Undergraduate Catalog

Classics

Chair: Gordon Kelly
Administrative Coordinator: Claire Kodachi

Classics is an interdisciplinary field focused on the study of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the influences on them from the neighboring cultures of Egypt and the Near East. Echoes of Greece and Rome saturate our culture, from the shapes of our traditional buildings to the political institutions we embrace, from the mythological stories that reappear in our literature and art to the intellectual disciplines that form the liberal arts. The classics program seeks to provide students the opportunity to gain intellectual grounding in a curriculum that explores the legacy of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

In addition to their historical significance, Greek and Roman works of art, literature, and philosophy have substantial continuing value, and the classics program exposes students to many of the great works of these cultures. Serious engagement with these works can be forever enriching.

The Major Program

The major is inherently interdisciplinary. The courses required for the major include Greek or Latin language through the 202 level, and elective courses offered by the classics program and affiliated departments in a number of academic disciplines. A student may choose specific courses of interest within Greco-Roman studies, but the major grows from the foundational courses CLAS 201 Introduction to Ancient Greek Thought and Culture or CLAS 202 Introduction to Ancient Roman Thought and Culture and culminates in CLAS 450 Topics in Classical Studies. For Latin and Greek course listings, see World Languages and Literatures.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 44 semester credits (11 courses), distributed in either of the two following ways:

Classical Civilizations Concentration

  • CLAS 201 or CLAS 202
  • Four courses in one of the classical languages (Greek or Latin) through the 202 level.*
  • Two additional 100- or 200-level courses from the classics program and affiliated programs elective list below.
  • Three 300- or 400-level courses from the list below.
  • One additional 450-level seminar course chosen from the following:
    CLAS 450Topics in Classical Studies
    PHIL 451Philosophical Studies: History of Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
    PHIL 453Philosophical Studies: Advanced Themes in Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
    RELS 450Seminar: Social and Religious World of Early Judaism and Christianity

Ancient Language Concentration

  • CLAS 201 or CLAS 202
  • Twenty-eight credits (7 courses) in classical languages (Greek and Latin).* Four courses through the 202 level must be taken in one language and three courses through the 201 level must be taken in the other.
  • Eight credits (2 courses) at the 300 or 400 level chosen from the electives list below.
  • One additional 450-level seminar course chosen from the following:
    CLAS 450Topics in Classical Studies
    PHIL 451Philosophical Studies: History of Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
    PHIL 453Philosophical Studies: Advanced Themes in Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
    RELS 450Seminar: Social and Religious World of Early Judaism and Christianity

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 28 semester credits (7 courses), distributed as follows:

  • CLAS 201 Introduction to Ancient Greek Thought and Culture or CLAS 202 Introduction to Ancient Roman Thought and Culture
  • Twelve credits (3 courses) in one of the classical languages (Greek or Latin), through the 201 level.*
  • Eight semester credits (2 courses) from a minimum of two disciplines, selected from the electives list below.
  • One additional 450-level seminar course chosen from the following:
    CLAS 450Topics in Classical Studies
    PHIL 451Philosophical Studies: History of Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
    PHIL 453Philosophical Studies: Advanced Themes in Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
    RELS 450Seminar: Social and Religious World of Early Judaism and Christianity

At least 16 semester credits must be exclusive to the minor (may not be used in any other set of major or minor requirements).

Classics and Affiliated Program Electives

Art
ART 208Ancient Art of the Mediterranean World
Classics
CLAS 251History of Byzantium
CLAS 252Art and Archaeology of the Aegean
CLAS 253Attic Tragedy
CLAS 254Ancient Greek Myth and Religion
CLAS 255Sports, Games and Spectacles in the Greco-Roman World
CLAS 314Topography and Monuments of Athens
CLAS 320Greek and Roman Epic
CLAS 324Roman Women
CLAS 325Negotiating Identity in the Ancient World
CLAS 450Topics in Classical Studies
English
ENG 279Classical Backgrounds
Greek
GRK 101Classical Greek I
GRK 102Classical Greek II
GRK 201Readings in Hellenistic and Classical Greek
GRK 202Advanced Readings in Classical Greek
GRK 301Advanced Greek: Tragedy and Epic
GRK 302Advanced Greek: Poetry
History
HIST 216Ancient Greece
HIST 219Ancient Rome: From Republic to Empire
Latin
LATN 101Beginning Latin I
LATN 102Beginning Latin II
LATN 201Intermediate Latin I
LATN 202Advanced Readings in Latin
Philosophy
PHIL 301Ancient Western Philosophy
PHIL 451Philosophical Studies: History of Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
PHIL 453Philosophical Studies: Advanced Themes in Philosophy (with departmental approval if topic covers Classics material)
Political Science
POLS 310Pillars of Western Political Thought: Plato to Machiavelli
Religious Studies
RELS 224Jewish Origins
RELS 225Christian Origins
RELS 334Lost Books of Early Judaism
RELS 450Seminar: Social and Religious World of Early Judaism and Christianity

*Students who place into a higher level of Greek or Latin must meet the minimum credit requirements of the major or minor. These students should see the department chair to determine appropriate additional elective coursework.

