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Classics – Courses

Archaeology

Archaeology 1101 {101} and 1102 {102} are offered in alternate years.

1101 {101} c. Introduction to Greek Art and Archaeology. Fall 2013. James A. Higginbotham.

Introduces the techniques and methods of classical archaeology as revealed through an examination of Greek material culture. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Greek world from prehistory to the Hellenistic age. Architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other “minor arts” are examined at such sites as Knossos, Mycenae, Athens, Delphi, and Olympia. Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence and the relationship of classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and classics. Assigned reading supplements illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of the Greek world. (Same as Art History 2090 {209}.)

1102 {102} c. Introduction to Roman Archaeology. Fall 2014. James A. Higginbotham.

Surveys the material culture of Roman society, from Italy’s prehistory and the origins of the Roman state through its development into a cosmopolitan empire, and concludes with the fundamental reorganization during the late third and early fourth centuries of our era. Lectures explore ancient sites such as Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Ephesus, and others around the Mediterranean. Emphasis upon the major monuments and artifacts of the Roman era: architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and other “minor arts.” Considers the nature of this archaeological evidence and the relationship of classical archaeology to other disciplines such as art history, history, and classics. Assigned reading supplements illustrated presentations of the major archaeological finds of the Roman world. (Same as Art History 2100 {210}.)

2204 c - ESD, IP. Buried by Vesuvius: The Archaeology of Roman Daily Life. Spring 2014. James A. Higginbotham.

Destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, the archaeological remains of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the neighboring sites around the Bay of Naples are unparalleled in their range and completeness. The study of this material record reveals a great deal about the domestic, economic, religious, social, and political life in ancient Italy. Examines archaeological, literary, and documentary material ranging from architecture and sculpture to wall painting, graffiti, and the floral remains of ancient gardens, but focuses on interpreting the archaeological record for insight into the everyday life of the Romans. In addition, explores the methods and techniques employed by archaeologists since the sites were “rediscovered” in the sixteenth century. Archaeological materials are introduced through illustrated presentations, supplementary texts, and sessions in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

2207 {207} c - IP. Who Owns the Past? The Roles of Museums in Preserving and Presenting Culture. Fall 2013. Susan A. Kaplan.

Examines the storied place of museums in the acquisition, preservation, and display of cultural heritage. The past practices of museums are studied with an eye to how they inform present policies. Aims to examine museums’ responses when confronting national and ethnic claims to items in museums’ permanent collections; the ethical choices involved in deciding what should be exhibited; the impact of politics, conflicts, and war on museum practices; and the alliances between museums, archaeologists, art historians, and anthropologists. Students will benefit from conversations with a number of Bowdoin faculty and staff, as well as a series of guest speakers from other organizations. Selected reading and class discussion are augmented by visits to the college’s two museums and other local museums. (Same as Anthropology 2105 {205}.)

Prerequisite: One course in anthropology, archaeology, art history, or sociology, numbered 2000–2969 {200–289} or permission of the instructor.

 

At least one advanced archaeology course (numbered 3300–3999 {300–399}) is offered each year. Topics and/or periods recently taught on this level include the Greek Bronze Age, Etruscan art and archaeology, Greek and Roman numismatics, and Pompeii and the cities of Vesuvius. Advanced courses currently scheduled are:

[3309 {309} c. Before Homer: Mycenaean Greek Society.]  

3311 c. Portraits from Antiquity. Spring 2014. James A. Higginbotham.

For ancient cultures the art of portraiture had important religious, political, and social functions. Portraits, whether of gods, rulers, or common folk, were uniquely suited to communicate a variety of messages in a form easily recognizable to the intended audience. The success of the genre is clear from its widespread use and from the ways that it incorporated the accumulated traditions of ancient Mediterranean history. From profiles carved in relief and painted on vases to figures molded in terracotta and portraits sculpted in the round, explores a range of art representing Egyptian, Assyrian, Cypriot, Greek, and Roman cultures. Using artifacts housed in the collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, examines the traditions, styles, and techniques that inform the portrayals of individuals in the ancient world, and what they teach about the societies that produced them.

