CLAS / HIST 157   The Athenian Century

James Romm

. T . Th .

9:00 -10:20 am

PRE 101


Cross-listed: History   In the fifth century BCE, Athens dramatically developed from a small, relatively unimportant city-state into a dominant power in the Aegean basin.  Athenian political, artistic, literary, and intellectual traditions continue to reverberate through the world today: democracy, tragedy and comedy, rhetoric, philosophy, and history itself, as well as the classical style of sculpture and architecture stem from this remarkable culture.  The course will confront some of the ambiguities and tensions (slavery, exclusion of women and non-citizens from political power), as well as the glories, of Athenian art, literature, and history during this period.



CLAS 226   Virgil, Augustine, Dante

Joseph Luzzi / Benjamin Stevens

. T . Th .

1:00 -2:20 pm

OLIN 202


Cross-listed: Italian, Literature  An intensive study of Virgil's Aeneid (published c. 19 BCE), Augustine's Confessions (c. CE 397), and Dante's Divine Comedy (completed c. CE 1321). Although the texts span centuries and disparate cultures, they are a natural triad whose readings richly harmonize with each other and whose reading, all together, raises fundamental questions for literature, literary history, and the humanities. In this course we explore not only the lines of continuity between ancient and more modern cultures, but also the ways in which Augustine and Dante refashioned their literary inheritance -- specifically Virgilian, more generally Greco-Roman -- in light of the changing concerns of their times. In general we ask, How may the present sympathize with the past, or the modern world draw inspiration from antiquity, in light of changed worldviews and premises, or promises, that no longer seem relevant or valid? Our topics include tradition, innovation, and literary translation; natural mortality, and immortality in culture; the past and its relationship to the present and future; piety or duty and desire; the capacity of art to capture lived experience, and the tendency to read experience as art; free will, fate, and grace; the changing status and purpose of language and literature over time; and the human struggle, both individual and social, to live in and leave behind a meaningful world. In addition to the three primary texts, we consider select scholarship, criticism, and 'creative' responses to them. All readings in English; optional concurrent tutorials on select passages in the original Latin and/or Italian. No prerequisites.