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GREEK 463 A: Hellenistic Greek Literature

Character depicted from Hellenistic Greek Literature
Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
DEN 256
Clauss with students in Rome
James J. Clauss

Syllabus Description:

Greek 463 Hellenistic Literature

Spring 2020

MW 2:30-4:00


Instructor: James J. Clauss, Department of Classics

Office: Denny Hall M262F (difficult to find); tel. 543-2266 (department office phone)


Office Hours: MW 1:30-2:20 (please email if you want to e-chat at this time and always feel free to email any time)

Monday May 25 is a holiday


Required Texts:


R.L. Hunter, Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica Book III Cambridge 1989 [available on Amazon for $33.92]

  1. Race, Apollonius Rhodius Argonautica Loeb Classical Library (online)




Goals of the Class:


The only complete ancient epic between Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Vergil’s Aeneid is Apollonius’ Argonautica. The poem represents the poetic sensitivities of its time and includes references not only to archaic and classical literature but also engages with contemporary works (e.g., Aratus, Callimachus, Theocritus). Moreover, Vergil owed a great debt to Apollonius in the Aeneid, especially in Book 4 where Jason and Medea offer a model for Aeneas and Dido. So a major goal is to gain an understanding of the poem not only in its content but also in its style and intertextuality to appreciate how it was received in antiquity.




Grading will be based on the following:


Midterm, Monday May 4 through Canvas, 40%

Final, Tuesday June 9 through Canvas, completed by 4:20 PM, 40%

Final paper, due on Friday June 5 by 5:00 PM, 20%


Because we are dealing with a remote class, I will forgo oral presentations and concentrate on a close reading of the entire Argonautica in both Greek and English. Final papers will be on a topic of interest for each student. Since access to the library is minimal, I’ll ask that papers focus on issues of interest that can be studied from the text itself. Such issues may include examinations of Jason (as hero or non-hero), Medea, Heracles, the Gods, Peleus and Thetis, or a study of a specific episode (e.g., Medea’s falling in love). And the papers do not have to focus on Book 3.


For readings, those in Book 3 are in Greek, except for the final reading of the book in preparation for the last day of class. Readings from the other books are in English.




                                                Monday                                   Wednesday


Week 1                                    Introduction                             AR 3.1-31 (Greek)

  1. AR. 1-233 (English)


Week 2                                    AR. 3.32-82                             AR 3.83-110

                                                AR 1.234-447                          AR. 1.448-608


Week 3                                    AR. 3.111-66                           AR 3.167-209

  1. AR. 1.609-921 AR922-1152


Week 4                                    AR 3.210-59                            AR 3.260-298

  1. AR. 1.1153-1363 AR1-177


Week 5                                    AR 3.299-366                          AR 3.367-421

  1. AR. 2.178-536 AR537-910


Week 6                                    AR 3.422-74                            AR 3.475-514

  1. AR. 2.911-1285 AR1-240


Week 7                                    AR 3.515-67                            AR 3.568-615

  1. AR. 4.241-521             AR522-752


Week 8                                    AR 3.616-73                            AR 3.674-717

  1. AR. 4.753-981 AR982-1220


Week 9                                    Holiday                                   AR 3.718-70                           

                                                                                                AR 4.1221-1536


Week 10                                  AR 3.771-827                          AR 3.828-1407 (English)

                                                AR 4.1537-1781


Important UW policy-related things to know:

  • The UW's Religious Accommodations Policy:“Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (Links to an external site.).”
  • The UW's Student Conduct Code: "The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals. Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution. More information can be found online at"(Links to an external site.)
  • Access and Accommodation: 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  (Links to an external site.)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.


Academic Integrity: University of Washington students are expected to practice high standards of academic and professional honesty and integrity as outlined here: (Links to an external site.)

Catalog Description: 
Readings and discussion of selected authors of the Hellenistic Age.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 29, 2020 - 2:52pm