Prerequisites: One of the following: Archaeology 1101 {101} (same as Art History 2090 {209}), 1102 {102} (same as Art History 2100 {210}), Art History 1100 {100}, Visual Arts 1101 {150}, 1301 {160}, 1401 {180}, 1601 {195}, or permission of instructor.

Classics

First-Year Seminars

For a full description of first-year seminars, see the First-Year Seminar section.

1011 {11} c. Shame, Honor, and Responsibility. Fall 2013. Jennifer Clarke Kosak.

[1019 {19} c. Ancient Democracy and Its Critics.] 

Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses

Classics 1101 {101} and 1102 {102} are offered in alternate years.

1101 {101} c - ESD, IP. Classical Mythology. Spring 2014. Michael Nerdahl.

Focuses on the mythology of the Greeks and the use of myth in classical literature. Other topics considered are recurrent patterns and motifs in Greek myths; a cross-cultural study of ancient creation myths; the relation of mythology to religion; women’s roles in myth; and the application of modern anthropological, sociological, and psychological theories to classical myth. Concludes with an examination of Ovid’s use of classical mythology in the Metamorphoses.

1102 {102} c - ESD, IP. Introduction to Ancient Greek Culture. Spring 2015. The Department.

Introduces students to the study of the literature and culture of ancient Greece. Examines different Greek responses to issues such as religion and the role of gods in human existence, heroism, the natural world, the individual and society, and competition. Considers forms of Greek rationalism, the flourishing of various literary and artistic media, Greek experimentation with different political systems, and concepts of Hellenism and barbarism. Investigates not only what is known and not known about ancient Greece, but also the types of evidence and methodologies with which this knowledge is constructed. Evidence is drawn primarily from the works of authors such as Homer, Sappho, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Thucydides, Aristophanes, Plato, and Hippocrates, but attention is also given to documentary and artistic sources. All readings are done in translation.

2211 {211} c - ESD. History of Ancient Greece: Bronze Age to the Death of Alexander.
Fall 2013. Robert B. Sobak.

Surveys the history of Greek-speaking peoples from the Bronze Age (ca. 3000–1100 BCE) to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE. Traces the political, economic, social, religious, and cultural developments of the Greeks in the broader context of the Mediterranean world. Topics include the institution of the polis (city-state); hoplite warfare; Greek colonization; the origins of Greek “science,” philosophy, and rhetoric; and fifth-century Athenian democracy and imperialism. Necessarily focuses on Athens and Sparta, but attention is also given to the variety of social and political structures found in different Greek communities. Special attention is given to examining and attempting to understand the distinctively Greek outlook in regard to gender, the relationship between human and divine, freedom, and the divisions between Greeks and barbarians (non-Greeks). A variety of sources—literary, epigraphical, archaeological—are presented, and students learn how to use them as historical documents. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors. (Same as History 2001 {201}.)

2212 {212} c. Ancient Rome. Fall 2014. Robert B. Sobak.

Surveys the history of Rome from its beginnings to the fourth century AD. Considers the political, economic, religious, social, and cultural developments of the Romans in the context of Rome’s growth from a small settlement in central Italy to the dominant power in the Mediterranean world. Special attention is given to such topics as urbanism, imperialism, the influence of Greek culture and law, and multiculturalism. Introduces different types of sources—literary, epigraphical, archaeological, etc.—for use as historical documents. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors. (Same as History 2002 {202}.)

[2214 {214} c - IP. The Republic of Rome and the Evolution of Executive Power. (Same as History 2008 {267}.)]

[2232 {232} c - ESD, VPA. Ancient Greek Theater.]  

2241 {241} c. The Transformations of Ovid. Spring 2014. Barbara Weiden Boyd.

