Santa Clara University

Department of Classics

Literature, History, and Culture Courses

CLAS 11A and 12A Cultures and Ideas I and II
Classics offers four different two-quarter sequences.. (4 units each quarter):

Barbarians and Savages. This two-quarter sequence examines how a culture’s ideas about the gods (or god) reveal that culture’s view of the human person and society. How does the way a culture (or an individual within a culture) imagines the divine correspond to what it regards as most significant about human life, its limitations and possibilities, its tragedies and triumphs, its sense of justice and injustice? Cultures examined include the ancient Greeks, Romans, Sumerians, Hebrews, and Egyptians.

Gods and Mortals. This two-quarter sequence examines how a culture’s ideas about the gods (or god) reveal that culture’s view of the human person and society. How does the way a culture (or an individual within a culture) imagines the divine correspond to what it regards as most significant about human life, its limitations and possibilities, its tragedies and triumphs, its sense of justice and injustice? Cultures examined include the ancient Greeks, Romans, Sumerians, Hebrews, and Egyptians.

Heroes and Heroism. Students in this two-quarter course analyze how different cultures use their heroic literature not simply to entertain, but also to inculcate communal values, to discuss moral and social problems, and to address both culturally specific anxieties and those fundamental to human life. Ancient Greece and Rome serve as the foci of the two quarters; other cultures studied may include ancient Egyptian, ancient Chinese, ancient Indian, ancient and medieval Near Eastern, and/or medieval European.

Natural Law. A two-course sequence exploring the notion and play of natural law in the literature of the ancient and medieval worlds, from Homer to Dante. The survey spotlights major literary and philosophical achievements amid the cultures of ancient Egypt, India, and China, as well as the emergence and development of Western consciousness among the Greeks, Romans, and early Europeans.

CLAS 41     Word Workshop—Scientific Etymology
English derives much of its everyday vocabulary from Latin and much of its scientific vocabulary from Greek. This class will help you build your vocabulary and acquire the tools to figure out words that you do not already know by teaching you the basics of English word formation and some common Greek and Latin morphemes. (2 units)

CLAS 42     Clashes of the Titans
Movies have fascinated their audiences with Greek myths for decades but are notorious for playing fast and loose with the ancient stories. Our primary texts will be the original 1981 Clash of the Titans and the 2010 remake, which we will set against the fun, exciting, and in some cases hilarious Classical works that are most pertinent to them. We will explore some of the ways in which these movies reshape Classical myths for modern American audiences and how those differences bring to light implicit assumptions we make today about the nature of humanity, morality, and the divine that in some cases resemble and in some cases differ fundamentally from those that the Greeks and Romans made when they first told Perseus’s story. (2 units)

CLAS 60     Introduction to Ancient Studies
An exploration of the nature of political and religious authority; that is, the relationship between the individual, the state, and the divine—in three different ancient civilizations. The primary “texts” for this investigation are the representative monuments of each culture: the pyramids of Egypt (particularly the Old Kingdom), the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in the united monarchy, and the roads of classical Rome. (4 units)

CLAS 63     Ancient Eros: Sex and Religion in Ancient Greece
This course explores the various manifestations and significance of sex (“bittersweet Eros”), both the deity and the divinely-inspired passion, in ancient Greece. While focusing on the socio-religious significance of Aphrodite and her “son” Eros (the Roman Cupid), this class is also designed to provoke an open conversation about responses to sex found in relevant contemporary religious expression. Assignments come from Greek and Roman literature, philosophy, historiography, and art, as well as from contemporary magazines, scholarly journals and books, religious documents, and movies. Seminar-style: participation in class discussion is mandatory. (4 units)

CLAS 65     Classical Mythology
Principal gods and heroes of Greek and Roman antiquity: their stories, significance, and pictorial representations. Implications of myth in society and possible origins of myth. Important background for European and English literature. (4 units)

CLAS 67     Ancient Greek Religion
Consideration of the differing attitudes and expectations of polytheisms and monotheisms, and of religious expression in the context of classical Greek cult and ritual. Readings are drawn from a wide variety of literary, historical, philosophical, and epigraphical texts. Also listed as HIST 16. (4 units)

CLAS 68     Ancient Roman Religion
Examination of religious practices, institutions, and beliefs of the ancient Romans. Special consideration of interconnections in Roman religiosity between the acts/beliefs of individuals and the concerns of the state. Concludes with philosophic mysticism, magic, mystery religions, and Christianity. Also listed as HIST 17. (4 units)

CLAS 75     Classics in Cinema
A survey of the classical world through selected dramatic films illustrating sequentially the cultural and political history of ancient Greece and Rome. Close viewings of popular films, with comparative reference to sources and practice in the techniques of film criticism. (4 units)

CLAS 108    Ancient Greece
A survey of Hellenic history from the Bronze Age to Alexander the Great. Emphasis on the rise and fall of the polis as an independent social, cultural, and political community. Also listed as HIST 108. (5 units)

CLAS 109    Hellenistic Age
A cultural, social, and political review of Alexander the Great’s conquests and their Hellenistic ramifications through the reign of Egypt’s Cleopatra VII. Also listed as HIST 109. (5 units)

