Fall 2022 Courses

Classical Studies (Fall 2022)

CLSS 130 History of Ancient Greece (Lester Stephens)

In this course we will study ancient Greek history from the 8th century B.C. through the conquest of the Greek mainland by Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. Major themes explored will include: the definition of Greek identity, the relationships between Greeks and Persians, the conflict between Athens and Sparta, and the internal dynamics of the Greek polis. We will read and consider in class accounts of the important events in Greek history written by the Greeks themselves (Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon). A major goal of the course is to explore how present-day ancient historians use sparse and sometimes conflicting literary sources, in combination with inscriptions and archaeological evidence, to arrive at an understanding of the distant past. Most class meetings will consist of a combination of informal lecture by the professor and close examination of the assigned readings. Assignments will include two exams and two short papers.

CLSS 150 Intro to Greek Literature (Charles McNelis)

This course surveys ancient Greek literature from the Archaic period down to the Roman period (ca. 750 BC to AD 400), with special attention to authors such as Hesiod, Homer, Sappho, Pindar, Aeschylus, Euripides, Callimachus and Theocritus. In particular, the course will focus on the features of various prose and poetic genres such as epic, hymn, tragedy, comedy, history and pastoral. A central theme of the course will be the profound importance of the Homeric poems (both the Iliad and the Odyssey) as both works of art in their own right and culturally definitive artifacts, and we will consider in detail what various Greek reactions to and interpretations of these poems reveal about the cultural and literary history of the ancient world.

CLSS 220 Fall of Rome  (Justin Haynes)

What was it like to witness the fall of Rome? How do we tell if a civilization is collapsing and what insights can be applied to our own society? How does the conflict between Christianity and paganism color our interpretation of the transition from the classical world to the Middle Ages? This course will explore such questions primarily through the lens of the Roman literature of late antiquity (fourth to sixth centuries) but with an eye to the transformations that occurred in the seventh and eighth centuries, the so-called Dark Ages. Assigned readings in translation will be drawn from a host of sources ranging from well-known Church Fathers, such as Augustine and Jerome, to lesser-known secular masters such as Macrobius and Rutilius Namatianus.

CLSS 238 Roman Expansion, 275-146 BC  (Lester Stephens)

Roman military dominance in the Mediterranean was never a foregone conclusion. The rising city-state prospered in a world of capable generals and kings possessing the will and resources to challenge and overcome the might of Rome. The story of Roman supremacy in the Mediterranean entails more than the resilience and prowess of the legions, it must necessarily take into account the multivalent environment in which the Romans operated with opportunities to alter the course of history that were not endemic to Rome.  This course attempts to achieve a measure of coherence in understanding the contestation of power that involved Rome, Carthage, and Hellenistic powers. Above all, the course reveals the uncertainties and lack of inevitability that punctuated the shifting balance of power in the ancient Mediterranean, and it serves as a lesson in historical contingency germane to any nation or period of history.

CLSS 265 Alexander the Great  (Brett Evans)

Alexander of Macedon lived an unbelievable life. He conquered from Greece all the way to India, forever changing the world as the Greeks knew it. Along the way he became the son of Zeus, and even a god. Who was Alexander? How did he view the world, and the world him? Together we will analyze the ancient narratives of Alexander’s life and afterlife, discerning as best we can his worldview, how others responded to and made sense of him, and how he shaped our institutions and imagination. Our reading includes: Arrian, Plutarch, Curtius, Hellenistic historiography, and the Alexander Romance.  

Classics: Latin (Fall 2022)

CLSL 001 Latin I  (Justin Haynes)

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.

CLSL 101 Intermediate Latin  (Lester Stephens)

Intermediate Latin is intended for students who have successfully completed Latin II 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. Satisfies COL language requirement.

CLSL 212 Roman Comedy (Marden Nichols)

The earliest Latin literary texts surviving intact are the comedies of Plautus, which date to the late 3rd and early 2nd centuries BC. In this course, we will read Plautus’ Mostellaria, in which a wayward son takes advantage of his father’s absence to throw a monumental house party, and Amphitruo, a send-up of the gods and romantic jealousies that Plautus referred to as a “tragicomedy.” By translating these plays, we will become familiar with the unique style and diction of early Latin. Plautus’ bawdy and clever comedies not only offer insight in ancient Roman literature and culture, but also remain amusing in the present day.

CLSL 242  Livy (Charles McNelis)

Livy’s massive Ab urbe condita covered the history of Rome from its foundation to the time of Augustus.  Of the 142 books that he wrote, 35 survive in more or less complete fashion.  This class will read Book 1.  The first book contains many famous stories (Romulus and Remus, the rape of the Sabine Women, the rape of Lucretia, the Horatii and Curiatii) of Rome’s early history and the transition from the so-called regal period to a republican form of government.  While the course will explore the historical and cultural contexts for the events told by Livy, we will constantly focus and concentrate on Livy’s particular style of Latin, as well as the techniques that underlie his historical account.  Students will develop a strong understanding of Livy’s handling of elements of historical prose (e.g. the arrangement of time, the idea of truth) as well as of his depiction of topics such as religion, sexuality, the family, and the role of the individual within the broader community.

Classics: Ancient Greek (Fall 2022)

CLSG 001 Ancient Greek I  (Brett Evans)

Greek 001 is the first half of Georgetown’s year-long introduction to the Ancient Greek language, which is meant to instruct students to read Greek texts through an intensive study of morphology and syntax. During the course, students will be guided through the normative grammar of Attic Greek. By the end of the second semester, we will have completed all 20 units of Hansen and Quinn’s Greek: An Intensive Course as well as selections from the Attic orator Lysias. By the end of the year, after taking CLSG 001 and 002, students will have been introduced to all basic Greek syntax and grammar and will be able to read texts by Homer, Euripides, Plato and others in the original, with the aid of a dictionary.

CLSG 101 Intermediate Ancient Greek  (Brett Evans)

This course will consolidate students’ knowledge of Ancient Greek grammar and syntax, as well as introducing them to Attic literature through two of its most brilliant and influential authors, Plato and Euripides. This course is suitable for students who have taken two semesters of Ancient Greek at the college level, or have permission of the instructor. Satisfies COL language requirement.

CLSG 238 Greek Comedy  (Alexander Sens)

This class focuses on Athenian Old Comedy as exemplified by the extant plays of Aristophanes. Two plays, Wasps and Women of the Thesmophoria, will be read in Greek, with other primary and secondary sources studied in English. Aristophanes’ plays, aside being tremendously funny, provide fascinating windows into Athenian cultural and political life. Among the themes to be explored are the playwright’s representation of women, democratic institutions, and the plays of other writers, including Euripides. Some attention will also be paid to later generations of comic writers, especially Menander.