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GREEK 463 A: Hellenistic Greek Literature

The School of Athens, painting by Raphael
Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
SAV 141
James J. Clauss

Syllabus Description:

Greek 463 Diogenes Laertius

Spring 2022

MW 2:30-4:20

Sav 141

Instructor: James J. Clauss, Department of Classics

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


Office Hours: zoom by appointment

Holidays: Monday, May 30


Required Texts:


Pamela Mensch (tr.) 2018. Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. Diogenes Laertius. Oxford.




Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar Harvard University Press 1920 (on-line at Hathi Trust Digital Library:


H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, Greek-English Lexicon is available on line at:


The Perseus Project:


The Perseus Project also has the text of Diogenes Laertius, with morphological and lexical help.


The Loeb Classical Library is available through the UW Library:

For the Prologue, see page 7 under Diogenes Laertius, for the lives of Thales and Solon, see page 6.


Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford: OUP 4th ed. 2012 (3rd ed. revised 2003), also at the UW Library:


Goals of the Course:


  • To increase facility in reading Greek prose by building vocabulary and familiarity with Greek morphology (forms), grammar and syntax.
  • To read one of the very important books in the history of Greek philosophy that survives intact.
  • To learn about some of the most influential Greek philosophers whose writings, which in most cases are not extant, set the conversation for later European and American natural and moral philosophy thanks to their preservation Diogenes Laertius. For this class, we will read the Preface (Proemium) and the lives of Thales and Solon.







Midterm (May 3): 25%

Final (Tuesday, June 7, 2:30- 4:20): 25%

Oral Presentation: summary and evaluation of one of the essays in the back of the book: 10%

Final Paper: (5-6 pages; due Friday of the last week of class): 20%

Participation: 20%


The topics of the final paper will emerge during the quarter. Note that, depending on your level of exposure, you may not complete class assignments. Read as much as you can in Greek and the rest in English. Your ability to read will improve as we move through the readings.


Schedule of Readings:


                        Monday          Wednesday   


Week 1            Intro                1.1-3


Week 2            1.4-8                1.9-11


Week 3            1.12-16            1.17-19


Week 4            1.20-24            1.25-27


Week 5            1.28-32            1.33-35


Week 6            Midterm          1.36-38


Week 7            1.39-43            1.44-46


Week 8            1.47-51            1.52-54


Week 9            1.55-59            1.60-62


Week 10          Holiday           1.63-67


Important UW policy-related things to know:

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.) (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.


Catalog Description: 
Readings and discussion of selected authors of the Hellenistic Age.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
January 18, 2022 - 9:52am