Monday, 1/30: Introduction to Classical Civilization 102: Uncovering the Ancient World: An Introduction to the Worlds of Greece and Rome. I'll tell you about the course and give you a quick overview and orientation to Who, Where, and When Were the Greeks and Romans.
Thursday, 2/2: The Dark Ages and the Archaic Period in Greece
Ancient reading for today: Three selections from Homer's epic poem The Iliad, the story of the Trojan War, the Greek attack on Troy to recover the Greek woman Helen, whom Paris, the son of the Trojan king, had taken to Troy (Helen was the wife of Menelaos, brother of the Greek general Agamemnon).Then read three very short selections from the Greek lyric poet Archilochus, who wrote somewhat later than Homer.
Monday, 2/6: The Classical Period in Greece: Overview
Modern activity for today: Since it's winter here (cold, maybe snow, but this is Massachusetts, so you can never tell, maybe just slush up to our knees), let's take an internet walk in the sun of Greece through the Acropolis of Athens. For our expert guide we are lucky to be able to turn to Professor Janice Siegel of Illinois State University, who has made both her lectures and her slides of the Acropolis available on the internet. Read through the lectures and study the slides. Many of the details in the lectures won't necessarily make sense to you: this is no discredit to Professor Siegel--it's just that you're not in her class: you're just dropping in on a few lectures out of context. Get as much out of Professor Siegel's site as you can and enjoy the warm sun.
First, to get a general look at what you'll see, look through the slides in the Illustrated Acropolis Overview near the top of the following web page: http://lilt.ilstu.edu/drjclassics/sites/acropolis/acropolis.shtm. You can even click on a ticket to the Acropolis, to give you a sense of the intersection of the modern and ancient world: the Acropolis is an incredibly popular tourist attraction, and that has been true for thousands of years (Disney World is young!).
Then go to the separate lectures (with slides) for separate areas on the Acropolis. You can click on the pictures to get larger, clearer versions--it's worth seeing clearly what happened when Venetian cannonballs hit the Parthenon in 1687, for instance:
Finally, read Eleana Yalouri, The Acropolis: Global Fame, Local Claim, (Berg: Oxford, New York, 2001), pages 27-48, Chapter 2: "The Acropolis Past and Present" (e-reserve). What are the possible uses of a building/symbol like the Acropolis? For how many periods can such a building carry a different symbolic meaning? What American buildings might be at least vaguely comparable, given that the Acropolis is substantially older than any currently surviving building?
Thursday, 2/9: What defines who you are? Do you belong?
Ancient readings for today:
Monday, 2/13: Athens Presents Itself and Questions Itself:
The Panathenaic Procession, the Melian Dialogue, and the Trial of Socrates
Ancient readings and modern activity for today:
Mini-lecture: The Panathenaic Procession (an enormous and enormously important public parade).
Thursday, 2/16: More Questions for Athens: women, sex, war, comedy, and empire
Ancient reading for today: Aristophanes' Lysistrata (the name of the main character) is a comedy, performed in public during the Peloponnesian War, in which the women of Athens and Sparta (the two opposing sides) refuse to have sex with their husbands until a peace treaty is made. What picture does the play paint of the Athenians? of the Spartans? of women? of men? What do we learn about Athens from the very fact that the play was performed in public at all at that time?
Modern reading for today: Peter W. Rose, "Theorizing Athenian Imperialism and the Athenian State," pages 19-26 (i.e., not the whole essay) in Contextualizing Classics: Ideology, Performance, Dialogue, edited by T. M. Falkner, N. Felson, and D. Konstan (Rowman and Littlefield, New York, 1999) (e-reserve)
Monday, 2/20: Presidents' Day--no classes
Thursday, 2/23: Short paper due in class: Persuading the Council of Athens
Topic: Under Athenian law, a person sufficiently disabled to be unable to work and without adequate means of support drew a small state pension, subject to an annual review during which anyone could challenge their right to receive the pension. The Greek writer Lysias wrote a speech to be delivered in court by the defendant (we don't know his name) in such a review, whose claim to his pension was being challenged by someone before the Council of Athens. I'll give you the speech in a handout. You are a member of the Council in the case, and you must cast your vote: should the man continue to receive his pension? In reaching your conclusion, you can consider the legal issues involved in the case as well as the effects on you of the non-legal (which is not to say illegal) persuasive strategies Lysias has the speaker bring to bear, such as sarcasm. Length: 2-3 pages, typed, double-spaced. Due in class. We don't know how the case came out, by the way, and there is no right answer.
Monday, 2/27: Tragic Women in Greece
Thursday, 3/2: The Greek Family.
(If we had the world enough and time, we'd watch Lars von Trier's film, Medea, made in Denmark in 1988, a stark and powerful film, closely related to Euripides' play but not a translation.)
