Prof. Michael Arnush Ladd 209 x5462
marnush@skidmore.edu Hours: Tu W 11.00
Web Resources


Over the course of the semester you will develop your ability to read continuous Greek prose clearly and cogently, and to understand Herodotus' work in the context of the development of the genre of history and the events that shaped his world. The course requirements are designed to help you sharpen these skills. You will take one midterm and one final exam, which will focus your attention on grammar, syntax and vocabulary, and coherent prose translations. You will write one-page essays weekly as a presentation of a work of scholarship, thus honing your writing skills and your ability to understand and synthesize scholarly arguments. Finally, you will write and present a final paper which will expand on one of your weekly essays and in so doing draw upon all of these skills:

  • comprehension of Greek grammar and syntax
  • ability to translate Greek in nuanced ways
  • use of electronic and print search engines and sources to identify relevant scholarship
  • sophisticated interpretation of relevant scholarship
  • writing and oral presentation skills
Class participation includes preparation of readings and assignments, and participation in readings, translations and discussions in the classroom. Obviously, if you do not attend class you can not participate. You may take 2 absences from the classroom during the semester without penalty. After two absences, each absence will result in a lowering of the class participation component of 20% by one full grade. Come to class.
Each week, beginning in week 3, you will submit a one-page paper on the discussion question for that week. These are due electronically by 5 PM Wednesday, and should be distributed to the entire class via e-mail.

What I'm looking for in these papers is a single, strong, argumentative point, based on your own attentive, independent reading of the text, and supported with a few well-chosen pieces of evidence. You should engage with the assigned scholarship, but don't simply regurgitate it. The role of scholarship is to inform and inspire your thinking, not to replace it.

Obviously a single page isn't enough space to develop a major argument. Instead, think of these as your first entry into that week's discussion, and be ready to develop and defend your point further in class. But you should also choose a thesis that you can articulate clearly in a single page. Think small and precise — no sweeping generalizations! Also, don't waste time on summarizing the entire article — get in, make your point, defend it, and get out.

These essays will form the basis for our discussions on Thursday, so get in the habit of reading each other's papers before class; come to class with a copy of everyone's paper, and be ready to engage seriously with your colleagues' observations.

The midterm exam, to be given on October 28th just after the study break on the 24th, will be designed for you to show off your best work. The exam will include a variety of tasks - translation of a few passages, attention to grammar and syntax, and an essay on something drawn from our discussions and readings up to that point. The final exam will follow a similar format and is set for December 16th (1.30-4.30pm).
The final project for this class will be to expand one of your short essays into a mid-length research paper (6-8 pp.). Developing and supporting your argument will almost certainly require you to explore the secondary (and perhaps primary) literature beyond the assigned class reading, and you may decide to raise a different question than the one that prompted your essay, but the core of your paper should be your own close, careful engagement with Herodotus' text and the scholarly article you have chosen as the foundation for your research.

Some milestones for the project (dates TBD):

  • Topic
    One paragraph declaring which essay you've decided to develop, and outlining the precise question you intend to focus on, the approach you plan to take, and any expected conclusions. This paragraph should be the outcome of some thoughtful preliminary work. Note: You may choose to write your paper on a question we haven't covered yet in class. In that case, you should have done the relevant primary and secondary readings and begun to think about them by this point. Think of the work it'll save you later in the semester!
  • Rough draft
    A working version of the project. All matters pertaining to structure and content should at least be settled, if not fully developed. Some gaps here and there are acceptable, provided that there are summaries of what is missing. The topic, approach, evidence, and supporting materials should all be evident. A bibliography of all secondary sources should accompany the rough draft.
  • Presentations
    The last week of class will be devoted to short (5-7 min.) presentations describing your projects and their most interesting results for the rest of the class.
  • Final Version
    A polished version of your project (electronic submission ok).

Participation 20%
Presentation of scholarship 20%
Midterm exam 20%  
Final exam 20%  
Final project 20%  
As you hone your skills as a reader of Greek you will develop your own perspectives, methodologies and solutions to some of the vexing questions that the study of language, literature and culture raises. It is absolutely essential that you take credit for your own work, and give credit to others when you draw upon their ideas and words.

Accordingly, plagiarism and cheating of all sorts will not be tolerated in this course and are grounds for an "F". Be sure to read carefully the Academic Integrity and Ethics of Scholarship webpages.

All members of the College community are bound by Skidmore's Honor Code, included here:

"I hereby accept membership in the Skidmore College Community and, with full realization of the responsibilities inherent in membership, do agree to adhere to honesty and integrity in all relationships, to be considerate of the rights of others, and to abide by the college regulations."