Classics is the study of all aspects of the rich cultures handed down by the ancient Greeks and Romans: their language, history, literature, thought and material culture, as well as their important influence on later societies, including our own. The Department of Classics offers two options for students interested in studying Greek and Roman antiquity: the classics major and the ancient studies major. The major in classics focuses on study of the Latin and/or ancient Greek languages. The major in ancient studies is for students who want to explore the whole spectrum of the classical world with little or no work in the ancient languages. Resources on campus supporting the study of classics include a substantial library collection of materials related to the ancient world, collections of Greek papyri and art, and the Wulfing Coin Collection, one of the largest collections of ancient coins owned by an American university.
The Major in Classics
Total units required: 24
The Major in Ancient Studies
Total units required: 24
24 units drawn from courses in the Department of Classics and those in related departments. Of these, 18 units must be at the advanced level, including 6 units at the 400 level. Greek 102D and Latin 102D, or a first-year seminar may be substituted for a 200-level course in translation. In this major, students are encouraged to develop a certain depth in one special field of interest (e.g., literature, art, history or philosophy). Therefore, at least 9 of the 18 advanced units of the major should be taken in one such specific area.
Please consult the sections below regarding the required capstone experience and additional information.
Required Capstone Experience
All classics and ancient studies majors are required to have a capstone experience of some kind: an experience in which they can pull together everything that they have learned in their Classics courses. Except in unusual cases, the capstone experience should occur during the students' senior year. Among the most common capstone experiences are the following:
- A senior honors thesis (two semesters of research and writing concluding in a long paper).
- A one-semester research project.
- A Classics study abroad experience.
- Special work within a 400-level seminar.
Students should consult with their adviser to see what kind of capstone experience will work best for them.
Study Abroad: Study abroad for a semester in Rome or Athens is an option many classics and ancient studies majors select. Washington University is a member of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) consortium. Majors and minors regularly attend the one-semester ICCS program in Rome. Students interested in studying at the Intercollegiate Center in Rome should consult Professor Cathy Keane. Many classics students also study for one semester through the College Year in Athens (CYA) program. Students interested in this program should consult Professor William Bubelis.
Senior Honors: Students who are planning to pursue graduate work should enter the honors program, and other students are encouraged to consider this program as well. To apply, a student must have junior standing, an average of A- or better in courses numbered 300 or above in Greek and/or Latin (for classics majors) or in Classics (for ancient studies majors), an overall GPA of 3.65 or above, and permission of the chair. A formal application should be submitted in May of the junior year. A thesis of substantial nature and length is prepared and written under the direction of a member of the department, beginning in the fall semester of the senior year. A final draft is submitted to the director no later than February 1, a final copy to the full thesis committee before March break. Credit of 6 units is awarded upon presentation of an acceptable thesis. These will be in addition to the 24 credits of the major; those who complete senior honors will therefore graduate with a total of 30 credits in the major.
The Minor in Classics
Units required: 15
& Greek 318C
|Introduction to Greek Literature|
and Introduction to Greek Literature
& Latin 3181
|Survey of Latin Literature: The Republic|
and Survey of Latin Literature: The Empire
Three other adviser-approved courses (9 units) in Greek, Latin or Classics. These must include at least one Greek or Latin course at the 300 or 400 level. No more than one course may be at the 200 level, and Classics 225D may not be counted. A first-year seminar may substitute for the 200-level course.
The Minor in Ancient Studies
Units required: 15
At least two of the following:
|Classics 341C||Ancient History: The Roman Republic||3|
|Classics 342C||Ancient History: The Roman Empire||3|
|Classics 345C||Greek History: The Dawn of Democracy||3|
|Classics 346C||Greek History: The Age of Alexander||3|
Students need three other courses in the culture of Greece and Rome, the selection to be mutually agreeable to the department adviser and to the student. No more than two courses may be at the 200 level. Classics 225D may not be counted. A first-year seminar may count for one of the two 200-level courses.
Visit online course listings to view semester offerings for L08 Classics.
L08 Classics 1135 Freshman Seminar: The World of Cleopatra
Cleopatra, the last queen of ancient Egypt, captivated her contemporaries and has fascinated the Western world ever since her famous suicide by asp in 31 BCE. She was a woman of contrasts: Pharaoh of Egypt and Greco-Macedonian queen; seductive woman and shrewd political strategist; a ruthless monarch using every means available to consolidate her position in the face of the encroaching power of the Roman Empire. Through texts and material culture, the seminar seeks to understand Cleopatra in the context both of her native Egypt and of the wider Mediterranean world. We thus examine the traditions of Pharaonic Egypt; the historical events that brought Egypt under the control of the Macedonian Ptolemies (Cleopatra's dynasty); the wider stage of East-West tension and conquest in which Cleopatra struggled to maintain her power; her relationships (political and personal) with famous men of her day (Caesar, Herod, Mark Antony); her capital city of Alexandria, the largest metropolis of its day; Cleopatra's brilliant court and its luxury arts; and finally the many Cleopatras that have populated art and literature of later times. We emerge with a sense of Cleopatra, both as a unique individual and as a product of her time.
