Classics

Professors: Robert D. Browna, M. Rachel Kitzinger (Chair), Robert L. Pounder (Assistant to the President); Assistant Professor: J. Bertrand Lott; Adjunct Associate Professor: Elizabeth W. Scharffenberger;Blegen Research Fellow: Geoffrey S. Sumi (Mount Holyoke College).

Students may concentrate in Greek or Latin or elect a correlate sequence in Greek, Latin, or Classical Studies.

Requirement for Concentration in Greek: 10 units, to include Classics 216 and 217, Greek 297.01 (1/2 unit), 297.02 (1/2 unit), and 300, and at least 2 other units of Greek at the 300 level.

Requirement for Concentration in Latin: 10 units, to include Classics 218 and 219, Latin 297.01 (1/2 unit), 297.02 (1/2 unit), and 300, and at least 2 other units of Latin at the 300 level.

Senior Year Requirement: Greek 300 or Latin 300, depending on the language of concentration.

Correlate Sequences in Greek, Latin, or Classical Studies:

Requirements for Correlate Sequences in Greek or Latin: 6 units, to include 5 units of either Greek or Latin, of which at least one must be at the 300 level; 1 unit chosen from the Vassar curriculum in consultation with a departmental adviser; in addition to courses offered by the Department of Classics, possible choices include Art 210, 211, 310, Drama 221, Philosophy 101, and 305 (if relevant).

Requirements for Correlate Sequence in Classical Studies: 6 units, to include one year of either Greek or Latin; any one of Classics 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, and 105; any two of Classics 216, 217, 218, 219; and either Classics 300 or 310 or an approved 300-level course in another department, such as Philosophy 305 (if relevant).

Those interested in completing a correlate sequence should consult as soon as possible with a member of the department to plan their course of studies.

Any course offered by the Department of Classics may be elected (by non-majors only) under the NRO. Courses elected under the NRO before the declaration of the major will be counted toward the major.

Recommendations: For graduate study, command of both classical languages is essential; a reading knowledge of French and German is also desirable.

Advisers: The department.



A. Courses in Classical Civilization

I. Introductory

100a or b. The Blegen Lecture Course (1)

The course is offered by the Blegen Distinguished Visiting Research Professor or the Blegen Research Fellow in Classics, appointed annually to pursue research and lecture on his/her scholarly concerns in classical antiquity. We encourage students to take note of the fact that each Blegen Lecture Course is uniquely offered and will not be repeated. Since the topic changes every year, the course may be taken for credit more than once. Offered in 2000/01 is 100a.

100a. The Blegen Lecture Course: "Sport, Society, and Politics (1)
in the Roman World

This course examines the complex phenomenon of public entertainment in Roman society against a backdrop of social and political history. We begin with a discussion of political and social institutions in Rome, including the Roman family, the roles of men and women in roman society, slavery and manumission, and life in the city. The core component of the course is a discussion of spectacles in Roman society, not only as entertainment but also as a form of social control and a forum for the dissemination of propaganda and political symbols. Among the spectacles we consider are the gladiatorial combats and wild beast shows that took place in the Colosseum and the chariot races of the Circus Maximus. In connection with these we study the evidence for the careers of individual entertainers (gladiators, charioteers, and actors), who, though they were mostly slaves or otherwise déclassé (e.g. literary texts, inscriptions, and papyri) as well as works of modern scholarship. Mr. Sumi.

Open to all classes.

[101a. Civilization in Question] (1)

(Same as College Course 101)

Not offered in 2000/01.

102a. Tragedy and the Athenian Polis (1)

This course studies a number of plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides to understand tragedy both as a dramatic genre and as a critique of the social, religious, political, and familial structures of Athens in the fifth century BCE. All materials are in English translation. Ms. Scharffenberger.

Open to all classes.

103b. The Culture of War (1)

Warfare fills the historical annals and literature of Greece and Rome. To understand the ways in which wars were fought, experienced, and imaginatively represented in the ancient world, and to gain a perspective on the universal realities of war throughout western history, this course studies three ancient and one modern war. We begin with the mythical Trojan War, as depicted in Homer's Iliad, the Trojan Women of Euripides, and Vergil's Aeneid. Next we turn to two historical wars: the Persian Wars of 480-79 BCE, as described by Herodotus, and the Gallic Wars of 59-50 BCE, as recounted by Julius Caesar. The course ends with a brief examination of the First World War (1914-18). From the "heroic" warfare of the Trojan War we thus progress to the hoplite warfare of classical Greece, the legionary warfare of Rome, and the mass destruction of war in the twentieth century. Our aim throughout is to study war as a pervasive cultural phenomenon affecting men and women, combatants and non-combatants alikenot just as a set of military facts. Mr. Brown

Open to all classes.

