Carol G Thomas
The classical civilization of ancient Greece, with special emphasis on the legacy of Greece to Western civilization.
The broad intent of the course is to understand the emergence of what is often termed the "golden age" of ancient Greece. The roots stretch deeply into the past to, first, the Heroic Age of the Mycenaean civilization and, then, the restructuring that was entailed after the abrupt collapse of that heroic culture. During the high point of Classical Greece, the focus will be on the institutions and distinctive world view that those institutions fostered. Dramatic changes in political institutions produced circumstances in the mid fifth century that would undermine the earlier way of life by the drive for empire.
Student learning goals
Understanding of the tools of research
Ability question existing evidence
Knowledge of the basic chronoloogy
Appreciation of the pattern of international developments and realization of relation to other contemporary cultures
Sense of importance to subsequent ages
Collapse of the "Classical" form of culture.
General method of instruction
The oreitnation of the course is chronological with lectures focused on a broad weekly theme. Class meetings will encourage discussion.
There are no prerequisites for the course although study at the survey level is beneficial. Courses offered in a number of other departments are useful either as intrudctions or as adjuncts to this course: the departments of Classics, Philosophy, Art History, Religious Studies, and Political Science all regularly offer courses treating portions of Classical Greek culture.
Class assignments and grading
Since this is a writing class, assignments include several short papers based on primary source reading; 2 short in-class exams on fundamental aspects of the development of this distinctive way of life and its nature; and a longer capstone essay reflecting on the nature of the final product of Greek culture in the 5th century bce with respect to both its admirable accomplishments and inherent flaws.
Work is read with a view to the foundation each student brings to the course - e.g. a graduate student will have a stronger base than most beginning freshmen. Each exams counts 15% of the total, the first short paper is 10% and the second and third are each 15%; the final essay is 20% and participation is 10%. This is a writing course.