Classics Department

Professors: Robert D. Brown, M. Rachel Kitzinger, Robert L. Pounder; Associate Professor: J. Bertrand Lott (Chair); Assistant Professors: Rachel Friedmana, Barbara Olsen; Blegen Research Fellow: TBA.

a Absent on leave, first semester.

Students may major in Classical Studies, with a concentration in Greek, in Latin, or in Ancient Societies or elect a correlate sequence in Greek, in Latin, or in Ancient Societies.

Requirement for Concentration in Classical Studies: Greek: 11 units consisting of the following courses: 6 units of Greek, including two at the 300-level; Classics 102 and Classics 103; Classics 216; 1 unit of 200-level work from among Classics 212, 213, 214, 215, or Classics/College Course 101: Civilization in Question, or another relevant 200-level course from the college curriculum; Greek 305 or Greek 306-307: Senior Project.

Requirement for Concentration in Classical Studies: Latin: 11 units consisting of the following courses: 6 units of Latin, including two at the 300-level, Classics 102 and Classics 103; Classics 217; 1 unit of 200-level work from among Classics 212, 213, 214, 215, or Classics/College Course 101: Civilization in Question, or another relevant 200-level course from the college curriculum; Latin 305 or Latin 306-307: Senior Project.

Requirements for Concentration in Classical Studies : Ancient Societies: 11 units consisting of the following courses: 3 units of Greek or Latin; Classics 102 and Classics 103; Classics 216 or 217; 2 units from among 200- or 300-level Greek or Latin, or Classics 212, 213, 214, 215 or Classics/College Course 101: Civilization in Question, or another relevant course from the college curriculum; two 300-level courses, including 301 and/or 302 and another relevant 300-level course from the college curriculum; Classics 305 or Classics 306-307: Senior Project.

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 320.

Requirements for Correlate Sequence in Ancient Societies: 6 units, to include one year of either Greek or Latin; one of either Classics 102 or Classics 103; either Classics 216 or 217; two other units from courses taught in translation above the 100-level, one of which must be a 300-level course.

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.

Courses in Classical Civilization

I. Introductory

[101a. Civilization in Question] (1)

(Same as College Course 101)

Not offered in 2006/07.

102b. Reading Antiquity (1)

From the great epics of Homer and Vergil to the intimate lyrics of Sappho and Catullus, the literature of Greece and Rome presents a vast array of forms, subject matter, and styles that played a formative role in the western literary tradition and continue to challenge the imagination. This course tackles the question of how to read classical literature, with an understanding of the cultural conditions and assumptions that went into its making. The topics focus on issues where a twenty-first century perspective may make it difficult for a reader to understand an ancient text. These include the roles of orality, literacy, tradition, and innovation in the composition of ancient literature; polytheism and the relationship of cult, ritual, and myth; ancient concepts of the community and its social constituents; the poet’s persona and the literary construction of individuality. Readings in English translation are selected from a representative variety of Greek and Roman texts by such authors as Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, Euripides, Catullus, Vergil, Livy, and Ovid. Ms. Friedman.

103a. 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.

181a. The Trojan War (1)

The Trojan cycle with its myths of Helen, Achilles, Agamemnon, Odysseus, Paris, and Hektor occupies the central position in Greek mythology. Immortalized in Homeric epic, dramatic and lyric poetry, and throughout Greek art, these myths reveal much about how the ancient Greeks understood their own antiquity. By studying the literary and archaeological evidence pertaining to the Trojan war, students discover what the legends and heroes of antiquity reveal to us about how the ancient Greeks understood their world and their place in it. Ms. Olsen.

Open only to Freshmen.

II. Intermediate

[210a. Greek Art and Architecture] (1)

(Same as Art 210)

Not offered in 2006/07.

211b. Roman Art and Architecture (1)

(Same as Art 211)

214a. 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. We read literary texts from a number of genres: examples of texts we read are parts of the Odyssey, poems of Sappho and Alcaeus, Aeschylus’ Oresteia and Euripides’ Hippolytus, comedies of Aristophanes, poems of Catullus, Propertius and Tibullus, plays of Plautus and Terence, and Ovid’s Art of Love and love poems. 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.

Prerequisite: Classics 101, 102, or 103, or special permission.

216a. History of the Ancient Greeks (1)

(Same as History 216) This course examines the history and culture of the ancient Greeks from the emergence of the city-state in the eighth century BCE to the conquests of Alexander the Great in 335 BCE. In addition to an outline of the political and social history of the Greeks, the course examines several historical, cultural, and methodological topics in depth, including the emergence of writing, Greek colonialism and imperialism, ancient democracy, polytheism, the social structures of Athenian society, and the relationship between Greeks and other Mediterranean cultures. Students both read primary sources (for example, Sappho, Tyrtaios, Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristophanes, and Plato) and examine sites and artifacts recovered through archaeology; the development of students’ critical abilities to evaluate and use these sources for the study of history is a primary goal of the class. Mr. Lott.

Prerequisite: Classics 101, 102, or 103, or 1 unit in History or special permission.

[217b. History of the Ancient Romans] (1)

(Same as History 217) This course examines the history of the ancient Romans from the foundation of their city around the eighth century BCE to the collapse of their Mediterranean Empire in the fifth century CE. The course offers a broad historical outline of Roman history, but focuses on significant topics and moments in Roman history, including the Republican aristocracy, the civil and slave wars of the Late Republic, the foundation of the Empire by Caesar Augustus, urbanism, the place of public entertainments (gladiatorial combats, Roman hunts, chariot races, and theater) in society, the rise of Christianity, the processes of Romanization, and barbarization, and the political decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Students read primary sources such as Plautus, Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, and Suetonius, and secondary accounts dealing with important issues such as slavery, religious persecution and multiculturalism. Students also examine important archaeological sites and artifacts. The development of students’ critical abilities to evaluate and use these sources for the study of history is a primary goal of the class. Mr. Lott.

