Classics



CLAS 015A ~ From Letters to Literature
CRN: 93361

Can we imagine a world without writing, or even one in which only a few people could use this technology? What kinds of materials were most necessary to be put into writing, and in what form were these texts produced? What revolutionary stages occurred in the history of writing and book-making? In what ways are books still the most effective storage for information? Has the latest technology made traditional print materials obsolete? Do books still have other values, for example, as cultural artifacts or artistic expressions? We begin with the origins of writing, the development and perfection of the alphabetic system in the ancient Near East. We then explore the circulation of literary texts through the European Middle Ages, and investigate the thrills of mass production with the invention of printing. Information storage and its retrieval come under our scrutiny as we move into recent decades, when we examine new ways in which books are used and valued today--even as the book is being replaced with new technologies.

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-11:15am
Contact: 802-656-4626, robert.rodgers@uvm.edu

Robert Rodgers: Professor of Classics, specializes in Greek and Latin texts as they were passed down from the ancient world through medieval manuscripts. His hobbies include taking naps, with a good book in hand. He will co-teach this course with Jeffrey Marshall, Library Associate Professor, who heads the Department of Special Collections at the UVM Library. In addition to caring for the Rare Book collection, Marshall is an American Civil War scholar and a novelist of notable obscurity.


CLAS 095A ~ Ancient Egypt through the Ages
CRN: 93359

Why is it that so many great civilizations (the Persian Empire, the Greeks, the Romans, Napoleonic France, the British Empire), world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), and illustrious individuals (Solon of Athens, Alexander the Great, Julius and Augustus Caesar, Hadrian, Napoleon, Champollion) have taken a passion for Egypt over the millennia? What sorts of benefits (educational, spiritual and religious, economic, cultural, etc.) enticed all of these to sojourn and settle in Egypt? Conversely, how did the Egyptians, both elite and peasant, receive, resist, and coexist with their visitors and masters? Egypt's leading role in the education of the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds as well as her status as a cosmopolitan hub of the Mediterranean world will inform much of the investigation. Following an extensive overview of the various Egyptian kingdoms and cultural traditions, we will focus upon the important periods of Greek, Roman, Islamic, and European occupation, for all of which we possess abundant and rich primary sources.

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:35am-10:25am
Contact: 802-656-2842, Brian.T.Walsh@uvm.edu

Brian T. Walsh: Senior Lecturer of Classics, is a classical philologist by trade who finds himself increasingly fascinated by the interface of Semitic and Indo-European cultures and language systems as well as with the wisdom traditions of the Orient (Hittite, Assyrian and Babylonian, Aramaic, Coptic, Old Persian, Syriac, Arabic). His formal academic interests include the influences of Greco-Roman epic poetry and rhetoric upon historical texts in the realms of structures, type-scenes, characterization and, above all, language. At home he can be found in the kitchen, playing guitar or piano, and enjoying his growing family.


CLAS 095B ~ The Emperor and the Slave
CRN: 93360

What is the goal of life? How should we pursue it? A couple thousand years ago, a slave named Epictetus was born in what is now Turkey. He grew up and, after a master maimed him, became a free man who thought he had found the answers in Stoicism, a philosophy which originated 300 years earlier with Chrysippus. For most of his life, Epictetus taught in Greece. The philosophy he taught was Stoicism: a strange philosophy which holds that the goal of life is happiness, but suicide is a fine option at times; that Virtue is the key to happiness, but nobody has ever attained it; that life itself has no worth, the only thing in life that matters is entirely up to us; and yet we should respect other people. Epictetus wrote nothing, but his pupil Arrian took notes and published them. They are known to us as the Discourses of Epictetus. The Emperor Marcus Aurelius (remember him from Gladiator?) read Epictetus and recorded his personal efforts to apply Stoicism to his own life, one of military exploits and imperial administration. His journal survives as The Meditations. We will read and explore the Stoic philosophical thought in these authors as well as modern resurfacings of Stoicism in the military (James Stockdale) and elsewhere (A Man in Full).

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: Tuesday, Thursday 11:30am-12:45pm
Contact: 802-656-0993, jacques.bailly@uvm.edu

Jacques Bailly: Associate Professor of Classics, is not a Stoic, but finds the philosophy fascinating and plausible. His 15 minutes of fame occur every year after Memorial Day, when he is the pronouncer for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His spare time is spent gardening, woodworking, and enjoying his children.


CLAS 095C ~ The Ides of March
CRN: 93757

The last century of the Roman Republic is the best attested period in ancient history. Participants and eyewitnesses introduce the exciting events and flamboyant actors of the Republic's last generation: Julius Caesar glorifies military aggression and justifies civil war; Catullus' poems and Sallust's histories describe and excoriate the outrageous women and men of a society in turmoil; Cicero's political speeches and uncut and uncensored letters lay bare the essence of first-century politics: political gangs engaged in street fighting and arson, violence and bribery at elections. Cicero's is not the only voice in the letters; the collection holds our only extant works of Brutus, Marc Antony, and many others, and reveals the multiple loyalties exploited by the young Octavian. All readings in English translation.

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-11:15am
Contact: 802-656-4607, barbara.rodgers@uvm.edu

Barbara Saylor Rodgers: Professor of Classics, studies ancient history, deconstructs political discourse, grows organic vegetables, and likes chocolate almost as much as she likes Cicero.