L08 Classics 1137 First-Year Seminar: Wining and Dining in the Classical World
The focus of this course is food culture in Greek and Roman societies from the Archaic to the late Roman period. However, foodways from adjacent contemporary cultures also are briefly examined. Sources include textual evidence, as well as ethnographic studies of ancient people, iconographic and archaeological evidence, specifically osteological and botanical remains from archaeological sites. Experimental studies are conducted in class to augment the learning experience of students.
L08 Classics 114 First-Year Seminar: Eros through the Ages: Love and Lust in the Greco-Roman World
From a cosmic god of love to a complex emotion, eros is a seminal concept shaping a range of mythological, literary and artistic works of antiquity. Sappho described eros as "sweet-bitter," neatly capturing its paradoxical position at the intersection of pleasure and pain, love and hate. In this seminar, we unpack the varied ways eros played out across poetry, philosophy, politics and art in the ancient Greek and Roman world and how these ancient definitions of love still inform our own modern understanding of the term.
L08 Classics 116 First-Year Seminar: Magicians and Witches in Greco-Roman Literature
This course examines the representation of "magicians" and "witches" in ancient Greek and Roman literature. The starting point is Apuleius' Metamorphoses (or The Golden Ass as St. Augustine dubbed it), written in the second century CE. This work of narrative prose collects several tales of witches, magical transformations and religious revelation. From there, we examine other tales of magicians and witches, paying particular attention to the role of gender in these representations and the conflict between magic and religion. The goal is to understand how these representations function within their particular society, what anxieties they reveal, and how they relate to the archaeological evidence we have for these practices.
L08 Classics 1165 First-Year Seminar: Pompeii: Uncovering the Past
This course examines the Roman city of Pompeii from archaeological, art historical and literary perspectives. Topics include the city's public spaces and religious sanctuaries, its grand mansions and common houses, its political systems and leisure activities. Class discussions probe the problems inherent in the interpretation of a city captured in a moment of crisis, and how ancient literary tropes have affected our understanding of the archaeological remains. Students also investigate modern interpretations of the site in the form of novels, exhibitions and documentaries. Freshmen and sophomores only. No prerequisites.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 116
L08 Classics 137 First-Year Seminar: The Emperor Nero: Prince, Monster, Artist
The destructive, scandal-ridden career of the Roman emperor Nero (mid-first century CE) almost defies belief. From his assumption of power as a teenager to his suicide after a military revolt, Nero flouted political and cultural conventions left and right. His inspiring debut notwithstanding, he killed off his family and mentor, held wild parties, poured money into extravagant projects, and neglected state business to pursue a career on stage. He came to be labeled one of the "Bad Emperors," and seen as a symbol of the decline of Rome itself — especially by sympathizers of the Christians he persecuted. Yet Nero as an emperor and a literary character was also a creation of his time. The figure of Nero is examined in his context. The central text is the Life of Nero by Suetonius (second century CE), a dense and colorful text read first in its entirety and then more carefully in pieces. Supplementary readings are from the abundant other sources on and interpretations of Nero, both ancient and modern. Discussions and writing assignments are varied and designed to develop analytical and writing skills.
L08 Classics 176 First-Year Seminar: Aesop and His Fables: Comedy and Social Criticism
Aesop's Fables, a collection of stories featuring talking animals, is still popular today, and it has its roots in ancient Greece. Many stories about Aesop were circulated in Greco-Roman antiquity, stories that could be complex, politically charged, and sometimes quite crude. In this course, we will read The Life of Aesop, a popular ancient novel about the fabulist's life and exploits. We will also consider how Aesop and his fables are treated in the larger tradition: in other fable collections, in comedy and philosophy, and in the visual tradition. As we will see, Aesop is a highly mutable figure: sometimes comic, sometimes serious, often critical of power imbalances and injustices, and always ready to mask what he really means behind a clever animal fable.
L08 Classics 180 First-Year Seminar: Sexuality in Early Christianity
This course is for freshmen only. The topic varies from semester to semester. Recent topics include Miracles; Sexuality in Early Christianity; and The Self in Chinese Thought.
Same as L23 Re St 180
L08 Classics 2011 Classical to Renaissance Literature: Text and Tradition
Students enrolled in this course engage in close and sustained reading of a set of texts that are indispensable for an understanding of the European literary tradition, texts that continue to offer invaluable insights into humanity and the world around us. Homer's Iliad is the foundation of our class. We then go on to trace ways in which later poets and dramatists engage the work of predecessors who inspire and challenge them. Readings move from translations of Greek, Latin and Italian, to poetry and drama composed in English. In addition to Homer, we will read works of Sappho, a Greek tragedian, Plato, Vergil, Ovid, Petrarch, and Shakespeare.