104b. Male and Female in Greek and Roman Literature and Myth (1)

This course explores the way male and female roles are defined and viewed in ancient literature in both the private sphere of the family and in the public sphere. In addition to discussing literary texts where gender roles are central to the content, we put the definitions and points of view expressed in these texts next to the evidence for the actual conditions of daily life, as far as they can be reconstructed, and next to the constructions of gender which emerge in myths about divine figures. Literary texts we read may include the Odyssey, the Oresteia, poems of Sappho, Sophocles' Women of Trachis, Euripides' Hippolytus,Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Women of the Assembly, Plato'sSymposium, poems of Catullus, Propertius, and Tibullus, plays of Plautus and Terence, Ovid's Art of Love and love poems, and Apuleius'Golden Ass. In addition, we look at speeches from law courts and archaeological remains as evidence for daily life and the Homeric Hymns and Ovid's Metamorphoses for the comparative evidence of divine models. Ms. Kitzinger.

Open to all classes.

[l05b. The Rome of Caesar Augustus: Politics, Art, and the (1)
Creation of the Empire]

The rise and reign of the first Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus (43 BCE-14CE), was an age of complex contradictions, nuanced evolutions, and ongoing experimentation. It stood between Republic and Empire, when "liberty" became dynastic monarchy. It was marked by domestic harmony, economic growth, and government sponsored cultural excellence in the arts; it was also a time of imperial conquests, book burnings, and the brutal repression of political opponents, including Augustus's own daughter and granddaughter. This class approaches the Rome of Augustus from several directions, considering history, literature, art architecture, religion, the economy, and politics. We read Augustus's autobiographical epitaph; the works of Virgil, Horace, and Ovid; and the historical and biographical treatments of Velleius, Tacitus, and Suetonius. More humble inscriptions left to us by the urban populace are also an important source for the period. Finally we evaluate the claim that Augustus "found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble" by considering his major building projects and the programmatic reshaping of Rome into a capital city for the Emperor and the Empire. Mr. Lott.

Not offered in 2000/01.

106b. Crosscurrents: History and Culture of the Ancient Mediterranean (1)

The axiom of Ancient History that navigable water enables communication is nowhere so true as with the Mediterranean Sea, around which there grew up in antiquity the cultures of, e.g., Egypt, Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, Syria, and North Africa. This course provides an introduction to the ancient Mediterranean from the earliest cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt (c. 3000 BCE) to the beginnings of the Christian Middle Ages. Topics such as trade, migration, immigration, conquest, and imperialism are used to illustrate both historical developments and complex cultural interactions. Through primary and secondary readings, students are asked to consider questions like: How do cultures 'interact'? What does it mean for one culture to 'borrow' from another? What 'belongs' to a culture? How do cultures conceive of their debts to, and interactions with, other cultures? Mr. Lott.

Open to all classes.

183b. Ancient Mythologies (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 183) In searching for the roots of western culture, we must turn back both to Homer and the Bible, Athens and Jerusalem, Greece and Israel. In this course we devote ourselves to a comparative look at the mythologies of the ancient Greeks and the ancient Israelites with a view toward understanding both the convergences and divergences of these two foundational traditions. Among the topics we consider are: creation myths, family dynamics, the hero's journey and the idea of homeland. Readings are drawn primarily from the poems of Homer and Hesiod, the Library of Apollodorus, Greek tragedy, and the Books of Genesis, Exodus, and Judges.

Open to freshmen only.


II. Intermediate

210b. Greek Art and Architecture (1)

(Same as Art 210)

211a. Roman Art and Architecture (1)

(Same as Art 211)

[216a. The Formation of Greek Culture: Greece from the Bronze Age (1)
through the Persian Wars]

(Same as History 216) A survey of Greek history from the Bronze Age to the end of the Persian Wars is combined with intensive study of selected problems and texts, especially Herodotus' Histories. Topics include: Greek interaction with its Mediterranean neighbors in the Bronze Age and Orientalizing Period; the institutions of early Sparta; Hoplite warfare; tyranny and the beginnings of democracy; Herodotus' Hellenism defined in relation to Egypt and Persia; Delphi; Olympia; and sixth-century Athens. Mr. Lott.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in Classics, Greek, or Latin, or 1 unit in history.

Not offered in 2000/01.

217a. Democracy and Imperialism: Athenian Democracy, (1)
The Peloponnesian Wars, and the Aftermath

(Same as History 217) A survey of Greek history from the end of the Persian Wars to the rise of Macedon is combined with intensive study of selected problems and texts, especially Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian Wars. Topics include: the growth of Athenian imperialism; social and constitutional history of Athens; Aristophanic comedy; sophistic thought and the Platonic response; the trial of Socrates; the Athenian agora; and the diffusion of Hellenism through the conquests of Alexander the Great. Mr. Lott.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in Classics, Greek, or Latin, or 1 unit in history.

