Past Courses

Spring 2009 Undergraduate Courses

CLAS 151g CIVILIZATION OF ROME
Prof. Anthony Boyle.    TTH 11:00 - 12:20pm, plus discussions section

The course surveys the social, political, intellectual and literary history of Rome from 240 bce to 138 ce. The focus is on the political, literary and artistic achievements of the late republic and early empire, when contact with the countries of the civilized east, especially Greece, spurred Rome to produce a radically new socio-intellectual image. No knowledge of Latin is required.

CLAS 280g  CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY
Prof. James Collins    MW 12:00 - 1:50pm, plus discussions section

This course will introduce students to the myths of ancient Greece –stories about gods, heroes and monsters that people use to explain their relationship to the world around them.  We will concentrate on the use of mythology to foster identity, forge relationships, embody anxieties, and define enemies.  Readings include Homeric epic and Athenian tragedies, as well as later works that reinterpret myths in a new cultural context.  Since this is also a GE course, requirements include a midterm exam, major writing assignment and a final exam.

CLAS 320gm  DIVERSITY AND THE CLASSICAL WESTERN TRADITION

Prof. Thomas Habinek.  MW 2-3:20pm, plus discussion section

Political, ethical, and ideological aspects of classical Western attitudes towards human diversity.  Relationship between classical tradition and contemporary discussions of diversity and unity.  Course fulfills the University multiculturalism requirement.

CLAS 380 APPROACHES TO MYTH
Prof. Daniel Harris-McCoy.  TTh 11:00 - 12:20pm

This course investigates the creation of myths, what they express, and the psychology behind myths. Students in the course read mythic texts (Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Virgil, Ovid) from Greco-Roman antiquity through the theoretical lenses offered by modern scholars of myth (Malinowski, Freud, Jung, Levi-Strauss, Bahktin. This course is part of USC's Multimedia Across the College program and has a larger technological component than usual.

CLAS 425 CLASSICAL ART & ARCHAELOGY: RESEARCH AND METHODOLOGY
Prof. John Pollini.  W 2:00 - 4:50pm

 

Fall 2008 Undergraduate Courses

CLAS 150g: Civilization of Rome (Farenga)

CLAS 151g: Civilization of Rome (Boyle)
The course surveys the social, political, intellectual and literary history of Rome from 240 bce to 138 ce. The focus is on the political, literary and artistic achievements of the late republic and early empire, when contact with the countries of the civilized east, especially Greece, spurred Rome to produce a radically new socio-intellectual image. No knowledge of Latin is required.

CLAS 202: Intro to Arcahelogy (Boytner)

CLAS 280g: Classical Mythology (Habinek)
This course will introduce the classical myths both in their cultural context and as reflections of various aspects of the human condition (sex, gender, death, rites of passage, transformation, loss, etc.).  With reference to modern anthropological methods, we will also examine the complex relationship of myth and ritual in both the ancient and the modern worlds.  The primary materials for this course will consist of readings of Greek and Roman epic, Greek tragedy, and myths as represented in ancient and modern art.

CLAS 321: Greek Art and Archaelogy (Yasin)

CLAS 322: Roman Art and Archaelogy (Pollini)

CLAS 337: Ancient Drama (Lape)
This course serves as an introduction to Greek drama, especially tragedy.  We will examine the Athenian festival context of drama, consider the possible ritual origins of drama, look at a couple satyr plays, and read several tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in order to learn about the poetics of Greek tragedy.  We will consider the ways ancient authors altered myths to present new and instructive tales to their audiences.  We will read a few post-classical plays to examine the ways in which classical tragedies were received by later periods.

CLAS 499: Late Antique Material Culture (Yasin)

Spring 2007 Undergraduate Courses

ARLT 100g: Ancient Wisdom Literature and Folklore (Van Bladel)
This General Education course investigates the idea of wisdom through some of the most popular story and fable collections of ancient and medieval Europe and Asia, including Aesop's fables, the Pañcatantra, the stories of Ahiqar and Secundus, Russian fables, and other tales.

ARLT 100g: Masters of Power: 10 Ancient Lives (Farenga)
An exploration of ten remarkable individuals in Greco-Roman antiquity: a democratic statesman (Pericles), brilliant generals (Alcibiades, Julius Caesar), a world conqueror (Alexander), an empire-builder (Augustus)—but also a philosopher of dissent (Socrates), a monstrous tyrant (Nero), a power-mad matriarch (Agrippina), and two tragic lovers (Antony and Cleopatra). The course uses ancient texts by Thucydides, Plutarch, Tacitus and Suetonius but also modern representations of these lives in Shakespeare ("Julius Caesar" and "Antony and Cleopatra"), historical fiction (Pressfield's "The Tides of War" and Graves' "I, Claudius") and feature films (Stone's "Alexander" and Mankiewicz's "Cleopatra").