Same as L93 IPH 201C
L08 Classics 225D Latin and Greek in Current English
An astonishingly large number of English words, especially in areas such as medicine, science and law, are derived from Latin and Greek. This course will provide a study of the impact of Latin and Greek on the English language through study of the Latin and Greek roots, prefixes and suffixes that are most commonly found in English technical and nontechnical vocabulary and the linguistic principles through which these elements have entered the English language.
L08 Classics 228 Theater Culture Studies I: Antiquity to Medieval
A survey of ancient, medieval and Renaissance theater and performance, both in the west and in the east, both as it reflects and shapes culture. Coverage will include the following areas: ancient Greece, ancient Rome, classical Sanskrit theater, Yuan China, medieval Japan, medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy, and Renaissance England. Both scripted theater and performance practices will be examined through the lenses of dramatic literature, theater history, performance studies, and dramatic theory. A continual emphasis will be on marginal and underrepresented figures, as we will attempt to excavate forgotten histories from the theatrical past.
Same as L15 Drama 228C
L08 Classics 234 The Greek World
This course offers an introduction to the society and culture of ancient Greece, the civilization that created Homer, Socrates, and Herodotus, among many others. Using a wide variety of literary, documentary, and material sources, we will focus on one central question: what does it mean to be Greek in antiquity? We will explore how the negotiation of 'Greekness' affects cultural values, how it influences the geopolitics of the ancient Mediterranean, how women, slaves, and immigrants fit (or do not fit) into this Greekness, how ancient Greek democracy arises, and how it dies.
L08 Classics 235C The Greek Imagination
An introduction to Greek culture with emphasis on Archaic and Classical ideas about man, the gods and the cosmos. Considerable attention also is given to the Athenian democracy, its institutions, festivals and arts. The course is designed to offer a broad and interdisciplinary view of the most memorable Greek achievements in literature, the visual arts, and social thought and practice.
L08 Classics 236C The Roman World
An introduction to the society and culture of the ancient Roman Republic and Empire. The "Roman World" began as a small settlement by the Tiber River and became a huge and diverse empire extending into three continents, with a cultural legacy that has lasted to this day. The course will cover key events over a millennium of Roman political history, but much of our time will be given to study and analysis of Roman concepts of national identity, moral and political thought, social hierarchies and dynamics, family, religion and entertainment. To this end, we will examine a diverse combination of primary sources — literary, documentary and material.
L08 Classics 240 Not Members of This Club: Women and Slaves in the Greco-Roman World
Both the Athenian Democracy and the Roman Senatorial Oligarchy were societies in which political power was the exclusive property of free, citizen males. With very few exceptions, the astounding accomplishments of those societies were also the creations of free, citizen males. This course examines the lives of two disparate but comparable groups of outsiders within Greek and Roman society. The status, rights and accomplishments of Athenian and Roman women are explored and placed in the context of other premodern societies. Likewise, the institution of slavery in Greece and Rome is explored and compared with other slave-holding societies, ancient and modern.
L08 Classics 251 Projecting the Past: Ancient Greece and Rome in Modern Film
Since the earliest days of film, screenwriters and directors have mined the rich history of Ancient Greece and Rome to captivate audiences with tales of heroes and slaves, soldiers and lovers. This course will examine such cinematic representations across a variety of American and European films from the 20th and 21st century. Drawing upon translated selections from ancient Greek and Roman authors, secondary readings and weekly screenings, students will reflect upon the ways in which film adaptations of antiquity both tell us much about Ancient Greece and Rome and reveal as much about our present as they do the past.
L08 Classics 300 Independent Study
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L08 Classics 3003 Writing Intensive in Ancient Studies
Study of selected topics in Classics. This is a Writing Intensive course.
L08 Classics 301C Greek Mythology
The myths of ancient Greece are not only inherently interesting, but they are an incomparable starting point for the study of the ancient world, and they have offered numerous images and paradigms to poets, artists and theorists. This course provides an introduction to the major Greek myths, their role in literature and art, their historical and social background, and ancient and modern approaches to their interpretation. Student work will include discussing course material in sections and online, taking two exams covering both the myths themselves and the ancient authors who represent our richest sources, and writing several essays interpreting or comparing ancient literary treatments.
L08 Classics 3152 Sex and Gender in Greco-Roman Antiquity
Ideas about sex and gender have not remained stable over time. The ancient Greeks and Romans had their own ideas — ideas that strike us today as both deeply alien and strikingly familiar. This course will consider questions such as: What constituted "normal" sex for the Greeks and for the Romans? What sex acts did they consider to be problematic or illicit, and why? What traits did the Greeks and Romans associate with masculinity? With femininity? How did society treat those who did not quite fit into those categories? How did peoples of the ancient world respond to same-sex and other-sex relationships, and was there an ancient concept of "sexuality"? How did issues of class, ethnicity and age interact with and shape these concepts? How does an understanding of these issues change the way we think about sex and gender today? We will read an array of ancient texts in translation, consider various theoretical viewpoints, and move toward an understanding of what sex and gender meant in the ancient world.
