Graduate Seminars 2018-2019

Prose Composition 

 Fall GRK1000F Advanced Greek language B. Akrigg  MW 12-2, LI205
 Spring LAT1000S Advanced Latin language J. Welsh  T 1-4, LI205

Language-Intensive Courses

 Fall LAT1810F Readings in Roman Imperial Literature and Culture M. Dewar T 1-4, LI103
 Spring GRK1800S Readings in Greek Literature and Language M. Revermann F 9-12, LI103

Research Seminars

 Fall CLA5004F Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argonautica P. Bing  M 2-5, LI103
 Fall CLA5018F Introduction to Latin Epigraphy C. Bruun  F 10-1, LI103
 Fall CLA5016F Lucian of Samosata A. Bendlin  R 9-12, LI103
 Fall MAC1000Y Methods in Mediterranean Archaeology S. Murray  T 9-12, LI103
 Spring CLA5024S Villaculture: The Republican and Imperial Roman Villa C. Fulton  R 9-12, LI103
 Spring CLA5010S Dirty Vergil R. Höschele  T 10-1, LI103
 Spring CLA5026S Cities, Imperialism and Historical Approaches B. Chrubasik  W 9-12, LI103
 Spring CLA5012S Epicurean Philosophy in First-Century BCE Italy A. Keith  M 10-1, LI103

Reading Seminars: Course Descriptions 

LAT1810H1F: Readings in Roman Imperial Literature and Culture / M. Dewar

The principal aims of this course are, first and foremost, to help students improve their general fluency in reading the various genres of Latin literature, both prose and verse, and, secondly, to help them become more familiar with the literature of the Early Imperial period in particular as they prepare for the MA Qualifying Examinations. We shall begin with Seneca’s tragedy Thyestes. Students will be consulted in early September to determine which other texts on the MA Qualifying Examinations Reading Lists they prefer to study in class. Methods of assessment will include prepared-translation tests, short writing assignments, and class participation.

GRK1800H5S: Readings in Greek Literature and Language / M. Revermann

As the primary objective of this course is to improve reading skills, participants will have to prepare a significant amount of text for translation and discussion for each session. Excerpts from both prose and poetry authors will be read and discussed. The texts are chosen to provide significant overlaps with the Reading List. In addition, relevant scholarly discussions will be assigned for each session in order to broaden the perspective beyond merely linguistic aspects towards broader questions of interpretation. In particular, the very act of reading ancient texts will be problematized from various theoretical perspectives throughout this course. Towards the end of the course, there will be a special focus on two more technical aspects, metre and textual criticism.

Research Seminars: Course Descriptions

CLA5004: Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argonautica / P. Bing

In this course we will read the whole of Apollonius’  Argonautica, examining it as an epic in continual dialogue with earlier epic tradition. We will study how it adapts Homeric diction, formulae, and narrative technique. At the same time, we will examine Apollonius’ peculiarly Hellenistic qualities, for instance his learned deployment of prose works, such as local histories and ethnographic treatises, as sources for the depiction of the Argo’s voyage along the Black Sea coast and beyond, or again how he takes sides in contemporary scholarly debates on the meaning of rare terms by using them in a particular sense in his epic. In particular, we will look at the Argonautica as a Ptolemaic epic. Since Apollonius enjoyed the royal patronage of the Ptolemies, we will explore how his work reflects their cultural politics and assess its relationship to important intertexts by other “Ptolemaic” authors, such as Theocritus’ Idylls 13 (Hylas) and 22 (Dioskouroi), and corresponding episodes in Callimachus’ Aetia (Argonauts, Anaphe, etc.). These relationships need now to be re-considered in light of J. Murray’s 2014 proposal to re-date the Argonautica to the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes.

Texts: F. Vian, Apollonius de Rhodes: Argonautiques, 3-vols,  (Budé edition, Paris 1974-1981)

Requirements: In addition to preparing the readings assigned on the syllabus, students will 1) present an oral report on a particular topic in the Argonautica, such as similes, ecphrases, catalogues, etc., chosen in consultation with the instructor, 2) lead the class in translating and discussing a particular section of the epic during a given class period, 3) write a term paper of 20-30 pages on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.

CLA 5018: Introduction to Latin Epigraphy / C. Bruun

No previous experience in working with Latin inscriptions is required, but a good knowledge of Latin is necessary. The seminar has two objectives. First, it provides a general orientation in how to work with the known Latin inscriptions (which number in the hundreds of thousands), including how to optimally combine the use of printed editions with the consultation of online resources. Second, the seminar focuses on advanced work on a number of topics of Roman social, political, and cultural history, thereby also highlighting the many fields of study that benefit from epigraphy. The seminar comprises regular take-home exercises, class presentations and a substantial research essay.

CLA5016: Lucian of Samosata / A. Bendlin

Of the Greek authors of the second century CE, no one has left as varied a corpus of texts as Lucian of Samosata. The approximately eighty works that survive under his name include declamations, speeches, encomia and rhetorical essays, dialogues on philosophical and other topics, ‘Menippean’ satires, novelistic texts, an ethnographic treatise, and a number of—purportedly—(auto-)biographical writings.

In this research seminar, we explore this fascinating oeuvre from complementary angles. We investigate the literary genres represented in the Lucianic corpus and discuss their appropriation by Lucian to engage contemporary systems of knowledge and belief. We consider the persona(e) the texts construe in order to negotiate different identities. The author—travelling “sophist,” orator, and employee in the Roman imperial administration—is a striking representative of a particular intellectual and socio-political milieu (the so-called “Second Sophistic”); we set Lucian’s writings against the intellectual, social, and political realities of the period. Since late antiquity, Lucian has been read as a (nihilistic) critic of contemporary paideia, morality, religion, and society; we re-examine the auctorial strategies that may have led to this particular reading and critically review Lucian’s modern reception.

