Reed College Catalog


Walter G. Englert

Greek and Latin literature, ancient philosophy.

Ellen Greenstein Millender

Greek and Roman history, Greek historiography, women in the ancient world.

Nigel J. Nicholson

Greek and Latin literature, literary theory.

Sonia Sabnis

Latin and Greek literature, imperial prose.

Jessica Seidman

Latin and Greek literature, late republican and early imperial Latin literature.

The classics major focuses on studies in Greek and Latin language and literature, and on the classical civilization of which they are a part.

It is possible to do major work in Greek or Latin with a minor in the other language or to do an equal amount of work in both languages. Students intending to do graduate work in classics must pursue the latter option.

The range of senior thesis topics open to majors is very broad: philological or literary analyses of classical literature, historiography, or philosophy; explorations of problems in Greek or Roman history, historiography or philosophy; and investigations into the nature and function of Greek or Roman society and thought.

Classics majors are strongly urged to consider attending the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) during one semester of the junior year. The ICCS, of which Reed College is a member, is located in Rome and focuses on Roman material culture, history, and archaeology. It offers courses in Greek and Latin literature, Italian, and Renaissance art history.

Classics majors have also spent a semester of their junior year at the College Year in Athens program, which offers courses in Greek literature, history, archaeology, and art, as well as Latin literature; or the whole of their junior year at Oxford University; Trinity College, Dublin; and University College, Cork.

Classics majors are also strongly encouraged to take advantage of courses in other departments that will deepen their knowledge of the ancient world and relevant methodologies. Such departments include anthropology, art history, history, linguistics, philosophy, religion, and the other departments of the Division of Literature and Languages.

In addition to serving majors, the department provides elective courses for students in other departments who wish to satisfy foreign language requirements, to study Greek or Roman history, or to take courses in general literature dealing with the classical tradition, in which a knowledge of the languages is not required.

A classics major prepares students for graduate work in the discipline, whether in classics programs, ancient history programs (within classics programs or within history programs), archaeology and ancient Mediterranean studies programs, or ancient philosophy programs. It is also excellent preparation for the professional study of fields such as law, communications, information and library studies, and curatorial studies.

Requirements for the Major

  1. Greek (110, 210), 311, 312 or Latin (110, 210), 311, 312.
  2. Introductory course in the other language.
  3. Classics 371, 373, 470.

Recommended but not required:

  1. Additional units in 311, 312 (Advanced Greek or Advanced Latin)
  2. Additional work in the other language.
  3. French, German, or both.
  4. Relevant courses in other subjects such as anthropology, art history, linguistics, literary theory, philosophy, and religion.

Greek

Greek 110 - First-Year Greek

Full course for one year. A study of the elements of ancient Greek grammar and first readings in Greek prose. Conference.

Greek 210 - Second-Year Greek

Full course for one year. A review of grammar, continued readings in Greek prose, and first readings in Homer or drama. Prerequisite: Greek 110 or equivalent. Conference.

Greek 311 - Advanced Greek

Full course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Greek poetry, Greek tragedy, Greek comedy, Greek prose authors. Prerequisite: Greek 210 or equivalent. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Greek 312 - Advanced Greek

Full course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Greek poetry, Greek tragedy, Greek comedy, Greek prose authors. Prerequisite: Greek 210 or equivalent. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Latin

Latin 110 - First-Year Latin

Full course for one year. A study of the elements of Latin grammar and first readings in Latin literature. Conference.

Latin 210 - Second-Year Latin

Full course for one year. A review of grammar and continued readings in Latin prose and poetry, with an introduction to Cicero’s rhetoric and Virgilian poetry. Prerequisite: Latin 110 or equivalent. Conference.

Latin 311 - Advanced Latin

Full course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Latin poetry, Roman satire, Roman comedy, Latin prose authors. Prerequisite: Latin 210 or equivalent. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Latin 312 - Advanced Latin

Full course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Latin poetry, Roman satire, Roman comedy, Latin prose authors. Prerequisite: Latin 210 or equivalent. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Classics

Classics 303 - Hellenistic Philosophy

Full course for one semester. The course examines the major schools and philosophical issues of Hellenistic philosophy. The course begins with a brief overview of Greek philosophy before the Hellenistic period, and then examines the writings and philosophic doctrines of the Epicureans, Stoics, and Academic Skeptics. Topics to be discussed include various issues in ancient physics, epistemology, logic, and ethics. Prerequisite for classics credit: Humanities 110. Prerequisites for philosophy credit: Philosophy 201 and one other philosophy course at the 200 level or above, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Philosophy 418.

