Classical Civilization

Spring 2018 Courses

CLAS 10022

Words of the Ancient Romans

Prof. K. Schlegel

MW 12:50-1:40, 3 credits

This course introduces students to the literary culture of ancient Rome, from the boisterous comedy of Plautus in the second century BCE to the Confessions of St. Augustine in the fourth century CE.  Along the way we will examine Cicero’s work as a defense lawyer and a politician, Vergil’s magisterial epic of foundation and loss in his Aeneid, erotic poetry of Catullus and Ovid, and the surreal worlds of the Roman novel.  Some history will accompany the works for context, but the course primarily asks students to explore some of the literary works of the world in which so many of our own institutions — from the church to the courts — took shape.  We will explore some of the ways that Roman literature describes and offers solutions to unchanging human dilemmas of the heart and mind.  

CLAS 12022: Words of the Ancient Romans Discussion Groups (Sections 1-4)

F 12:50-1:40, 0 credits

A weekly discussion group required for those registered for CLAS 10022, Words of the Ancient Romans.


CLAS 13186 01

USEM: Ancient Emotions

Prof. B. Leyerle

TR 3:30-4:45, 3 credits

(Freshmen only)

Why do people react as they do? How can feelings be manipulated? And, what is the role of emotion in life and literature? A desire to explore these questions will lead us in this seminar to read and discuss an assortment of ancient texts, ranging from the influential definitions of emotions penned by philosophers (especially Aristotle and the Stoics), to the “case studies” provided by classical drama and epic, to the various therapeutic strategies urged by early Christian preachers (especially John Chrysostom). Throughout the semester, we will bring modern studies of the emotions and current therapeutic approaches into dialogue with these ancient sources.


CLAS 20350

Ancient Heroes

Prof. A. Tagliabue

MW 11:30-12:20, 3 credits

Our contemporary world often prizes public fame and celebrity, whether it is earned by achievement, talent and distinction, or acquired through more notorious or media-driven means. More than two thousand years ago, extending outwards from a pocket of civilization in the Mediterranean, the ancient Greeks and Romans prized in a similar way success and glory, heroism and fame. Indeed many of its heroes, such as Achilles and Ulysses, are still remembered as heroes today. This seminar will explore the stories of some famous ancient Greek and Roman heroes, from Achilles to Aeneas, and compare these figures to heroes of our time, from the controversial Christopher Columbus to the heroic war objector Desmond Doss and the Olympic star-sprinter Usain Bolt. With the help of both literary and multimedial support, you will be able to feel the presence of these heroes in front of you, and you will be able to assess critically the value of their success along with its limits. Moreover, we will reflect upon the differences between our modern perceptions of heroes and those of the ancient Greeks. What does it say to us that the ancient Greek hero Achilles wants his friend’s concubine and is not willing to change his mind about this? What is the role of the community in the actions of ancient and modern heroes? Does the ancient heroes’ divine descent have any counterpart in the modern conception of heroes? If you would like to reflect more on ancient and modern notions of heroism, individuality, success and failure, in ways which can fill you with new ideals and ambitions, come along to this course for keen discussion and debate.


CLAS 22350

Ancient Heroism Discussion Group (Sections 1-4)

F 11:30-12:20, 0 credits

A weekly discussion group required for those registered for CLAS 20350, Ancient Heroism Discussion Group.


CLAS 20021 (Cross-list HIST)

Drinking and Drinking Culture

Prof. A. Pistone

TR 9:30-10:45, 3 credits

This course asks students to examine the role that drinking (both proper and improper drinking) plays in the ancient Greek world and use this to reflect on the modern world. Students will be encouraged to make connections to the modern world throughout, but the course will conclude with a unit that explicitly invites this. The course will lay the groundwork with an examination of the myths and worship of Dionysus, as the god of wine, and will then move into the literary and material evidence of what took place at symposia, including the games and poetry that were involved. Then we will move into literary depictions of symposia and contrast three very different accounts (Plato, Xenophon, and Lucian), beginning with Xenophon and then using him as a sort of baseline to look at Plato’s additions and Lucian’s parodic account. We will also compare these literary accounts to the image of symposia that lyric poetry, vase paintings, and other testimonia convey. Finally, we will conclude with a more explicit comparison of ancient and modern attitudes toward drinking (and the proper way to drink and be drunk).

