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Classics – Courses

Archaeology

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

1101 {101} c. Greek Archaeology. Fall 2015. 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. 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 A.D. 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.]

[2207 {207} c - IP. Who Owns the Past? The Roles of Museums in Preserving and Presenting Culture. (Same as Anthropology 2105 {205}.)]

2211 c - ESD, IP. Minoans and Mycenaeans. Spring 2015. Cynthia Shelmerdine.

Explores the two important cultures of the Bronze Age Aegean: the Minoans of Crete, and more extensively, the Mycenaeans of the Greek mainland. Both societies left a rich material record of towns and palaces, burials, frescoes, and minor arts. They interacted with each other and with the Egyptians and other great powers of the time. For the Mycenaean Greeks, we also have readable documents, which reveal details about their economy, society, and religion. We discuss the archaeological techniques used to unearth and investigate this material and compare the Bronze Age realities with the stories preserved in Greek mythology.

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:

3302 {302} c. Ancient Numismatics. Spring 2015. James A. Higginbotham.

Surveys Greek and Roman coinage by examining a series of problems ranging chronologically from the origins of coinage in the seventh century B.C. to the late Roman Empire. How do uses of coinage in Greek and Roman society differ from those of the modern era? How does numismatic evidence inform us about ancient political and social, as well as economic, history? One class each week is held in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and course assignments are based on coins in the collection.

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

[3311 c. Portraits from Antiquity.]

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.]

1017 {17} c. The Heroic Age: Ancient Supermen and Wonder Women. Fall 2014. Michael Nerdahl.

Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses

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

1101 {101} c - ESD, IP. Classical Mythology. Spring 2016. The Department.

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. Ryan McConnell.

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.

1111 c - ESD, IP. History of Ancient Greece: From Homer to Alexander the Great. Fall 2015. Robert B. Sobak.

Surveys the history of Greek-speaking peoples from the Bronze Age to the death of Alexander the Great. 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. Special attention is given to the distinctively Greek outlook in regard to gender, the relationship between human and divine, freedom, and the divisions between Greeks and barbarians (non-Greeks). Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors. (Same as History 1111.)

1112 c - ESD, IP. History of Ancient Rome: From Romulus to Justinian. Fall 2014. Robert B. Sobak.

Surveys the history of Rome from its beginnings to the fourth century A.D. 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 1112.)

2214 {214} c - IP. The Republic of Rome and the Evolution of Executive Power. Spring 2015. Michael Nerdahl.

Examines in depth the approaches to leadership within the governmental system that enabled a small, Italian city-state to take eventual control of the Mediterranean world and how this state was affected by its unprecedented military, economic, and territorial growth. Investigates and re-imagines the political maneuverings of the most famous pre-Imperial Romans, such as Scipio Africanus, the Gracchi, and Cicero, and how political institutions such as the Roman Senate and assemblies reacted to and dealt with military, economic, and revolutionary crises. Looks at the relationship of the Roman state to class warfare, the nature of electoral politics, and the power of precedent and tradition. While examining whether the ultimate fall precipitated by Caesar’s ambition and vision was inevitable, also reveals what lessons, if any, modern politicians can learn about statesmanship from the transformation of the hyper-competitive atmosphere of the Republic into the monarchical principate of Augustus. All sources, such as Livy’s history of Rome, Plutarch’s Lives, letters and speeches of Cicero, and Caesar’s Civil War, are in English, and no prior knowledge of Roman antiquity is required. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors. (Same as History 2008 {267}.)

2229 {229} c - ESD. Gender and Sexuality in Classical Antiquity. Fall 2014. Jennifer Clarke Kosak.

