Spring 2021 Courses

Classical Studies (Spring 2021)

CLSS 110: Intro to Greek Art & Archaeology
Catherine Keesling

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, art works, and other 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 examinations will be based upon slides seen in class and available through Powerpoint presentations; students will research and write two short papers.

CLSS 160: Intro to Roman Literature
Justin Haynes

A survey of ancient Latin literature from the late republic and early empire (c. 200 BCE – 150 CE) and its reception. Authors such as Caesar, Livy, Horace, Ovid, and Apuleius will be covered in detail, focusing on themes such as religion, gender and politics in light of artistic strategies. A major topic of the course will be the profound importance of Vergil’s Aeneid: we will study the poem itself, its literary background, and then consider subsequent reactions to and interpretations of it, and what those points reveal about Roman literary strategies and thought. In the process, we will pay attention to formal aspects of the works that are common to so much literature. 

CLSS 170:  Intro to Mythology
Victoria Pedrick

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 of modern critical theories for interpreting them. In class lectures and discussion are used; classwork is supplemented by forma discussion of theoretical essays in Canvas. 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 223: Roman Sexuality
Charles McNelis

Our understanding of any society is enhanced by an awareness of how it thinks about sexuality. The sexual act itself is often categorized in polar terms — such as “(un)natural” or “culturally constructed” — that reveal much about a society’s political, religious, and moral codes. Ancient Rome was no different. This course will examine ways in which ancient Roman society slotted sexual behavior into several categories, and/or used (or did not use) these extreme polarities as a way to formulate codes of social and sexual behavior. By the end of the source, students will have a clearer understanding of large dynamics of ancient Roman culture, and perhaps even of their own world.

This course will involve explicit language and content. If such material will make you uncomfortable, this course will not be for you. On the other hand, this is an academic pursuit, and as such students will be expected to frame their discussions and papers in ways that reflect an appropriate level of scholarly discourse.

CLSS 226: Greek City: Politics & Society
Catherine Keesling

The city-state (polis) was both an institution at the heart of ancient Greek culture and the point of origin for the western concept of politics. This course offers an introduction to the Greek polis in all of its political, social, historical, and physical manifestations from the eighth century BCE through the fifth century CE. Major topics we will consider include: the orogons of the polis, warfare, democracy, colonization, city planning, gender, identity, cross-cultural contact, decline, and transformation at the end of antiquity. We will spend class time discussing assigned readings from recent scholarship; assignments will include a short independent research paper.

CLSS 237: Leadership: Character, Strategy
Josiah Osgood and Tom Kerch

What makes an effective leader? How does a leader set priorities and build support? Should a leader ever put expediency ahead of morality? What training have the most effective leaders received, and how has it helped them handle extraordinary crises? This class, co-taught by faculty in Classics and Government, examines these and related questions through case-studies of leaders from antiquity – including Persian kings, politicians in the Athenian democracy, and Roman emperors – as well as modern leaders whose writings powerfully frame the challenges of leadership, especially Elizabeth I, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. Students will gain familiarity with the individual leaders studied; use the case-studies to develop and test broader theories about how leaders succeed and fail; and learn how study of past leaders can be a tool for leadership today.

CLSS 452: Pompeii
Marden Nichols

For classical archaeologists, the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE is a perverse event. In the same moment that the volcano ended lives and obliterated cities, it also preserved what would become one of the most fabulous archaeological sites in the world: Pompeii. Pompeii offers a unique laboratory for the exploration of ancient Roman culture. Considering the archaeology of Pompeii along with literary evidence and inscriptions, we will devote careful attention to Pompeii’s streets, shops, temples, baths, houses, theaters, and amphitheater. This seminar will consider the ways in which inhabitants and visitors to the town of differing genders, ethnic origins, and social stations moved through its buildings and public spaces. Pompeii may appear to showcase Roman society in microcosm. Yet our goal will be to discover what set Pompeii apart from nearby cities such as Herculaneum — and the Bay of Naples region apart from Rome.

Classics: Latin (Spring 2021)

CLSL 002:  Latin II
Charles McNelis

Latin II is the second course in the two-semester set of First Year Latin.  In this second half, students will read Latin from original texts written in both prose and poetry.  In particular, for prose, Caesar’s Commentarii de bello Gallico, Book 1, will provide us with both textbook grammar cases and an overview of Rome’s foreign policy in the first century BC.  For poetry, we will read a selection from the poems written by Catullus, the first lyric and elegiac Roman poet whose work was transmitted to us (almost) completely; as a condition for, and a function of, reading verse, students will be also introduced to classical metrics (especially stichic hexameter, elegiac couplet, and hendecasyllable).

CLSL 212: Roman Comedy
Marden Nichols

Why and how did Roman literature develop? The earliest Latin literary texts surviving intact are the comedies of Plautus (late 3rd – early 2nd centuries BCE). In this course, we will become familiar with the unique style and diction of early Latin by reading 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.” We will consider issues of meter and performance, as well as the engagement of Roman comic playwrights with their Greek predecessors.

CLSL 280: Augustine’s Confessions
Justin Haynes

In this course we will read an intimate portrait of the life and times of an ancient Roman and saint in his wn words, unmediated by any translation. Augustine’s Confessions is often credited with defining the genre of autobiography, and there can be no doubt that its influence on later literature has been profound. It also happens to be highly entertaining ad almost novelistic in its characters and unexpected situations, but at the same time disarming in its apparent honesty and realism. Through close reading, students will increase their knowledge of everyday life in the Roman empire while viewing it from the perspective of one of that empire’s greatest minds.

Classics: Greek (Spring 2021)

CLSG 002:  Ancient Greek 2
Claire Catenaccio

A continued intensive introduction to the ancient Greek language with primary emphasis on the acquisition of reading skills.  Drills in grammar and syntax.  Programmed reading selections from a variety of ancient authors.

CLSG 305: Homer: Odyssey
Claire Catenaccio

In this advanced course, students read several thousand lines of the Odyssey in Greek, especially Books 1, 5-7, 9-11, 22, and 24. In the course of our reading, we will discuss the Homeric dialect, heroic themes, meter, and the oral tradition from which this great epic emerged.

CLSG 325: Plato
Victoria Pedrick

Intended for advanced ancient Greek students, this course introduces one of Plato’s most literary and entertaining dialogues, The Symposium, which also treats philosophical matters fundamental to his entire enterprise: the character of the ideal, whether beauty or goodness; the philosopher’s task in seeking the ideal; and the nature of knowledge. Plato sets his reflections in a peculiarly precise and provocative setting — a dinner party celebrating the tragic victory of Agathon in 416 BCE that is attended by the intellectual, social, and political luminaries of Athens on the brink of its greatest and most deeply flawed military enterprise, the campaign against Syracuse. Reading this text thus gives students the opportunity to read Attic philosophy but also to learn about the symposium itself as a pivotal social event in the lives of Athenian men.