L08 Classics 3212 Art & Archaeology of Cleopatra's Egypt
This course is an introduction to the art and archaeology of Egypt from its conquest by Alexander the Great (332 BCE) to the early fourth century CE. It will examine the rich and multi-faceted history and artistic legacy of Egypt under the Ptolemies and their last queen Cleopatra, followed by the Roman conquest under Emperor Augustus up to the flourishing of Egyptian Christianity. Students will become familiar with a wide range of ancient sources, including documentary and literary texts, coins, architecture, paintings and sculpture. Prerequisites: Intro to Western Art (L01 113) or Intro to Modern Art (L01 215), or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3212
L08 Classics 3231 Jews and Christians in the Premodern World
In modern times, it is common to think of Judaism and Christianity as two distinct, if historically connected, "religions." Increasingly, however, historians of ancient religions have thought more deeply about the implications of taking Christianity and Judaism in antiquity as more fluid and porous than we tend to think of them. In this upper-division course, we will explore the ways in which the boundaries that early Christians attempted to draw between Christianity and Judaism remained unstable and incomplete. While the various efforts to establish early Christian identity led to the production of a variety of hermeneutical representations of the Judaioi, these literary representations nevertheless often reflected, to various degrees, engagement with actual historical Jews/Judeans, who shared political, economic, and intellectual worlds with Christians. We will consider how early Christian discourse about Jews and Judaism informed and was informed by intra-Christian disputes and their negotiations of their relationships with the wider Greco-Roman culture. We will explore how Christian efforts to establish both continuity and difference between Judaism played a role in the construction of "orthodoxy" and "heresy," as well as the way in which Christians re-appropriated Jewish texts, rituals and ideas in their efforts to construct a Christian identity. We will also explore how this continued dynamic of difference and continuity continued into the Middle Ages.
Same as L23 Re St 323
L08 Classics 3330 Greek and Roman Painting
This course provides a survey of the major achievements of ancient Greek and Roman painting, broadly understood and encompassing wall painting, panel painting, painted pottery, and mosaic. We will study monuments ranging over a millennium in time and located throughout the ancient Mediterranean. Particular attention will be paid to the social, political, and religious aspects of ancient Greco-Roman painting, and to questions of innovation in artistic practice. Special emphasis will be placed on students' cultivation of the tools of art-historical analysis, and of the presentation of that analysis in written form. Prerequisites: Intro to Western Art (L01 113) or Intro to Modern Art (L01 215) or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3330
L08 Classics 334 Roman Art and Archaeology
The art and archaeology of the Romans, with emphasis on the late Republic and the Imperial period. Major monuments of sculpture and architecture, as well as town planning, domestic architecture, and the minor arts are used as evidence for reconstructing ancient life.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 334
L08 Classics 341C Ancient History: The Roman Republic
Rome from its legendary foundation until the assassination of Julius Caesar. Topics include: the establishment, development and collapse of Rome's Republican government; imperial expansion; Roman culture in a Mediterranean context; and the dramatic political and military events associated with figures like the Carthaginian general Hannibal, the Thracian rebel Spartacus, and the Roman statesman Cicero.
L08 Classics 342C Ancient History: The Roman Empire
An introduction to the political, military, and social history of Rome from the first emperor Augustus to the time of Constantine. Topics include: Rome's place as the center of a vast and diverse empire; religious movements, such as Jewish revolts and the rise of Christianity; and the stability of the state in the face of economic crises, military coups, and scandals and intrigues among Rome's imperial elite.
L08 Classics 345C Greek History: The Dawn of Democracy
From the so-called Dark Ages to the death of Socrates, a survey of the political, social, economic and military development of early Greece, with emphasis upon citizenship and political structure, religion and culture, and the complex relationships between Greeks and neighboring peoples.
L08 Classics 346C Greek History: The Age of Alexander
From the death of Socrates until the foundation of the Roman Empire, Greece and the Ancient Near East underwent profound changes that still resonate today. This course surveys the political, social, economic and military developments of this period, especially Alexander the Great's legacy.
