Fifth Century Athens: Selected Readings in Intellectual,
Literary, and Political History
Professor: Casey Dué Hackney (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Office hours: TBA, Agnes Arnold Hall room 601.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course. If you have never taken a Classics course, however, or if you have never read any Greek literature before, you will need to put in extra effort in order to succeed in this class. Also, this course requires careful planning on your part. Some weeks have a lot of assigned reading. You will be expected to begin work on a major writing project by mid-semester and turn in a complete draft well in advance of the final due date for the paper. Keep in mind that even though the class is a hybrid and meets only once per week, it requires the same work load as any other upper level humanities course. A substantial component of your course work consist of developing a research paper over the course of the semester (outside of class), together with some closely linked on-line writing assignments.
Required Reading – Primary Sources:
Selections from Herodotus:The story of Croesus (Book 1.1–91) and the Persian Wars (Books 6.94–9, especially 6.102–117, 7.201–233, and 8.40–97 )
Selections from Thucydides (1.1–45, 2.34–54, 3.82–83, 5.84–116; also highly recommended: books 6–7, narrating the Sicilian Expedition)
Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannos
Aristophanes, Acharnians, Clouds, and Wasps
Euripides, Trojan Women
Plato, Apology of Socrates and selections from the Phaedo
Xenophon, Apology of Socrates
*For all primary sources, you may use one of the translations recommended below, choose your own, and/or purchase the one I have ordered to the UH Bookstore.
Required Secondary Reading:
Ancient Greece: A Political, Social and Cultural History, ed. by Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan, and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts. 3rd ed. Oxford, 2012.
Herodotus, Histories, trans. by Aubrey De Selincourt (many editions of this translation are available, it is the classic one); The Landmark Herodotus, ed. Robert B. Strassler (this edition contains excellent maps, explanatory essays, and appendices).
The Landmark Thucydides, ed. by Robert B. Strassler (this edition contains excellent maps, explanatory essays, and appendices).
Aristophanes: Translations by Jeffrey Henderson are available in many editions, including those by Focus Publishing (www.pullins.com). These translations are the funniest that I have encountered – be wary of archaic or British translations. Humor is culturally specific and hard to translate.
Plato and Xenophon: The Trials of Socrates: Six Classic Texts, ed. by C. D. C. Reeve. This edition includes as well a translation of Aristophanes’ Clouds and several of Plato’s dialogues about the trial and death of Socrates.
Aeschylus and Euripides: Try to find a modern edition (within the last 15 years). For Euripides, Oxford University Press has an inexpensive new series of translations, ed. by J. Morwood.
Course Requirements: 1 ten-page paper on the topic of your choice—but the topic must be approved by me (20%); Blackboard assignments connected to your research paper (20%); 1 mid-term (30%) and 1 final exam (30%).
Schedule of Readings and Lectures
* NOTE: All reading assignments must be completed in advance of the week to which they are assigned.
Week 1 (1/18) Introduction to course and the Writing In the Disciplines Core
Recommended reading in advance of class: Ancient Greece: A Political, Social and Cultural History pp. 102–153
Week 2 (1/25) From Tyranny to Democracy
Reading assignment: Ancient Greece pp. 154–207; Thucydides VI. 54–59
Week 3 (2/1) The Birth of History and Tragedy (with background on epic and lyric poetry)
Reading assignment: Selections from Herodotus: The story of Croesus (Book 1.1–91); Aeschylus, Persians; Ancient Greece pp. 207–231
Week 4 (2/8) Themistocles and Persian Wars
Reading assignment: Selections from Herodotus: the Persian Wars (6.102–117, 7.201–233, and 8.40–97); Ancient Greece pp. 207–231 (reread/review)
Week 5 (2/15) Athenian Empire
Reading assignment: Ancient Greece pp. 232–276; C. W. Blackwell, “Introduction to Athenian Democracy” (via Center for Hellenic Studies, Athenian Law)
Week 6 (2/22) Pericles, Radical democracy and the court system
Reading assignment: Aristophanes, Wasps; Lysias, On the Murder of Eratosthenes; V. Bers and A. Lanni, “An Introduction to the Athenian Legal System” (via Center for Hellenic Studies, Athenian Law)
Week 7 (3/1) Midterm
Week 8 (3/8) Athenian art and architecture on the cusp of the Peloponnesian Wars
Reading assignment: Ancient Greece pp. 277–360
Blackboard Assignment: Formulation of paper topics and thesis argument
Week 9 SPRING BREAK
Week 10 (3/22) Peloponnesian Wars
Reading assignment: Aristophanes, Acharnians; Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannos; Selections from Thucydides (1.1–45, 2.34–54, 3.82–83, 5.84–116)
Blackboard Assignment: Primary sources
Week 11 (3/29) Sicilian Expedition I
Reading assignment: Selections from Thucydides (books 6–7, narrating the Sicilian Expedition)
Blackboard Assignment: Secondary sources and Bibliography
Week 12 (4/5) Sicilian Expedition II: Comic and Tragic responses to war
Reading assignment: Euripides, Trojan Women
Recommended: Aristophanes, Lysistrata
Blackboard Assignment: Conclusion and thesis argument revisited
Week 13 (4/12) Defeat by Sparta and its aftermath; Writing Workshop
Reading assignment: Review Ancient Greece pp. 349–360 and read 360–367.
* first draft of paper due
Week 14 (4/19) Intellectual and literary trends at the end of the fifth century BCE
Reading assignment: Aristophanes, Clouds; Plato, Apology of Socrates; Xenophon, Apology of Socrates
Week 15 (4/26) The Death of Socrates; Writing Workshop
Reading assignment: Plato, selections from the Phaedo (In The Trials of Socrates: Six Classic Texts, ed. by C. D. C. Reeve and also on Blackboard)
* second draft of paper due
Final draft of paper due: 5/1
Final Exam: Friday, May 5, 11am-2pm