“Transformation” is both a translation of the title of Ovid’s greatest work, the Metamorphoses, the theme of which is mythical transformation, and a term that can be aptly applied as well to the life and work of Ovid, whose wildly successful social and literary career was radically transformed in 8 AD by Augustus’s decree of exile, from which Ovid was never to return. The work “transformation” also captures the essence of Ovid’s literary afterlife, during which his work has taken on new incarnations in the creative responses of novelists, poets, dramatists, artists, and composers. Begins with an overview of Ovid’s poetry; culminates in a careful reading and discussion of the formal elements and central themes of the Metamorphoses. Also examines Ovid’s afterlife, with special attention paid to his intertextual presence in the works of Shakespeare, Franz Kafka, Joseph Brodsky, Ted Hughes, Cristoph Ransmayr, Antonio Tabucchi, David Malouf, and Mary Zimmerman. All readings in English.

[3309 {309} c - IP. Ancient Epic: Tradition, Authority, and Intertextuality.] 

3310 {310} c - ESD. Imagining Rome. Fall 2013. Barbara Weiden Boyd.

The mythical fate-driven foundation of Rome and the city’s subsequent self-fashioning as caput mundi (“capital of the world”) have made the city an idea that transcends history, and that has for millennia drawn historians, poets, artists, and, most recently, filmmakers to attempt to capture Rome’s essence. As a result, the city defined by its ruins is continually created anew; this synergy between the ruins of Rome—together with the mutability of empire that they represent—and the city’s incessant rebirth through the lives of those who visit and inhabit it offers a model for understanding the changing reception of the classical past. Explores the cycle of ancient Rome’s life and afterlife in the works of writers and filmmakers such as Livy, Virgil, Tacitus, Juvenal, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Keats, Goethe, Gibbon, Hawthorne, Freud, Moravia, Rossellini, Fellini, Bertolucci, and Moretti. All readings are in English. Research seminar.

Prerequisite: One of the following: Archaeology 1102 {102}, Classics 2212 {212} or 2214 {214}; or Latin 2203 {203} or higher which may be taken concurrently; or permission of the instructor.

[3312 {312} c. Ancient Greek Medicine.]

Greek

1101 {101} c. Elementary Greek I. Spring 2014. Jennifer Clarke Kosak.

Introduces students to basic elements of ancient Greek grammar and syntax; emphasizes the development of reading proficiency and includes readings, both adapted and in the original, of various Greek authors. Focuses on Attic dialect.

1102 {102} c. Elementary Greek II. Fall 2013. Jennifer Clarke Kosak.

A continuation of Greek 1101 {101}; introduces students to more complex grammar and syntax, while emphasizing the development of reading proficiency. Includes readings, both adapted and in the original, of Greek authors such as Plato and Euripides. Focuses on Attic dialect.

2203 {203} c. Intermediate Greek for Reading. Every spring. Spring 2014. Robert B. Sobak.

A review of the essentials of Greek grammar and syntax and an introduction to the reading of Greek prose through the study of one of Plato’s dialogues. Equivalent of Greek 1102 {102} or two to three years of high school Greek is required.

2204 {204} c - IP. Homer. Fall 2013. Barbara Weiden Boyd.

An introduction to the poetry of Homer. Focuses both on reading and on interpreting Homeric epic.

At least one advanced Greek course is offered each year. The aim of each of these courses is to give students the opportunity for sustained reading and discussion of at least one major author or genre representative of classical Greek literature. Primary focus is on the texts, with serious attention given as well both to the historical context from which these works emerged and to contemporary discussions and debates concerning these works.

Department faculty generally attempt to schedule offerings in response to the needs and interests of concentrators. Topics and/or authors frequently taught on this level include Greek lyric and elegiac poetry; Homer’s Odyssey; Greek drama (including the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and the comedies of Aristophanes and Menander); Greek history (including Herodotus and Thucydides); Greek philosophy (including Plato and Aristotle); Greek rhetoric and oratory; and the literature of the Alexandrian era.

3302 {302} c. Lyric Poetry. Spring 2014. Robert B. Sobak.

Introduces students to three major types of early Greek poetry: Choral Lyric (Pindar and Bacchylides), Monodic Lyric (Sappho, Alcaeus, Simonides, and Anacreon), and Elegy (Archilochus, Tyrtaeus, Solon, Xenophanes, Simonides, and Theognis). Research Seminar. 

[3303 {303} c. The Historians.]  

[3305 {305} c. Tragedy.]

