Fall 2021 Courses

Classical Studies (Fall 2021)

CLSS 135 Rise of Rome (Josiah Osgood)

This course offers a historical survey of the classical world, from the lifetime of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) and the establishment of new kingdoms by his successors on to Rome’s liquidation of these kingdoms and establishment of a massive empire in western Europe.  Particular topics of concern include comparisons between the rise of two superpowers, Macedon and Rome; the consequences of aggressive imperialism for the traditional city-state culture of the ancient Mediterranean, as well as the enduring significance of major social institutions and cultural practices (including the gymnasium, the drinking party, theatrical performance, public oratory, and religious cults); the writings of Cicero as a mirror for the Roman Republic.  Class sessions will consist of lecture as well as discussions of major written sources (primary and secondary).

CLSS 150 Intro to Greek Literature (Brett Evans)

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 170 Intro to Mythology  (Claire Catenaccio)

Myths are some of the longest-lasting and most powerful stories that humankind has created. They shape our understanding of transitions and crises: right and wrong, life and death, the natural and the supernatural. They are also playful, exuberant, and highly entertaining. This course introduces students to the myths of Greece and Rome, with comparative material drawn from other ancient texts. Throughout the course we will also think about the role of mythology today, and the way that we use stories to come to terms with ourselves and our world.

CLSS 205 Age of Nero  (Marden Nichols)

The reign of the emperor Nero, who reportedly “fiddled while Rome burned,” captures the popular imagination more than any other period in Roman history. How can we separate fact from fiction in the salacious stories of a ruler as notorious for his cold-blooded murders as he was for his megalomania? In this course, we will scrutinize images of Nero in biographies, histories, portraiture, and plays, from antiquity to the present day. We will be equally concerned with the masterworks of the so-called Neronian Renaissance, which yielded some of Rome’s greatest achievements in literature, architecture, and art. Ancient sources (read in translation) will include texts by Suetonius, Tacitus, Seneca, Petronius, Lucan, and Persius.

CLSS 207 Vergil through the Ages  (Justin Haynes)

This course surveys literature inspired by Vergil and his Aeneid from antiquity to the present in English translation. A major theme of the class will be the many creative ways that authors reconciled Vergil’s paganism to Christianity by means of allegory and other techniques—sometimes resulting in whole new genres of literature. We will also chart the shifting attitudes towards ethics and cosmology, religion and science, across cultures and time periods. Vergil himself even became a literary character—most famously and with the greatest sophistication in Dante—but many popular tales cast Vergil as an ambiguous hero whose deep scientific knowledge sometimes bordered on sorcery.  

CLSS 209 Ancient Greek Religion  (Catherine Keesling)

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 most important religious ritual was animal sacrifice. 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, the role of the Panhellenic sanctuaries at Olympia and Delphi, religious festivals, priests and priestesses, the role of women in Greek religion, oracles, and mystery cults.

CLSS 233 Literature and Rhetoric in Athens  (Brett Evans)

In 427 BCE, the Sicilian orator Gorgias arrived in democratic Athens and changed the art of persuasion forever. He defined rhetoric as “the greatest good, the cause of freedom to mankind, and also for each person the source of rule over others.”  From its origins, ancient Greek literature explored the power of persuasion for good and ill. This class will examine the art and science of rhetoric in a variety of contexts in Athens, including speeches from the law courts and politics as well as theoretical discussions.  The class will also look at the relationship between rhetoric and other literary genres such as drama, historical narrative, and philosophic dialogue.

CLSS 365 Monuments and Memory  (Catherine Keesling)

As the current controversy over Confederate statues shows, commemorative monuments matter. As we will discover in this course, public commemoration was a politically charged issue already in Greek and Roman antiquity, and monuments did not remain static. We will examine selected Greek and Roman monuments with an eye toward their symbolic vocabularies, political messages, and evolving physical contexts. Topics will include: Greek commemorations of the Persian Wars; honorific portraits of individuals; monuments of Roman emperors; and the removal of monuments. Class meetings will feature discussion of assigned readings (50-100 pages per week). Students will write short preliminary papers and serve as discussion co-leaders. Each student will choose an individual research topic; during the final weeks of the semester, students will give oral reports on their topics to the class, and at the end of the semester each student will submit a 20-page final paper.

Classics: Latin (Fall 2021)

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  (Charles McNelis)

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 211 Roman Tragedy (Marden Nichols)

The tragedies of Seneca the Younger are rhetorically sophisticated, engrossing, and devastating. In this advanced Latin course, we will read Seneca’s Phaedra and Thyestes in Latin, with careful attention to meter and style. Discussion will focus on the author’s reworking of models from Augustan literature, alongside Greek drama and myth. With their florid verbal imagery and harrowing plots, these tragedies speak across the centuries about questions at the heart of human experience. In a world of inexpressible evil and gruesome death, have the gods forsaken us?

CLSL 310  Vergil (Charles McNelis)

Students will read all 12 books of the Aeneid, one of the great masterpieces of Latin literature, over the semester.  The pace of the course will roughly be one book per week; we will translate some of the material each class, and there will be quizzes on material that is not covered in class.  There will also be extensive discussion about Vergilian meter, diction and style, and the way in which these aspects contribute to a broader understanding of the complexities of the work as whole.  Perhaps most importantly, by reading the poem in a linear fashion without interruption, students will gain a better sense of the structure and themes of the poem.

Classics: Ancient Greek (Fall 2021)

CLSG 001 Ancient Greek I  (Claire Catenaccio)

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 Prose Style  (Alexander Sens)

This class is an introduction to Greek prose style. Students will read a variety of Greek prose writers from the earliest periods through the 4th century BC, paying particular attention to the constitutive features of their style, including diction, degrees of abstraction, word order, and sentence structure. Students will also practice writing continuous Greek prose with the goal of learning to imitate the stylistic features of the authors they are reading.