Explores male and female sexuality and gender roles in the ancient Greek and Roman world. What did it mean to be male or female? To what extent were gender roles negotiable? How did gender—and expectations based on gender—shape behavior? How did sexuality influence public life and culture? Using literary, documentary, and artistic evidence, examines the biological, social, religious, legal, and political principles that shaped the construction of male and female identities and considers the extent to which gender served as a fundamental organizational principle of ancient society. Also considers how Greek and Roman concepts of sexuality and gender have influenced our own contemporary views of male and female roles. All readings are done in translation. (Same as Gender and Women’s Studies 2220 {229}.) Note: Offered as part of the curriculum in Gay and Lesbian Studies.

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

[2241 {241} c. The Transformations of Ovid.]

3305 {305} c. Leisure, Class, and Liberal Arts in Ancient Greece. Fall 2014. Robert B. Sobak.

Just as the English words “school” and “scholar” derive from the Greek word for “leisure,” so too do many of our own ideas about what constitute a “liberal arts” education derive from a particular place and moment in time: ancient Greece. Examines not only a wide variety of idealistic prescriptions for educational practice by writers such as Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle, but also the historical context within which such ideals were born. Confronts, among other things, questions of time, socio-economic status, political ideology, and intellectualism—issues that have as much importance today as they did 2,500 years ago.

Prerequisite: One course in classics numbered 1100-1999 {100-199} or 2000-2969 {200-289}, or permission of the instructor.

[3310 {310} c - ESD. Imagining Rome.]

Greek

1101 {101} c. Elementary Greek I. Spring 2015. 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 2014. 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 2015. 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 2014. Ryan McConnell.

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.]

[3303 {303} c. The Historians.]

3305 {305} c. Tragedy. Spring 2015. Jennifer Clarke Kosak.

Introduces the genre of tragedy through the reading of Sophocles’ play Philoctetes. Considers the nature of tragedy, the particular style and interests of Sophocles, the place of the play within Sophocles’ works, his relationship to other tragedians and the role of theater in classical Athens. Several other tragedies will be read in translation. The final portion of the course will be devoted to a production of a section of the play in Greek.

Latin

1101 {101} c. Elementary Latin I. Every fall. Fall 2014. 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 2015. 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 2014. Ryan McConnell.

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 2015. Robert B. Sobak.

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:

[3304 {304} c. Cicero.]

[3305 {305} c - IP. Virgil. The Aeneid.]

3306 {306} c. The Roman Novel. Spring 2015. Ryan McConnell.

All that remains of the Roman novel comes from two texts. Petronius’ fragmentary, funny, and often bizarre Satyrica (probably late first century C.E.) follows a same-sex love triangle slumming its way around ancient Italy. Apuleius’ Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass (late second century C.E.) tells the story of a young man who dabbles in magic and accidentally transforms himself into an ass. The ass’ quest for salvation is the frame for several sub-narratives illuminating the larger story’s themes. In this course we focus on selections from one or both novels in Latin and complement these with the remainder in translation. The focus of the course is on a precise understanding of the Latin text and an appreciation of the author’s style, but we will also examine what the novels tell us about the social, historical, economic, religious, linguistic, and literary contexts in which they were produced. Research seminar.

3308 c. Roman Elegy. Fall 2014. Michael Nerdahl.

Near the end of the first century B.C., a general-poet named Gallus established the conventions of a new poetic form, Roman elegy, perhaps the most Roman of all poetic genres. It employs Greek meter and draws heavily from Greek models, and yet has no true analogue from the Hellenic world. The elegists—charming, playful, and downright funny—were part of a unique literary circle and offer a rare opportunity to see how poets engaged in literary rivalry and one-upmanship. Readings include works of the Augustan elegists, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid. Discusses the origins of elegy as well as its relationship to other genres, especially epic and oratory, conceptions of gender in the Augustan age, and Latin elegy’s role in challenging Roman cultural and political expectations, as the dalliances portrayed by the elegists are strikingly at odds with the social agenda of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. Research seminar.

Prerequisite: Latin 2204 {204} or a course in Latin numbered 3000-3999 {300-399}; or placement into advanced Latin.

[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, 2014. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.