L08 Classics 347C Ancient Philosophy
An examination of the high-water marks of philosophy in ancient Greece and Rome, focusing primarily on Plato and Aristotle. A wide range of philosophical problems are discussed, including the nature of the good life, the justification of knowledge, and the ultimate nature of mind and world. Attention is paid to how these problems unfolded in their historical context and to how the ancient treatments of them compare to contemporary efforts. Prerequisites: one course in Philosophy at the 100 or 200 level, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L30 Phil 347C
L08 Classics 350 Greek Art and Archaeology
A survey of the artistic achievements and material culture of the Greeks in the first millenium BCE (Iron Age through the Hellenistic period). Development of architecture, sculpture and painting, as well as minor arts and utilitarian objects, with emphasis on the insights they offer into Greek society and interactions with the wider Mediterranean world.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 331
L08 Classics 3563 Ancient Sport and Spectacle
Ancient sport and spectacle seem both familiar and foreign to us today. We share the Greek obsession with athletic success, and we have revived their Olympic games — and yet the Greeks competed nude and covered in oil and included in their celebration a sacrifice of 100 oxen to Zeus. So too do we recognize the familiar form of the Roman arena, but recoil from the bloody spectacles that it housed. In this class we will examine the world of ancient Greco-Roman sport and spectacle, seeking to better understand both ancient culture and our own. We will consider Greek athletic competition, Roman gladiatorial combat, chariot racing, and other public performances. We will set these competitions in their social and historical context, considering both their evolution and their remarkable staying power.
L08 Classics 3582 Ancient Rome in Film and Fiction
Examines a group of novels starting with The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) and a group of films beginning with The Sign of the Cross (1936) to see how writers and filmmakers have conjured up an image of Roman excess and exoticism in line with their own artistic and cultural viewpoints. We read both popular successes such as Ben-Hur and "high art" such as Marius the Epicurean and see such commercial successes as The Robe and art house films such as Fellini's Satyricon.
L08 Classics 3676 Rhetoric: Ancient and Modern
Rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, has played a prominent and controversial role in political and educational theory and practice. We survey rhetorical texts, ranging from Plato and Aristotle through Augustine and Edmund Burke, to Kenneth Burke and Jürgen Habermas.
L08 Classics 371 The Ancient Family
Examination of the roles of the family in the ancient world through readings and discussions of primary sources (literature, legal texts, inscriptions, art) and recent scholarship. Topics include: demography; relationship between family and state; economic, social and religious roles of the family; roles of women, men, children and slaves; death and inheritance; marriage; children; family relationships; household space; comparisons with the modern family.
L08 Classics 375 Topics in Classics
Study of one or more themes recurring in the traditions of Greek, Roman and European literature.
L08 Classics 375W Writing about the Ancient World
Classics courses at the 300-level with enhanced requirements in writing may be taken under this designation as writing-intensive courses. Required: permission of instructor.
L08 Classics 3801 Ancient Greek and Roman Medicine
This course introduces students to the practice and theory of medicine in the ancient Mediterranean, beginning in Egypt and continuing through Greece and Rome. It ends in the Middle Ages. Greco-Roman medicine will be our focus. How was disease understood by practitioners and, as far as can be reconstructed, by laypeople? What form did surgical, pharmacological, and dietetic treatment take? What were the intellectual origins of Greek medicine? The social status of medical practitioners? How was medicine written and in what terms did its practitioners conceive it?
L08 Classics 3821 Topics in Christian Thought
The topic covered in this course varies. The topic for Fall 2018 is The Apostle Paul: Communities and Controversies. The Fall 2017 topics was Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity.
Same as L23 Re St 382
L08 Classics 3831 Magicians, Healers and Holy Men
Magic is perhaps not one of the first words one associates with Greco-Roman antiquity. Yet for most individuals living in the ancient Mediterranean, including philosophers, businessmen and politicians, magic was a part of everyday life. Casting spells, fashioning voodoo dolls, wearing amulets, ingesting potions, and reading the stars are just some of the activities performed by individuals at every level of society. This course examines Greco-Roman, early Christian and Judaic "magical" practices. Students read spell-books which teach how to read the stars, make people fall in love, bring harm to enemies, lock up success in business, and win fame and the respect of peers. Students also look at what is said, both in antiquity and in contemporary scholarship, about magic and the people who practiced it, which helps illuminate the fascinating relationship between magic, medicine and religion.
L08 Classics 385W Comedy, Ancient and Modern
In this course we will examine the nature of dramatic comedy and its role in society. We will read, discuss and write about comedies from ancient Greece and Rome and from various modern nations, paying particular attention to the following questions: Do comic plays reinforce or challenge the preconceptions of their audiences? How have comic playwrights responded to issues such as class, gender, religion, and politics? Why does comedy have such power both to unite and to divide people? This course has an extensive writing component, so much of our time will be spent writing about the comedies we will read, revising what we have written, and discussing how best to write about comedy.