[218b. Republican Rome: From the Foundation through (1)
the Age of Augustus]

(Same as History 218) A survey of Roman history from its beginnings to the death of Augustus, as revealed in the writings of historians such as Livy, Polybius, Sallust, and Caesar, as well as other literary and nonliterary ancient sources. Topics include: the evolution of the Roman constitution; the status of nobles, equestrians, plebeians, women, slaves, and foreigners in the social hierarchy; Roman warfare and the struggle with Carthage for supremacy in the western Mediterranean; the influence of Greece on Roman literature, thought, and private life; abuses of Roman government; and the political strife that led to the collapse of the Republic and the establishment of autocracy under Julius Caesar and Augustus. Mr. Lott.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in Classics, Greek, or Latin, or 1 unit in history.

Not offered in 2000/01.

219b. The Roman Empire: From the Julio-Claudian Era through the Fall (1)

(Same as History 219) A survey of Roman history from the first emperors to the dissolution of the empire, as revealed in the writings of historians such as Tacitus, Suetonius, and Ammianus Marcellinus as well as other literary and nonliterary ancient sources. Topics include: the developing relations of the emperor and imperial family with the senate, army, and people; politics, intrigue, and excess amongst the wealthy classes; private life as illustrated by archaeological discoveries at Pompeii and elsewhere; the diverse provinces of the empire, from Britain to North Africa and from Spain to Judaea; social, intellectual, and religious changes (culminating in the triumph of Christianity); and the reasons for the decline and fall of the western empire and the survival of Byzantium. Mr. Sumi.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in Classics, Greek, or Latin, or 1 unit in history.

300a or b. Seminar in Classical Civilization (1)

The seminar treats a significant topic in Greek and Roman history and culture through the study of literary sources and their theoretical constructs. Possible topics include: orality and literacy; comparative mythology; gender and status; slavery; cults and sanctuaries; sexuality; insiders and outsiders. Since the topic changes every year, the course may be taken for credit more than once.

Topic for 2000/01b: Greek and Roman Sexuality. The course examines sexual mores in ancient Greece and Rome. Possible topics include: societal views on sex as expressed in normative practices, moral codes, and laws; obscenity; male and female homosexuality; philosophical theories about sex; slavery and prostitution. Members of the seminar help determine the choice of topics and are expected to integrate their study of ancient sexuality with their knowledge of other societies, both former and contemporary. Discussion is based upon works of Greek and Latin literature in English translation, in conjunction with modern studies. Knowledge of Greek or Latin is not required. Prior study of the ancient world is beneficial but not mandatory. Mr. Brown.

Prerequisite: juniors and seniors by special permission.

310b. Seminar in Ancient Art

(Same as Art 310)



B. Courses in Greek Language and Literature

I. Introductory

105a-106b. Elementary Greek (1)

Introduction to the language. Readings in the New Testament and Plato.

Open to all classes; four 50-minute periods.


II. Intermediate

215a. Fifth- and Fourth-Century Literature (1)

Authors may include Sophokles, Euripides, Xenophon, Lysias and Plato. In addition to consolidating knowledge of grammar, the selection of passages brings into focus important aspects of Athenian culture. Ms. Scharffenberger.

Prerequisite: Greek 105-106 or by permission of instructor.

230b. Archaic Literature (1)

Authors may include Homer and Homeric Hymns, Hesiod, lyric poets, and Herodotus, as the first prose writer. Selections allow discussion of the interrelationship of poetic forms in this period and the growth of prose out of oral poetry. Social, religious, and political issues surrounding the texts are discussed. Mr. Lott.

Prerequisite: Greek 215 or by permission of instructor.

Reading Courses

297.01a or b. Mythology and Religion (1/2)

Readings on the mythology and religion of Greece.

Prerequisite: declaration of a Greek major or correlate sequence, or by permission of instructor.

297.02a or b. Literary History (1/2)

Readings on the literary history of Greece.

Prerequisite: declaration of a Greek major or correlate sequence, or by permission of instructor.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)


III. Advanced

Greek 300 and 301 are offered every year, 302 and 303 in alternation; the topic of 301 changes annually. Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 2 units in 200 level courses in the language or by permission of instructor.

300a or b. Senior Project (1)

301b. Topics in Greek Literature (1)

This course involves close reading of texts from a single genre or author or texts which have a common thematic interest. Study of the texts and of secondary material allows us to explore various features of ancient society. For example, the course might take as its topic a genre such as Greek history or comedy, the ouevre of a single author such as Pindar or Plato, or a theme such as the depiction of foreigners, the Greek sophists, or the tradition of the funeral oration. Since the topic changes every year, the course may be taken for credit more than once.

