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Offerings in the Department of Classics explore all aspects of the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, the context of their interaction with the rest of the Mediterranean world, and their subsequent influence on our own day. The study of the classics, therefore, reveals important aspects of ancient cultures, raising new and fresh questions and insights both about antiquity and about the world in which we live. The department’s faculty is also committed to understanding, both historically and theoretically, issues of gender, class and race.
Courses in the Department of Classics invite students to discover the literatures and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Courses in Greek and Latin focus on important texts in the original languages; these courses aim to develop a facility in reading Greek and Latin and to sharpen skills in literary criticism. Courses in classical civilization use materials exclusively in English translation and require no prerequisites; they offer students from the entire Colleges’ community an opportunity to study classical literature and institutions in conjunction with a major, minor, or interdisciplinary work in the humanities.
The department offers disciplinary majors and minors in Classics, Latin and Greek. The department also coordinates both a disciplinary and interdisciplinary minor in Classical Studies. The Classical Studies minors approach the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilization from various directions, with various modes of inquiry. They are a less linguistically oriented alternative, offered to those who are interested in antiquity but not primarily interested in the ancient languages themselves.
All courses toward any of the majors or minors offered by Classics must be completed with a grade of C- or higher.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CLASSICS MAJOR (B.A.)
disciplinary, 12 courses
Four courses in Greek and four in Latin, including at least one 300-level course in each language. Four additional classics courses or courses approved by the department. No more than two 100-level language courses may count towards the major. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CLASSICS MINOR
disciplinary, 5 courses
Three Greek and two Latin courses or two Greek and three Latin. No more than three 100-level language courses may count towards the minor. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CLASSICAL STUDIES MINOR
disciplinary, 5 courses
Two courses in either Latin or Greek language; three courses, including two courses from one of the classical studies groups and one course from a second group or one from each of three different groups. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CLASSICAL STUDIES MINOR
interdisciplinary, 5 courses
Same as for the disciplinary minor, but selection of courses must include at least one course from the classical studies group in a division outside of the humanities. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GREEK MAJOR (B.A.)
disciplinary, 12 courses
Seven courses in Greek language, at least four of which are at the 200-level and one of which is at the 300-level; five additional courses selected from classics or other courses with appropriate content approved by the adviser. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GREEK MINOR
disciplinary, 5 courses
Five courses in the Greek language, at least three of which are at the 200-level or above. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE LATIN MAJOR (B.A.)
disciplinary, 12 courses
Seven courses in the Latin language, at least four of which must be at the 200-level and one at the 300-level, and five additional courses from classics or other courses with appropriate content approved by the adviser. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE LATIN MINOR
disciplinary, 5 courses
Five courses in Latin language, of which at least three must be at the 200-level or above. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one course with a CR grade may be counted towards the minor.
CLASSICAL STUDIES COURSES
History and Anthropology
ANTH 102 World Prehistory
ANTH 206 Early Cities
ANTH 210 Prehistoric Ecology
CLAS 202 Athens in the Age of Pericles
CLAS 209 Alexander the Great and His Legacy
CLAS 230 Gender and Sexuality in Antiquity
CLAS 251 The Romans: Republic to Empire
CLAS 275 Special Topics: Greek and Roman Archaeology
CLAS 275 Special Topics: Ancient Sparta
CLAS 108 Greek Tragedy
CLAS 112 Classical Myths
CLAS 213 Ancient Comedy and Satire
CLAS 228 Classical Epic
WRRH 312 Power and Persuasion
Religion and Philosophy
CLAS 125 Greek and Roman Religion
PHIL 370 Ancient Philosophy
REL 254 The Question of God/Goddess
REL 258 The Qu’ran and the Bible
ARTH 101 Ancient and Medieval Art
ARTH 116 World Architecture
ARTH 208 Greek Art and Architecture
ARTH 303 Roman Art and Politics
CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Courses requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, with no prerequisites, and suitable for first through fourth year students.