L08 Classics 386 Old Jokes: Laughter in the Greco-Roman World
An exploration of the theory and practice of comedy in the Greco-Roman world. Readings include examples of iambic (mocking) poetry, comic theater, satiric verse and prose fiction, as well as philosophical discussions of the relationship of humor and laughter to human behavior and values. As comedy in all contexts engages and shapes cultural values just as much as "serious" literature does, its history and reception raise major social and aesthetic issues. Critical topics include: how ancient thinkers imagined comedy's historical "birth," how public comic performances may have encouraged either social cohesion or disruption, how communities defined "beneficial" and "offensive" humor, and how ancient elite writers and readers felt about the often lowbrow and obscene content of "classic" comic literature. Combination of lectures and discussions.
L08 Classics 389C The Ancient Novel
Many modern readers are familiar with the mythological and dramatic literature of Greco-Roman antiquity, but fewer are aware that the same cultures developed a tradition of prose fiction concerned with romance, human psychology and sexuality, exotic travel and adventure, and religious experience. The European tradition of extended fictional narrative begins with the Greeks, and their novels, along with Apuleius' Golden Ass and Petronius' Satyricon, had a formative influence on later narrative traditions. Students read and analyze all the surviving examples of the Greco-Roman novel, including some fragmentary works, with the goal of throwing light on the history and conventions of the genre, its appeal and its influence.
L08 Classics 392E Greek and Roman Drama
Survey of the tragic and comic dramas produced in Ancient Greece and Rome. Study of the plays' religious and civic performance contexts, responses of the ancient audiences, and literary interpretations.
L08 Classics 393 The Tragic Muse
Intensive study of the major tragic playwrights of Ancient Greece (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides) and some of their imitators and critics in the western tradition. We consider tragedy's origins, its literary elements and theory, its performance and religious contexts, and its social functions. Lectures with discussions.
L08 Classics 4001 Independent Study
Credit 3 units.
L08 Classics 426 Ancient Athens
Athens was one of the great cities of antiquity. From lavishly decorated marble temples on the Acropolis, to public office buildings and inscriptions in the Agora (civic center), to the houses of the living and the monuments for the dead, the city has left a rich record of her material culture. These buildings and objects, together with an exceptionally large number of literary and historical texts, make it possible to paint a vivid picture of the ancient city. The course concentrates on the physical setting and monuments of Athens, as revealed by both archaeology and texts, and how they functioned within the context of Athenian civic and religious life. Prerequisite: Classics 345C, Classics 350 or permission of instructor.
L08 Classics 428 The Invention of the Image: From Classical Art History to Modern Visual Studies
The scholarly field of Image or Visual Studies has developed in response to the widespread proliferation of images, both still and moving, in contemporary life. It distinguishes itself from traditional art history by examining visual representations of all types, not only works of high art, and by concentrating on the role those representations play in the formation of culture. Though most of the scholarship produced in this field focuses on the modern world, it depends upon ideas first developed in Mediterranean antiquity. This course has two primary goals. We conduct an historical examination of practices and theories of image making from Near Eastern antiquity to modernity. In so doing, we also carry out an historiographical survey of the major works in Image/Visual Studies, thereby gaining an appreciation for the wide range of methods of inquiry employed in this important field of research. Prerequisites: Intro to Western Art (L01 Art-Arch 113) or Intro to Modern Art (L01 Art-Arch 215); one 300-level course in Art History preferred; or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 428
L08 Classics 429 Art and Death in Ancient Rome
Perhaps more than any other phenomenon, death spurred the creation of art in the ancient Roman world. The practice of materially commemorating the deceased, of perpetuating the memory of the dead through the creation of funerary monuments designed to appeal to both intimate familial relations and the public at large, stretched across Roman social boundaries and endured for many centuries. But death also frequently provided the subject matter of art even outside the confines of the funerary realm. The goal of this course will be to explore the complex relationship between art and death in the Roman world. It will range from early Rome to the end of the empire and the changes brought about by widespread conversion to Christianity. In conjunction with historical readings, the course will also engage with theoretical texts in the anthropology and philosophy of death. Prerequisites: Intro to Western Art (L01 113) or Intro to Modern Art (L01 215); one 300-level course in Art History preferred; or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 429
L08 Classics 4295 Stories in Stone: Visual Narrative in the Ancient World
Storytelling — the narration of a sequence of connected events occurring over a span of time — is often thought of as a primarily verbal phenomenon. The Greco-Roman world, however, possessed not only a rich literary tradition, but also a complex system of pictorial narrative, which drew upon and creatively adapted a common storehouse of mythological and historical events. Ancient artists developed a wide variety of techniques to communicate narrative content, and they put those techniques to use for a range of religious, political, and social purposes. This course will examine the formal development and the cultural underpinnings of the art of visual storytelling in the ancient world, both in light of its original contexts and through the lens of modern scholarly discussions of narrative. Prerequisites: Intro to Western Art (L01 113) or Intro to Modern Art (L01 215); one 300-level course in Art History preferred; or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4295
L08 Classics 4321 Ancient Coins
The seminar is designed to research the rich world of Greek and Roman coinage by using the university’s own resource, the J.M. Wulfing collection of coins. Emphasis on coin typology, works of art or buildings illustrated on our coins, and the history of coinage. We use actual coins in the gallery. Due to the delicate nature of the material, the course is by permission of the instructor only.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4321
Credit 3 units. Art: AH
L08 Classics 4350 Hellenistic Philosophy
The Hellenistic Age, traditionally dated from the death of Alexander and his (Macedonian) Empire at 323 BCE to the birth of Augustus' (Roman) Empire in 31 BCE, gave the West three of its most innovative and influential schools of philosophy: Epicureanism, Skepticism, and Stoicism. This course investigates the central features of their thought. Special attention is paid to the still-relevant debates between the Stoics and Skeptics about the possibility of knowledge, to the disagreements among all three schools about the issues of freedom, responsibility, and determinism, and to their ethical theories. Prerequisites: one course in Philosophy at the 300 level, graduate standing, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L30 Phil 4530
L08 Classics 4361 Topics in Ancient Studies
Study of one or more themes recurring in the traditions of Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture. Topic varies each semester.