ARLT 100g: Utopian Thought: Ancient and Modern (Richter)
This course explores the ways in which we imagine perfect worlds (utopias) and their opposites (dystopias) as a means of critiquing the world in which we live.  Whether these fictive worlds are nightmares (like Orwell’s 1984) or ideal societies (like Plato’s Republic), utopias and dystopias open windows onto the worlds in which they are produced.  The class is organized around elements of utopian thought and is therefore thematic rather than chronological.  This is a writing-intensive seminar whose primary focus is close textual analysis and discussion.  The materials which we will examine in this course are intentionally eclectic; this is a necessary response to the variety of genres which comprise the tradition of Utopian thought. Primary texts and films will include Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, Genesis, Herodotus’ and Thucydides’ Histories, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, St. Augustine’s City of God, Thomas More’s Utopia, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, Federico Fellini’s City of Women, and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

CLAS 151g: Civilization of Rome (Boyle)
The course surveys the social, political, intellectual and literary history of Rome from 240 bce to 138 ce. The focus is on the political, literary and artistic achievements of the late republic and early empire, when contact with the countries of the civilized east, especially Greece, spurred Rome to produce a radically new socio-intellectual image. No knowledge of Latin is required.

CLAS 212: Archaeology: Interpreting the Past (Burns)
This course offers students an introduction to the practice of archaeology as a means of recovering and interpreting the human past.  Students will learn about the basic methods of recovery and analysis of archaeological objects, as well as the various approaches employed in the interpretation of data and the writing of cultural history from material culture. This class will feature archaeological case studies drawn chiefly from the ancient Mediterranean, but we will also explore the archaeology of Los Angeles and pursue project in experimental archaeology.

CLAS 280g: Classical Mythology (Richter)
This course will introduce the classical myths both in their cultural context and as reflections of various aspects of the human condition (sex, gender, death, rites of passage, transformation, loss, etc.).  With reference to modern anthropological methods, we will also examine the complex relationship of myth and ritual in both the ancient and the modern worlds.  The primary materials for this course will consist of readings of Greek and Roman epic, Greek tragedy, and myths as represented in ancient and modern art.

CLAS 337: Ancient Drama (Prince)
This course serves as an introduction to Greek drama, especially tragedy.  We will examine the Athenian festival context of drama, consider the possible ritual origins of drama, look at a couple satyr plays, and read several tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in order to learn about the poetics of Greek tragedy.  We will consider the ways ancient authors altered myths to present new and instructive tales to their audiences.  We will read a few post-classical plays to examine the ways in which classical tragedies were received by later periods. 

CLAS 375: Alexander the Great: Personality, Leadership and World Conquest (Farenga) An examination of Alexander’s personality in its public and private manifestations, including military campaigns, leadership techniques and personal relationships. The course compares the criteria ancient sources use to evaluate Alexander’s achievements (Arrian, Plutarch, Curtius and Diodorus) to his evaluations by modern scholarship and popular culture (Alexander in documentary and feature films and fiction).

CLAS 465: Archaeology And Society (Burns)

This course examines the interaction of archaeology and the politics, economics, and ethics of contemporary societies. Ancient cultures are often invoked in the political and moral debates, but there are, of course, many versions of 'the past.' We will examine archaeologists' role as stewards and interpreters of ancient peoples' legacies, and the conflicts that sometimes arise from various claims on the past.  Each week, we will discuss the relative costs and merits of the field's pursuits through analysis of particular challenges archaeological encounter through fieldwork, display, and publication.

Fall 2006 Undergraduate Courses

ARLT 100g: Love and Desire in Ancient Greece (Burns)
This course is a thematic exploration of amorous and erotic relationships in ancient texts and modern imaginings of the myths of Herakles, Achilles, Odysseus, and Theseus.  Great as these heroes were, each was overwhelmed by a mighty foe – Eros, the god of love and desire.  As we observe how myths changed over time, we will discuss why certain types of desire might have been seen as noble, tragic, or dangerous and examine the efforts of society to control them.  In addition to ancient texts and representations of desiring heroes in Greek art, we will also examine modern retellings of amorous adventure.  Readings will include Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey; Euripides’ Herakles and Hippolytus; and works by such contemporary authors as Nikos Kazantzakis, Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, and Eric Shanower.

