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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Carol G Thomas
HSTAM 401
Seattle Campus

Early Greece

Bronze and Dark Age Greece: realities of the heroic age of ancient Greece.

Class description

HSTAM 401 examines the earliest history of Greece: from the earliest settlement of villages in northern Greece and on Crete ca. 7000 BCE through the emergence of the Age of Heroes in the Bronze Age (ca. 3000-1150 BCE) through its collapse into a Dark Age (ca. 1150-750 BCE). Until roughly a century ago, the image preserved by later Greeks of kings like Agamemnon and wars like that with Troy was regarded as little more than an imaginary creation of the lively Greek mind. It required new methods, developed from the last quarter of the ninteenth century, to demonstrate that the legends of an heroic age had a factual base. Both the methods and the factual base revealed by them will occupy our attention. Not all puzzles have been solved.

Student learning goals

Understanding of the tools of research

Knowledge of the basic chronology

Appreciation of the patterns of internal and international developments

Realization of the relation to other contemporary cultures

Sense of the change in understanding over time

Importance of the reality of the long preclassical history of Greece to subsequent periods of Greek history.

General method of instruction

The format of class combines lecture and discussion. Since many major issues remain unresolved, discussion is essential and time for discussion will be included in each meeting. Orientation is both chronological and methodological. Inasmuch as much of preclassical Greek life did not employ writing, the written records of other cultures and archaeological data are major tools for understanding the developments in Greece. However, Greeks of the "heroic age" developed a form of writing and, by the eighth century BCE, the Greek alphabet had emerged.

Recommended preparation

A general knowledge of the broad parameters of ancient history is important. Such knowledge might derive from historical survey courses, classes in Art History or Classics and individual reading.

Class assignments and grading

There will be brief in-class exams on the fundamental aspects of the two periods one on the Bronze Age and the second on the Dark Age. Other assignments will be papers: two short papers (ca. 5 pages) using primary sources together with modern scholarship evidence, and a final capstone essay. This is a writing course.

Each in-class exam: 15% = 30% Papers 15% = 30% Capstone Essay 30% Participation 10%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Carol G Thomas
Date: 05/29/2012