Location: Bowdoin / Classics / Courses

Classics

Spring 2014

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Archeology

ARCH 2204. Buried by Vesuvius: The Archaeology of Roman Daily Life.
James 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.

ARCH 3311. Portraits from Antiquity.
James 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.

Classics

CLAS 1101. Classical Mythology.
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.

CLAS 2241. The Transformations of Ovid.
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 A.D. 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.

Greek

GRK 1101. Elementary Greek I.
Jennifer B. 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.

GRK 2203. Intermediate Greek for Reading.
Robert 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.

GRK 3302. Lyric Poetry.
Robert 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.

Latin

LATN 1102. Elementary Latin II.
Michael Nerdahl.

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

LATN 2204. Studies in Latin Literature.
Jennifer B. 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.

LATN 3305. Virgil: The Aeneid.
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.