Ancient History

CLST 11.02   Ancient Sparta.  The city-state of Sparta, which played a leading role in the Greek world for centuries, attracted a great deal of attention in ancient times and continues to exercise a hold on the imagination of scholars and non-scholars alike.  This course explores the birth, rise, and fall of the Spartan state, from its foundation c. 1000 BCE to 371 BCE and the disastrous defeat at Leuctra, which effectively ended Spartan hegemony.  We will pay careful attention to both the relevant literary sources and to the extant remains of Spartan material culture, such as pottery and figurines; hence this course draws on the subject matter and methodologies typically associated with both history and archaeology. SOC, W. 

CLST 11.06  Sex, Celibacy, and the Problem of Purity: Asceticism and the Human Body in Late Antiquity   Examines the changing understanding of the body, marriage, sexuality, and gender within Christianity through reading saints' lives, letters, polemical essays, and legal texts. TMV, W.

CLST 11.11  War Stories     Surveys stories of deployment and return from antiquity to the present and especially the self-fashioning narratives of individuals who have witnessed the realities of war and return home. Texts include Homer, Odyssey; Remarque, The Road Back; Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried; Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds; Phil Klay, Redeployment. SOC, W

CLST 11.17 Greek Athletics   Athletics played a pivotal role in the ancient Greek world, and the history of athletics offers insight some of the basic forces shaping ancient Greek society. The topics we will cover include the origins of Greek athletics; the ancient Olympics; the reasons why the Greeks chose to compete in the nude; the connections between athletics and war, athletics and sex, and athletics and art; and the participation of women in athletics. SOC, W

CLST 14  Greek History: Archaic and Classical Greece  Surveys the major events in the history of ancient Greece from the emergence of Mycenaean palace culture to the end of the Peloponnesian War. During this period, the Greeks spread their culture, language, and religion throughout the Mediterranean, invented democracy, and enshrined their values in art and literature. Includes the origins, economy, institutions, and warfare of the classical city-state, the public and private lives of citizens, women, children, and slaves. SOC, W

CLST 15  Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Kings     Examines the history of Alexander the Great and of Greek-speaking peoples in the eastern Mediterranean during the 4th-1st centuries BCE, together with the remarkable cultural, military, political, and economic innovations of this period of history. SOC, W

CLST 17  Roman History: The Republic  Surveys the history of the Roman people from 753 (traditional date of the founding of Rome) to 44 B.C. (the assassination of Julius Caesar). Topics include the development of Roman law, the conquest of all lands bordering on the Mediterranean, and the civil wars that destroyed Republican government. Particular emphasis is placed on the Roman political community: the political, religious and social factors that influenced the definition of the Roman aristocracy in the fourth century, the institutions that maintained the ascendancy of the elite, the military and political values inherent in the citizenship, the social and political mechanisms that militated against civil dissent, and the role of political values in the eventual destruction of Republican government from within. SOC, W

CLST 18  History of the Roman Empire: Roman Principate to Christian Empire  Surveys the major events from Octavian's victory at Actium in 31 B.C. through the rule of Septimius Severus. This course considers the logic of the Roman system, including such topics as the reasoning that favored the leadership of a single individual, the evolving relationship between the princeps and the senatorial aristocracy, and the role of the army in the assimilation of non-Roman peoples. SOC, W

CLST 19 Methods and Theory in Ancient History Introduces the various types of documentary evidence available to the ancient historian as well as various perspectives for framing and answering historical questions. We consider the interpretive methodologies for each type of document (coin, inscription, papyrus) as well as the particular historical context in which these documents were produced. Topics include the function of coinage and economic thinking in the ancient world and the political significance of the publication of law. The final weeks of the term allow for in-depth consideration of a specific problem in ancient history. SOC, W