Humanities 110

Introduction to Humanities: Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean

Syllabus | Spring 2017

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Course Logistics

Required Texts

  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass, trans. Ruden (Yale University Press)
  • Aristophanes, Three Comedies: The Birds, The Clouds, The Wasps, trans. Arrowsmith (University of Michigan Press)
  • Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Irwin (Hackett)
  • Epictetus, The Handbook, trans. Nicholas P. White (Hackett)
  • Euripides, Euripides I, ed. David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (University of Chicago Press)
  • Freeman, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, 3rd ed. (Oxford)
  • Livy, The Rise of Rome; Ab Urbe Condita, trans. Luce (Oxford)
  • Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, trans. Englert (Focus Philosophical Library)
  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha New Revised Standard Version: College Edition (Oxford)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Melville (Oxford)
  • Plato, Republic, trans. Reeve (Hackett)
  • Plato, Trial and Death of Socrates, trans. Grube (Hackett)
  • Theocritus, Idylls, trans. Verity (Oxford)
  • Virgil, The Aeneid,trans. Mandelbaum (Bantam Doubleday Dell)
  • Various readings on the Roman World available on e-reserves

Recommended Texts

  • Harvey, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing (Hackett)
  • Williams, The Craft of Argument (Univ. of Chicago Press)


To access texts that are listed as being on e-reserves, find the day's reading assignments and follow the link to the text. You will need your kerberos username and password to be able to access the texts. Learn more about accessing e-reserves on Moodle. Please bring a copy of the day's reading assignment to class.

All texts may be purchased at the Reed College Bookstore; limited numbers of each are on reserve in Hauser Library. Also on reserve or in the reference section: Oxford Classical Dictionary; Oxford Companion to Classical Literature; Anchor Atlas of World History, Volume I; Richard Lanham, Revising Prose.

Conference Assignments

The Registrar makes initial assignments to conferences in this course that continue through the year. Students who subsequently find it necessary to change conferences must petition the Humanities staff (forms for this purpose may be obtained from the Registrar or from Jolie Griffin, Vollum 320). Turn in completed forms to David Garrett, Hum 110 Chair. No conference changes will be permitted after the second week of the term.

Papers, Writing Assignments, and Examinations

Three course-wide papers will be assigned, due at the times designated on the schedule of readings and lectures.  Individual conference leaders may assign additional writing. A final examination for the spring term will be given in finals week, May 10, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m in Vollum Lecture Hall. Rescheduling of the final exam will be allowed only for medical reasons.

Writing Center

You can get additional help with all stages of the writing process from the Writing Center located in the Dorothy Johansen House. Drop-in help from writing tutors is available Sunday – Thursday, 6 p.m.-10 p.m.; additional hours will also be available during weeks that a paper is due (contact the Writing Center for more information).

Schedule of Readings and Lectures

Map of the Ancient World
Basic Chronology of the Ancient World

Week 1

Mon 23 Jan

  • Euripides, Medea
Lecture: Panel: "Medea"
Nathalia King, Tamara Metz, Pancho Savery

Wed 25 Jan

  • Aristophanes, The Clouds
Lecture: "The Comic City"
Nigel Nicholson

Fri 27 Jan

  • The Trial and Death of Socrates
Lecture: "A Kind of Gadfly"
Pancho Savery

Week 2

Mon 30 Jan

  • Plato, Republic, Books 1 - 2
Lecture: "Who is Cephalus?"
Peter Steinberger

Wed 1 Feb

  • Plato, Republic, Books  3-5
Lecture: "Sex, Gender and the Power(s) of Philosophy"
Tamara Metz

Fri 3 Feb

  • Plato, Republic, Books 6-7
Lecture: "Plato’s Metaphysics: A Solution to the Thucydidean Crisis of Logos"
Meg Scharle

Week 3

Mon 6 Feb


Plato, Republic, Books 8 - 10

Lecture: "Image Worlds"
Kris Cohen

Wed 8 Feb


Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books 1 - 2

Lecture: "The Function Argument"
Steven Arkonovich

Fri 10 Feb


Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books 3 and 6

Lecture: "The Virtues of Character and the Virtues of Thought"
Nathalia King

Sat 11 Feb


Saturday, February 11, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

View Paper Topics

Week 4

Mon 13 Feb


Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10

Lecture: "Aristotelian Contemplation at Reed?"
Meg Scharle

Wed 15 Feb


Aristotle, Politics, Books 1:1-7 (on e-reserve)

Lecture: "Politics I and its Legacy"
David Garrett

Fri 17 Feb


Denise Eileen McCoskey, Introduction to Race: Antiquity and Its Legacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 1-34. (on e-reserve)

Lecture: "Did Race Matter in Classical Antiquity? Excavating the History of a Dangerous Idea"
Margot Minardi

Week 5

Mon 20 Feb


Pseudo-Callisthenes, Alexander Romance 1.1-1.13 (on e-reserve)

J.J. Pollitt, Art in the Hellenistic Age, Introduction. (on e-reserve)

T.W. Davids, The Questions of King Milinda. (on e-reserve)


Lecture: Panel: "From Polis to Poleis"
Tom Landvatter, Sarah Wagner-McCoy, Kristin Scheible

Wed 22 Feb


Study this Image Gallery before lecture and conference:

McKenzie, The Architecture of Alexandria and Egypt, c. 300 BC to AD 700, pp 32-35 (Introductory Summary), Yale. (on e-reserve)

