Department of History and Humanities

History and Humanities Course Descriptions

Courses in History and Humanities

CL 260 Classical Mythology

The course examines the principal myths of Classical Greece and Rome, with some reference to their evolution from earlier local and Mediterranean legends, deities and religions. The importance of these myths in the literature and art of the Western World will be discussed.

CL 261 Sexuality, Eroticism and Gender in Myth and Literature of Greece and Rome

This multi-disciplinary (philosophy, literature, history, law, art and archeology) course will examine sexuality and eroticism in antiquity, looking in particular at their role as an initiation to higher levels of thought and cognition; their impetus in defining gender roles; their existence as physiological/psychological needs versus social constructions; how they have invested modern thought, research, and become enduring models interpreting human behavior. Students will carry out a close study of selections from Greek and Roman lyric poetry, Greek drama, philosophy and essays, Roman satire and Ovid’s epics on love and extensive writing to analyze the context and content of the readings and lectures.

CL 268 Literature and Society in Ancient Greece

This course introduces students to the civilization of the ancient Greeks through an in-depth study of ancient Greek literature and society from the eighth century B.C.E. through the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E. Topics studied include the role of religion and myth in ancient Greece, politics and warfare, the status of women, the importance of athletics and other subjects pertaining to the ancient Greek World. Readings in translation include selected works of Hesiod, Homer, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato and Plutarch.

CL 270 Ancient Rome in the Cinema

This course will examine the history and myths of the Roman world as presented in modern cinematic art. Course content will focus on the interplay between literary and historical texts and film in response to the question: how has modern cinematic art interpreted the ancient Roman world, and why does this world continue to inspire modern cinema. Therefore the course will proceed at two levels: the evidence of the ancient writers and film versions of those writers.

CL 278 Literature and Society in Ancient Rome

This course focuses on the literature of Ancient Rome and its role in shaping modern notions about the customs, social practices, and ideas of its citizens. Emphasis will be placed on using Roman literature as a means of studying Roman civilization, while simultaneously examining stylistics and literary techniques particular to the genres of comedy, rhetoric, epic and lyric poetry, satire and history. Texts, which vary, are chosen from Terence, Plautus, Cicero, Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Tacitus, and Juvenal. All texts are studied in translation.

CL 281 Independent Study

CL 290 Ancient Eats: Food in Ancient Rome (Class fee: €10 or $14)

This course explores the economic, geographic, and cultural foundations on which ancient cultures built their foodways. Some of the topics to be discussed include: Sustainability, Agriculture, Trade, Storage, Processing, Technology, Consumption, and (Intra-cultural) communication through food. The primary focus is on ancient Roman culture, yet exploration and discussion will also connect with Prehistory and the ancient cultures of: The Greeks, West Asia, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. This course addresses historical, political, sociological, anthropological, mythological and communication issues; this is not a culinary arts course.

CL 299 Special Topics in Classical Studies

An in-depth treatment of a current area of special concern within the field of Classical Studies. Topics may vary.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

CL 381 Independent Study

CL 480 Senior Thesis

Thesis supervision for Classical Studies majors in their final year.

CL/HS 221 Introduction to the History of Ancient Greece

This course examines the history of Ancient Greece from the Archaic Age to the Age of Alexander, the seventh through fourth centuries B.C.E. Focus will be on the rise of Athens and Sparta as the most influential city states in Greece; the development of their respective political, military and social systems; and the causes of the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War that paved the way for the rise of Macedon and domination of the Greek world, first under Philip II, and then his son, Alexander the Great, until his death in 323 B.C.E.  Readings in translation will include Herodotus, Aristophanes, Plato, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch.

CL/HS 231 Introduction to the History of Ancient Rome

This course surveys the history of ancient Rome and Italy, focusing on the origins and metamorphoses of Rome from its archaic foundations as an Italic-Latinate kingship to an imperial city. The course examines the establishment, expansion, and conflicts of the Republican period; the political and cultural revolution of the Augustan ‘Principate’; the innovations of the High Empire; and the transition into Late Antiquity. Course materials include the writings of ancient authors in translation (these may include Polybius, Sallust, Cicero, Livy, Augustus, Suetonius, and/or Tacitus) as well as modern historians and archaeologists, along with considerations of Roman art, architecture, and archaeology.

