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Classics Department
 

Bird with Swag, Oplontis

Suggested Courses

In their first semester, students interested in classics should take Latin and one of the departmental courses on mythology, literature, or history. Can't decide which language to begin? Click here! In the spring, students should continue their study of Latin, and/or begin their study of Greek, enroll in the gateway to the major, CC 200 The Classical World, take a course on art and archaeology or another course in ancient history. We recommend that you study only one ancient language in your first year at Skidmore.

Fall Semester

Language

CL 110 Elementary Latin. 4 credits
Latin, the root of the Romance languages of French, Spanish, and Italian, and the language of the sciences and medicine, lies at the heart of Western civilization. The study of Latin and Roman culture leads to a greater understanding of our own literature and civilization, improves writing and reading skills, and helps to develop precise thinking. Students in this course will acquire the basics of Latin grammar and vocabulary while reading selected prose passages and poems by Cicero, Catullus, Vergil, Martial, and Caesar. If you've never taken Latin, or only had 1–2 years before Skidmore, this is the course for you.

CL 310 Advanced Latin Poetry or CL 311 Advanced Latin Prose. 4 credits
If you have studied Latin for four years or more, this might be the appropriate course for you. Each semester we offer one advanced Latin seminar, either in poetry or prose, on various authors and literary works. Please check with Professor Michael Arnush, department chair, to see if this is the right level of Latin for you.

Literature

CC 220 Classical Mythology. 3 credits
What defines a myth? Who are the major deities and what are the foundational myths of ancient Greece? What is the social and historical context of these myths? Did the Greeks believe that the tales of Troy and the heroes were true? How should we interpret these stories? These are a few of the questions we will consider in our exploration of classical mythology. Through text and image we will investigate gods, heroes, and heroines to acquire an understanding of the critical role myth played in the lives of the Greeks and how those stories still resonate today. Fulfills the Humanities requirement.

History (offered in alternating years)

HI 203 Rise of Athens. 3 credits
A study of Greece with a focus on Athens from the Mycenaean age to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. Students examine the heroic age, the development of the city-state, the origins of democracy, the nature of imperialism, intellectual and cultural achievements, economic conditions, and family life. Special emphasis is given to the study of the ancient sources: literary, historiographic, archaeological, and numismatic. Fulfills the Social Science requirement. Counts toward the history and international affairs majors.

HI 205 Rise of Rome. 3 credits
Cicero described history as "the witness of the past, the light of truth, the survival of memory, the teacher of life, the message of antiquity." This interpretation of history will guide us as we explore the contributions of the Romans to western civilization. We will examine the first 500 years of Rome's history—from the mythical Romulus, to the domination of the Republic over the Mediterranean world and central Europe, to the Republic's collapse and replacement by the Empire. We will examine such topics as Etruscan civilization, Roman foreign relations, social and political institutions, the emergence of Latin literature, and the destructive power of partisan politics. The course concludes with a role-playing game, Beware The Ides of March, where students assume the roles of Roman politicians deciding the fate of the Republic in the wake of the assassination of Julius Caesar. Fulfills the Social Science requirement. Counts toward the history and international affairs majors.


 Spring Semester

Languagechoose one

CL 210 Intermediate Latin. 4 credits
Students will refine their mastery of Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. We will explore the lives of women and slaves, the role of the family and education in Roman life, religion, justice and Christianity. We will then turn to Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, a fascinating study of the differences between Romans and barbarians. Prerequisite: CL 110 or permission of the chair.

CL 310 Advanced Latin Poetry or CL 311 Advanced Latin Prose. 4 credits
If you have studied Latin for four years or more, this might be the appropriate course for you. Each semester we offer one advanced Latin seminar, either in poetry or prose. Please check with Professor Michael Arnush, department chair, to see if this is the right level of Latin for you.

CG 110 Elementary Greek. 4 credits
Why study ancient Greek? To study Greek is to study ourselves as creators, leaders, thinkers, and as humans. Greek sharpens awareness and understanding of how languages work and offers speakers of English the opportunity to rediscover their own language; over thirty percent of all English words (particularly those of the sciences and humanities) are formed from ancient Greek roots. Students learn the syntax and grammar of Attic Greek, the dialect of Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, in an effort to prepare them to read Homer, Plato, Sophocles and the New Testament.

Civilization

CC 200 Classical World. 3 credits
This gateway to the classics major offers an introduction to classical antiquity for students interested in ancient Greece and Rome, the impact of antiquity on Medieval and Renaissance Europe, and a general background in the Western tradition. This interdisciplinary course, team-taught by faculty from the Classics Department, includes studies in literature (epic, dramatic, and lyric poetry, rhetoric, and fiction), history and historiography, art and architecture, philosophy and political theory. Podcasts, travel to NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the annual David H. Porter Lecture all complement the course. Fulfills the Humanities requirement. Fulfills writing requirement in the major with CC 365.

Art & Archaeology (offered in alternating years)

AH 222 Greek Art and Archaeology. 3 credits
This class provides an exploration of the major developments in architecture, sculpture, and painting from Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations through the Hellenistic period. Attention is given to the influences on Greek art from the East and to the influence of Greek art on other cultures. Fulfills the Humanities requirement.

AH 223 Roman Art and Archaeology. 3 credits
An exploration of the major developments in architecture, sculpture, and painting beginning with the Villanovan and Etruscan cultures and continuing through the Republic and Empire (fourth century CE). Topics covered include wall painting, narrative sculpture, city planning, and the development of art for and by the masses. Fulfills the Humanities requirement.

History (offered in alternating years)

HI 204 Athens, Alexander the Great, and Cleopatra. 3 credits
A study of Greece from the Peloponnesian War to the end of Greek independence. Students examine the war between Athens and Sparta and its aftermath, the struggle for preeminence among Greek city-states, the rise of Macedonia, the monarchies of Philip and his son Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic kingdoms, the development of scientific thought, and the last "Greek" monarch, Cleopatra of Egypt. Special emphasis is given to the study of the ancient sources: literary, historiographic, archaeological, and numismatic. Fulfills the Social Science requirement. Counts toward the history and international affairs majors.

HI 206 Fall of Rome. 3 credits
A study of Rome from the foundation of the empire by Augustus until the sack of the city of Rome and the empire’s demise. Students examine the Julio-Claudian and succeeding emperors, political intrigue in the imperial court, the development of an imperial mindset and responses to it in the provinces, the multiculturalism of the empire, social and political institutions, the evolution of Roman culture, the rise of Christianity and the end of the empire. Special emphasis is given to the study of the ancient sources: literary, historiographic, archaeological, and numismatic. Fulfills the social science requirement. Counts toward the history and international affairs majors.


 Scribner Seminars

Scribner Seminars are designed to teach first-semester Skidmore students to think critically, to write effectively, and to speak in class with confidence. Some recent seminar titles offered by the classics faculty:

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