Santa Clara University

Department of Classics

Department of Classics Blog

  •  Next Senior Seminar Topic Announced

    Friday, Feb. 21, 2014

    Senior Seminar

    Professor John Heath
    Wednesday, Feb. 26, 5:30
    Classics House Seminar Room
    Topic: Are the gods in the Iliad concerned about human justice?
    Seniors are required to read the following articles before the seminar. Juniors are strongly encouraged to attend and all are welcome. 

    Click the links above to download the articles. 

  •  Classics Courses for 2013-2014

    Monday, Jul. 29, 2013

    Professor Greenwalt will be offering a new course on Numismatics this fall, MWF 10:30-11:35.
    CLAS 115 / HIST 139. This course will study how the minting of coins changed the western world politically, sociologically, and economically.  It will use the minting of ancient coins to investigate ancient economies and the political structures from which they emerged.  Technical aspects of the minting of coins will be addressed, as will the artistic achievements of ancient engravers.
    CLASSICS COURSES for 2013-2014
    Fall 2013
    CLAS 1: Elementary Latin I (2 sections)
    CLAS 11A: Heroes and Heroism (2 sections)
    CLAS 21: Elementary Greek I
    CLAS 75: Classics in Cinema
    CLAS 101: Intermediate Latin
    CLAS 108: Ancient Greece
    CLAS 115: Numismatics
    CLAS 134: Roman Satire (Petronius)
    CLAS 154:  Herodotus
    CLAS 194A: Senior Thesis I
    Winter 2014
    CLAS 2: Elementary Latin II
    CLAS 11A: Heroes and Heroism (2 sections)
    CLAS 11A: Natural Law in Literature
    CLAS 12A:  Heroes and Heroism (2 sections)
    CLAS 22: Elementary Greek II
    CLAS 41: Scientific Etymology: Word Workshop (2 units)
    CLAS 109: The Hellenistic Age
    CLAS 180: Ancient and Modern Laughter
    CLAS 138: Special Topics in Latin Prose: Suetonius
    CLAS 152: Homer: Odyssey
    CLAS 197B: Senior Thesis II
    Spring 2014
    CLAS 3: Elementary Latin III
    CLAS 12A: Heroes and Heroism (2 sections)
    CLAS 12A: Natural Law in Literature
    CLAS 23: Elementary Greek III
    CLAS 43: Movie Fun—Clashes of the Titans (2 units)
    CLAS 65:  Classical Mythology
    CLAS 68: Ancient Roman Religion
    CLAS 141: Love and Relationship in Classical Antiquity
    CLAS 132: Horace
    CLAS 156: Greek New Testament
    CLAS 178: Topics in Classical Culture

  •  Faculty and Staff Updates

    Monday, Jul. 29, 2013


    Things are changing fast in Classics at SCU—that alone is news.
    John Dunlap has announced that he will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Professor Dunlap came to SCU in 1977 and has been part of the Classics program since 1979. He will leave a tiny office and a big hole in the department. Helen Moritz is in the second year of phased retirement. She taught the Elementary Greek sequence for her final time last year, and this year she will teach courses in upper-division Greek (winter) and Latin (fall).
    Bill Greenwalt takes over as Chair of Classics—we wish him luck and offer condolences. He is teaching a new course on Numismatics in the fall quarter. Having had the chairmanship wrestled away by the ambitious Greenwalt, John Heath is completely delighted to return to full-time teaching (including the Elementary Latin sequence).
    Scott LaBarge continues his dual lives as philosopher and classicist, teaching a core freshman course in fall and his Love and Relationships in Classical Antiquity in the spring for us. Having too many talents for his own good, Mick McCarthy remains Executive Director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and will not be teaching Classics courses this year.
    Dan Turkeltaub successfully passed his mid-probationary review and will be taking a research leave this fall. He returns in winter and spring to offer (among other things) our new 2-unit courses on etymology and Clashes of the Titans.  
    The department is fortunate to have both of our lecturers returning this year. Carolynn Roncaglia will be teaching the upper-division history sequence as well as sections of the freshman core and upper-division Latin. Rachel Knudsen’s duties have expanded to include Intermediate Latin and Horace as well as Classical Mythology and the freshman core course.

    The department would probably collapse (and the chair certainly would) without the good will and extreme competence of Judy Gillette. We are extremely pleased that our new Classics House (which has shaped up quite nicely) has its own administrative office in which Judy can set up shop.


  •  New Blog for Faculty Research

    Monday, Jul. 29, 2013


    Click on these articles and see what Classics faculty member have been publishing. For a complete list of faculty scholarship, see individual faculty CVs.
    John Heath: “Why Corinna?”


  •  New and Returning Classics Faculty in 2012-13

    Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012

    Classics is happy to welcome Rachel Knudsen (Ph.D. Stanford) as our Quarterly Adjunct Lecturer for 2012-13.  Professor Knudsen has taught Greek and Latin language at all levels as well as a wide variety of ancient literature in translation, and has supervised several undergraduate research theses. Her research interests include Homer, Archaic poetry, and ancient rhetoric; she is particularly interested in the representation of speech across all genres of ancient poetry and prose. She will be teaching sections of Cultures and Ideas I: Heroes and Heroism, as well as a course on Classical Mythology.

