Disciplines and Themes

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Disciplines

Philology and Literary Studies

The term ‘philology’ well describes one of the core disciplines in the field of classical studies: the comprehensive study of a culture’s language and literature.  A foundational element in virtually all advanced work in classics is the detailed knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages; including their grammar, syntax, semantics, meter and rhythm, as well as the nuances and significance of style.  In acquiring this knowledge, students also hone their abilities to analyze language more generally and use it more effectively.  The study of Greek and Latin literature, however, involves far more than the mastery of Greek and Latin grammar.  It also involves, and indeed requires, a wide range of critical approaches: literary, historical, and cultural.  Those who study texts closely learn that almost any given text can open up a vast array of questions and insights.  Some of these are specific to the cultural context in which the text was originally produced, allowing students to explore the complexities of cultural variation, while others (and indeed sometimes the same ones) are issues that have concerned all people at all times.  In addition, it is hard to overestimate the impact that Greek and Latin literature had on later European literature.  In this respect Classics has an integral connection to the study of other European languages and literatures, including those that at Carolina are found in the departments of English and Comparative Literature, Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Romance Studies.

All GREK and LATN courses are centrally concerned with language and literature.  The introductory sequence 101-102 focuses primarily on the study of grammar and vocabulary; 203 introduce more attention to literary and cultural issues, and these become the central focus in courses numbered 221 and higher.

In addition, the following courses also involve significant attention to language and literature:

CLAS 055 First Year Seminar: Three Greek and Roman Epics
CLAS 056 First Year Seminar: Women and Men in Euripides
CLAS 058 First Year Seminar: What’s So Funny?  Women and Comedy from Athens to Hollywood
CLAS 061 First Year Seminar: Writing the Past
CLAS 063 First Year Seminar: The Politics of Persuasion in the Ancient and Modern Worlds
CLAS 125 Word Formation and Etymology
CLAS 126 Medical Word Formation and Etymology
CLAS 133H Epic and Tragedy
CLAS 361 Homer and the Heroic Age of Greece
CLAS 362 Greek Tragedy
CLAS 363 Latin and Greek Lyric Poetry in Translation
CLAS/CMPL 364 The Classical Background of English Poetry
CLAS 409 Historical Literature Greek and Roman
Archaeology

The modern discipline of archaeology developed in large part from the study of ancient Greek and Roman art and artifacts, and it has in turn had a profound impact on the study of the ancient Mediterranean world.  Most dramatically, it opened up whole civilizations that had previously been known very partially (such as that of Egypt) or hardly at all (such as those of the Ancient Near East and the Bronze Age Aegean).  Just as importantly, the constantly increasing theoretical and technological sophistication of archaeological research has allowed scholars to pose and answer sets of questions about the Graeco-Roman world that are entirely distince from those generated by the study of ancient texts.  The Department offers a full range of courses in ancient Mediterranean archaeology.  These include, at the 200-level, surveys of all the major periods and cultures from the 3rd millennium BCE to late antiquity and, at the 400-level, more detailed examinations of particular periods and issues.  These courses complement those on the archaeology of the Americas and on archaeological theory and methodology offered by the department of Anthropology and are an integral part of the course offerings of the Curriculum in Archaeology.

CLAR 050 First Year Seminar: Art in the Ancient City
CLAR 051 First Year Seminar: Who Owns the Past?
CLAR/RELI/JWST 110 The Archaeology of Palestine in the New Testament Period
CLAR 120 Ancient Cities
CLAR 241 Archaeology of Ancient Near East
CLAR 242 Archaeology of Egypt
CLAR 243 Minoans and Mycenaeans: The Archaeology of Bronze Age Greece
CLAR 244 Greek Archaeology
CLAR 245 Archaeology of Italy
CLAR 247 Roman Archaeology
CLAR 268 Hellenistic Art and Archaeology
CLAR/RELI 375 Archaeology of Cult
CLAR 411 Archaeological Field Methods
CLAR 475 Rome and the Western Provinces
CLAR 480 Egypt after the Pharaohs
CLAR 488 The Archaeology of the Near East in the Iron Age
CLAR 489 The Archaeology of Anatolia in the Bronze and Iron Ages
CLAR 491 The Archaeology of Early Greece (1200-500 BCE)
CLAR/RELI/JWST 512 Ancient Synagogues
Art History

