Fall 2016 Courses


CLSS-110-01 Introduction to Greek Archaeology

This course offers both a chronological survey of ancient Greek material culture and an introduction to the methods of discovery and analysis employed by Classical (Greek and Roman) archaeologists. Most class meetings will focus on the major monuments, archaeological sites, and artifacts of the ancient Greek world from Bronze Age prehistory through to the Archaic (ca. 600-480 B.C.), Classical (ca. 480-323 B.C.), and Hellenistic (ca. 323-30 B.C.) periods. In addition to considering major sites such as Knossos, Mycenae, Athens, Delphi, and Olympia, we will trace the development of Greek architecture, sculpture, city planning, painting, and other art forms over time. We will also consider the nature of the archaeological evidence for the ancient Greeks and the relationship of Classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and the classical languages. Midterm and final exams will be based upon slides seen in class and available through Powerpoint presentations; students will research and write two short papers.

CLSS-141-01 Roman History: Empire

For centuries the Roman empire allowed millions of people, from Spain to the Middle East, to live in peace. In this class we explore how, looking at the figure of the emperor and the imperial court; war and diplomacy; the everyday lives of rich and poor; mass entertainments in the city of Rome and the provinces; law and individual freedom; emperor-worship, the growth of Christianity and stories of the martyrs. Evidence examined includes classics of ancient historical writing such as Suetonius’ lives of the Caesars as well as original documents and the material remains of cities, country estates, and army forts. Some attention is also paid to the legacy of Rome, from the empires of Charlemagne through to Great Britain.

CLSS-170-01 Intro to Classical Myth

This course surveys the major traditional myths of the ancient Greeks and considers briefly the role of myth among the Romans. Students will examine the uses and meaning of myth within the contexts of ancient culture and study modern critical theories for interpreting them. In class lectures and discussion are used; classwork is supplemented by formal discussion of theoretical essays in Blackboard. Upon finishing this course students will: 

• know the genealogies, major stories, and thematic significance of the Greek Olympians as well as their Roman counterparts; 
• know the major cycles of heroic myth as well as the thematic significance of individual stories; 
• be acquainted with major theoretical approaches to the study of myth itself; 
• demonstrate an ability willingness to participate in a cordial, constructive, and effective way in online discussions; 
• learn how to write a short summary and analysis of the ideas and interpretations of fellow students as well as interpret the essay under discussion. 

CLSS-209 Greek Religion

Ancient Greek religion has often been characterized as a religious system fueled more by ritual practice than by belief: there was no central sacred text comparable to the Bible or the Koran, and no body of dogma to which worshippers subscribed. The leading practitioners of Greek religion, priests and priestesses, were essentially amateurs who often served for a single year and sometimes even bought their priestly offices at auction. The most important religious ritual was animal sacrifice, and subsidiary rituals included prayers, hymns, and libations. Every Greek was expected to take part in these rituals, whether they were performed in the household, the neighborhood, the city, a regional sanctuary, or a Panhellenic sanctuary such as Delphi or Olympia. 

Both the ritual practices and the underlying motives and beliefs of Greek religion were complex, giving evidence of a long historical development and significant local variation. In this course, we will explore this complexity through readings from important recent scholarship on a variety of topics to include the following: the theory and practice of animal sacrifice, sacred laws governing the behavior of worshippers, religious festivals, priests and priestesses, the role of women in Greek religion, oracles, and mystery cults. Assigned readings will serve as the basis for class discussions. In addition to taking midterm and final exams, students will serve as weekly discussion co-leaders and write one short research paper (8-10 pages) on an individual topic to be chosen in consultation with the professor.

CLSS-422-01 Speaking to Power in Antiquity

After the assassination of Cicero in 43 BCE, Mark Antony ordered the great orator’s tongue and right hand be cut off and nailed to the speaker’s platform in the center of Rome, in retribution for Cicero’s vituperation. Antony was just one of many powerful individuals in the ancient world, and, as Cicero’s story demonstrates, it mattered how you spoke to them. This class will focus on a range of Greek and Latin authors, their relation to powerful figures, and how they navigated that dynamic in their writing. We will read a variety of texts, including Hellenistic court poetry, Cicero’s attacks on Antony, and Lucan’s ambiguous praise of the emperor Nero. Discussions will focus on the primary texts, but we will also consider modern scholarly interpretations of these works, the range of which shows just how fine a line many of these authors walked between self-expression and safety.