CLAS 20400 (Cross-list ARHI 20100)

Introduction to the Art of Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Near East

Prof. R. Rhodes

MW 11:00-12:15, 3 credits

This course will examine the origins of western art and architecture, beginning with a brief look at the Bronze Age cultures of the Near East and Egypt, then focusing in detail on Greece and Rome, from the Minoan and Mycenaean world of the second millennium B.C.E to the rule of the Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century C.E. Among the monuments to be considered are ziggurats, palaces, and the luxuriously furnished royal graves of Mesopotamia; the pyramids at Giza in Egypt and their funerary sculpture; the immense processional temple of Amon at Luxor; the Bronze Age palaces of Minos on Crete—the home of the monstrous Minotaur—and Agamemnon at Mycenae, with their colorful frescoes and processional approaches; the great funerary pots of early Athens and the subsequent traditions of Red and Black Figure vase painting; architectural and freestanding sculpture of the Archaic and Classical periods; the Periclean Acropolis in Athens, with its monumental gateway and shining centerpiece, the Parthenon; and finally, among the cultural riches of Rome, the painted houses and villas of Pompeii; the tradition of Republican and Imperial portraiture; the Imperial fora; the exquisitely carved Altar of Peace of Augustus; the Coliseum; and the Pantheon of the philhellene emperor Hadrian.


CLAS 30210 (cross-list HIST 30231; POLS 30702; CNST 30609; MI 30616)

Roman Law & Governance

Prof. T. Mazurek

MWF 2:00-2:50, 3 credits

An introduction to the nature and influence of Roman law, one of the most celebrated and distinctive elements of ancient Roman culture.  The course surveys the development of Roman civil and criminal law from the very early and enigmatic Twelve Tables to the very late and amazingly great Digest of Justinian.  Topics covered include legal procedures, the creation of law, and Roman jurisprudence, all of which are studied in the broad context of Roman government and administration.  The lasting effects of Roman law on modern legal systems are also considered.


CLAS 30216 (cross-list HIST)

Roman Imperialism 200 BC-200 AD

Prof. R. Ford

MW 11:00-12:15, 3 credits

At its greatest extent, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland in the north to Egypt in the south, from Spain in the west to beyond the Euphrates River in the east. Difficult to imagine in the present day, this vast territory was ruled by a single political and legal entity that imposed its norms upon a great diversity of peoples, languages, and cultures. How did a small Italian city-state come to rule the entire Mediterranean world and beyond? This is one of several questions the course will address. Others central questions include: What were the keys to Roman military success? Was imperialism a deliberate or accidental strategy? How did Romans perceive the frontiers and the peoples dwelling beyond them? In what ways did the Roman legacy condition colonialism in the modern world, and how has modern colonialism influenced modern perceptions of the Roman Empire? Over the course of the semester, students will read extensively in the primary sources (in translation) alongside current scholarly literature in order to address all of these questions and gain greater insight into the complexities of the Roman imperial experience.

CLAS 30341 (Cross-listed with MI)

Public Speaking and the Early Christians: Teaching, Rhetoric and Preaching

Prof. G. Müller

MW 2:00-3:15, 3 credits

In this course, we will discuss the development of preaching in the Early Church. The genre of the sermon and the role of the preacher are among the most formative and enduring innovations of the ancient Church. Through them, the Christians transformed the ancient art of rhetoric, reused public space and reconsidered sacred buildings, reinvented education and created a focal point for their group identity.We will read early sermons and sermon-like texts, discuss the practical circumstances under which they were created and delivered (space, acoustics, light), consider the theory of preaching and the educational background of preachers, reimagine the audiences who listended to them, and encounter texts of great beauty and importance for the history and theology of the Early Church. The time of origin will range from the first to the seventh century. Texts will be read in English. You do not need to have any knowledge of Latin, Greek or theology.


CLAS 78599

Thesis Direction

Prof. C. Baron

Variable credits

For students doing thesis work for a research master’s degree.


Fall 2017 Courses

CLAS 10140

Barbarians, the Church, and the Fall of Rome

Prof. R. Ford

MW 11:30 - 12:20, 3 credits

This course is an introduction to the Later Roman Empire and the period known as Late Antiquity. It will focus on the transformation of the Roman Empire between the third and sixth centuries A.D. and examine the major political, social, economic, and cultural developments that took place in this period. Central topics will include the political decline of the Roman Empire in the West; the rise of Christianity; the controversy over religious doctrines of the church; and the invasions, migrations, and kingdoms of barbarian peoples who would lay the foundations of Medieval Europe. The course will address the following questions: did the Roman Empire really fall or was it simply transformed? Is this a period of calamity or continuity? How did the church engage with the philosophical and political culture of Rome, and how did it change over this period? Who were the so-called barbarians and what role did they play in the collapse of the Roman imperial system in Western Europe? Must also register for CLAS 12140 co-requisite.


CLAS 12140 (Sections 1-4)

Barbarians, the Church, and the Fall of Rome Discussion sections

Christine Ascik, Cole McDowell, Thomas Hamilton, Cana Short

F 11:30 - 12:20, 0 credits

A weekly discussion section required for those registered for Barbarians, the Church, and the Fall of Rome. 


