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Instructor: Professor Dan Curley
Office: 210 Ladd Hall
Extension: 5463


Overview. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? These are essential questions of and about our times, especially now that we stand at the threshold of a new century—to say nothing of a new millenium. Yet these questions are not ours. They have been asked over and over, generation by generation, people by people. The most famous inquirers were the ancient Greeks and Romans, from whom the western tradition inherited not only the substance of the questions, but also their spirit.

This course serves as an introduction to classical Greece and Rome. The focus of the course is Greek and Latin literature and art within its larger social and historical contexts. Readings in English will include various genres of both poetry (epic, lyric, tragedy and comedy) and prose (letters, oratory, history, and philosophical and political treatises). The physical remains of classical antiquity (art, artifacts, and monuments) will also receive due attention. Our ultimate goal is to understand the creators of these works in relation to ourselves. What we discover will inspire and delight you; it will also no doubt surpise, and even shock.

Each year the Classical World course has a theme. This year's theme is "Journeys." Throughout the term we shall consider many different implications of this word, from the literal—travels from one location to another—to the more figurative—journeys across time, or across ideas. Although we might not answer the ultimate question "Where are we going?", we shall nevertheless make good progress toward answering "Where do we come from?"



Objectives. The specific goals for this course are as follows:

  • to explore the classical world through literature, art, and history;
  • to view the remains of the ancient world in their cultural contexts; and
  • to assess the debt of the modern world to antiquity.

Furthermore, students will obtain and exercise the following skills:

  • to think critically; that is, to evaluate and analyze carefully and precisely;
  • to communicate critical thinking in oral presentations and written essays;
  • to conduct research via traditional and digital methods, and
  • to engage in and to facilitate group discussions and activities.
© 2000 Skidmore College Classics Department