Prerequisite: Classics 101, 102, or 103, or 1 unit in History or special permission.

Not offered in 2006/07.

280b. Oedipus at Colonus in Performance (1)

(Same as Drama 280b.) Through a collaboration between students and faculty in the Classics and Drama departments, this course works towards a production, in English, of the Oedipus at Colonus. Using a new translation by Eamon Grennan and Rachel Kitzinger, we explore the process of turning the written text into a staged event, both through the study of ancient performance conventions and experimentation with contemporary methods. The goal of the course is a production of the play using masks, dance, music, and actors which emerges from the collaboration of different practitioners. Students of Greek read the play in Greek. Admission is by special permission. Ms. Kitzinger, Mr. Worden.

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

III. Advanced

Classics 301 and 302 are offered every year. Since their topics change annually, they may be taken for credit more than once. The prerequisite for each course is one unit of Classics, Greek, or Latin at the 200-level, or, with special permission, work appropriate to the topic at the 200-level in other disciplines.

301b. Seminar in Classical Civilization (1)

The study of Greek and Latin was an essential part of British education until the twentieth century, so that most English authors were exposed in their formative years to great works of ancient literature, including the works of Homer, Vergil, Ovid, and Horace. These classical works provided models for imitation and a common frame of reference equaled only by the Bible in the depth of its influence on English literature. In this course we explore the reception of ancient literature in English poetry from Chaucer to the modem day through discussion of texts selected for their variety and importance. These include Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Prologue, Spencer’s Fairie Queene, Milton’s Lycidas and Paradise Lost, Johnson’s Vanity of Human Wishes, Pope’s Rape of the Lock, and Walcott’s Omeros together with shorter poems by Shakespeare, Herrick, Swift, Leapor, Coleridge, Yeats, Heaney, and others. Mr. Brown, Mr. DeMaria.

302a. The Blegen Seminar (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 Seminar is uniquely offered and will not be repeated. Since the topic changes every year, the course may be taken for credit more than once.

Topic for 2006/07: To be announced.

305a or b. Senior Project (1)

306a-307b. Senior Project ( 1/2, 1/2)

310b. Seminar in Ancient Art (1)

(Same as Art 310)

399. Senior Independent Work (1)

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. Ms. Kitzinger.

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. Olsen.

Prerequisite: Greek 105-106 or by permission of the 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 form in this period and the growth of prose out of oral poetry. Social, religious, and political issues surrounding the texts are discussed. Mr. Pounder.

Prerequisite: Greek 215 or by permission of instructor.

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

III. Advanced

Greek 301 is 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.

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 oeuvre 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 2006/07: Traveling Wise Men. According to Herodotus, when Solon the Athenian arrives at the palace of Croesus in Sardis, Croesus greets him by saying how much he has heard of Solon’s wisdom and his wandering. The link that Croesus makes here between traveling and wisdom can be felt throughout Greek literature where there seems to be some essential connection between leaving the world that is familiar to you and the attainment of knowledge. In this course we consider the figure of the traveling wise man, real and imagined, as he appears in various sources and periods. Among the figures we consider are Odysseus, Solon, Anacharsis, Hecateus, and Herodotus. Readings from the Greek sources are supplemented with readings from contemporary postcolonial theory that pay attention to the condition of exile and the many ways in which the modem intellectual is represented as fundamentally displaced. Ms. Friedman.

302a. Greek Tragedy (1)

A reading of a play by Sophokles or Euripides. Careful study of the text helps us to understand the playwright’s style. We also consider how the play examines and responds to the historical, social and political conditions of Athens in the fifth century BCE. Ms. Kitzinger.

[303a. Homer] (1)

Extensive selections from the Iliad, the Odyssey, and/or Homeric Hymns with attention given to oral theory, thematic structure, and social issues raised by the poems. Ms. Friedman.

Not offered in 2006/07.

305a or b. Senior Project (1)

306a-307b. Senior Project ( 1/2, 1/2)

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

Courses in Latin Language and Literature

I. Introductory

105a-106b. Elementary Latin (1)

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

Open to all classes; four 50-minute periods.

II. Intermediate

215a. Republican Literature (1)

Selected readings from authors such as Plautus, Cicero, Catullus, Caesar, Sallust, and Vergil. 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. Successful completion of the course qualifies students for Latin 220. Mr. Olsen.

220b. Literature of the Empire (1)

Authors may include Horace, Livy, Ovid, Seneca, Petronius, Suetonius, and Vergil. 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. Mr. Lott.

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

III. Advanced

Latin 301 and 305a-306b are offered every year, Latin 302-304 in rotation; the topic of Latin 301 changes annually. Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 2 units in 200-level courses in the language or special permission.

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 revolution 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 2006/07: Juvenal. The Silver Age poet Juvenal was par excellence a satirist of Rome: its classes, its politics, the vices of its populace, and the chaos of the city itself. This seminar features close readings of Juvenal’s satires with attention to the forms of Roman satire, political commentary, and the view they provide of Roman social life in the early second century CE. Ms. Olsen.

[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. Ms. Olsen.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[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. Ms. Olsen.

Not offered in 2006/07.

304a. Roman Lyric and Elegy (1)

Poems of Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, Catullus and Ovid with attention given to poetic form, the influence of poets on each other, and the view they give us of Roman society in the first century BCE. Mr. Brown.

305a or b. Senior Project (1)

306a-307b. Senior Project ( 1/2 , 1/2 )

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