    We are also delighted to welcome back for a second year Carolynn Roncaglia (Ph.D. U.C. Berkeley) as our Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer in Ancient History. Professor Roncaglia's research interests include Roman history, Greek and Latin epigraphy, and Greco-Roman Egypt. She will be teaching our ancient history sequence, which this year includes courses on the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. In fall she is offering a reading course in Latin prose, and she will be teaching the second half of our Heroes and Heroism C&I sequence.

    The most moving news this year is the Classics has a new home! Our house on Franklin Street is scheduled to be demolished, and we have moved to a nice, house on Lafayette, the former home of Environmental Studies. Come visit us in our new digs!

    In other faculty news, Associate Professor Mick McCarthy, SJ, continues his duties as the Executive Director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at SCU. Associate Professor Scott LaBarge will be teaching a C&I section of Heroes and Heroism as well as his course on Socrates. The department is extremely happy to welcome back Professor William Greenwalt to full-time teaching for Classics, as he has finished up his tour of duty as Director of Honors, Fellowship, and the LEAD Scholars Program. Assistant Professor Dan Turkeltaub begins his third year in a tenure-track position, teaching both halves of a C&I sequence, upper-division Greek and Latin, and his new course on Justice. Senior Lecturer John Dunlap will be teaching the elementary Latin sequence, his C&I sequence on natural law, and Medieval Latin in spring. Professor John Heath is teaching his new course on Sex and Religion in Ancient Greece, as well as Classical Myth in the Western Tradition in winter (with a sabbatical in spring). And in the BIG news department, Associate Professor Helen Moritz begins phased retirement this year, teaching the elementary Greek sequence and serving as Acting Char in spring (some retirement!).

  •  New and Returning Classics Faculty in 2011

    Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

    Adjunct Lecturers Carolynn Roncaglia and H. Christian Blood join the Classics program.

    Classics House is happy to welcome Carolynn Roncaglia (Ph.D. U.C. Berkely), as our adjunct lecturer in Ancient History for 2011-2012. Professor Roncaglia's research interests include Roman history, Greek and Latin epigraphy, and Greco-Roman Egypt. She will be teaching our ancient history sequence, which this year includes courses on Ancient Greece and Hellenistic History. In fall she is offering a Latin reading course on Roman letters, particularly those of Pliny and Cicero. She will also be teaching the second half of our Heroes and Heroism C&I sequence, and a course of Roman imperialism.

    We are also delighted that H. Christian Blood (Ph.D. U.C. Santa Cruz) will be teaching the introductory section of our Heroes and Heroism C&I sequence, as well as the second half of our Gods and Mortals sequence in spring. His research interests and future publications include the history of Great Books program in the United States, the relationship between Classics and Transgender Studies and the Nachleben of Apuleius, Seneca, and Petronius in 18th-century Anglophone literature.

    Once again this year, there have been some big changes in our little department. Our two Lecturers from last year, Jason Schlude and Peter Lech, have moved on to tenure-track positins (Duquesne and U. Mass Boston, respectively. Congratulations-you will be missed! Also missed will be Associate Professor Mick McCarthy, who is now the Executive Director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at SCU. Associate Professor Scott LaBarge has returned from sabbatical and will be teaching three courses each for Classics and Philosophy, including his first offering of a section of Heroes and Heroism, a sequence he developed for Classics. Professor WIlliam Greenwalt continues to teach a limited load (including a new course in the core) for Classics while serving as Director of Honors, Fellowship, and the LEAD Scholars Program. Fortunately for the department, helen Moritz has returned to us (relatively unscathed!) from her year as interim Chair of English. She is teaching the Odyssey, Catullus, a C&I section of Gods and Mortals, and Classical Tragedy in Translation, and will be on sabbatical in spring. Assistant Professor Dan Turkeltaub begins his second year in a tenure-track position, teaching the Beginning Greek sequence, Classical Myth, and both halves of a C&I sequence. Senior Lecturer John Dunlap will be offering his popular Classics in Cinema course in winter as well as his C&I sequence on Natural law, and he will be on sabbatical in spring. Professor John Heath is teaching the Beginning Latin sequence, Vergil's Georgics, and, as punishment for some grevious error in a past life, continues to serve as chair of the department.

  •  New Classics Courses

    Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

    Faculty in Classics continue to develop new courses, both in the core and across disciplines.