CLAS 108 Greek Tragedy This course is a reading in English translation of selected plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides—the earliest examples of one of the most pervasive genres of Western literature. Each play is considered both in its own right and in relation to larger issues, such as the tragic treatment of myth, relevance to contemporary Athenian problems, and the understanding of the world that these plays might be said to imply. Through attention to matters of production, an attempt is made to imagine the effect of the plays in performance in the Athenian theatre. The course considers, in addition, possible definitions of tragedy, with the aid both of other writers’ views and of experiences of the texts themselves. (Offered every three years)
CLAS 112 Classical Myths In this course, students study ancient creation myths, the mythology of the Olympian gods, and Greek heroic and epic saga. Particular attention is paid to ancient authors’ exploration of universal human themes and conflicts, mythology as an embodiment and criticism of ancient religious beliefs and practices, and the treatment of mythological themes in the ancient and modern visual arts. (Offered every three years)
CLAS 125 Greek and Roman Religion This course is an introduction to Greek and Roman religious thought and practice: the pre-Greek “goddess worship” of Minoan Crete, the Greek Olympians and the “mystery religions,” the impersonal agricultural deities of the early Romans, the Greek and Roman philosophical schools, Christianity’s conquest of the Empire and the Empire’s regimentation of Christianity. Attention is paid to the practice of animal sacrifice, the Greek and Roman religious festivals, the contrast between public and private cult, the tolerance of religious diversity under paganism vs. the intolerance of monotheism, and pagan ideas of personal salvation. The course’s approach is historical. (Offered every three years)
CLAS 202 Athens in the Age of Pericles The great age of Athenian democracy, so fertile in its influence on our own culture, is the focus of this course, with particular attention paid to the social and political history, the intellectual life, the art, and the literature of the period. Issues such as imperialism and the exclusion of certain categories of people from full participation in the democracy are emphasized. The course traces Periclean Athens’ antecedents in the archaic period and its end under the effects of the Peloponnesian War. (Offered every three years)
CLAS 209 Alexander the Great and his Legacy In 336 BCE Alexander acquired the throne of Macedonia but 13 years later died in Babylon. In that time, Alexander had conquered the Persian Empire, been declared the son of the God Amun of Egypt, travelled past the Indus River, and had become involved in the acculturation of ancient cultures. Although Alexander had achieved a great deal his legacy achieved even more. In this course, we will study the man Alexander and the legacy he left behind. Alexander and his achievements offer many problems and scholars and enthusiasts have presented a multitude of interpretations. Consequently, and thankfully, a history of Alexander the Great is a wonderful entry into the world of historiography. In this course, we will examine topics such as his military genius, his administration of empire, and the mysteries surrounding his death. As the eminent Macedonian scholar Eugene Borza wrote, “it was Alexander’s lot that to act as a human being was to move on a vast stage, affecting the lives of countless persons in his own day and capturing the fancies of those who lived after.” (Offered every three years)
CLAS 213 Ancient Comedy and Satire In the fourth century BCE the Athenian philosopher Aristotle included comedy among the forms of poetry that provided audiences with an experience that went beyond entertainment. For Greeks and Romans this genre allowed people to escape present time and circumstances. In this course we will examine the comedies and satires of the classical world and try to understand the appeal and value of the comedies to the ancient audience. We will examine the historical context of the comedies, their connection to ritual, politics, and cultural changes and the differences between the artists and periods. We will also compare the ancient comedies to modern comedies and discuss comedy as an evolving genre. Theoretical works will be consulted as we consider the presence in comedy and satire of sexuality and aggression. And lastly, we will have some fun reading the comedies. Dedicated and thoughtful participation is required as we laugh—or don’t—at works by Aristophanes, Plautus, Terence, Horace, and Juvenal. (Offered every three years)
CLAS 228 Classical Epic In this course, we will read epic texts from Ancient Greece and Rome, not only to acquaint ourselves with some of the most informative traditions in the history of Europe and America, but also, to discuss Epic poetry’s defining features, as well as its significance to the various groups that have created, transmitted, and received it. We will also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the different methodological approaches applied to Epic texts. Are Epics just stories, or are they something more? How reliable are Epics as historical sources? Why has Epic poetry gripped the imaginations of so many individuals for so long? Why do Epic heroes (and heroines) seem so—for lack of a better modern description—unheroic? (Offered every three years)
CLAS 230 Gender and Sexuality in Antiquity Ancient Greek and Roman literature were powerful forces in shaping attitudes toward and expectations for men and women that have continued into the 20th century. Through readings (in English translation) of Greek and Roman literature from what were very patriarchal societies, students explore the attitudes of these ancient peoples toward issues of sex and gender. Students examine from both traditional and feminist perspectives material written by both men and women from different classes and cultures, with a view to assessing how ancient attitudes towards sex and gender have informed our own. (Offered every three years)