L08 Classics 4375 Ancient Greek Sculpture in Context
Sculpture counts among one of the greatest artistic achievements of ancient Greece, and one that has had the greatest impact on the art of later periods. This course focuses on original works of art of the Archaic and Classical periods (600–300 BCE), placing emphasis on how study of their contexts — the places in which they were produced, displayed and found — contributes to our understanding of their place in the ancient world. Background material, which is covered at the beginning of the semester, includes the origins of monumental Greek sculpture at the beginning of the Archaic period (late 7th to early 6th century BCE), and the stylistic development of the Archaic and Classical periods. We then proceed to discussion of various types of sculpture (architectural, cult statue, votive, commemorative, funerary) and how these works functioned within the context of the Panhellenic sanctuary, the city sanctuary, the secular center of the city, and the necropolis. In a different view of context, we also consider sculpture recovered from ancient shipwrecks, looted art on its way to the ancient Roman art market. Prerequisite: Art-Arch 331 or permission of the instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4375
L08 Classics 4376 Pictorial Illusion in the Ancient Mediterranean
Among the many accomplishments in the history of Greco-Roman art, ancient writers especially valued the development of pictorial illusion. Pictorial illusion refers to the techniques of reproducing or approximating aspects of the visual perception of the material world on a two-dimensional surface. These include foreshortening, the application of highlights, and the indication of multiple points of depth in space relative to the picture plane. The purpose of the course is to explore the material, stylistic and technical history of illusionistic painting practices in the ancient Mediterranean world from Classical Greece to Late Antique Rome and to seek to understand the cultural and social significance of those practices. In addition to examining specific historical questions in the development of ancient painting, the course investigates trans-historical connections between vision, visuality and methods of representation. Prerequisites: one of L01 Art-Arch 112, L01 Art-Arch 113, L01 Art-Arch 211, or L01 Art-Arch 215; one 300-level course in Art History preferred; or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4376
Credit 3 units.
L08 Classics 442 The Later Roman Empire: From Constantine to Justinian
Covers the period from ca. 300 through the reign of Justinian. Focus on legal developments and codification of law, social changes, rise of Christianity and fall of the Roman Empire in the west. Prerequisite: Classics 342C or permission of instructor.
L08 Classics 443 The Age of Nero: Writing, Performance and Politics at the End of a Dynasty
This course examines the reign of Nero (54–68 CE) as a distinct and remarkable period of literary and artistic production in ancient Rome and its empire. We study the career of the emperor himself, learning about imperial politics and policies during his reign, his own artistic career (his "fiddling while Rome burned," literary endeavors and notorious stage tour), and the violent end of his rule and dynasty. We examine the literature, philosophy, satire and other writings of the period, both those that take the emperor himself as their subject and those that treat other aspects of history, myth and culture from a "Neronian" perspective. We also examine art (both public and private), public entertainment (the amphitheater, the circus and the stage), and other cultural achievements and issues associated with the last Julio-Claudian emperor.
Credit 3 units. EN: H
L08 Classics 450 Topics in Classics
The topic for this seminar differs every year. Previous topics have included Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Antiquity, Religion in a Global Context, and Engendering Religion. The seminar is offered every spring semester and is required of all religious studies majors, with the exception of those writing an Honors thesis. The class is also open, with the permission of the instructor, to other advanced undergraduates with previous course work in Religious Studies.
Credit 3 units. EN: H
L08 Classics 450W Topics in Classics
Classics courses at the 400 level with enhanced requirements in writing may be taken under this designation as writing-intensive courses. Required: permission of instructor.
