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Classical Studies

Course Descriptions

  • CLAS 211: Roman History
    This course examines the history of Italy and the Mediterranean world during the thousand-plus years of Roman rule. We begin with Rome's establishment as a small city-state, as recorded in both legend and archaeological evidence. We chart Rome's political development and imperial expansion under the republic, study the career of Augustus and the revolution by which he transformed Rome into an empire, and conclude with that empire's fragmentation into the Byzantine, Latin Christian, and Islamic worlds. The topics studied will include: key political institutions and leaders; war, imperialism, and their consequences, including slavery and social unrest; the work of authors such as Cicero, Vergil, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius; the varied Roman religious scene and the rise of Christianity and Islam; Roman social history, including class, marriage, and slavery. Students will work extensively with primary documents in translation.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 204
  • CLAS 250: Classical Rhetorical Tradition
    This course is an historical survey of theorizing about the role of public discourse in human affairs from ancient Greece and Rome. We consider how the functions and nature of public discourse is understood, whether its skillful use can be taught, and the relationship between public argument and reaching social consensus about issues of truth and ethics. We will apply these ancient concepts to contemporary ideas in order to explore how concepts from different periods in time can aid us in evaluating contemporary persuasive messages in public life.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 250
  • CLAS 275: Greek Greats
    Students will read canonical works at the core of classical Greek civilization and situate the imaginative appropriation of this rich literature in a cultural context that is both historical and contemporary. Students read Homer's epic Iliad (selections) and Odyssey (in its entirety), three plays each by the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, two works of the satirical Aristophanes, and examples of lyric poetry ranging from Archaic to Hellenistic times. Immersion in primary sources provides ample historical perspectives as well as critical approaches to issues of our time. The course involves lectures but is principally a seminar. Ancient Greek drama and theater will be investigated utilizing film and interactive Web-based media and sources. Prerequisites: second-year standing and a Lake Forest College literature course, or permission of the instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • CLAS 280: Cultivating Ancient Worlds
    This course is a multi- and interdisciplinary undertaking, highlighting our two primary means of engaging the cultures of antiquity: the primary texts of literature and collections of artifacts in museums. Civilizations treated: Mesopotamia (Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian), Egypt, Persia, Greece, and China. Texts include everything from formulaic phrases, ritual incantation, epigraphy, and diplomatic reports to lyric poetry, philosophic dialogues, and vast epic narrative. We will read and discuss texts, and visit major collections in Chicago. Prerequisite: second-year standing.
  • CLAS 290: Ancient Greek Philosophy
    The nature of reality, knowledge, goodness, and beauty traced from the pre-Socratics through Plato and Aristotle. Some attention may be given to the transition to the medieval period.
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 290
  • CLAS 302: Greek and Roman Religion
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)