hours per week. 

Omitted 2023-24.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2018, Spring 2022

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 Roman government and its transformation into an empire. We will also study several cultural, intellectual, and social aspects, including the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire.

Three class hours per week. Limited to 50 students.

Omitted 2023-24.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

217 Thinking Law with Shakespeare and Seneca

(See LJST 217)

285 Roma Redux: The Eternal City Across Time

(Offered as ARHA 285, CLAS 285, EUST 285) From its legendary origins in the eighth century BCE, through its political framing as a republic, to its global dominion as an empire and its subsequent Renaissance revival as the center of a Christian empire, Rome was a seat of unmistakable political and cultural power. Its art and architecture, the literature and oratory of its leaders, its devotion to protective deities, and its styles of governance became the model for countless nations who sought to imitate, adopt and surpass Rome’s authority. The continuity and change visible in the rich material composing the city itself—temples, churches, sculpture, painting, fountains, tombs, palaces, baths, streets, walls, fora and piazzas—will be the subject of the class. Meeting twice a week, classes will alternate between examining the philosophy, literature, and historical documents of a period and analyzing selected examples of the art and architecture where the daily life of Romans—from soldiers, citizens and emperors, to women, Jews, and the enslaved—took place. The class will culminate in a trip to the Eternal City for two weeks in January 2024, sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

The class (limited to 18) will live in Rome and make daily excursions to places studied in the course—e.g., the Roman forum, the remains of the imperial palace on the Palatine, the Colosseum, aqueducts, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque churches, the Vatican Palace, St. Peter’s, and more. Students will prepare presentations in situ related to the papers they have written earlier in class. Three class hours per week.

Not open to first-year students. Admission with the consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professors Courtright and van den Berg.

Pending Faculty Approval

Other years: Offered in Fall 2023

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, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

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 2025

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. 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 van den Berg.

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, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

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. Additional tutorial or exam sessions may be scheduled as necessary.

Requisite: GREE 111 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor Griffiths.

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 2025

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 R. Sinos.

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. 

Omitted 2023-24.

2023-24: 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 Griffiths.

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, 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, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

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 Fall 2023 GREE-441 will read lyric poetry.

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

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. Three course hours per week.

Requisite: A minimum of three courses numbered GREE 111 to 318 or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor van den Berg.

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 2025

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 2025

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.

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

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 2025

215 Latin Literature: Catullus and the Lyric Spirit

This course will examine Catullus’s 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. Professor van den Berg.

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 Hansen.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

390, 490 Special Topics

Independent reading course.

Fall and spring. 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, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

441 Advanced Readings in Latin Literature I

The authors read in LATI 441 and 442 vary from year to year. Both 441 and 442 may be repeated for credit, provided that the topic is not the same. In 2324, LATI 441 will read Latin prose. Three class hours per week. Seminar course.

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

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 Spring 2024, LATI 442 will read selections from Lucretius's De Rerum Natura. Three class hours per week. Seminar course.

Requisite: LATI 215, 316, 441 or equivalent. Spring semester. Professor D. Sinos.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

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 2025

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