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Classics Department Courses Spring 2016


CLSC 102 – Byzantine World 300-1453
TR 10-11:15, Elizabeth Todd

(Cross-listed as HSTY 210) Development of the Byzantine empire from the emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and founding of the eastern capital at Constantinople to the fall of Constantinople to Turkish forces in A.D. 1453. Lectures and discussion. Fulfills Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

CLSC 222 – Classical Tradition 2: The Birth of Archaeology
TR 2:45-4, Florin Berindeanu

(Cross-listed as WLIT 222) The course will focus on the history of diverse methods for studying societies remote in time and space; i.e., on the formation of the distinct disciplines of archaeology and anthropology, and the interest in the origins of human society and cultural practices. The birth of archaeology occurred in the context of the profound transformation of European cultural life in the eighteenth century, the era of the Enlightenment. On the basis of a range of cultural productions (literary and historical texts, objects of luxury and use, etc.), we will study visual and literary works and consider the relationship between different modes of artistic production and expression, as well as the marketing and display of prestigious objects, whether ancient or modern. We will consider the eighteenth-century model of experiential education, the “Grand Tour,” and the formation of private and public collections, as well as the emergence of the museum as institution. Finally, we will also consider important recent work on the relationship between the production of luxury commodities (sugar, coffee, tea, etc.) through the plantation economy in the Americas and beyond and the development of attitudes and ideas in Europe. Fulfills the Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

CLSC 224 – Sword and Sandal: The Classics in Film
TR 2:45-4, Ricardo Apostol

(Cross-listed as WLIT 224) Gladiator. Alexander. The 300. Contemporary society’s continuing fascination with putting the ancient world on the big screen is undeniable; and yet the causes underlying this phenomenon are not quite so readily apparent. In this course we will watch and discuss a number of movies about the ancient world, running the gamut from Hollywood classics such as Ben-Hur and Spartacus to more recent treatments (the aforementioned 300 and Gladiator, for starters), and from the mainstream and conventional (Clash of the Titans, Disney’s Hercules) to the far-out and avant-garde (Fellini’s Satyricon, anyone?). As we do so we’ll learn quite a bit about the art and economics of film, on one hand, and the ancient world, on the other. And yet what we’ll keep coming back to are the big questions: what does our fascination with the ancient Mediterranean tell us about ourselves as a society? Why do such movies get made, and what kinds of agendas do they serve? To what extent can we recapture the past accurately? And if we can’t, are we doomed to just endlessly projecting our own concerns and desires onto a screen, and dressing them in togas? No knowledge of ancient languages is required for this course.

CLSC 232 – Gods and Gladiators: The World of Ancient Rome
MWF 4-4:50, Ricardo Apostol

“Roman civilization.” Let’s face it, you read that and didn’t bat an eyelash. You didn’t stop, bewildered, and say “Romans? Who the heck are they?” We’re not even going to touch how you just skipped right over “civilization” as though you had some idea of what that meant, because we’re still discussing the Romans. Based on what you know about the Romans you’ve already decided that you care enough to take this class (the Romans were cool; they were badass; they ruled a mighty empire), or that you don’t (oh that was so long ago; those old white dudes have nothing to do with me; Romans? Boring!). But that confidence should tell you something about how familiar, how fundamental our idea of the Romans is, that even if you’ve never set foot in a classics classroom, you have definite ideas and opinions about those guys. Those Romans.

This is a course to help you deal with that, for lack of a better term, “knowledge.” I want to make the Romans strange again, and familiar in a new way. How do we know what we know about Romans? Are they as familiar as we think they are? How have historians reconstructed them, and how secure are their conjectures? We will read about the Romans, and we will also read the Romans, all kinds of Romans. By the end of this course you will know the Romans… better; you will know historical method; you will have sharp analytical and communication skills, both oral and written; and you’ll definitely have fulfilled your Global and Diversity Requirement.

CLSC 320 – Alexander the Great
MW 3:00-4:15, Paul Iversen

(Cross-listed as HSTY 320) This course is the Classics Departmental Seminar in the SAGES sequence, though it can also be taken for regular credit in Classics or History.  It offers Classics students a firm grounding in the discipline including publication conventions, with an emphasis on the diverse materials, methods and approaches that can be brought to bear on the study of Graeco-Roman antiquity.  Students will read and discuss the ancient sources and contemporary scholarship on the enigmatic Alexander the Great drawn from various fields of classics, including history, archaeology, art history, philosophy, gender studies, epigraphy, numismatics, and the reception of Alexander.  Based upon this, they will then write a 15-20 page research paper that employs writing conventions found in the field of Classics.   Fulfills the Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement and counts as Classics Departmental SAGES seminar.

