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Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS)

CAMS 025 (GH;IL) Greek Civilization (3) The origin and development of the ancient Greek people; their political and social institutions, public and private life.

CAMS 025 Greek Civilization (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Greek Civilization, CAMS 025 GH;GI, is an interdisciplinary and multimedia introduction to the major features of Greek civilization and its importance to the Western heritage. It shows how the ideals, achievements, but also the failures of ancient Greeks have shaped the values of Western civilization. The course begins with an overview of the geography of the areas around the Mediterranean Sea that were inhabited by Greeks in antiquity, the reasons for the location of major settlements, and an introduction to the precursors of the Hellenic peoples, such as the Minoans, whose cultural achievements preceded and influenced the earliest Greeks. The course then follows the 1,500-year long development of Greek history, literature, philosophy, art and archaeology from its early stages in the second millennium B.C.E. through the Hellenistic period. The course presents the political, social, religious, and economic structures of ancient Greece and issues of gender, slavery, foreigners, colonization, and imperial ambition that reward modern re-evaluation. The course particularly emphasizes the development of the Greek city-state, the polis, the unique political system of democracy, and the tension between the individual and the state through the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E. that saw its greatest successes and the failures that led to the death of Socrates in 399 B.C.E. In this course students may gain an appreciation for the greatest achievements of Greek culture in the fields of literature and philosophy, in the work of poets from Homer and Hesiod to Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides and from the great Ionian thinkers such as Thales to philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. Because classical culture constitutes a major influence on modern western civilization, such study enables us to see where various aspects of our own society come from and so better understand ourselves. This course, then, emphasizes the similarities between the ancient Greeks and the modern world, thereby establishing the relevance of this study, while at the same time pointing out the differences between these two cultures, thereby providing the critical distance necessary for reflecting on ourselves.

In this course students prepare group projects and oral presentations and write essays that involve the use of library and Web-based tools such as Perseus, an extensive electronic resource for all aspects of ancient Greek culture. In this course students will read (English translations of) original Greek texts, will view many examples of Greek art, architecture, and artifacts, and will hear examples of music based on literary or mythological themes that originated with the Greeks. Through the readings, lectures, and discussions, students may learn methods for interpreting the historiographical, literary, and material evidence upon which we base our understanding of the ancient Greeks.

General Education: GH
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Summer 2005

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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