Ancient reading for today: Lysias, "On the Murder of Eratosthenes," a real case from ancient Greece, written by the speech-writer Lysias to be delivered by the defendant, a man named Euphiletus (paper handout). Under Athenian law, it was legal for a man to kill the adulterer without legal penalty so long as the husband caught them in the act in his house without entrapment. What does the speech tell us about a/the Athenian family?
Modern reading for today: Robert Garland, The Greek Way of Life (Cornell University Press 1990), pages 106-162 on "The Growing Child." We've looked at tragic women and will look at men at parties, so here we'll look at the life of a growing child (on e-reserve).
Monday, 3/6: Greek Men Alone: Drinking Parties, poetry, and sexuality
Ancient readings for today (these are quite long, so plan ahead):
Thursday, 3/9: The Athenian Economy: Farming and Slavery
For today, we (and who are we? many of us live in urban or suburban settings in which no one is directly engaged in agricultural labor and in a country where slavery has been abolished) shall look at two of the foundations of the Athenian economy: agriculture and slavery.
Monday, 3/13: Greek Science and Medicine
Greek science and medicine, arising in a world very different from ours, still share many features that are recognizably "modern."
Ancient readings for today:
Hippocrates (or at least the treatise is attributed to him), The Sacred Disease, a treatise on seizure disorder. An electronic text, originally from the Internet Classics Archive at MIT, is available at this URL:
Why does Hippocrates argue that seizure disorder is wrongly considered "the sacred disease"? How does he approach the condition? What criteria does he use for understanding its causes? Would his analysis satisfy a modern doctor?
Hippocrates, "On Airs, Waters, and Places": /ClassicalStudies/CLCV102/hippocrates-airs.html
By noon on Wednesday, 3/15, post on the course FirstClass conference two questions that you think would be good for the midterm exam. A note: "easy" questions can be the hardest questions to do well on, while challenging questions make you think and analyze on the spot.
Thursday, 3/16: Midterm exam.
Note that the midterm exam falls right before Spring Break. If you prefer to take it that day, that's fine with me. If anyone prefers to take it on Tuesday, 3/14, or Wednesday, 3/15, let me know no later than Friday, 3/10.
Monday, 3/27: Rome: An Introduction and Early Roman History
Ancient reading for today: Two of the most famous stories from (Roman) history are Romulus and Remus with the wolf and the Rape of the Sabine Women. For today, read "The Life of Romulus," by the Greek biographer Plutarch, who lived in the late first century and early second century CE. The translation, originally from the Internet Classics Archive at MIT, is by the English poet John Dryden: it's a famous translation, though the language is (naturally) not modern:
What does Plutarch think of the stories in the life of Romulus? How does he evaluate historical information? What value would these stories have for Romans many centuries after the founding of Rome? Think of the founding legends of whatever country you're from: are they all "true"? The story of George Washington and the cherry tree, by the way, was made up by an early biographer of Washington.
Modern actvity for today, Part 1: Here are links for various paintings and a sculpture of the Rape of the Sabine Women. How do the different artists interpret the material? What interpretations might there be? How does the myth of the Rape of the Sabine Women continue to be powerful thousands of years after ancient Rome?
Ancient activity for today: Hercules and Cacus
Thursday, 3/30: Roman Power Expands: Soldiers in the Audience and on the Stage
Ancient reading for today: Rome expanded in large part because of its military power, yet simultaneously the foolish soldier can be a laughing-stock. Read Plautus' comic play, The Braggart Soldier. This play was, like Aristophanes' Lysistrata, performed in public. It features an extraordinarily foolish soldier, although many Romans themselves had military experience or had family members and friends who did. But comedy often reverses things and stands the normal on its head, as we see in the comic figure of the clever slave who dominates his master, as Palaestrio does in this play. Look for other comic stereotypes here, too, such as the dumb young man in love.
Modern activity for today: The Roman Army. In New England, there are many groups that reconstruct or re-enact Revolutionary War battles. In England and Europe, there are comparable groups focused on the Roman army, and their activities can give us something of a picture of what soldiers looked like in armor. When you look at a (modern) ancient Roman soldier, you get a sudden sense of how far away the ancient Roman world is from the modern world. The Ermine Street Guard is a British Roman-army group with a detailed, picture-full web site, so browse through the pictures at
Monday, 4/3: Roman Law: The Power of the Roman Father
Patria potestas (paternal power) is one of the fundamental concepts of Roman law and Roman life. The father (or, rather, the eldest living male in an agnatically defined family line--yes, that's a dense sentence: the handout will explain it) had theoretically almost completely unfettered power over those below him in the family line, including the right of life and death, complete economic control of all income earned by any member of the family, and the right to arrange and dissolve marriages. What would be the implications of such a legal system?