ARLT 100g: Rome Imagined (Yasin)
For centuries Rome was the capital of a vast empire that encompassed the Mediterranean and most of Europe.  However, long after it ceased serving as the administrative seat of much of the "known," civilized world, the idea of Rome, the "Eternal City," continued to capture the imagination of artists, writers, travelers, theologians and statesmen.  This course explores the city of Rome not merely as an architecturally rich urban center of physical streets and buildings, but examines the role that the idea of the ancient city has played throughout the cultural and artistic production of later centuries, down to our own time.  We will look at the ways in which Rome has been represented—how (and why) it has been pictured, studied, preserved, ruined, idealized and reviled in a variety of sources from the ancient world to today, including maps, histories, travelers' accounts, painting, architecture, and film.

CLAS 151: Roman Civilization (Moatti)
This class studies Roman society during the Republic and at the beginning of the Empire (second century BC to second century AD). After presenting the general chronology of Roman history and the civic structures of the city, the course will focus on the Roman household (familia, marriage, women), and on the economic and social conditions of life in Rome (houses, baths, games, education)

CLAS 280g: Classical Mythology (Burns)
This course introduces students to the myths of ancient Greece – stories about gods, heroes, and monsters that people used to explain their relationship to the world around them. This semester we will concentrate on the role of myths in the understanding of the physical world and the social and ideological values attributed to cultic space and distant places. Because literature provides us with the fullest accounts of these narratives, we will read key texts of the classical literary tradition, including the Homeric epics and Athenian tragedies. These textual portrayals of divinities and ancestors will be supplemented by visual representations and artifacts preserved in the archaeological record.

CLAS 280g: Classical Mythology (Richter)
This course will introduce the classical myths both in their cultural context and as reflections of various aspects of the human condition (sex, gender, death, rites of passage, transformation, loss, etc.).  With reference to modern anthropological methods, we will also examine the complex relationship of myth and ritual in both the ancient and the modern worlds.  The primary materials for this course will consist of readings of Greek and Roman epic, Greek tragedy, and myths as represented in ancient and modern art.

CLAS 321/ARTH 321: Greek Art and Archaeology (Yasin)
Between the ninth and second centuries BCE, the Greek world witnessed the emergence of independent city-states, the establishment of panhellenic athletic and dramatic competitions, the flourishing of philosophical schools, the rise of the Macedonian Empire and the coming of Rome. This course examines the artistic and architectural manifestations of these political and cultural developments of the Geometric through Hellenistic periods. We will consider the social, cultural and religious contexts of artistic production—from the earliest large-scale marble sculpture and permanent sanctuaries to the widespread diffusion of Greek artists, artistic forms and cultural ideals under the successors of Alexander the Great. Our investigation will address key themes including temples and sacred space, myth and cultural identity, gender and representations of the body, the arts of the symposium, artistic materials and techniques, funerary commemoration, and the politics of portraiture.

CLAS 305: Roman Law of Family (Moatti)
The first third of the class presents a survey (mainly by lectures) of the historical development of Roman law and jurisprudence, together with a brief overview of the main areas of legal doctrine. The second two-thirds discusses cases from a casebook of the Roman law of family in order to better show how the Roman jurists worked, thought and formed the law. Main topics: basic concepts of persons; family and marriage; manus; patria potestas; ownership, succession and delicts; slavery and manumission.

CLAS 333: Cult and City in Ancient Greece (Prince)
This course explores the interconnections of ancient Greek religion and civic life.  Our focus will be on ancient Athens, mostly during the Classical period; the evidence for this place and time is rich, and also readily accessible.  Our readings will include a narrative history of religion in ancient Athens, select articles addressing specific points, and ancient Greek plays which provide a coherent narrative (so are readily accessible) while dramatizing aspects of ancient Greek civic and religious life.

CLAS 470: Democracies Ancient and Modern (Farenga)
An examination of the political history, institutions and functioning of the Athenian democracy and Roman Republic, using sources in ancient history, philosophy, oratory, and biography.  The course takes an in-depth look at how each society defined its citizens and non-citizens, its decision-making and law-making, and its leadership.  It also considers the changing reputations of Athenian democracy and the Roman Republic in modern political thought from the Renaissance to today.

GRK 220: Ancient Greek 3 (Van Bladel)
This course is an introduction to the reading of classical Greek philosophical and historical prose, and the elements of Greek verse, for students who have already had one year of ancient Greek.

LTN 325:  Roman Historians (Prince)
This course is both a language-instruction course aiming to improve reading abilities in Latin language and literature, and an introduction to Roman historical texts and authors.  This term, we will read some texts by Cicero written during the last years of his life, at a time when the Roman Republic was falling (or waning, or dying, or being re-born – it all depends, as we shall see, on your perspective).  Cicero writes, first-hand, from within these changes and upheavals.  How can we use these texts as primary sources for a history of this time? And how trustworthy are first-hand accounts?  These are some of the questions to keep in mind as we read Philippics 1 & 2 and a selection of Letters written by Cicero between January and April 43 BCE.

  • Department of Classics
  • University of Southern California
  • THH 256
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0352