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Classical Studies

CLAS 201 (3): Classical Mythology
The more important classical myths read in English translations of Greek and Latin authors; their expression in ancient literature; what myth is, what it is for, how myths work and what they reveal about the history, culture and values of the society which used them. V.2.

CLAS 205 (3): Ancient Greece
This course will survey ancient Greek literature, history and philosophy starting from Homer and Sappho and ending with Euripides and Plato. All works will be studied in their historical and cultural contexts and there will also be consideration of major developments in Greek art and architecture. Much of the focus will be on the political and cultural achievements of 5th century Athens. Key issues will include the beginnings of democracy, the rise of literacy and the birth of philosophy and the development of tragedy, comedy and historiography. Offered alternate years. V.1, V.2.

CLAS 206 (3): Greeks and the Other
This course will examine Greek conceptions of self and other as seen through a wide range of literary and historiographical texts, as well as material and textual evidence left by the culturally disenfranchised (e.g., curse tablets). Topics will include death, the position of women, resident aliens, the construction of the “barbarian” and the status of slaves. Authors read will include Herodotus, Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. Offered alternate years. V.1, V.2.

CLAS 207 (3): The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic
This course covers the history, literature and culture of the Roman people from the period of Etruscan influence to the end of the Republic and beginning of the reign of the first emperor Augustus (seventh through first centuries B.C.). Primary emphasis will be on the last century of the Republic, the “Roman Revolution” from 133 to 31 B.C., which also saw the flowering of classical Latin literature and culture. Attention will be given to the influence of Etruscan and especially Greek culture on the development of Roman civilization, especially in the areas of literature, religion, art and political thought. Authors read include: Plautus, Terence, Livy, Catullus, Cicero and Sallust. Offered alternate years. May be counted as an adjunct course toward the minor in gender studies. V.1, V.2.

CLAS 208 (3): Society and Culture in the Roman Empire
This course looks at the history, literature and culture of the Roman world from the reign of Augustus to the end of Roman rule in the West (31 B.C.-476 A.D.). The course will be divided into three parts: (1) a survey of political and cultural developments under the Julio-Claudian and Flavian emperors; (2) Roman culture at the height of the Empire, focusing on some of the most important aspects of Roman social and civic life (slavery, women and the family, law, religion and art); (3) the rise of Christianity, from the second century to the end of the fourth century. Attention will also be given to the diversity of cultures found within the limits of the Roman Empire and the legacy of Roman civilization to later European and Mediterranean cultures. Authors read include: Vergil, Ovid, Tacitus, Suetonius and Apuleius. Offered alternate years. May be counted as an adjunct course toward the minor in gender studies. V.1, V.2.

CLAS 211 (3): Roman Archaeology and Art
This course will cover Roman material culture (art and architecture) including its roots in Etruscan architecture and sculpture (8th-6th century B.C.), the development of portraiture during the Republic, the art and architecture of the Roman Empire (including Pompeii), and the art and architecture of the Constantinian period (4th century A.D.). Included will be readings and discussions regarding the problems of chronology and dating of ancient artifacts, as well as the use of ancient literary sources to place artifacts in their context. Students will do a project utilizing Sweet Briar’s classical antiquities collection. Offered alternate years. May be counted toward the major and minor in archaeology. V.1, V.6a.

CLAS 219 (3): Ancient Philosophers in Context
This course focuses on the historical and cultural contexts in which ancient philosophy was practiced, while also tracing various themes throughout the ancient philosophical tradition. Major differences between modern and ancient notions of the philosophical method and way of life are also considered. Course readings will come from Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Epicureans, Romans and late-antique philosophers. May be counted toward the major in philosophy. V.1.

CLAS 224 (3): The Greek Novel: Text and Context
In this course we will explore the emergence of the Greek novel during the Roman Empire and the cultural context that produced this nascent genre. Through tales of true love, romance, faked deaths and encounters with pirates, we will investigate questions of genre, gender and status, as well as examine the nature of Greek life and literature under Roman rule. V.2.

CLAS 261 (1, 2 or 3): Directed Study
Prerequisites: One CLAS course and permission of the instructor
The study of introductory-level material by an individual student or by a small group of students under the immediate supervision of a faculty member.

CLAS 307 (3): Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient Mediterranean
Prerequisite: Sophomores admitted by permission; a 100- level course in classical studies or in gender studies is recommended
Study of the cultural constructs of sex and gender as seen in the literature, law and material culture of Greek and Roman societies (including Egypt and the Near East in thGreco-Roman period). Explores societal stereotypes regarding women’s abilities and behavior and the strategies devised by women in response to those stereotypes. Attitudes toward marriage and the family, homosexuality and fertility control will also be treated.Emphasis will be on interpretation of ancient texts, literary, legal and documentary (all in English translation), and current scholarship. Topic and time period will vary. Offered alternate years. May be counted as a core course toward the minor in gender studies. V.5.

CLAS 315 (3): The Later Roman Empire: Law, Religion, and Society
Prerequisites: CLAS 211, CLAS 307 or HIST 223; first-year students and sophomores with permission
This course looks at the Roman Empire from the third through the fifth century, the time of “decline and fall” which saw the triumph of Christianity and the disintegration of the western half of the Empire into regional, “barbarian” states. Emphasis will be on the social and religious changes the Roman world saw, and readings will include selections from the legal sources and Christian writings that survive from this period. Offered alternate years. III.W, V.1.

CLAS 318 (3): Topics in Classical Culture
Prerequisite: First-year students and sophomores with permission; at least one course in classical civilization is strongly recommended
This course investigates themes and issues in classical civilization, drawing from a wide variety of sources including literary, philosophical, and historical writings, inscriptions, papyri and artistic modes of production (e.g., vase paintings, sculpture, etc.). Topics will vary, with future topics including the paradoxical status of gladiators in imperial Rome; Greek conceptions of the grotesque; and ideas of death, commemoration, and the afterlife.

CLAS 361 (1, 2 or 3): Special Study
Prerequisites: 100-level CLAS course and permission of the instructor
The study of an intermediate-level topic by an individual student or by a small group of students under the immediate supervision of a faculty member.

CLAS 377 (1, 2 or 3): Internship
Prerequisites: Three credits in CLAS and permission of instructor, department chair and dean
This course is graded P/CR/NC only.

CLAS 452 (3): Senior Seminar
Prerequisite: Non-majors by permission
The departmental senior exercise, required of all classics majors and open to other qualified students by permission. It involves intensive study of an author, period, genre, or topic not covered, or only partially covered, by regular course offerings. Topics will vary from year to year. III.O, III.W.

CLAS 461 (1, 2 or 3): Independent Study
Prerequisites: One 100-level CLAS course, one 200-level CLAS course and permission of the instructor
Pursuit of an upper-level research project determined in advance by the student in consultation with a faculty member who will act as the sponsor.