CLAS 251 The Romans: Republic to Empire This course surveys the “Roman Revolution,” from 140 B.C. to A.D. 70: the Destruction of the Republic by Julius Caesar and Augustus’ founding of the Empire. Students trace the political evolution of Rome through these two centuries and read several central works by ancient authors of this period. The course also Considers the “everyday life” of the Romans—the conditions of the rich, poor, and slave, the changing status of women, and religious and philosophical pluralism within the Empire. The course thus aims to be an introduction to Roman History and culture during its central era. (Offered every three years)
CLAS 450 Independent Study (By arrangement)
CLAS 495 Honors (By arrangement)
Classics Courses Offered Occasionally
CLAS 175 Special Topics
CLAS 221 Rise of the Polis
CLAS 275 Special Topics
CLAS 283 Aristotle
CLAS 290 Classical Law and Morality
GREEK COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
GRE 101 Beginning Greek I “There is one criterion, and one only, by which a course for the learners of a language no longer spoken should be judged: the efficiency and speed with which it brings them to the stage of reading texts in the original language with precision, understanding, and enjoyment.” This statement by Sir Kenneth Dover characterizes the approach to learning Greek pursued in the beginning sequence (GRE 101, GRE 102). The aim of this sequence is to provide students with the vocabulary and grammatical skills necessary to read ancient Greek authors as quickly as possible. This language study also offers an interesting and effective approach to the culture and thought of the Greeks. No prerequisites. (Fall, offered annually)
GRE 102 Beginning Greek II A continuation of GRE 101, this course continues and completes the presentation of basic Greek grammar and vocabulary and increases students’ facility in reading Greek. Prerequisite: GRE 101 or the equivalent. (Spring, offered annually)
GRE 205 The Greek New Testament In this course, students read one of the canonical gospels in the original Greek and the other three in English translation. Class work emphasizes the grammatical differences between koine Greek and Classical Greek. The course considers the numerous noncanonical gospels and investigates the formation of the New Testament canon. Students examine textual variants in the biblical manuscripts and discuss the principles that lead textual critics to prefer one reading over another. The theory that Matthew and Luke are based on Mark and a hypothetical document “Q” is critically investigated. The course also introduces students to modern approaches to New Testament study: form, redaction, rhetorical, and postmodern criticisms. Prerequisite: GRE 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
GRE 213 Plato In this course, a Platonic dialogue such as the Symposium, the Apology, or the Crito is read in Greek, with attention directed to the character and philosophy of Socrates as they are represented by Plato. It includes a review of Greek grammar. Prerequisite: GRE 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
GRE 223 Homer This course is a reading in Greek and discussion of some of either Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey, with the entire poem read in English. Some attention is given to the cultural and historical setting and to the nature of Homeric language, but the course aims at an appreciation, through readings in the original, of the Iliad or Odyssey as a poetic masterpiece. Prerequisite: GRE 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
GRE 250 Ancient Greek Historians In this course, students read selections from Herodotus, Xenophon, or Thucydides, examining both the authors’ prose styles and the historical contexts in which they wrote. The course aims to develop the ability to read the original Greek text of an ancient historian with attention given to vocabulary, grammar and style. In addition, students will also examine the ways in which Greek historians recorded their history in a way that was both aesthetically pleasing and useful. (Offered every three years)
GRE 263 Sophocles This course includes a careful reading in Greek of one of the plays of Sophocles, such as Oedipus the King or Antigone, with close attention to the language of tragedy, as well as to plot construction, dramatic technique, and the issues raised by the mythic story. Prerequisite: GRE 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
GRE 264 Euripides In this course, a complete tragedy of Euripides, such as Alcestis, Bacchae, Hippolytus, or Medea, is studied in Greek, with close attention to language and style as a way of appreciating the play’s broader concerns and Euripides’ dramatic artistry. Prerequisite: GRE 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
GRE 265 Aristophanes In this course, one of the comedies of Aristophanes, such as Lysistrata or Clouds, is read closely in Greek. In addition to discussing its universal human themes, the course explores its relevance to its Athenian historical period and discusses the particular nature of Aristophanic comedy. Prerequisite: GRE 102 or equivalent. (Offered every three years)
GRE 301 Advanced Readings in Greek Literature this course is offered to students who have mastered the fundamentals of Greek and are now able to read substantial amounts appreciatively. Readings are chosen according to the interests and needs of the students. Prerequisites: two semesters of 200-level Greek or permission of the instructor. Typical readings: prose—Plato, Xenophon, Herodotus, Thucydides, Lysias, Demosthenes; poetry—Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes. (Fall, offered annually)
GRE 302 Advanced Readings in Greek Literature This course is parallel to GRE 301. (Spring, offered annually)
