Syllabus 1 2 3
  Strategies for success

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


Overview. The comedians of ancient Athens and Rome were poets of elegance, anger, obscenity, and morality. Despite these often contradictory messages, their plays have stood the test of time. In this course we shall survey the works of Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus and Terence. We shall approach the plays from different perspectives and contexts—historical, cultural, theatrica—in order to understand better how they function, not only as plays, but also as artifacts of individual artists and their societies. In addition, we shall augment our survey with the testimonies of a tragedian, Euripides, some of whose plays fall between comedy and tragedy.



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

  • to understand the content, form, scope and structure of Greek and Roman comedy;
  • to approach comedy as a vehicle for both narrative and social commentary, and to discern how it differs from other genres; and
  • to assess the value of comedy-in a sense, its timelessness-to modern audiences.

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 plan, execute, and complete a long-term project; and
  • to engage in and to facilitate group discussions and activities.
© 2000 Skidmore College Classics Department