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HI201 GREEK HISTORY

Prof. Michael Arnush Ladd 209 x5462
marnush@skidmore.edu Hrs.: W9.00 Th8.30 F2.30


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READINGS:

Readings are drawn from the five required texts, Tom Martin's on-line Overview of Archaic and Greek Classical History (Perseus, 1994), and the occasional print or electronic "handout." Please complete the readings by the time of the listed class meeting, for electronic and in-class discussions depend on a full grasp of the reading assignments.
Leave yourself sufficient time to read, and find a quiet place in which to do so. Don't leave the reading until just before class; reading under pressure is a waste of time. Take thorough notes as you read, so you can return to them later to review essential texts for the papers and exams.
A few comments on the readings: Martin's textbook is a straight-forward treatment of Greek history. He draws first upon the literary and epigraphic (inscriptional) sources, then upon archaeological evidence. His strongest suits are his understanding of the complexity of the issues, his grasp of political relationships in ancient Greece and his use of the sources. This is particularly true of his on-line text: some of the prose is similar to what you will read in the print version, but it successfully integrates links to the primary sources in the Perseus database to support his arguments.
Herodotus and Thucydides remain some of the most critical contributors to the study of history: Herodotus is still called the "Father of History" (though the great Roman statesman Marcus Cicero dubbed him the "Father of Lies"!), and Thucydides crafted a literary political history that was a watershed in Greek self-awareness and one that remains a benchmark for historiography (the study of history). They did not write their texts with a course in Greek history in mind, so you cannot expect the books' structures to mirror perfectly a college syllabus. Be patient and enjoy them.
The Dillon & Garland sourcebook provides excerpts of the most critical sources for the study of Greek history: historians, biographers, geographers, poets, orators and philosophers all are represented here. As excerpts, these passages are usually out of context and require some flexibility by the reader. Translated documents, such as inscriptions, also appear frequently, and these are sometimes very fragmentary and require a thoughtful reconstruction of the text.
Finally, for pure pleasure, I have selected a recently-published novel, Gates of Fire, that I think is simply brilliant. It conveys the tenor of the times, and particularly the quality of war, in remarkable fashion. The critical moment of the text, the battle of Thermopylae of 480 BCE, will only receive attention one day in class (late October), so you will want to have completed the novel by then.