Greek and Roman art and architecture had a profound influence on the development of later European art and architecture, especially from the Renaissance onwards.  At Carolina, most courses that focus on Greek and Roman art and architecture are cross-listed between Classics and Art History (ARTH) and are integral to the ancient concentration of the BA program in Art History.  These include, at the 200-level, general surveys of the major periods of classical art and, at the 400-level, advanced surveys of the major genres of Greek and Roman art and architecture.  But a number of courses in Mediterranean archaeology also deal extensively with art and architecture, especially CLAR 247, ‘Roman Archaeology’, which is as much a survey of art and architecture as it is of archaeology.

CLAS 065 First Year Seminar: They City of Rome
CLAS 071 First Year Seminar: The Architecture of Empire
CLAR 050 First Year Seminar: Art in the Ancient City
CLAR 246 History of Early Christian and Byzantine Art
CLAR/ARTH 262 Art of Classical Greece
CLAR/ARTH 263 Roman Art
CLAR 268 Hellenistic Art and Archaeology
CLAR/ARTH 460 Greek Painting
CLAR/ARTH 461 Archaic Greek Sculpture
CLAR/ARTH 462 Classical Greek Sculpture
CLAR/ARTH 463 Hellenistic Greek Sculpture
CLAR/ARTH 464 Greek Architecture
CLAR/ARTH 465 Architecture of Etruria and Rome
CLAR/ARTH 474 Roman Sculpture
CLAR/ARTH 476 Roman Painting
CLAR/ARTH 683 Etruscan Art
History

The Department of Classics offers a range of courses that complement and supplement the Department of History’s offerings in Greek and Roman history.  CLAS 121 and CLAS 122 provide broad, interdisciplinary surveys of Greek and Roman civilization, and the various ‘Age of’ courses (CLAS 253-259) do the same for more specific periods of time.  Other courses focus on specific historical topics such as women and sexuality (CLAS 240-242), athletics (CLAS 263), and law (CLAS 415).  Still others focus on the ancient literary works, including those of the major Greek and Roman historians, that constitute our fundamental source of information for the history of the classical world; these include courses in which the texts are read in translation, such as CLAS 061, 371, and 409, as well as courses in which they are read in the original Latin or Greek, such as LATN 331 and 354.  Lastly, our course offerings in archaeology provide a crucial complement to text-based courses: surviving material remains are both our primary source of information for main past periods of history for which written records are scanty or non-existent, and provide fundamentally different data for periods for which we do have written records.

CLAS 061 First Year Seminar: Writing the Past
CLAS 065 First Year Seminar: The City of Rome
CLAS 073 First Year Seminar: Life in Ancient Pompeii
CLAS 121 The Greeks
CLAS 122 The Romans
CLAS/WMST 240 Women in Greek Art and Literature
CLAS/WMST 241 Women in Ancient Rome
CLAS/WMST 242 Sex and Gender in Antiquity
CLAS 253 The Age of Pericles
CLAS 254 Alexander and the Age of Hellenism
CLAS 257 The Age of Augustus
CLAS 258 The Age of the Early Roman Empire
CLAS 259 Pagans and Christians in the Age of Constantine
CLAS 263 Athletics in the Greek and Roman World
CLAS 371 Cicero, Caesar, and the End of the Roman Republic
CLAS 409 Historical Literature Greek and Roman
CLAS 415 Roman Law
LATN 222 Cicero
LATN 331 Roman Historians
LATN 354 Tacitus and Pliny’s Letters
Religion

