Spring 2024 Courses

Classical Studies (Spring 2024)

CLSS 1020: Intro Roman Art and Archaeology
David Pickel – TTh 9:30-10:45

This course examines ancient Roman innovations in architecture, engineering, city planning, and the visual arts. Lectures trace the development and transformation of Roman material culture from the Iron-Age origins of the city of Rome to the reign of Constantine the Great in the 4th century AD. Students will learn to identify artifacts, monuments, and sites from across the Empire and to understand their cultural, political, and social significance. Highlights include: the Colosseum; aqueducts; marble sarcophagi; the Pantheon; portraits that appear true to life; the Library of Celsus at Ephesus; and the archaeological wonders of Pompeii and Herculaneum. We will discuss the theory and methods of classical archaeology and explore new directions in the interpretation of the ancient Roman past through its material remains. (X-listed with Art History)

CLSS 2009: Ancient Greek Religion
Catherine Keesling – MW 11:00-12:15

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 2045:  Comparative Empires
Josiah Osgood and Alison Games – MW 3:30-4:45

This class takes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to the history of empires of the ancient and early modern worlds, with a special focus on empires and their cultural expressions. Topics include cultures of conquest and occupation, provincialism, slavery, resistance, critiques and celebrations, and legacies, as we explore how empires were created, challenged, sustained, and dismantled in the past. The class is discussion-based and incorporates excursions in Washington, including a visit to Dumbarton Oaks and a walking tour. This class is cross-listed by the Classics and History Departments (HIST 3103). 

CLSS 2058:  Indo-European Language and Culture
Andrew Merritt – TTh 11:00-12:15

Languages, like people, can be genetically related, forming families derived from a common source. By comparing languages whose systematic similarities can only be explained by appeal to shared ancestry, it is possible to reconstruct not only their parent language but also aspects of its speakers’ culture and world, such as ecology and mythology. In this course, we will examine the grammar and vocabulary of Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the language ancestral to Greek, Latin, and English itself, and go on to survey the chief historical developments of these and other such daughter languages in both linguistic and cultural terms. 

CLSS 2076: Greek Drama on the World Stage
Claire Catenaccio – TTh 2:00-3:15

What are the origins of drama? How did tragedy and comedy develop? Why do ancient plays continue to fascinate audiences across the world today? In this course, undergraduates engage with the diverse dramatic art of Ancient Greece. We read plays drawn from the many performance genres of the ancient Mediterranean, including works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes (all in English translation). In discussing these plays, we examine the conventions of tragedy and comedy; the social, economic, and political context of drama throughout its history; costumes, masks, and set design; music and dance; the art of translation; and the continuing relevance of theatrical performance today. More than two millennia after its invention, Greek drama continues to thrive on the world stage.

CLSS 3050: Politics and Sport in Greece and Rome [Seminar]
Charles McNelis – M 3:30-6:00

Athletic events shaped basic concepts of Greco-Roman culture from basic elements such as the calendar to abstract ideas such as communal and national ideology.  This course will survey various periods of Greek and Roman history primarily from the 8th c. BCE to the 2nd c. CE (though we will consider the end and then reinvention of the Olympic games) from the lens of sports and games in order to better understand broader aspects of cultural history such as political power, religious thought, as well as the creation of various forms of art (literature, sculpture).

Classics: Latin (Spring 2024)

CLSL 1012:  Latin II
Andrew Merritt – MTWTh 1:00-1:50

Latin II is the second course in the two-semester intensive introductory sequence. Students will read Latin from original texts written in both prose and poetry. Students will be also introduced to classical metrics (especially stichic hexameter, elegiac couplet, and hendecasyllable).

CLSL 2055: Latin Prose: Reading and Writing
Josiah Osgood – MWF 1:00-1:50

An introduction to the development of prose in Republican Rome, from its origins through to the development of the highly influential Classical Latin represented by two master writers, Cicero and Caesar.  Close study of brief selections from a range of writers is combined with extended reading of Cicero and Caesar.  Students also will write original Latin in the styles of Cicero and Caesar after extensive practice with the exercises in Bradley’s Arnold Latin Prose Composition.  By the end of the semester students will have gained facility in the following skills: (1) reading Classical Latin prose (especially oratory and historiography) at sight; (2) identifying and explaining its syntax; (3) analyzing its style—including structural as well as lexical features.

CLSL 2070: Advanced Latin: Apuleius
Charles McNelis – MW 2:00-3:15

This course will have as its object the novel Metamorphoses, aka The Golden Ass, written by Apuleius of Madaurus in the 2nd century AD. Written on the basis of a Greek novel, Apuleius’s Latin version represents a milestone both in the tradition of ancient novel as a genre and in the development of Latin prose, as well as having been a model for later novelists. Apuleius entertains readers with humor and narrative twists while they read of the adventurous, scary or magical episodes in the life of Lucius, a young man who morphs into a donkey and has to endure multiple vicissitudes until a goddess finally gives him back his human form. Students will read large portions of the novel in Latin (the remainder in English), from both the main story and the secondary tales.

Classics: Greek (Spring 2024)

CLSG 1012:  Beginning Greek II
Claire Catenaccio – MTWTh 12:00-12:50

This course is the second half of Georgetown’s 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 Athenian orator Lysias and Attic tragedyBy 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 2086: Advanced Greek: Herodotus
Andrew Merritt – MW 9:30-10:45

Herodotus’ history of the Persian Wars of the fifth century BCE is epic in scale, and its style is unforgettable. In this course, we will read in Greek substantial selections from the Histories, focusing first on Croesus of Lydia and Cyrus, the founder of the Persian empire, in Book 1. Then we will focus on the rise and fall of the Persian Empire as described by Herodotus in subsequent books, culminating in the two Persian expeditions against Greece and their aftermath. We will consider the text of Herodotus as a whole in English translation.