History, Culture, and Literature of Greece in the Classical Age


Greece during the Classical Age (490-322 B.C.E.) was one of the most fertile and productive societies in the history of the world, and its contributions continue to be central to Western civilization. From it we get democracy, trial by randomly chosen and paid jury, the writing of history, philosophy in the Western tradition, mathematics, medicine and medical ethics, the theater with comedy and tragedy, the idea and ideal of higher education, lyric and epic poetry, a great deal of vocabulary, and much more.

This course will focus on the history of the period and how the conditions, beliefs, and life experiences of the people shaped the extraordinary literature, architecture, sculpture, culture, and pottery that still awe us today. Students will read some of the great Greek literature of the period, concentrating on three areas in which the Greeks produced classics: history, philosophy, and the theater. Readings will include passages from the ancient historians Herodotus and Thucydides. For philosophy, students will read one of Plato’s Dialogues, as well as the Apology. For theater, they will read a total of nine plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes.

The beautiful visual culture of ancient Greece will be illustrated with thousands of photographs from the Royal Fireworks archive of more than half a million images of artifacts and archaeological sites of the ancient world.

Class Meetings: Mondays, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Fall Semester: September 11 – December 11, 2023
Spring Semester:
January 8 – May 6, 2024

Student Support: The instructor is available via email and individual conferences.

Materials: All of the readings will be downloadable from the internet.


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