CLAS 13186 

Literature University Seminar

Prof. W. Bloomer, TR 9:30 - 10:45, 3 credits (Section 1)

Prof. E. Mazurek, TR 11:00 - 12:15, 3 credits (Section 2)

Fulfills University Literature Requirement

Introduces first-year students to the study of classical literature on a comparative basis, with readings from Greco-Roman and Egyptian literature. 


CLAS 20205 (Cross-list HIST 30230 and CNST 20603)

The History of Rome

Prof. D. Hernandez

MW 12:50 - 1:40, 3 credits

An outline introduction to the history of ancient Rome from Romulus to Constantine. The topics covered include the meteoric spread of Roman rule in the ancient Mediterranean, the brilliance of a republican form of government tragically swept away by destructive civil war, the rise of repressive autocracy under the Caesars, and the threats to empire in late antiquity posed inside by the rise of Christianity and outside by hostile invaders. Readings include narrative, documentary, and archaeological sources. The course prepares students for more detailed courses in ancient history. Offered biennially. 


CLAS 22205 (Sections 1 and 2)

The History of Rome Discussion sections

Ryan Walker, Kate Van de Loo

F 12:50 - 1:40, 0 credits

A weekly discussion group required for those registered for CLAS 20205, The History of Ancient Rome, or its cross-lists. 


CLAS 20300 

Film and the Ancient World

Prof. C. Schlegel

MW 3:30 - 4:45, 3 credits

This course examines how the literature and history of Greek and Roman antiquity are depicted in movies from the earliest days of the medium onwards, and how these films express social concerns contemporary with their making. Students will view films, study texts in translation from ancient Greece and Rome, and read secondary criticism on the subjects of ancient culture and modern representations. 


CLAS 30112 (Cross-list HIST 30223 and CNST 30600)

The Age of Alexander

Prof. C. Baron

TR 9:30 - 10:45, 3 credits

This course examines the military achievements of Alexander of Macedon (356-323B.C.) and their far-reaching political, social, cultural, and religious consequences. Topics covered include the Greek, Macedonian, Persian, and other cultural contexts of the time, Alexander's attitude toward divinity (including his own), his concept of empire, his generalship, and his legacy for Greco-Roman antiquity. Particular attention is devoted to representations of Alexander through the ages, beginning during his own lifetime with the accounts of ancient writers, historians and others, down to novels and films of the present day. Ancient authors and documents are read in translation. 


CLAS 30405 (Cross-list ARHI 30120 and ARCH 40211)

Greek Art and Architecture

Prof. R. Rhodes

TR 2:00 - 3:15, 3 credits

This course analyzes and traces the development of Greek architecture, painting, and sculpture in the historical period from the eighth through second century B.C., with some consideration of prehistoric Greek forebears of the Mycenaean Age. Particular emphasis is placed upon monumental art, its historical and cultural contexts, and how it reflects changing attitudes toward the gods, human achievement, and the relationship between the divine and the human. 


CLAS 30416 (Cross-list HIST 30234, ANTH 30017, ARHI 30131, and STV 30416)

Archaeology of Pompeii and Herculaneum: Daily Life in the Ancient Roman World 

Prof. D. Hernandez

MW 11:00 - 12:15, 3 credits

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 buried two thriving Roman cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum, in a prison of volcanic stone. The rediscovery of the cities in modern times has revealed graphic scenes of the final days and an unparalleled glimpse of life in the ancient Roman world. The course examines the history of excavations and the material record. Topics to be discussed include public life (forum, temples, baths, inns, taverns), domestic life (homes, villas), entertainment (amphitheater), art (wall paintings, mosaics, sculpture), writings (ancient literary sources, epigraphy, graffiti), the afterlife (tombs), urban design, civil engineering, the economy, and themes related to Roman society (family, slavery, religion, government, traditions, diet). 


CLAS 50101

Honors' Thesis Workshop

Prof. C. Schlegel

T 5:05-6:20, 1 credit

The seminar meets once a week for an hour, and is required for students writing an honors' thesis in the Department of Classics. The purpose of the class is to provide structure for the process of writing a thesis in one semester and to be a supplement to the primary student-advisor relationship. Assignments are frequently due before the class meeting so as to discuss and edit individual work as a group; all the assignments are tasks aimed at completing the thesis in a competent and timely manner. Attendance and fulfillment of the assignments are required for honors in Classics. To enter the class in the fall students must have already met with their primary advisor during the previous spring term, have a bibliography of ten items, and have a one-page proposal for their thesis in hand that s/he has worked on over the summer.