Topic for 2000/01: Utopias. In this course we look at two very different imaginative representations of an ideal state: Aristophanes'Birds and Plato's Republic. Through careful reading of the Greek texts we try to understand how the act of imagining an alternative social and political structure serves as a critique of one's own culture. In thinking about this question with these two texts, we also explore the differences between the genres of comedy and philosophical dialogue as social critique. Ms. Kitzinger.

302a. Euripides (1)

A reading of a play of Euripides. Careful study of the texts helps us understand Euripides' reputation as a playwright who challenged the dramatic conventions of Greek tragedy, as well as the social, political and religious assumptions of his audience. Ms. Scharffenberger.

[303a. Sophokles] (1)

A reading of a play of Sophokles. In addition to studying closely Sophokles' style and dramatic technique, we consider how the play examines and responds to the historical, social and political conditions of Athens at the time of the play's production.

Not offered in 2000/01.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)



C. Courses in Latin Language and Literature

I. Introductory

105a-106b. Elementary Latin (1)

Introduction to the language. Readings in classical prose and poetry. Mr. Lott.

Open to all classes; four 50-minute periods.


II. Intermediate

215a. Republican Literature (1)

Authors may include Plautus, Terence, Caesar, and Sallust. The selection of readings is designed to consolidate knowledge of grammar, provide an introduction to the translation of continuous, unadapted Latin, and highlight interesting features of Roman culture in the last two centuries of the Republic.

220b. Literature of the Empire (1)

Authors may include Horace, Livy, Ovid, Seneca, Petronius, and Suetonius. Readings are selected to illustrate the diversity of literary forms that flourished in the early Empire and the interaction of literature with society, politics, and private life. Ms. Kitzinger.

Reading Courses

297.01a or b. Mythology and Religion (1/2)

Readings on the mythology and religion of Rome.

Prerequisite: declaration of a Latin major or correlate sequence, or special permission.

297.02a or b. Literary History (1/2)

Readings on the literary history of Rome.

Prerequisite: declaration of a Latin major or correlate sequence, or special permission.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)


III. Advanced

Latin 300 and 301 are offered every year, 302-304 in rotation; the topic of 301 changes annually. Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 2 units in 200-level courses in the language or special permission.

300a or b. Senior Project (1)

301b. Topics in Latin Literature (1)

The course involves close reading of texts from a single genre or author or texts which have a common thematic interest. Study of the texts and of secondary material allows us to explore various features of ancient society. For example, the course might take as its topic a genre such as Roman satire or the Roman novel, the relationship between the diverse works of a single author like Horace or Seneca, or a theme such as the depiction of slaves, the evolution of love poetry, or Roman attitudes toward death. Since the topic changes every year, the course may be taken for credit more than once.

Topic for 2000/01: The Life and Works of Horace. Quintus Horatius Flaccus is notable for the variety and distinctive personality of his poetry, and its connection to the Augustan regime. Among Horace's favorite themes are those of love and friendship, poetry, wine, religion, philosophy and the achievements of Augustus. The course traces Horace's life and career through selections from the Epodes, Satires, Odes, and Epistles. Mr. Brown.

[302a. Vergil] (1)

Selections from the Eclogues, Georgics, or Aeneid of Rome's greatest poet. Subjects of study include the artistry of the Vergilian hexameter, the relationship of Vergil's works to their Greek models, and general topics such as his conception of destiny, religion, and the human relation to nature. Mr. Brown

Not offered in 2000/01.

[303a. Tacitus] (1)

Close readings from the works of the imperial historian and ethnographer Tacitus. In connection with further developing students' reading skills, the class focuses on particular literary, cultural, or historical issues. Mr. Lott.

Not offered in 2000/01.

[304. Catullus and Cicero] (1)

Poems of Catullus are read in relation to Cicero's speech, Pro Caelioand against the social and literary background of contemporary Rome. Comparison between these authors' separate portrayals of Clodia/Lesbia leads into discussion of the personal mores, forensic oratory, and poetic innovations of the late Republic.

Not offered in 2000/01.

380a. Apuleius' Golden Ass (1)

Apuleius' Golden Ass (the Metamorphoses in Latin), written during the second century CE, is one of the most intriguing and puzzling works of prose fiction to survive from antiquity. As such it has been the subject of much scholarly debate. Is it a serious conversion narrative, or entirely parodic in tone? What is the literary pedigree of the work? What is the relationship between its outer frame narrative and its inset tales? In this course we devote ourselves to a close reading of selections from the work in Latin so as to address these and other questions. We supplement our reading in Latin with the reading of secondary sources that apply various contemporary approaches to the novel.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)