Latin

1101 {101} c. Elementary Latin I. Every fall. Fall 2013. Michael Nerdahl.

A thorough presentation of the elements of Latin grammar. Emphasis is placed on achieving a reading proficiency.

1102 {102} c. Elementary Latin II. Every spring. Spring 2014. Michael Nerdahl.

A continuation of Latin 1101 {101}. During this term, readings are based on unaltered passages of classical Latin.

2203 {203} c. Intermediate Latin for Reading. Every fall. Fall 2013. Robert B. Sobak.

A review of the essentials of Latin grammar and syntax and an introduction to the reading of Latin prose and poetry. Materials to be read change from year to year, but always include a major prose work. Equivalent of Latin 1102 {102} or two to three years of high school Latin is required.

2204 {204} c - IP. Studies in Latin Literature. Every spring. Spring 2014. Jennifer Clarke Kosak.

An introduction to different genres and themes in Latin literature. The subject matter and authors covered may change from year to year (e.g., selections from Virgil’s Aeneid and Livy’s History, or from Lucretius, Ovid, and Cicero), but attention is always given to the historical and literary context of the authors read. While the primary focus is on reading Latin texts, some readings from Latin literature in translation are also assigned. Equivalent of Latin 2203 {203} or three to four years of high school Latin is required.

One advanced Latin course is offered each semester. The aim of each of these courses is to give students the opportunity for sustained reading and discussion of at least one major author or genre representative of classical Latin literature. Primary focus is on the texts, with serious attention given as well both to the historical context from which these works emerged and to contemporary discussions and debates concerning these works.

Department faculty generally attempt to schedule offerings in response to the needs and interests of concentrators. Topics and/or authors frequently taught on this level include Roman history (including Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus); Ovid’s Metamorphoses; Elegiac poetry; Cicero’s oratory; Virgil’s Aeneid or Eclogues and Georgics; Roman novel (including Petronius and Apuleius); satire; and comedy (including Plautus and Terence). The advanced courses currently scheduled are:

[3301 {301} c - IP. Livy.]  

3304 {304} c. Cicero. Fall 2013. Michael Nerdahl.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (103-43 BCE) lived through a period of great social, political, and cultural upheaval, and through his prolific writings left us a detailed if subjective record of what he did, saw, and experienced. He did so, furthermore, with style—that is, he wrote in a Latin style of such remarkable purity and elegance that he has set the standard not only for scholars through the centuries who have studied Latin style but also for many writers of prose of all sorts—rhetorical, philosophical, historical—throughout the course of Western intellectual history. Reading selections from Cicero’s corpus can give us some sense of the world in which he lived and the Roman identity he helped to shape, and foster an appreciation for Latin prose as Cicero created it (as well as some new techniques for reading it), through translation, composition, and oratorical performance.

3305 {305} c. Virgil. The Aeneid. Spring 2014. Barbara Weiden Boyd.

Born in 70 BCE, the poet Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) lived through the traumatic decades that saw the end of the Roman republic and witnessed firsthand the political rebirth of Rome managed by Octavian after the battle of Actium. Virgil’s Aeneid, written in the first decade of the “restored Republic,” reflects both the historical turmoil of the time and its outcome; at the same time, it stands as the greatest artistic achievement of the period (and, arguably, of all Latin literature). Three books of the Aeneid will be read in Latin, and the remainder of the poem will be read in English, with special attention given to political and cultural approaches to the epic and its reception. Research seminar.

[3307 {307} c - IP. Young Virgil.]

[3312 {312} c - IP. Roman Tragedy.] 

[3315 {315} c - IP. The Swerve: Lucretius’s De rerum natura.]

Independent Study in Archaeology, Classics, Greek, and Latin

2970–2973 {291–294} c. Intermediate Independent Study. The Department.

2999 {299} c. Intermediate Collaborative Study. The Department.

4000–4003 {401–404} c. Advanced Independent Study. The Department.

4029 {405} c. Advanced Collaborative Study. The Department.

4050–4051 c. Honors Project. The Department.

Online Catalogue content is current as of August 1, 2013. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.