You are here

CLAS 122 A: Gateway To The Ancient Greco-Roman World

Portraits of a female and a male standing next to each other, the female holding a writing tablet and the male holding a scroll
Meeting Time: 
to be arranged
* *
Catherine M. Connors

Syllabus Description:

Catherine Connors, Department of Classics, Denny Hall 262 B Office hours M 1-3 and by appointment. Also, I am the Undergraduate Adviser in Classics! 

This course provides an introduction to Greek and Roman ways of understanding and shaping the world. Art, architecture, literature, science, and religion, are used to examine ancient ideas about relationships between man and woman, free person and slave, native and foreigner, civilization and the natural world, mortal and divine. No prerequisites.

The Spring 2020 offering of Clas 122 will be taught entirely on-line as a group-start course: students will begin and end together. 

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • recognize, describe and analyze major features of ancient Greek and Roman religious, cultural, and political life across a variety of social, economic, gender, and ethnic categories
  • recognize, describe and analyze the operation of ideologies that shaped and constrained the experiences of individuals and groups in ancient Greek and Roman society
  • recognize, describe and analyze some important examples of the subsequent impact of ancient Greek and Roman ideologies

Required texts

  • Price and Thonemann, Birth of Classical Europe (available in UW Bookstore)
  • Euripides, Ion trans. W.S. di Piero with commentary by Peter Burian (available in UW Bookstore)
  •  excerpts from ancient Greek and Roman literary texts and a selection of scholarly articles, to be made available on Canvas, 

Academic Integrity: University of Washington students are expected to practice high standards of academic and professional honesty and integrity as outlined here:

Learning Support: Access and Accommodations

    • Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

      If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Course overview and navigation page

(still under construction as of 26 March 2020)

Classics 122: Gateway to the ancient Greek and Roman World, Spring 2020
Professor Catherine Connors, University of Washington Department of Classics, 206-913-9832

Click here for course policies

Download this page as a pdf here. If you would like to download the whole course to work off-line, you can see directions for doing that here. You do have to be online to submit answers to quizzes and to submit the writing assignments. If internet access is or becomes difficult for you, please call or text my phone number above so I can help you work out a plan for submitting work. 

Welcome to Classics 122. I sincerely appreciate your interest in this course and look forward to working with each of you.  I've collected here in the table below  links to everything that you need to do in the course.   Links are provided in the table to access all readings through Canvas. In case you haven't already purchased the course textbooks Birth of Classical Europe and Euripides' Ion I have included links to pdfs of the readings from those books in the table below. 
Due dates are listed at the right of each row of the table. Except at the beginning and end of the course, all due dates are on Sundays at 11:59 PM. I don't deduct points automatically for late submissions, but I do see in the gradebook if submissions are late (and how late) and that helps me see if I should check in with you about how things are going. 

Note: As the circumstances of our work together this term are very unusual, it may be necessary to make some changes to this schedule to accommodate challenges that may emerge during the term. 


Your grades will be calculated on the basis of 50% quizzes and 50% writing assignments. There is no midterm, final, or final project.  Quizzes are open book and timed (60 minutes). You see the questions in advance of the quiz on the guide for the quiz, and you can take the quiz two times.  Writing assignments ask you to answer straightforward questions about readings in ancient texts and engage in some reflection on what you have learned. 

Communication and Community building:

  1. Office Hours: Thurs 7:30-8:30 pm and Friday 2-4 pm. Although we have no real-time classroom sessions, I hope you will feel part of a learning community.  My office hours are being held on Zoom. Each week you should be able to click on the links above  to join the Zoom meeting. I can also make appointments to speak with you by phone or Zoom at other times if necessary.  You don't have to have a specific question to join the Zoom meeting; everyone is welcome to use this as a time for collegial socializing and discussion.  If people want to we could also use these zoom office hours as a work session for completing that week's writing assignment, so that you have me on hand  for consultation if a question comes up while you are writing.  There is a 'breakout room' structure in Zoom that I can use for questions that are best handled on an individual basis. If you cannot sign into Zoom you are welcome to call or text me at 206-913-9832 for questions or discussion. If doing more Zoom sessions would be helpful to people, I'm happy to accommodate that.
  2. Collaboration Groups. After you submit the introduction assignments, I will be using the Collaborations in Canvas to set up groups within the class. A few writing assignments ask you to collaborate as a group on a google document. My plan is that you will submit your own work separately as an assignment in addition to posting it in the google doc and that each person will receive their own grade for their own contribution.  Feel free to use these Collaborations  for discussion and socializing on other topics as well. I know in the in-person version of the class people really enjoyed the chance to share perceptions and perspectives on this material. You might find it helpful and enjoyable to meet over Zoom with members of your group or other classmates. UW students can sign into Zoom and schedule meetings at the UW Zoom sign-in page (Links to an external site.)
  3.  Informal communication: Social conversation is an important part of taking care of ourselves and others during this time. Discussion threads.You are not required to participate in discussion threads, but I have set some up so that we have a place to share and communicate informally about issues of interest in the course and beyond.   I also maintain a 'Coffee table' page where I post items that may be of interest to people wishing to explore further including books, articles and high quality podcasts. Feel free to let me know if you want to suggest something for the Coffee Table page. 

