CLAS 250 Rhetoric and Public Speaking

Professor: William Mullen

CRN: 12125

Time: Tu 10:30 am - 12:00 pm LC 206
Th 10:30 am - 12:30 pm LC 206

This is a course in both theory and practice of public speaking, with equal emphasis on both aspects and with one meeting per week devoted to each. As practice the course will ask students to give speeches in various genres, from presentation of information before small groups to formal addresses recommending courses of action to deliberative assemblies. Videos of the speeches given will be used in the process of critiquing them. As theory the course will move through the texts of actual orations and of theoretical treatises on the nature of rhetoric, by Greek, Roman and American theorists and orators such as Demosthenes, Aristotle, Cicero, and Martin Luther King. The emphasis will be on rhetoric as embodied not in written documents but in the spoken word itself. Some time will be spent with tapes and videos of important speeches of the 20th century, including whatever of significance happens to be televised during the semester. Enrollment will have to be limited to nine students in order to give enough time for each student to practice speaking each week.


CLAS 285 Fifth Century Athens: Drama and Society

Professor: Carolin Hahnemann

CRN: 12355

Time: Tu Th 1:20 pm - 2:40 pm OLIN 107

Cross-listed: Literature, History
The most popular form of art is tragedy; it has the most powerful influence on the audience - Plato. The clear distinction between historical and literary writing is a modern concept that was not operative in fifth-century Athens. The Athenians regarded attendance at the annual performance of tragedies and comedies as a civic duty of importance equal to their participation in the political councils. Thus the stage offered an excellent venue to celebrate or criticize contemporary events, to praise or ridicule politicians. In this course we will read plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes with special attention to their political and social context. The "literary" account of an event we will then compare with the "historical" one presented by Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristotle, and Plutarch.


CLAS 301 Advanced Classical Studies

Professor: William Mullen

CRN: 12356

Time: by arrangement

Directed readings of texts in Greek, Latin, or English, which are important in laying the basis for moderated Classics students' Senior Projects. Students will break up into small groups for different readings most of the time; occasionally we will all reassemble for integrative conversations on what has been learned about research methods and about classical culture in general.


HIST 134 The Ancient Near East

Professor: Eric Orlin

CRN: 12257

Time: Wed Fri 10:30 am - 12:00 pm OLIN 205

Cross-listed: Classical Studies, Jewish Studies, Religion
The civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia which developed in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley and of Egypt in the Nile river valley are the oldest known to man, dating back prior to 3000 B.C. These two great civilizations were long established as powerful kingdoms before the appearance of other cultures, including the Assyrians, the Israelites, and Persians. The history of the ancient Near East is the story of the continual cultural contact among these civilizations, with each culture developing its own distinctive traits from these interchanges. It is also the story of constant conflict, as each kingdom sought to replace the others as the dominant territorial power. This course will examine these early civilizations, the issues that each society grappled with and the legacy that each left behind. Among the topics to be considered are the origins of "civilization" and its causes; the impact of environment on cultural development; social and political structures; religious beliefs, including the development of monotheism; artistic and cultural achievements; and the reliability of the Old Testament as a historical source. Readings will be drawn from documents left by each society, including the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and the Old Testament.


HIST 218 Power and Corruption in the Roman Empire

Professor: Eric Orlin

CRN: 12261

Time: Tu Th 2:50 pm - 4:10 pm OLIN 303

Cross-listed: Classical Studies, Italian Studies
This course resumes the introduction to the world of the Roman Empire, covering the period from the peak of its domination of the Mediterranean basin in the middle of the first century B.C.E. to the weakening and passing away of the Roman world in the fourth and fifth centuries C.E. At its height, the Romans controlled one of the largest land empires, stretching from Britain to Egypt and from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Persian Gulf, but at the end they did not even control the city of Rome itself. Our inquiry will attempt to resolve a number of questions about the Roman Empire. How could a people who prided themselves on their hatred of monarchy allow themselves to be ruled by a single man? How could it happen that, as the Roman poet Horace put it, "captured Greece captured her fierce conqueror?" How could a people who were generally tolerant of foreign religions persecute the Christians as they did? How was the most powerful state of its day pushed aside by disorganized "barbarian" tribes? To understand the nature of the changes affecting the Roman world, we will rely heavily on primary texts--history, poetry, letters and novels--and especially on the artistic and archaeological remains from the Roman world. No prior knowledge is necessary; participation in HIST 133 is not required.