GRE 400 Senior Seminar This seminar is designed to provide an integrative capstone experience for Greek, Latin, and classics majors. Team-taught by members of the department, the structure and content of the course varies to meet the individual needs and desires of the senior majors. Possible content may include: intensive reading of Latin/Greek authors, Latin/Greek composition, surveys of Latin/Greek literature, introduction to research tools for graduate study, developing bibliographies, and designing materials in preparation for teaching. (Spring, offered occasionally)
GRE 450 Independent Study (By arrangement)
GRE 495 Honors (By arrangement)
LATIN COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
LAT 101 Beginning Latin I This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of Latin grammar, accompanied by some practice in reading the language. The aim is to equip students to read the major Roman authors. No prerequisite. (Fall, offered annually)
LAT 102 Beginning Latin II This course continues and completes the study of basic grammar and introduces representative samples of Latin prose (e.g., Cicero, Caesar) and poetry (e.g., Catullus, Ovid). By consolidating their knowledge of grammar and building their vocabulary, students are able to read Latin with increased ease and pleasure and to deepen their understanding of ancient Roman culture. Prerequisite: LAT 101 or the equivalent. (Spring, offered annually)
LAT 223 Medieval Latin At the end of the Roman Empire, as “classical” Latin grew more formal and artificial, “vulgar” Latin—the language of the “common people” and the parent of the Romance languages—emerged as a sophisticated literary instrument. Throughout the Middle Ages, an enormous literature was produced in this living Latin: works sacred and profane, serious and flippant. In this course, students read selections, in the original Latin, from works in theology, history, biography, fiction, and poetry. Attention is given to the differences between Medieval and “classical” Latin, but the course emphasizes the creativity of the medieval authors as artists in a living language. Prerequisite: LAT 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
LAT 224 Plautus One of Plautus’s comedies, such as the Casina or the Miles Gloriosus, will be read in Latin. Attention will be given to Plautus’s archaic Latin and its differences from the classical norm, the complex meters of the play, the adaptation of a Greek New Comedy to the Latin language and to Roman mores, and the presence of sex and violence in entertainment. (Offered occasionally)
LAT 238 Latin Epic (Vergil or Ovid) This course is a careful reading in Latin of some of the Aeneid or the Metamorphoses, with the entire poem read in English, to enable students to appreciate the poetry and Vergil’s or Ovid’s presentation of Augustan Rome against the background of its historical and literary heritage. Prerequisite: LAT 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
LAT 248 The Writings of Cicero or Pliny This course includes readings in the original Latin of works by eyewitnesses to the profound changes that Rome experienced during the late republic and early empire. It gives considerable attention to the literary intentions of the author and to the light those intentions throw on contemporary political feelings and postures. Prerequisite: LAT 102 or equivalent. (Offered every three years)
LAT 255 Latin Historians: Tacitus or Livy This course includes readings from Tacitus’ Annales or Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita, examining the authors’ prose styles and the historical contexts in which they wrote. Students explore the authors’ use of historiography as ostensible support or covert attack on political regimes. Attention is given to the ancient view that history must be aesthetically pleasing and ethically useful and to ancient historians’ lapses in objectivity and accuracy. Prerequisite: LAT 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
LAT 262 Latin Erotic Poetry In this course, selections from Catullus, Propertius, Sulpicia, Tibullus, and Ovid help to survey the language, themes, and structures of Augustan elegiac poetry. Considerable attention is paid to the Roman authors’ views of women and of the relations between the sexes. Prerequisite: LAT 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
LAT 264 Petronius or Seneca In this course, selections from the Satyricon, read in Latin, highlight Petronius’ wit, his depiction of contemporary society, and the Satyricon as an example of ancient prose narrative. Alternatively, selections from Seneca’s Moral Epistles portray the Stoic philosopher’s ethical concerns in a time of tyranny, or one of his blood-and-thunder tragedies illustrates the spirit of the age of Nero, in which evil becomes a fine art. Prerequisite: LAT 102 or the equivalent. (Offered every three years)
LAT 301 Advanced Readings in Latin Literature This course is offered to students who have mastered the fundamentals of Latin and are now able to read substantial amounts appreciatively. Readings are chosen according to the interests and needs of the students. Prerequisites: Two terms of 200-level Latin or permission of the instructor. Typical readings: prose—Cicero, Seneca, Tacitus, Livy; poetry—Horace, Juvenal, Lucretius, Ovid, Propertius, Vergil. (Fall, offered annually)
LAT 302 Advanced Readings in Latin Literature This course is parallel to LAT 301. (Spring, offered annually)
LAT 400 Senior Seminar This seminar is designed to provide an integrative capstone experience for Greek, Latin, and classics majors. Team-taught by members of the department, the structure and content of the course varies to meet the individual needs and desires of the senior majors. Possible content includes: intensive reading of Latin/Greek authors, Latin/Greek composition, surveys of Latin/Greek literature, introduction to research tools for graduate study, developing bibliographies, designing materials in preparation for teaching. (Spring, offered occasionally)
LAT 450 Independent Study (By arrangement)
LAT 495 Honors (By arrangement)