Honors

To be eligible for honors in classics, students must have a major grade point average of at least 3.500. Interested students must submit a thesis proposal to the classics program chair during the second semester of their junior year. A thesis committee comprising the chair and at least two additional faculty members chosen by the chair will consider the merit of the proposal. If the proposal is accepted, the student will write the thesis as a 4-semester-credit 499-level Directed Study. The thesis committee will determine if the final work is granted departmental honors. The decision of the committee will be by majority vote.

Faculty

Benjamin David. Associate professor of art history. Late Medieval and Italian Renaissance art history, Greek and Roman art history. PhD 1999, MA 1993, BA 1991 New York University.

Kurt Fosso. Professor of English. British romantic literature, critical theory, classical backgrounds. PhD 1993, MA 1988 University of California at Irvine. BA 1987 University of Washington.

Karen Gross. Associate professor of English. Medieval literature, classical backgrounds. PhD 2005, MA 1999 Stanford University. MPhil 1998 University of Cambridge. BA 1997 University of Southern California.

Gordon Kelly. Associate professor with term of humanities, director of the Classics Program. Latin and Greek language and literature, Roman and Greek history. PhD 1999, MA 1993 Bryn Mawr College, BA 1991 Rutgers University, BA 1985 Villanova University.

Robert A. Kugler. Paul S. Wright Professor of Christian Studies. Judeo-Christian origins, Dead Sea Scrolls, early Jewish literature. PhD 1994 University of Notre Dame. MDiv 1984 Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. BA 1979 Lewis & Clark College.

Rebecca Lingafelter. Assistant professor of theatre. Acting, voice, movement, devising, contemporary performance, modern American drama, ancient and Medieval performance. MFA 2005 Columbia University. BA 2000 University of California, San Diego.

Joel A. Martinez. Associate professor of philosophy. Ethical theory, normative ethics, ancient philosophy, logic. PhD 2006 University of Arizona. BA 1997 New Mexico State University.

Štĕpán Šimek. Professor of theatre, chair of the Department of Theatre. Acting, directing, classical theatre and drama, European drama, contemporary East European theatre, translation. MFA 1995 University of Washington. BA 1991 San Francisco State University.

Nicholas D. Smith. James F. Miller Professor of Humanities. Ancient Greek philosophy and literature, epistemology, philosophy of religion, Aristophanic comedy, ethics. PhD 1975 Stanford University. BA 1971 University of Rochester.

Courses

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CLAS 201 Introduction to Ancient Greek Thought and Culture

Faculty: N. Smith
Content: Introduction to ancient Greek archaeology, architecture, art, history, literature, philosophy, and religion. Special emphasis on the core values of ancient Greek culture, and how these compare or contrast to our own.
Prerequisites: None.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 202 Introduction to Ancient Roman Thought and Culture

Faculty: Kelly
Content: Introduction to ancient Roman thought and culture as reflected in archaeology, architecture, art, history, literature, philosophy, and religion. Special emphasis on the core values of ancient Roman culture, and how these compare or contrast to our own.
Prerequisites: None.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 251 History of Byzantium

Faculty: Classical Studies Faculty
Content: The transformation of the eastern Roman Empire into a Greek Orthodox medieval empire and the creation of a separate identity for the Byzantine state and society. Topics include the organization of the Byzantine state; the development and defining features of Byzantine civilization; relations between Byzantium and the Latin West, the Slavic world, and Islam; the pivotal and unique role of Byzantium; and the factors that led to the decline of the empire and the eventual fall of Constantinople. Taught on the Greek overseas program.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Acceptance into the overseas program in Greece.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 252 Art and Archaeology of the Aegean

Faculty: Classical Studies Faculty
Content: Survey of the art and archaeology of the ancient civilizations of the Aegean and Greece: Minoan, Mycenaean, and Classical Greek. Introduction to primary sources. Visits to sites, monuments, and museums are complemented by classroom lectures and readings that provide historical context. Taught on the Greece overseas program.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Acceptance into the Greece overseas program.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 253 Attic Tragedy

