Overview of 400 level Latin and Greek courses

The Department offers a year long sequence of courses in Latin and in Greek at the 400 level that are designed to allow students to explore the major periods and authors of Classical antiquity. Faculty work together each year to provide a varied and cohesive mix of authors and activities that provide students with a satisfying one year sequence. Authors chosen for each course in the sequence vary from year to year, so students have the option to take courses in the sequence second time without repeating material.

See below for student perspectives on the year's work in 2015-2016. 

Overview of 400 level Latin and Greek courses 2015-16

Latin 461: Latin Literature of the Republic

Cicero's Catilinarians i-iv (Stroup AU 2015)

In the year 63 BCE, a young man named Catiline plotted to overthrow the Roman Republic . The only thing that stood between Roman and destruction was Cicero, or so Cicero tells us. In four speeches Cicero denounces Catiline's conspiracy and foiled the plot. Through extended readings in each of Cicero's four speeches against Catiline, we studied the political and social background of these exciting events. We came away with a strong understanding of Roman rhetorical practices and devices, and how speech becomes more powerful when the speaker carefully calculates the effect his words will have on their audience. It was fun to delve deeply into the language and strategies that Cicero used too.

 Latin 462 Latin Literature of the Augustan Era 

Ovid The King of Augustan Elegy (Hinds W 2016)

Ovid is one of the world's most intelligent and mischievous poets, and at the height of his powers he was exiled by the emperor Augustus. Building on what we had learned about Ovid's Metamorphoses in earlier courses we read selections from his works in the elegiac meter. His poems on how to succeed in love allowed us to step into day to day life in Rome's  streets, theaters, race course, dinner parties and parks. It was exciting to see how Ovid used the Latin language to create vivid and powerful scenes of love and life in Rome. We had a lot of choice in writing short and compelling reviews of Ovid's most captivating scenes and in designing paper topics.

Latin 463: Latin Literature of the Imperial Period (Connors SP 2016)

Apuleius was too curious for his own good. Accused of bewitching his college friend's mother into marrying him he was tried for his life. His novel, the Metamorphoses, which tells of how a young man  is turned into a ass because of a misunderstanding about magic, is one of the earliest pieces of fiction in the western tradition. It is cool because it is full of playful and surprising descriptions of all kinds of households in the Roman world and lots of stories within the story. The tale of Cupid and Psyche, the original Beauty and the Beast, combines philosophical and allegorical ideas with sharp and funny slices of Roman life. We were encouraged to explore creative interests to produce a final project in our choice of format.

 Greek 461: Archaic Greek Literature: Homer (Levaniouk AU 2015)

The Odyssey is one of the foundational poems of the Greek literary tradition, and through translating selections from book one and all of book six, we studied the linguistic history behind the fusion of the different Greek dialects for metrical reasons within the text. We observed literary patterns as evidence of the Odyssey’s evolution as an oral epic during discussions on the existence of “Homer.” Professor Levaniouk pushed us to think critically about how the Odyssey opens windows into the early Greek past. She provided to her students the tools needed to do close commentaries of certain passages of the text, ranging from an examination of how the epithet is indicative of how it could have been from a displacement of a prior pre-Greek religious cult concerning the epithet of Hermes as the slayer of Argus, to the comparison of the sacrificial scene in the Underworld to actual Greek cult practices in regards to sacrifices made to Underworld gods.

 Greek 462: Classical Athenian Literature: Thucydides (Hollmann W 2016)

 We read the history of the Peloponnesian War as detailed by Thucydides, the first Greek historian to attempt an objective account of the war with precision of facts (τηχμερίον). We read key passages from the important junctures of the war, such as Pericles’ funeral oration, the Athenian plague, the Melian dialogue, the mutilation of the herms, and the invasion and disaster of the Syracuse expedition. Professor Hollmann led us in discussions of history, culture, and especially the geo-politics of the war concerning the differences between Sparta, Athens, and the ways in which these two powers interacted with their allies/subjects and with each other. We were encouraged to engage with the text by examining the arguments made by opposing sides as presented by Thucydides, making detailed observations and conclusions about who we thought Thucydides was highlighting as the “correct” view of geo-politics and diplomacy.

 Greek 463: Hellenistic Poetry (Clauss SP 2016)

We read a selection of Hellenistic poets including Callimachus, Aratus, Theocritus, as well as other prominent neoteric poets. The Hellenistic literary tradition was essential for the development of Roman literature as we know it today, providing new ground-breaking ideas about genre, subjects, art versus imitation and realism versus idealism, the importance of words and allusion, and the reflection and reuse of traditional stories in novel perspectives. The culture and politics of the period supported and shaped the authors in their endeavor to redefine Greek literature.