Prof. Leslie Mechem Ladd 211 x5464
lmechem@skidmore.edu Hours: MWF 10-11

Web Resources


This course serves as a corollary to CL200, "The Classical World," and focuses on many of the allegedly "modern" issues of family life--such as divorce, remarriage, infidelity, rebellious children and aging parents--in ancient Greece and Rome. These issues were just as problematic for the ancient Greeks and Romans as they are for us today. In this Honors workshop we will examine the nature of the Greek (oikos) and Roman (domus) households and the complex relationships that made up the center of private life in antiquity. In both Greece and Rome, men's lives were lived mainly in the public domain, while the existence of women, children, and slaves was confined for the most part to the house. We will analyze the dynamics of power between public and private as well as the roles of each member of the household in order to determine the extent of influence and importance the family, which was controlled and managed by women, exerted on society as a whole. This will work hand-in-hand with the theme of "community" for this year's "Classical World," for in the end our frame of reference will be the public and private nature both of the family-as-community and the family within a larger community.

Course Objectives:


  • to understand the sources - literary, historical, archaeological, sociological -for the study of the ancient family and view them in ther social and historical contexts
  • to recognize the components of the ancient Greek and Roman households and their relationships within external communities
  • to assess scholarship that draws upon this evidence
  • to develop cross-cultural comparisons between Greek and Roman notions of the family


  • to communicate in classroom discussion
  • to develop critical thinking abilities and learn to articulate them orally and in written form
  • to conduct research by traditional and digital methods