Reading and cases for today: Read the paper handout (there's no e-text) of ancient and modern material on patria potestas and work out the cases. Post any questions you have (whether large-scale or small-scale) on the course FirstClass conference.
Thursday, 4/6: The Fall of the Roman Republic
Mini-lecture (well, actually it's going to be more like a maxi-lecture, since there's a lot to cover): The Fall of the Roman Republic
Modern reading, ancient reading, and modern activity for today: Inscriptions.
The Romans loved to carve inscriptions in stone and set them up for other people to read, and they loved to write on walls. These inscriptions and graffiti are crucial sources of information about Roman daily life.
Monday, 4/10: Roman Politics and Morality
Ancient reading for today, Part 1: For many Romans, political activity and public service helped define a good and valuable life. Today we'll read an ancient Roman work that can show us how politics operated and how a prominent Roman might approach a political campaign. "The Handbook of Electioneering" (perhaps inaccurately said to be by Quintus Cicero, the brother of the prominent orator, politician, and philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero) purportedly gives Cicero advice on how to conduct his campaign for the consulship, the highest regular office in the Roman state. What techniques does Quintus suggest? How might Cicero win the consulship? Does Cicero belong to a political "party" in the modern sense (e.g., Democrats, Republicans)? What is the role of the "friends" to whom Quintus attaches such importance? Why might someone vote for Cicero? Did ancient candidates have political platforms? (on e-reserve: clcv 102-handbook of electioneering)
Ancient reading for today, Part 2: To acquaint us with Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, we'll read "The Deeds of the Divine Augustus," the semi-autobiographical inscription he had set up throughout the Roman Empire. The text, originally from the Internet Classics Archive at MIT, is available at this URL:
I've added some brief parenthetical notes to explain some things, such as that "HS" is the abbreviation for "sesterce," a Roman coin. What picture does Augustus want people to have of him? What does he emphasize among his various achievements? You might think of this document as somewhat analogous to--but not the same as--a modern press release: this is a document with a lot of spin in it.
Thursday, 4/13: Augustus: Politics, public buildings, statues, and communication without words
Modern reading for today, Part 1: Diane Favro, The Urban Image of Augustan Rome (Cambridge University Press 1996), chapter 7: "A Walk through Augustan Rome, A.D. 14" (pages 252-280; on e-reserve: CLCV 102 Augustan Rome.pdf). How can architecture and art help us understand Augustus and his presentation of himself?
Modern reading for today, Part 2: Karl Galinsky, Augustan Culture (Princeton University Press, 1996), pages 141-164 (on e-reserve), about the famous Ara pacis (Altar of Peace) and the statue of Augustus from Prima Porta.
Monday, 4/17: Patriots' Day: no classes.
Tuesday, 4/18 = Monday schedule: Now for a completely different vision of Augustan Rome
Mini-lecture: Augustus' legislation on marriage and morality. Augustus regulated marriage (basic law: almost everyone had to be married) and sexual morality. And he exiled Ovid.
Thursday, 4/20: Short paper due. Topic to be announced.
Monday, 4/24: City Life I: Daily Life
Thursday, 4/27: City Life II: Roman Banquets
Ancient reading for today: Petronius, The Satyricon, a Roman novel that combines romance, parody, ghost stories, a wild banquet, a shipwreck--just about anything you can imagine. The central surviving section of the Satyricon (we don't have the whole work) is a banquet given by the freedman Trimalchio.
Monday, 5/1: City Life III: Public Spectacles: Gladiators
How can we best understand public spectacles like gladiatorial combats in the Roman world? What function did they serve in the lives of Romans? Are modern football or boxing or automobile racing good analogies? or do such analogies conceal more than they reveal?
Modern reading for today: "Familia Gladiatoria: The Heroes of the Amphitheatre" by M. Junkelmann, a lengthy, detailed discussion of gladiatorial equipment and competition, from the exhibit catalogue of a show at the British Museum, Gladiators and Caesars: The Power of Spectacle in Ancient Rome, edited by E. Köhne and C. Ewigleben (University of California Press, 2000). Allow lots of time for reading this. (on e-reserve: Familia Gladiatoria.PDF)
Thursday, 5/4: Magic, and a man turned into an ass
Ancient Reading for today: Apuleius, The Golden Ass. I will openly admit that this is one of my favorite books from Roman antiquity. Where else can you find a crazy market-inspector, a man who puts on the wrong ointment and is transformed into an ass, a beautiful telling of the story of Cupid and Psyche, working at a mill, and the goddess Isis? The Golden Ass is relatively long but not hard reading. Enjoy it! And think about magic in ancient Rome: was it good? bad? theatening? what role might it play in someone's life?
Monday, 5/8: Religion and Review
Review of major questions for the final exam.