Freeman, pp. 314-332

Lecture: "Ancient Aliens: Material Culture and Identity in Hellenistic Alexandria"
Tom Landvatter

Fri 24 Feb


Theocritus, 1-7, 11, 13, 15, 17

Freeman, pp. 333-354

Lecture: "Country Matters"
Robert Knapp

Week 6

Mon 27 Feb


Polybius, Histories, Book 6, sections 1-39, 47, 50-58 (on e-reserve)

Freeman, pp. 369-401

Lecture: "Polybian Thought"
Peter Steinberger

Wed 1 Mar


Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura), Book 1 (lines 1-637, 921-1117), Book 2 (lines 1-293), and Book 3 (all)

Lecture: "Matter and What Matters"
Troy Cross

Fri 3 Mar


Lucretius, On The Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura), Books 5 - 6

Lecture: "Lucretius and the Things of Nature"
David Garrett

Sat 4 Mar


Saturday, March 4, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

View Paper Topics

Week 7

Mon 6 Mar

Livy, The Rise of Rome; Ab Urbe Condita, Preface and Book 1
Lecture: "How to Found a Republic: The Roman Example"
Tamara Metz

Wed 8 Mar


Livy, The Rise of Rome; Ab Urbe Condita, Book 2.1-25, Book 3.25-29, Book 4.13-16, and Book 5.19 - end

Lecture: "Republican Virtue"
Robert Knapp

Fri 10 Mar


Augustus, Res Gestae, (on e-reserve)

Freeman, pp. 429-444, pp. 450-464

Lecture: "'Restoring' the Republic"
Tom Landvatter

Sat 11 Mar

Spring Break

March 11-March 19

Week 8

Mon 20 Mar


Peter J. Holliday, “Time, History, and Ritual on the Ara Pacis Augustae” (available on JSTOR:

Study this Image Gallery before lecture and conference:

Browse the Ara Pacis Augustae In-depth Visual Documentation website:

Lecture: "Picturing Peace"
Margot Minardi

Wed 22 Mar


Virgil, Aeneid, Books 1 – 4

Lecture: "Epic and Allusion in Virgil's Aeneid"
Sarah Wagner-McCoy

Fri 24 Mar


Virgil, Aeneid, Books 5 – 7

Lecture: "Chastity, Guilt, and Tragic Embodiment in The Aeneid"
Dustin Simpson

Week 9

Mon 27 Mar


Virgil, Aeneid, Books 8-9

Lecture: Panel: "The Limits of Humanity, Society, and the Individual"
Tamara Metz, Jessica Seidman, Kris Cohen

Wed 29 Mar


Virgil, Aeneid, Books 9 – 12; Homer, The Iliad, Book 24

Lecture: "This is the End"
Pancho Savery

Fri 31 Mar


Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 1 – 3

Amy Sillman, After Metamorphoses (2015-16, 5 min video, looped 3x)

Lecture: "Media Theory: 1 CE-2017 CE"
Kris Cohen

Week 10

Mon 3 Apr


Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 4 – 6, 15

Lecture: "Portrait of the Artist as Spider-Woman"
Jessica Seidman

Wed 5 Apr


Epictetus, The Handbook

Seneca, Slaves, The stoic philosophy of Seneca: essays and letters of Seneca, pp. 191-195, Doubleday & Co., 1958 (on e-reserves)

Lecture: "Slavery and stoicism"
Sonia Sabnis, Margot Minardi, Paddy Riley

Fri 7 Apr

Philo, On The Embassy to Gaius (pdf)
Lecture: "Imperial Spectacle and the Invisible God."
Michael Faletra

Sat 8 Apr


Saturday, April 8, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox.

View Paper Topics

Week 11

Mon 10 Apr


Paul, Romans (in The New Oxford Annotated Bible)

Freeman, pp. 564-581

Lecture: "Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and the Crisis of Revelation"
Steve Wasserstrom

Wed 12 Apr


Gospel According to Matthew

Lecture: "But Who Do You Say That I Am?"
Michael Faletra

Fri 14 Apr


The Gospel of John

Lecture: "Word!"
Kristin Scheible

Week 12

Mon 17 Apr


Tessa Rajak, "The Dura-Europos Synagogue: “Images of a Competitive Community," 141-154 (on e-reserve);

Patricia DeLeeuw, "A Peaceful Pluralism: the Durene Mithraeum, Synagogue, and Christian Building" 189-199 (on e-reserve).

Study this Image Gallery before lecture and conference:

Lecture: "Christians, Pagans, and Jews at Dura Europos"
William Diebold

Wed 19 Apr


Musurillo, Herbert, tr., The Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas, The acts of the Christian martyrs, pp. 108-131 (on e-reserve)

Lecture: "The Martyrdom of Perpetua"
Nathalia King

Fri 21 Apr


Apuleius, The Golden Ass, pp. 1-91

Lecture: "Strange to Tell"
Jay Dickson

Week 13

Mon 24 Apr


Apuleius, The Golden Ass, pp. 92-158

Freeman, pp. 541-563

Lecture: "Beyond Cupid and Psyche"
Michael Faletra

Wed 26 Apr


Apuleius, The Golden Ass, pp. 159-218

Lecture: Panel: "Reading Empire"
Radhika Natarajan, Ian Desai

Fri 28 Apr

Apuleius, The Golden Ass, pp. 219-272
Lecture: "Who Owns Apuleius?"
Sonia Sabnis

Wed 10 May

Final Exam

Wednesday, May 10, 6:00 PM-10:00 PM