CLSC 322/422 – Roman Drama and Theater
TR 1:15-2:30, Timothy Wutrich

(Cross-listed as WLIT 322/422) This course is designed as a continuation of and companion to CLSC/WLIT 316/416 Greek Tragedy in English Translation, although it may be taken without having taken, or before having taken, that course. Students in Roman Drama and Theater will read a significant number of ancient Roman plays in modern English translation and study non-literary theatrical entertainment of the Roman Republic and Empire, such as mime and pantomime, gladiatorial shows, and other spectacles. The dramatic texts that we shall study include the fragments of early Latin drama, selected comedies by Plautus and Terence, and the tragedies of Seneca. We shall also consider Greek and Roman literature that comments on Roman theatrical practices. These works will be read for their literary merits and theatrical possibilities, while at the same time examining them for what they can tell us about Roman culture and society. Similarly, when studying the non-literary theatrical works we shall examine historical and theatrical context including archaeological evidence from theaters and amphitheaters and material remains (masks, depictions of actors and gladiators on vases, terra cotta lamps, mosaics, etc.). Finally, while most of the course focuses on drama originally written in Latin and theatrical entertainments performed in ancient Rome, the course will include a survey of selected post-classical works indebted to the tradition of Roman drama and theater. Thus, a secondary concern will be to consider how and in what ways the legacy of Roman drama and theater has continued to shape the dramatic arts since antiquity. Fulfills Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement. 

CLSC 331/431 – Dante and the Classical Tradition
TR 1:15-2:30, Florin Berindeanu

(Cross-listed as 331/431) This course will introduce through the complex work of Dante the concept of classical tradition as an all-encompassing cultural term. Dante represents the grandiose example of the artist who seeks the complete synthesis between humanities and sciences and their incessant collaborative effort to broaden as much as possible the depths of human knowledge. Philosophy, Geography, Physics, Linguistics, Astronomy and Literature are steady landmarks in Dante’s work through which he aims to speak about the necessity of ever maintaining continuity between all domains of human knowledge. Dante’s work proposes proposes high levels of excellence and while the course’s focus will be on his literary output the scientific interests and treatises he demonstrates will not be omitted during class discussion and bibliography included in the syllabus. Last but not least the focus will be on how we understand today the concept of classical tradition as a result of Dante’s writings. Fulfills Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement. 


GREK 102 – Elementary Greek II
MWF 9:30-10:20, Rachel Sternberg

Beginning course in Greek language, covering grammar (forms and syntax) and the reading of elementary selections from ancient sources. Makes a start toward reading Greek authors. Prereq: GREK 101 or equivalent.

GREK 202/402 – Introduction to Greek Poetry
MW 12:30-1:45, Paul Iversen

(Cross-listed as WLIT 202/402) In this course we will read selections from Homer’s Iliad.  The central aims of the course will be to become proficient readers of Homeric Greek and to appreciate all its subtlety, complexity, and beauty.  There will also be discussion of the Epic genre, the concept of the hero, social customs reflected in the work, the compositional methods employed (i.e. oral poetry and the dactylic hexameter), and what is collectively known as “The Homeric Question.” Prereq: GREK 102 or equivalent.

GREK 306/406  – Tragedy (Sophocles)
MWF 2:00-2:50, Rachel Sternberg

(Cross-listed as WLIT 306/406) Reading and interpretation of selected plays of Sophocles. Prereq: GREK 200-level course or equivalent.



LATN 102 – Elementary Latin II
MWF 2-2:50pm, Timothy Wutrich

An introduction to the elements of Latin: pronunciation, forms, syntax, vocabulary, and reading. Prereq: LATN 101 or equivalent.

LATN 202/402 – Vergil
TR 4:30-5:45pm, Timothy Wutrich

(Cross-listed as WLIT 232/432) In this course we read and discuss selections from Vergil’s poetry, looking briefly at the Eclogues and Georgics, but dealing primarily with the Aeneid. We consider language, style, and meter, and continue to build Latin vocabulary and reinforce the command of Latin grammar and syntax. Literary analysis and interpretation of the Aeneid as well as the performance aspect of Latin epic also features in class meetings. In addition to daily translation, course work includes vocabulary quizzes, two exams (midterm and final), a passage to memorize and recite, and a paper. Prerequisite:  LATN 102 or equivalent.

LATN 307/407 – Livy
TR 11:30-12:45, Ricardo Apostol

(Cross-listed as WLIT 347/447) Livy’s history, as its title states, begins from the very foundations of the city of Rome, and is our foremost ancient source for the events and figures of archaic Rome.  Yet the fact that it was written hundreds of years after the time period it sets out to portray makes it highly problematic as a historical text.  This course will, of course, focus on reading as much of book I as possible, absorbing the wealth of material that it provides on Romulus, Remus, and Rome in the regal period, when it was (supposedly) ruled by a series of seven kings.  But it also aims to provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary overview of what we know about that period in Rome’s history, what Augustan writers knew about it and how they knew it, and the precise limits and utility of Livy’s magnificent monument to the foundation of the Eternal City.      

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