How I think about working in partnership with you this term:

I want to do everything I can to support you in having a successful and hopefully even enjoyable experience in this class. I feel lucky that I have been able to study these ancient materials and I want to share that experience with you.  Please let me know by email (sending from Canvas is easiest for me to see) or by phone/text to  206-913-9832 if you are having any challenges with the course material, internet access or other issues. Helping you be successful in this class under these very challenging circumstances is my very top work priority this term. 

I've taught the in-person version of this class several times, and it is not uncommon for students to feel that the readings are quite challenging especially at first. I have put a lot of effort into creating structures (especially short quizzes on readings) that are designed to help the work be doable, satisfying and engaging. If it's not working that way for you, please be in touch and I will be happy to help you  troubleshoot.

In previous in-person offerings of the class, student questions have alerted me to difficulties that I was eager to address once they were pointed out, so I thank you in advance for asking questions and promise to welcome all questions in a positive and grateful spirit. 

Course structure and schedule:

The table below includes the following items: 

  1. Lecture pages provide general orientation and illustrate sites and objects discussed in the readings. I converted my powerpoints to these lecture pages to make it as feasible as possible to view them on a phone. 
  2. Readings: mainly P&T (Price and Thonemann Birth of Classical Europe); some ancient texts are also treated as readings. Each reading has a reading guide page (that shows you what to focus on and previews the quiz questions)and a quiz that you need to take. Quiz questions include multiple choice and free response/short essay and other formats. Quizzes = 50% of your grade

  3. Writing assignments: Short straightforward writing assignments ask you to integrate information from the lecture pages and the readings into an analysis of selections (of varied lengths) from ancient Greek and Roman texts.  You will need time to read the ancient text (some short, some longer) and to write about it. Writing assignments = 50% of your grade. Rubric for the assessment of writing assignments is here

  4. Due date for everything in the row. Quizzes and assignments will remain open for the whole term but it is recommended that you strive to complete them on or close to the deadline. Points are not automatically deducted for late submissions, but I do see that they are late in the gradebook, and there may be delays in grading work submitted significantly after the posted due date. 
Lecture pages

Readings, reading guides, quizzes (50%) 

writing assignments(50%)

due date for everything in this row. 


Review the syllabus and this schedule. quiz (will not count toward the final grade)


Reflection on beginning the course (graded, but will not count toward the final grade) April 3 

The Bronze Age

Introduction to Homer 

P&T Ch 1: 11-26

 . guide. quiz 
P&T Ch 1: 27-44 . guide. quiz 


Odyssey 1-12 selections April 12


The Dark Age 

P&T Ch 2: 45-50 and 60-68guide.  quiz 


April 19 

The rise of the polis 

Classical Athens

P&T Ch 3: 77-85 and 100-108



guide.  quiz 

P&T 109-112, Ch 4: 113-27

 , guide. quiz.



April  26

Drama at Athens

Euripides Ion pdf.

 guide. quiz.


Euripides' Ion 

May  3

Gender, sexuality and the household at Athens

P&T Ch 4: 128-44

 . guide. quiz.


Aristotle, Politics, and on bees. guide. quiz

Menander, The Grumpy old Man (Dyskolos)

May  10

The Rise of the Roman Republic

P&T Ch 6: 175-95

 . guide. quiz
P&T Ch 6: 196-216 . guide. quiz.  



May 17

From Republic to Empire

P&T Ch 7: 217-239

 . guide. quiz


P&T Ch 7: 240-56

 . guide. quiz


Caesar, Tacitus, Strabo May 24 
The Roman Empire 

P&T Ch 8: 257-300

 . guide. quiz


Marcus Aurelius or Perpetua or Augustine

or Apuleius

May 31

The Later Roman Empire


P&T 296-300 and Ch 9: 301-334



guide. quiz

Talbot, Myth of Whiteness

Isaacs, Invention of Racism

guide.  quiz. 

1. reflection on completing the course 

2. Contribute to our virtual museum

3. anonymous course evaluation

June 7
Catalog Description: 
Introduction to Greek and Roman ways of understanding and shaping the world. Art, architecture, literature, science, and religion are used to examine ancient ideas about the relationships between man and woman, free person and slave, native and foreigner, civilization and the natural world, mortal and divine. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
February 4, 2020 - 1:13pm