L08 Classics 451 Plato
An examination of some of Plato's most important dialogues, typically including the Gorgias, Phaedo, and Republic, with the aim of grasping the development of Plato's most influential thoughts in ethics and in metaphysics and epistemology. In order to provide both historical understanding and philosophical evaluation, attention is paid to the context and structure of the dialogues and to the best of recent secondary literature. Prerequisites: one course in Philosophy at the 300 level, graduate standing, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L30 Phil 451
L08 Classics 452 Aristotle
This course offers a maximally full and detailed introduction to the works of Aristotle. His logic, natural philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy are discussed, and stress is laid on the interpretive problems facing contemporary philosophers seeking to understand Aristotle's achievement. Prerequisites: one course in Philosophy at the 300 level, graduate standing, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L30 Phil 452
L08 Classics 453 The Greek Symposion
This course explores the history, archaeology, material culture, and sociology of the symposion in ancient Greece. While we will focus mainly on the archaic and classical Greek symposion, we will also examine its reception in the Roman world. In this context, we will study art and literature produced for the symposion, as well as representations of the symposion in literature, especially in lyric poetry, drama, and philosophical prose.
L08 Classics 462 Ancient Greek and Roman Music
Music played a vital role in Ancient Greece and Rome. New resources and perspectives now allow us to appreciate the ancients' music better than ever before. This course addresses the nature of ancient music (instruments, melody and rhythm, modes), ancient attitudes toward music, and its contribution to public and private life. The focus throughout is on our ancient sources, both literary and archaeological.
L08 Classics 4647 Ancient Madness
In this course we will ask what madness meant in Greek and Roman culture. We will find reading strategies that are sensitive both to ancient evidence and to the ethical demands of talking about, evaluating and categorizing people treated as mad. While we will concentrate on literary (particularly tragic and epic), philosophical and medical texts, we will also look at visual representations and evidence from ritual and cult. An important part of our project will involve tracing the afterlife of classical ideas: The history of melancholia will ground this aspect of the course. Finally, we will consider how antiquity informs psychoanalysis (Oedipus, Antigone, Narcissus), and how ancient madness might partake in a critique of contemporary understandings of mental illness.
L08 Classics 465 Topics in the History of Philosophy
Study of individual philosophers or themes from the ancient, medieval, and/or modern periods. Examples: Spinoza, St. Thomas Aquinas, neo-Platonism, universals in ancient and medieval thought, ancient and modern theories of space and time. Prerequisite: 6 units in philosophy or permission of instructor.
Same as L30 Phil 465
L08 Classics 476 Money, Exchange, and Power: Economy and Society in the Ancient Mediterranean World
From seaborne trade and banking to slavery and the impact of new technology, the economy of the ancient Mediterranean world constitutes a particularly dynamic field of study. To examine a society's underlying economics is to gain critical insight into those historical phenomena that are themselves the product of multiple, overlapping dimensions of human action and thought. This course engages directly with a fascinating array of primary evidence for economic behaviors, beliefs, structures and institutions among the Romans, Greeks, and their neighbors. We will also explore the methodological challenges and implications of that evidence as well as a variety of modern theoretical approaches. This year our focus is mainly upon developments among the Greeks, ranging from the transformative invention of coinage to the rise of commercial networks centered around religious sanctuaries like Delos. Prerequisites: Classics 341C or 342C or 345C or 346C or permission of instructor.
L08 Classics 4763 Olympian Shadows: Macedon and its Neighbors in Antiquity
The home of both Alexander the Great and Aristotle, Macedon was pivotal to the course of ancient Greek and Roman history and yet stood apart as a culturally and politically distinct region. Macedonian dynasts dominated the Hellenistic world and deeply shaped Roman reception of Greek culture, while others profoundly affected the intellectual life of antiquity. We will explore topics ranging from ethnicity, religion, and the nature of kingship to urbanization and Macedon's emergence as a great power until its subsequent transformation at the hands of the conquering Romans. We will pay special attention to Macedon's neighbors, especially Thrace and Illyria, as well as to Macedon's relationships with the Persian Empire and the Greek coastal colonies. Prerequisites: at least one semester of Classics 341C, 342C, 345C, or 346C, or instructor's permission.
L08 Classics 493 Senior Project
For Classics or Ancient Studies majors who wish to fulfill their capstone requirement in Classics through a one-semester research project. A structured research assignment or independent project under the supervision of one of the department's faculty is required. Prerequisites: senior standing and permission of the chair of the department.
Credit 3 units.
L08 Classics 495 Beginning Sanskrit
Credit 1 unit.
L08 Classics 497 Study for Honors
Students interested in pursuing honors should consult the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Classics. Prerequisite: overall GPA of 3.65.
Credit 3 units.
L08 Classics 498 Study for Honors
Students interested in pursuing honors should consult the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Classics. Prerequisite: overall GPA of 3.65.
Credit 3 units.
For Greek courses, please refer to the Greek page of this Bulletin.
For Latin courses, please refer to the Latin page of this Bulletin.