The department of Religious Studies offers a range of courses in Ancient Mediterranean Religions, to which Classics contributes a few cross-listed courses.  Yet the study of ancient religion is an element of many of our other course offerings as well, since a concern with the divine world pervaded all aspects of ancient culture.  Ancient religion is a central topic in ‘Classical Mythology’ (CLAS 131), and also an important element in surveys of ancient Greek and Roman civilization (CLAS 121, 122) and of ancient Mediterranean archaeology (CLAR 200-level).  Relations between gods and mortals likewise feature prominently in the work of many ancient writers, notably Homer (GREK 221), the tragedians (CLAS 362), and Vergil (LATN 221), just to name a few.

CLAR/RELI/JWST 110 The Archaeology of Palestine in the New Testament Period
CLAR/RELI 375 Archaeology of Cult
CLAR/RELI/JWST 512 Ancient Synagogues
CLAS 131 Classical Mythology
CLAS 362 Greek Tragedy
GREK 205 Greek New Testament
GREK 221 Advanced Greek I
GREK/RELI 409 Greek New Testament
LATN 221 Vergil

Themes

Gender and Identity

Gender and its intersections with other aspects of social identity was as central to people’s lives and experience in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds as it is in our own.  A number of our course offerings take gender issues as their central focus, such as CLAS 056, 058, 240, 241, and 242; those at the 200-level are cross-listed with the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and are among the offerings for the BA major in that field.  Since gender is an important concern in a wide range of ancient literary texts, however, it is also an important theme in many of our literature courses, both in translation (CLAS 362, 409) and in the original Greek and Latin.  The strikingly different conceptions and constructions of gender roles and sexuality in classical antiquity allow us to gain a fresh perspective on issues of gender an identity in our own society.

CLAR 476 Roman Painting
CLAS 056 First Year Seminar: Women and Men in Euripides
CLAS 058 First Year Seminar: What’s So Funny? Women and Comedy from Athens to Hollywood
CLAS 060 First Year Seminar: Love, War, Death and Family Life in Classical Myth
CLAS 073 First Year Seminar: Life in Ancient Pompeii
CLAS/WMST 240 Women in Greek Art and Literature
CLAS/WMST 241 Women in Ancient Rome
CLAS/WMST 242 Sex and Gender in Antiquity
CLAS 362 Greek Tragedy
CLAS 409 Historical Literature Greek and Roman
LATN 223 Ovid
LATN 332 Roman Comedy
LATN 333 Lyric Poetry
LATN 335 Roman Elegy
LATN 352 Petronius and the Age of Nero
LATN 353 Satire
Ethnicity and Multiculturalism

Greeks and Romans were from a very early date deeply involved with questions of ethnicity, in the context of both self-definition and interactions with other peoples.  With the conquests of Alexander the Great and the expansion of the Roman empire, the Graeco-Roman world became fundamentally multi-ethnic and multi-cultural (CLAR 268, 475, 480; CLAS 254).  Many of our courses examine in detail the complex cultural and ethnic interactions that characterized many periods of ancient history, and focus on the construction of ethnic identity.  The significant differences between the Graeco-Roman world and our own mean that the study of ethnicity in classical antiquity can help us see issues of ethnic identity and cultural diversity in contemporary society from a different perspective.

CLAR 268 Hellenistic Art and Archaeology
CLAR 475 Roman and the Western Provinces
CLAR 480 Egypt after the Pharaohs
CLAS 061 First Year Seminar: Writing the Past
CLAS 071 First Year Seminar: Barbarians in Greek and Roman Culture
CLAS 254 Alexander and the Age of Hellenism
CLAS 409 Historical Literature Greek and Roman
LATN 221 Vergil
LATN 353 Satire
Power and Ideology