Not offered 2014-15.

Classics 353 - Literary Theory and Classical Literature

Full course for one semester. This course explores some of the main currents in literary theory in the last 50 years and the application of these theories to selected classical works. The focus will be on the following literary movements: New Criticism, structuralism and its various offshoots such as semiotics and narratology, Marxist literary theory, new historicism, and cultural poetics. All non-English texts will be read in translation. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 353.

Not offered 2014-15.

Classics 360 - Special Topics: Animals in Greek and Roman Literature

Full course for one semester. From Odysseus’ dog to Apuleius’ ass, animals abound in Greek and Latin literature. In this course we will consider these animals from a variety of perspectives, through a diachronic consideration of literary sources: How did Greeks and Romans think about their pets? How did they domesticate and control beasts of burden? How did they encounter beasts from foreign lands? What were the customs and ethics of sacrificing animals, of eating animals, of using them for military purposes, for entertainment or spectacle? What were the advantages and limitations of animals as metaphor? How might the human-animal binary be challenged and disrupted? What does the literature of metamorphosis indicate about attitudes towards animality and personhood? How do artistic representations and archaeological material complement and complicate the literary evidence? What sort of influence did Greek and Latin literature about animals wield upon later traditions? We will read a broad range of texts in translation (including epic, epigram, fable, history, novel, and natural science) and ground our discussions in contemporary critical animal theory. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 360.

Not offered 2014-15.

Classics 362 - Classical Mythology

Full course for one semester. An examination of the origins, function, and significance of myth in Greek and Roman literature and culture. The course will begin by considering different theoretical approaches to myth, and then move to an analysis of particular Greek and Roman myths. Authors and works may include Homer, Homeric Hymns, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, and Apuleius. Prerequisite: first semester of Humanities 110. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 362.

Classics 371 - Ancient History: Greece

Full course for one semester. This course offers a chronological survey of archaic and classical Greek history and civilization from the traditional foundation of the Olympic games in 776 BCE to the fall of the Athenian Empire in 404 BCE. After beginning with a brief look at Bronze and Dark Age Greece, we will cover the following topics: the rise of the polis; Greek colonization; the “Age of Revolution,” warfare, aristocracy, and the spread of tyranny; the rise of Athens and Sparta; the Persian Wars; the development of Athens’ democracy and empire; the causes and course of the Peloponnesian War; the development of ethnography and historical inquiry; and the nature of Greek social relations, with an emphasis on slavery and gender dynamics in Athens and Sparta. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of ancient evidence, including primary literary works, inscriptions, and relevant archaeological material. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as History 391.

Not offered 2014-15.

Classics 373 - Ancient History: Rome

Full course for one semester. This course offers a chronological survey of Republican Roman history from Rome’s consolidation of power on the Italian peninsula in 266 BCE to the death of the Emperor Augustus in 14 CE. We will begin with a consideration of Rome’s rapid growth from 264 to 146 BCE and the various theories concerning the factors behind Roman imperial expansion. We will then explore the political, social, economic, and cultural repercussions of Rome’s transformation into the leading power in the Mediterranean and the various factors that led to the fall of the republic and the rise of the empire under Augustus. During the semester we will cover the following topics: the structure and evolution of the Roman constitution; the development of the “professional” Roman army and its political ramifications; changing gender relations in Roman society; imperial governance; the growth and practice of slavery; Rome’s cultural interaction with Greece and the East; the social and cultural function of gladiatorial combat; Rome’s relations with its allies; the politicization of the Roman people and the rise of “popular” politicians; and the Augustan settlement. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of ancient evidence, including primary literary works, inscriptions, and relevant archaeological material. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as History 393.

Classics 375 - Special Topics in Greek and Roman History

Full course for one semester. Each special-topics course offers an intensive study of a particular topic from Greek and/or Roman history. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as History 395. May be repeated for credit.

Classics 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one year.

Classics 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.