CLAS 110    Roman Republic
A political, military, social, and cultural review of the rise and fall of the most successful state the West has ever known. Also listed as HIST 110. (5 units)

CLAS 111    Roman Empire
A political, social, and cultural survey of the Roman Empire beginning with Augustus and tracing changes in Rome from the development of the Roman Empire as a world state to the development of Christianity as a world religion. Also listed as HIST 111. (5 units)

CLAS 113    Democracy Under Siege: Ancient Athens and Modern America
This course will trace the fate of the Athenian democracy after the Peloponnesian War through the Hellenistic Age (404-ca. 307 BCE). It will cover the foreign and domestic policies of Athens through this period, and cover both the problems and the opposition to democracy by non-democratic polities as well as by those opponents of democracy who lived in Athens itself. Although the United States of America is a Republic and not a Democracy in the Athenian mode (which in fact, was the intent of our Republic's founders), the USA in the 21st century is facing comparable opposition both domestically and in the realm of foreign affairs to those which confronted the ancient Athenians. Parallels between the world of the 4th century BCE and 2012 will not only be noted, they will be emphasized through readings and class discussions. Also listed as HIST 131. (5 units)

CLAS 115    Numismatics
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. Also listed as HIST 139. (5 units)

CLAS 141    Love and Relationships in Classical Antiquity
An examination of the many forms of loving and erotic relationships as they pertained to the Greek and Roman quest for the best human life. Readings in Euripides, Sappho, Ovid, Plato, Aristotle, and many others from genres of poetry, essays, letters, tragedy, and philosophy. Also listed as PHIL 131D and WGST 133. (5 units)

CLAS 146    Age of Socrates
A study of Socrates as both historical and literary figure, with special attention to his political and cultural context, and to our three chief sources on him and his philosophical activities: Aristophanes, Plato, and Xenophon. (5 units)

CLAS 175    Topics in Classical Literature
Occasional courses or seminars in specialized topics. Consult current course descriptions for details. (5 units)

CLAS 176    Topics in Ancient History
Occasional courses or seminars in specialized topics. Consult current course descriptions for details. (5 units)

CLAS 177    Topics in Ancient Philosophy
Occasional courses or seminars in specialized topics. Consult current course descriptions for details. (5 units)

CLAS 178    Topics in Classical Culture
Occasional courses or seminars in specialized topics. Consult current course descriptions for details. (5 units)

CLAS 180    Ancient and Modern Laughter
Students will investigate the nature and psychosocial functions of laughter, with a particular eye to the Greek and Roman roots of Western comedy. Readings will focus on comedic plays by Aristophanes, Plautus, and Terence, supplemented with readings of ancient and modern humor theorists and psychologists. For each playwright, we will also analyze one popular recent movie and other modern analogs of humor and plot-structures. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the material through collaborating over the course of the term to write, costume, and perform original plays in imitation of the ancient playwrights. Also listed as ENGL 162 and THTR 182A. (5 units)

CLAS 181    Classical Tragedy
Representative works of the principal Greek tragic playwrights: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Features of the tragic genre, its origins, and the conventions of its performance. Also listed as ENGL 110 and THTR 181. (5 units) NCX

CLAS 184    Classical Mythology in the Western Tradition
An exploration of some of the ways authors from the classical period through the 20th century have manipulated Greek myths for their own poetic and political purposes. Focus is on the legends surrounding the fall of Troy, with particular attention paid to the shifting character of perhaps the two most protean figures in Greek mythology, Odysseus and Helen. Texts include selections from Homer’s Iliad, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Dante’s Inferno, and unexcerpted works by Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Gorgias and Isocrates, Ovid, Seneca, Dictys and Dares, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Giraudoux, modern Greek poets, and the Coen brothers. Also listed as ENGL 187. (5 units)

CLAS 185    Gender in Antiquity
Investigation into the representation and the reality of gender in social, economic, political, and religious contexts in the classical world. (5 units)

CLAS 188    Justice: Ancient and Modern
In this course students explore classical Greek concepts of justice both abstracted in philosophy and drama and as practiced in the classical courtroom. Student debates about controversial modern American court cases will demonstrate the relevance of these ancient thoughts and practices to the complex issue of how justice is defined and practiced today. (5 units)

CLAS 197A    Capstone I
Bi-weekly seminar on various topics, combined with initial research for senior thesis: identification of a coherent topic of thesis, development of a detailed outline, and preparation of an annotated bibliography, conducted under the active direction of a member of the Classics faculty. Prerequisites: For senior classics majors only; advance permission of instructor and department chair required. (3 units)

CLAS 197B    Capstone II
Continuation of seminar in addition to supervised completion of the final draft, public oral presentation, and defense of the senior thesis. Prerequisites: CLAS 198A; for senior classics majors only; advance permission of instructor and department chair required. (3 units)

CLAS 199    Directed Reading/Research
Individually designed programs of reading or research, in Latin, Greek, or classics (i.e., literature in translation or culture). Available to advanced students. Advance permission of instructor and department chair required. (5 units)

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