Faculty: Classical Studies Faculty
Content: Ancient Athenian tragedy as represented by the extant plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, studied in its social, political, topographical, and religious/philosophical context. Participants visit the precinct of Dionysos, on the south slope of the Acropolis, and other ancient theaters. Students will be expected to perform selections. Taught on Greece overseas program.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Acceptance into the Greece overseas program.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 254 Ancient Greek Myth and Religion

Faculty: Kugler
Content: Survey of ancient Greek myth and religion. Using a wide range of literary and visual sources from the archaeological record, examines the function and uses of myth; its relationship to religion, daily life, history, and cultural norms; religious ritual and function; the particularity of myth to a given locale; and the interpretation of myth and its methodologies. Required for students scheduled to participate in the Greece overseas program. Additional seats available for non-program participants by instructor consent.
Prerequisites: None.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, spring semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 255 Sports, Games and Spectacles in the Greco-Roman World

Faculty: Karavas
Content: An exploration of the emergence and development of both athletic competitions and sports-based games and spectacles from the Bronze age through to the period of late antiquity, with a focus on two separate thematic entities: Ancient Greek Athletics and an in-depth investigation of Roman public spectacles and gladiatorial games. Drawing on a variety of disciplines and available sources, this course will primarily seek to examine the main purpose and function of these games and spectacles within the wider social, political, religious, cultural, and intellectual context of the times, as well as their overall significance in the daily lives of the ancients. We will also explore, by looking at re-creations and experiments that have been conducted—as well as conducting many of our own—how archaeologists and historians analyze primary sources to determine their veracity and reliability, as well as how ancient sports and spectacles have been represented in contemporary popular culture. Course includes a substantial on-site teaching component, with field trips to archaeological sites and museums of athletic significance (Olympia, Isthmia, Nemea, Delphi, and Messene).
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Admission to the Greece Program.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 314 Topography and Monuments of Athens

Faculty: Overseas Faculty
Content: This site-based course gives a comprehensive overview of the topography, archaeology, and history of Athens, focusing particularly on the great monuments of the Classical and Roman city. Every major site, and many minor ones, will be explored, paying attention to physical setting, architectural and archaeological characteristics, and position in the political, religious, and social lives of the Athenians. Students will trace the rediscovery of Athens’ antiquities from the 15th century to the development of scientific archaeology in the 19th, and will look at the role of archaeology in Athens from the foundation of the Modern Greek state up to the present day. This course is offered as part of the Greece Overseas Study Program.
Prerequisites: HIST 216 or CLAS 254.
Restrictions: Acceptance to the Greece overseas program.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 320 Greek and Roman Epic

Faculty: Kelly
Content: In this course, we will examine six epic poems (in translation) from Classical antiquity: Homer’s "Iliad" and "Odyssey," Apollonius’ "Argonautica," Virgil’s "Aeneid," Lucan’s "Civil War," and Statius’ "Thebaid." In studying these texts, we will focus on the traditional themes of the epic genre, including the nature of heroism, the relationship between mortals and gods, issues of peace and war, and the conflict of individual and communal goals. We will also see how ancient authors adapted epic conventions to suit their own artistic goals. Additionally, how these epics reflected the values and history of contemporary Greco-Roman civilization will be explored. Since these works were formative in the Western literary tradition, we’ll also look at their influence in antiquity and beyond.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 324 Roman Women

Faculty: Kelly
Content: The lives of women in Roman culture and society from the Early Republic into late antiquity: education, religion, marriage, divorce, family life, reproductive issues, and social status with an emphasis on actual ancient sources such as funeral epitaphs, medical texts, inscriptions, archaeological evidence, letters, historical writings, and poetry.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, fall and spring semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 325 Negotiating Identity in the Ancient World

Faculty: Kugler
Content: Ethnicity is an increasingly contested topic in the study of the ancient Mediterranean world. Once thought to be a settled matter, the question of whether the ancients even conceived of themselves in terms of ethnic categories is being examined afresh. How we answer that question has bearing not only on our understanding of antiquity, but can also speak to how we think about ourselves and our neighbors in an increasingly complex and pluralistic world. This course takes up the debate about negotiating identity in the ancient world and reflects on what that debate can teach us about how we negotiate identity today.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.
Usually offered: Alternate Years, spring semester.
Semester credits: 4.

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CLAS 450 Topics in Classical Studies

Faculty: Classics Faculty
Content: Serious scholarly study of some specific topic or area within classical studies. Topics may include Greek or Roman archaeology, architecture, art, epic or lyric poetry, comedy, history, music, tragedy, philosophy, political theory, religion, or ancient science, or else comparative study of some aspect of ancient Greek or Roman culture with others. May be taken twice for credit with change of topic.
Prerequisites: CLAS 201 or 202.
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.
Usually offered: Every third year, spring semester.
Semester credits: 4.