CL/HS 255 Peoples of the Roman World: Ethnic, Social and Cultural Identities

This course explores the multi-ethnic dimensions of the Roman world with a particular emphasis on the Imperial period (31BCE-476 CE). From Rome's beginnings, its population was characterized by cultural diversity, and one of the Empire's greatest strengths was its ability to integrate diverse peoples into Roman political, social and cultural life. Nevertheless, as the Empire expanded into Europe and the Mediterranean, many peoples who came under Roman rule continued to maintain distinctive ethnic, social and cultural identities. In this course, we will explore the complex processes of social and cultural negotiation between local identities and Romanization that resulted from Roman expansion. In doing so, we will seek a better understanding not only of how and why the cultural identities of such groups differed from mainstream Romanitas, but also the ways in which these interactions contributed to the shaping of Roman identity.

CL/HS 285 Wine and the Culture of Drinking in Classical Antiquity

Using primary ancient sources (literary texts, artistic representations, and archaeological finds), this course will examine the role of wine drinking in ancient societies. Where and when did viticulture and wine making originate? Where did the custom of the reclining banquet come from, and what social implications did it carry? How was wine served and how was its consumption regulated? What type of entertainment was offered at these banquets? Our primary focus will be Greece and Rome, but important parallels or corollary practices in neighboring and modern cultures will also be considered.

CL/HS 299 Special Topics in Classical Studies and History

An in-depth treatment of a current area of special concern within the fields of Classical Studies and History. 

May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.
May satisfy "Ancient" requirement depending on topic.

CL/HS 399 Special Topics in Classical Studies and History

An in-depth treatment of a current area of special concern within the fields of Classical Studies and History, with an emphasis on research and writing. Topics may vary. May be taken more than once for credit with different topics. Topics taught in the past include Roman Africa, Ethnicity and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World, Ancient Imperialism: Persia, Athens, Rome, Classical Athens in the Age of Socrates, and Ancient Empires: Persia, Athens, and Macedonia.

May satisfy "Ancient" requirement, depending on topic

CL/LAW 326 Roman Law

The course will examine the development of Roman law from the Twelve Tables through the Justinian Code. Readings and discussions of the political and social conditions of the Roman Republic and Empire will contextualize the study of the evolution of the law. These will include chapters from Livy's History of Rome, Cicero's defense and prosecution oratory, as well as selections from Pliny, Tacitus, and others. There will be considerable secondary readings on special topics. Students will be required to analyze cases in the Roman Law of property, the family, torts (delicts), and personal law. The final part of the course will consider the developments of Roman Law since the Justinian Code in the Civil Law Tradition.

CL/RH 372 Classical Rhetoric and Oratory

An examination of the nature, purpose, and place of rhetoric in classical antiquity, as conceived and practiced by ancient Greeks and Romans. Readings (in translation) include the use and conceptualization of an art of persuasion by Gorgias, Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Cicero, Quintilian, and Augustine. This course prepares students to evaluate the use (and abuse) of devices and techniques of classical rhetoric in contemporary politics, economics, marketing, media, and visual arts.

CL/RL 288 Religion in the Graeco-Roman World

This course is a survey of the elements of traditional religion in the Graeco-Roman world. It is designed to introduce students to the tenets, beliefs, and spiritual practices of classical antiquity and to familiarize them with the social, cultural and political background surrounding ancient religion. Among the topics covered are the range of religious expressions in Greece and Rome, including the approach to the divine, ritual practices, and the organization of time and space. While the first part of the course is dedicated to Greece, in the second half we will concentrate on Roman religion both as a phenomenon in and of itself and as a factor integrated in the socio-political organization of the empire.