CLSL-001 Latin I

This is an intensive introduction to the Latin language. By the end of the year, students will have been introduced to all basic Latin morphology and syntax and will be able to read texts in the original with the aid of a dictionary. Unabridged selections from works by Julius Caesar and the poet Catullus are studied in the spring semester.

CLSG-101 Intermediate Latin

Intermediate Latin is intended for students who have successfully completed Latin I at Georgetown or have otherwise acquired the ability to read Latin texts in the original, with a good basic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. While these same elements (vocabulary, morphology, syntax) will be constantly reviewed and constitute an essential part of home and class work, a new stress will be increasingly posed on matters related to literary genres, poetic diction, rhetoric, meter, etc. In fact, students will be introduced to handling Latin literature directly, and especially through the study of those very authors that represent the basis for virtually all grammatical notions and abstractions so far learned, i.e. Cicero and Virgil. 

CLSL-243-01 Petronius

A masterpiece of Western literature, Petronius’ Satyricon is the story of a young man, Encolpius, and his friends and their encounters with a series of absurd characters in what seems to be a Greek city but can also be taken as a parody of emperor Nero’s Rome. A highlight of the novel is the Cena Trimalchionis, a first-person narration of a banquet at the house of an extravagant freedman, Trimalchio, a model for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby. The Cena will be the main focus of the course, but we will also read selections from other parts of the novel, such as the famous story of the Widow of Ephesus and some of the parts written in verse. The text of the Satyricon will be read in the original, with attention to its language and style as well its literary complexity and the diversity of viewpoints displayed. Given the substantial differences among its many editions, we will all be using the one by Konrad Müller, Petronii Arbitri Satyricon Reliquiae, München-Leipzig 2003 (repr. of 1995 edition).

CLSL-264-01 Roman Elegy

Treating myths, mistresses, leisure, and love, elegy flourished in Rome from the late Republic through the reign of Augustus, and the poetry created during this period was so esteemed that one Roman rhetorician could write, “In elegy, we rival the Greeks.” In this class, we will explore the development and the major themes of the genre through the works of two Latin elegists, Tibullus and Ovid. Tibullus, who wrote one of the earliest complete books of Roman love elegy to survive, was regarded by many as the finest elegist, while Ovid, who began his career writing love elegy like Tibullus, ended it in exile, where he reworked many of the genre’s traditional elements in his book of “Laments” (Tristia). We will consider questions such as: How do elegists balance working within a tradition with innovation and personal style? To what extent is this emotional poetry? How did elegy interact with other genres of Latin poetry? 


CLSG-001 Ancient Greek I

This is an intensive introduction to the ancient Greek language. By the end of the year, students will have been introduced to all basic Attic Greek syntax and grammar and will be able to read texts in the original, with the aid of a dictionary.

CLSG-101 Intermediate Ancient Greek

Students read Plato’s Apology, which represents Socrates’ speech at his trial for impiety, and Euripides’ Medea. The Apology introduces the concentrated prose of philosophic argument in the novel setting of a forensic speech. Students also study the historical context of the trial itself: the defeat of Athens, the reign and fall of the Thirty, and the restoration of democracy. With the Medea, students turn to the poetry of Attic tragedy, and become become familiar with the structures of ancient tragedy as well as the dramatic festivals of Athens as the setting for tragic productions. By the end of this course students will: 
• Read Plato’s Apology and Euripides’ Medea
• Demonstrate control of Greek morphology and syntax; 
• Acquire vocabulary necessary to read central Attic poetic and prose texts; 
• Develop proficiency in translating at sight Greek poetry and prose; 
• Learn about Greek prosody and understand Greek verse structures, including the iambic trimeter; 
• Acquire an awareness of the differences between the Attic and Doric dialects, as featured in tragedy. 

CLSG-238-01 Greek Prose Style

A study of Greek prose style.