    In the Spring of 2011, students quickly filled two new classes: Professor Turkeltaub's Ancient and Modern Laughter, and Professor Schlude's Jews Under Empire. Dan Turkeltaub's course cross-listed with English and Theatre, led students through a variety of texts and ended with class performances of Greek and Roman comic plays:

    Why do we (or don't we) laugh at chickens crossing roads, baseballs hitting men in their groins, children spouting profanity, brainless blondes, dead babies, blenders, dysfunctional relationships, Canadians, and farts? Why, when it comes right down to it, do we laugh at all? In this course we will investigate the nature of humor and the role it plays in ancient Greek, Roman, and modern American societies, with a particular eye to the Greek and Roman roots of western comedy. Our readings will focus on Aristrophanes' wonderfully scatological mockeries of classical Athenian life and politics, whimsical "situation comedies" written by the Roman playwright Plautus, and some oddly distrubing ones from Terence. Alongside these and a few other ancient masters, we will examin analogous humor from modern comedians as well as movies such as South Park and The Birdcage. Selections from Plato, Aristotle, Bakhtin, Freud, Frye, and othe scholars of laughter from various disciplines will help us understand how the humor in these By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of the things that you already find funny and gain a new appreciation for the very serious ways in which comedy helps you live your life.

    Students also flocked to Jason Schlude's new course, Jew Under Empire, cross-listed with the History Department:

    Empire was a defining feature of the ancient Mediterranean. In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Greek kings and the Roman elite exercises influence over large areas of the Mediterranean and its peoples. The experience of and response to such empires by their foreign subjects are often as challenging to elucidate as fascinating to imagine. Yet there is one case in which the subject people have left behind a substantial literature documenting their experience: the Jews. In this course, we will explore the consequences of empire for the Jews and the strategies they employed to explain and live under empire. In the process, our conversation will often focus on religion, as the monotheistic religion of the Jews was a driving force in their lives and experience. We will also discuss, however, many other areas of culture, as well as politics, society, economy, and the military. As for specific topics, we will consider a wide range: the Jews of Ptolemaic Egypt, the Maccabean Revolt, the Hasmonean dynasty, herod the Great, the Alexandrian riots of 38 CE, and the First Jewish Revolt. While modern readings will provide context for the subject, we will devote our main attention to the ancient texts produced by the Jews themselves in these periods. And students will have the opportunity to take part in well-informed discussions and to engage more deeply with particular issues through thoughtful presentations and papers.

    This coming Winter, Professor William Greenwalt will offer a new Civic Engagement core course entitled Democracy: Ancient and Modern, which compares and contrasts the political functioning of fourth-century Athens with contemporary America. And in Spring quarter Professor Carolynn Roncaglia will teach a new course on oman imperialism. Stay tuned for details.

  •  Colloquium on the ethical dimensions of battlefield heroism

    Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

    Professor Scott LaBarge will discuss "The Conceptual Problems of Battlefield Heroism": Tuesday, October 18th, 4:00, O'Connor 210. Interested members of the community are welcome.

    Professor LaBarge's presentation, part of his book-length study of the nature of heroism, will chiefly focus on examples from classical antiquity, although he will be drawing larger ethical conclusions.

  •  Latin Education and the Warden of Bastille

    Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

    "Latin Education and the Warden of the Bastille," a lecture on why classical languages should be an integral part of the general education, will be presented by Professor Dan Turkeltaub on Friday, November 4, 4:14, at the Latin colloquium for Latin teachers in Jesuit high schools (Bellarmine College Prep). The talk will center on a close reading of a passage from Alexandre Dumas's Le Vicomte de Bragelonne in which the warden of the bastille decries before a Jesuit (Aramis) the value of a Latin education in light of a prisoner of his who composed an anti-Jesuit Latin distich in imitation of Martial. (It's a very fun passage.)

  •  Daniel Turkeltaub's article, Reading the Epic Past: The Iliad on Heroic Epic, has just appeared

    Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010

    Daniel Turkeltaub’s article, “Reading the Epic Past: The Iliad on Heroic Epic,” has just appeared.

    Professor Turkeltaub’s latest work appears in a new collection of essays entitled Allusion, Authority, and Truth: Critical Perspectives on Greek Poetic and Rhetorical Praxis, edited by Phillip Mitsis and Christo Tsagalis (Berlin/New York, 2010).

    For details on the publication, check out the following:



    In this article, Daniel Turkeltaub challenges the standard notion that the Iliad is an uncritical, orthodox representative of traditional heroic epic poetry through an analysis of how the Iliad engages in a metapoetic and self-reflexive critique that subverts traditional epic pretensions to ethical authority.  Iliadic heroes learn proper heroic behavior from stories about their heroic fathers and forefathers.  By presenting these stories as inherited from its own epic tradition, the Iliad transforms its heroes into “readers” of its own epic tradition as they seek to understand and aspire to equal their fathers’ legacies.  As they do so, Iliadic heroes demonstrate for their own audiences approaches to understanding epic, including the Iliad itself.  Two test cases, Diomedes “reading” his father’s epic legacy in books four through eight and the competing visions of the past given by Nestor and Priam, demonstrate that while the Iliad maintains a traditional narrative voice extolling the heroic virtues and inherited ethical code of its heroes, the poet arranges his events and language so as to reveal that emulating epic values and behaviors is at best ineffective and at worst dangerously counter-productive.  Epic justifies itself through seducing its audience into considering its heroes to be viable exemplars of noble behavior, but because the production of epic necessarily entails aggrandizing and censoring historical events, the audience must always remember that epic heroes are fictional and that their actions are inimitable in the real world.

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