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Academics: Classics 211

Classics 211: Classical Literature (Spring 2009)

Instructor: Jeff Winkle
Office H-359
Phone (616) 526-6813

Course Description:

            Classics 211 aims to develop a basic understanding of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations through the study of their greatest literature, from Homer to Augustine.  Classes will include lectures, Powerpoint presentations, and films, but I hope that most class time will be spent in discussion.

Honors Credit:

            This course is designed as an honors course, which means that it encourages greater personal initiative, deeper research, and a higher level of discussion than a typical class might.  Each student will conduct independent research on one classical author/topic, and there will be class periods as well as personal conferences with the professor devoted to discussing that research.  The minimum grade to earn honors credit is a B+.

Expectations and Grading:

            The primary requirements are faithful preparation, attendance, and participation in class.  Absences will be excused if explained in advance or justified by medical or other emergencies.  Final grades will be based attendance/participation, two tests, and a final research project (see breakdown below).  Calvin College makes reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  Students should notify the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities and speak with me within the first two weeks of the semester.


Arrowsmith, William (ed.) Four Plays by Aristophanes. Plume, 1984.
Fitzgerald, Robert (trans)  The Aeneid: Virgil. Vintage Classics, 1990.
Grene, David and R. Lattimore (eds.)  Greek Tragedies, vol. 3, 2nd ed.  Univ. of Chicago, 1991. 
Kenney, E.J. (trans.)  Apuleius: The Golden Ass.  Penguin, 1998. 
Lombardo, Stanley (trans.)  Iliad: Homer. Hackett, 1997.  
Various Authors.  The Western World: Penguin Course Reader

Grading Breakdown:

Attendance and Participation:               20%
Midterm:                                                20%
Final Exam:                                           20%
Research Project:                                 40%           


DATE                                    ASSIGNMENT                                    TOPIC

February 2                        N/A                                                        Intro to Ancient Greek Epic
February 4                        Iliad 1-4                                                Quarrel and Plague
February 6                        Iliad 5-8                                                Diomedes and Aeneas
February 9                        Iliad 9-12                                              Embassy, Doloneia
February 11                      Iliad 13-16                                            Dios Apate, Patroclus
February 13                      Iliad 17-20                                            Armor for Achilles
February 16                        Iliad 21-24                                                End of the Wrath
February 18                        N/A                                                            Legacy of Homeric Poetry
February 20                        Overview of Research Project                   RESEARCH DAY
February 23                        Reader 1-8                                                Homer’s Odyssey; Nostoi
February 25                        handout                                                     Hesiod and Homeric Hymns
February 27                        Reader 9-24                                               Herodotus, Histories
March 2                        Reader 25-50                                                Thucydides, Peloponnesian War
March 4                        handout                                                         Tragedy; Aristotle, Poetics
March 6                        handout                                                         Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
March 9                        Greek Tragedies 43-106                           Sophocles, Philoctetes
March 11                        Greek Tragedies 191-260                        Euripides, Bacchae
March 13                        Greek Tragedies 263-313                        Euripides, Alcestis; Comedy
March 16                        Aristophanes 341-457                                 Aristophanes, Lysistrata
March 18                        Aristophanes 469-583                                 Aristophanes, Frogs
March 20                        Aristophanes 13-147                                    Aristophanes, Clouds
March 23                        SPRING BREAK
March 25                        SPRING BREAK
March 27                        SPRING BREAK
March 30                       Reader 51-64                                                Plato’s Socrates
April 1                           Research Prospectus                                    RESEARCH DAY
April 3                           Reader 65-101                                                Platonic Myth
April 6                           MIDTERM
April 8                         handout                                                            Roman Republic & Poetry
April 10                        GOOD FRIDAY-NO CLASS
April 13                        Aeneid 1-4                                                A Roman Odysseus
April 15                        Aeneid 5-8                                                From Underworld to Italy
April 17                        Progress Reports—updated research            RESEARCH DAY


April 20                        Aeneid 9-12                                                A Roman Achilles?
April 22                        Reader 102-139                                         Lucretius and Ovid
April 24                        Luke-Acts; Reader 140-169                        NT, Pliny, Tacitus, Plutarch
April 27                        Reader 170-184                                                Ancient Novel: Petronius
April 29                        ADVISING BREAK
May 1                          The Golden Ass 1-3                                    Lucius in Thessaly
May 4                                    The Golden Ass 4-6                                    Cupid and Psyche
May 6                                    The Golden Ass 7-9                                    Asinine Wanderings
May 8                                    The Golden Ass 10-11; Reader 185-209            Isis, Plotinus, Athanasius
May 11                                    Reader 210-243                                                Saint Augustine
May 13                                    REVIEW

FINAL EXAM:  Saturday, May 16th, 1:30pm




February 20th:            In-Class Overview of Research Project

March 2nd:             Author and General Topic Due

March 16th:            Tentative Thesis Statement Due

April 1st:             In-Class Individual Progress Reports
                                    --Polished Thesis Statement
                                    --Rudimentary Primary and Secondary Bibliography

April 17th:            In-Class Individual Progress Reports
                                    --Updated Bibliography
                                    --Summary of Opposing and Complementary Views
                                    --Opening 5 pages (at least) and Detailed Outline

May 1st:            RESEARCH PROJECTS DUE