The Ideological construction of social and political power was a constant feature of the ancient Mediterranean world.  It was home to some of the world’s first great kingdoms, in Egypt and Mesopotamia, which developed and perpetrated elaborate ideologies of divine kingship (CLAR 241 and 242) and influenced the first major civilizations in the Greek world (CLAR 243).  In the classical period, however, the Greeks pioneered a radically different formulation of power as belonging to the people as a whole (CLAS 253), and Greek writers in a range of genres became acute analysts of power, its use and abuse, and its ideological effects (CLAS 061, 362, 409).  In first the Greek and then the Roman world popular power gave way to monarchic power (CLAS 254, 257, 371), a transition that was both enacted and contested in material and literary culture alike (CLAR 247, LATN 221).  Roman authors likewise offered highly sophisticated analyses of power and its ideology (LATN 331, 354).  As well as being valuable in and of themselves, these ancient analyses invite productive comparisons with constructions of power in the contemporary US and across the world.

CLAR 050 First Year Seminar: Art in the Ancient City
CLAR 051 First Year Seminar: Who Owns the Past?
CLAR 241 Archaeology of Ancient Near East
CLAR 242 Archaeology of Egypt
CLAR 243 Minoans and Mycenaeans: The Archaeology of Bronze Age Greece
CLAR 247 Roman Archaeology
CLAS 061 First Year Seminar: Writing the Past
CLAS 063 First Year Seminar: The Politics of Persuasion in the Ancient and Modern Worlds
CLAS 071 First Year Seminar: The Architecture of Empire
CLAS 253 The Age of Pericles
CLAS 254 Alexander and the Age of Hellenism
CLAS 257 The Age of Augustus
CLAS 258 The Age of the Early Roman Empire
CLAS 362 Greek Tragedy
CLAS 371 Cicero, Caesar, and the End of the Roman Republic
CLAS 409 Historical Literature Greek and Roman
CLAS 415 Roman Law
LATN 221 Vergil
LATN 222 Cicero
LATN 331 Roman Historians
LATN 354 Tacitus and Pliny’s Letters
Performance and Society

Ancient Greek and Roman society was highly performative.  People lived their lives in public, and members of the elite were very concerned with their self-presentation.  As a result, many of our courses engage with issues of performance in the broadest sense of the term.  Performances in the more customary sense also had a central place in Greek and Roman culture.  The western tradition of drama has its origins in ancient Greece, from where it spread to Rome.  The department regularly offers courses, both in translation and in the original Greek, in the classic writers of tragedy, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and to a lesser extent the Greek comic playwrights.  The works of these authors generally also feature largely in our survey courses, such as CLAS 121, ‘The Greeks’, and CLAS 253, ‘The Age of Pericles’.  We likewise regularly offer a course on the plays of the Roman comic playwrights Plautus and Terence in the original Latin (LATN 332).  The western tradition of competitive athletics also has its origins in ancient Greece, before spreading throughout the Roman world, and is the subject of a general survey (CLAS 263).  Lastly, public speaking played a crucial role in many aspects of ancient Greek and Roman society, political, legal, and cultural, and the Greeks, followed by the Romans, were the first people in Europe to analyze and theorize public speaking through the discipline of rhetoric.  Oratory and rhetoric again feature largely in our general survey courses, and are a focus in a number of more specialized courses (CLAS 063, 371, and 415; LATN 222).

CLAS 056 First Year Seminar: Women and Men in Euripides
CLAS 058 First Year Seminar: What’s So Funny?  Women and Comedy from Athens to Hollywood
CLAS 063 First Year Seminar: The Politics of Persuasion in the Ancient and Modern Worlds
CLAS 231 The Theater in the Greek and Roman World
CLAS/WMST 240 Women in Greek Art and Literature
CLAS/WMST 241 Women in Ancient Rome
CLAS 263 Athletics in the Greek and Roman World
CLAS 362 Greek Tragedy
CLAS 371 Cicero, Caesar, and the End of the Roman Republic
CLAS 415 Roman Law
LATN 222 Cicero
LATN 332 Roman Comedy