Although we aim to cover a significant number of Lucianic text from different genres, some (Alexander or the False Prophet, Apology, Demonax, Dialogues of the Gods, Peregrinus) may receive a more detailed treatment. We also consider works written by some of Lucian’s (older and younger) contemporaries and juxtapose the pertinent, and abundant, epigraphic material.

A syllabus detailing the topics, readings, and a bibliography will be made available for our first meeting. Reading knowledge of Greek (and Latin) is expected. Reading proficiency in German, Italian, or French is welcome. Evaluation: regular, active participation; in-class presentation; written end-of-term assignment.

MAC1000Y: Methods in Mediterranean Archaeology / S. Murray

The study of the ancient Mediterranean world has been both enriched and complicated by the diversity of cultures and states that occupied its shores throughout antiquity, and the vastly different bodies of evidence those cultures and states left behind. This diversity of evidence has led to the development of distinctive standard methodologies operating within sub-disciplines. The aim of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of what constitutes method within the different domains of Classical archaeology, ancient history, and prehistory, and the challenges and opportunities in working across these methods to produce new frameworks for researching the ancient Mediterranean. Students will examine ways in which historical and archaeological methods might be applied comparatively or diachronically across traditional chronological or geographical boundaries. Themes and topics to be discussed will include demography and settlement patterns; religion and art; technology and economy; and connectivity and networks. Readings will be drawn from several core ‘classic’ texts on the ancient Mediterranean and specific case-studies. Students will be evaluated based on weekly reading reports, participation in seminars, subject bibliographies, and a major research paper.

CLA5024: Villaculture: The Republican and Imperial Roman Villa / C. Fulton

This seminar focuses on the Roman villa in peninsular Italy and in the Roman provinces. We will use the villa as a lens through which to examine Graeco-Roman culture of the Republic and Empire, highlighting the villa’s importance not only in agricultural production but also as luxury retreats for the elite. In doing so, we will examine the material, visual, and literary evidence for the villa. Starting with definitions of a ‘villa’ and architectural typologies, we will then closely interrogate how adaptations to, and conceptions of, villas shift with social, cultural, and economic contexts.

CLA5010: Dirty Vergil / R. Höschele

The concept of a “Dirty Vergil” may seem rather counterintuitive, but Rome’s national poet and his oeuvre underwent multiple stages of obscenification over the course of several centuries. The frivolous game ancient writers liked to play with Vergil took many forms: from biographical constructs via intertextual eroticization and obscene rewritings to the semantic recoding of entire Vergilian lines through their deliberate decontextualization. In this course we will contemplate the many ways in which Vergil’s person and poetry were sexualized in a whole variety of poetic genres vis-à-vis the biographical and grammatical tradition. Texts to be discussed include ancient commentaries faulting Vergil for the unintential use of dirty double entendres (cacemphata), the Lives of Vergil, the Catalepton (a pseudepigraphic text pretending to be written by young Vergil), Roman elegy and epigram, Pompeian graffiti, as well as Ausonius’ Cento Nuptialis (which uses exclusively Vergilian material for the depiction of a sex scene). Combining close textual analysis with theoretical discussions of obscenity and intertextuality, this course will introduce students to a number of lesser known works while also deepening their familiarity with Vergil’s own oeuvre as well as Vergilian scholarship.

CLA5026: Cities, Imperialism and Historical Approaches / B. Chrubasik

This seminar has two aims. It is a reading course regarding approaches to the study of history, and it is a course that is concerned with the historical question of the relationship between city states and larger supra organizations. Most cities of the ancient Mediterranean may have had aims to control the communities that surrounded it, but for the vast majority, the Aristotelian model of autonomous existence and aspirations to larger control was not a reality, and, instead, most communities arranged themselves with powerful—if changing—neighbours. How did these communities exist, thrive and develop within these imperial spheres? Naturally, imperial systems functioned differently, and imperial controls developed throughout antiquity, but were there systemic differences and developments in the relationships between cities and empires? These are some of the historical questions this seminar aims to address.

The chronological framework is broad—from Achaemenid to Roman Imperial times—and the ancient evidence is largely literary, epigraphic and numismatic.

This topic is by itself of interest. Yet our approach to the questions to the source material at our disposal will be guided by some of the major approaches to the field of history in the 20thand 21st centuries, and we will examine these approaches in weekly tranches. How would empiricists approach our evidence? Which questions can (and cannot) be asked with a Marxist lens? The chronological breadth of the seminar implies a nod to the Annales School, but how does an acknowledgement of such approaches shape our approach to the ancient evidence? These questions also concern historical presentation: are narratives still essential, and how should they be written? Can we de-colonize the histories of the cities of e.g. Ionia, and what would structuralist and poststructuralist accounts look like? Ultimately, living in a world where even the globalized first decade of the 21st century looks more and more foreign: whither ancient history, and how do we do it?

This seminar is open to any graduates working on the world of the ancient Mediterranean and the Near East.  Advanced knowledge of Greek and Latin is desirable but not essential.

CLA5012: Epicurean Philosophy in First-Century BCE Italy / A. Keith

This course focuses on the articulation of Epicurean philosophy in the Latin and Greek literature of first-century BCE Italy. Over the course of the semester, we shall read Lucretius’ exposition of the physical principles of Epicurus’ doctrine, and the ethical precepts deriving from them, in his great poem De Rerum Natura, in its entirety. Each week, readings in Lucretius will be supplemented by readings in the extant works of Epicurus and those of Lucretius’ own contemporaries and followers, including Philodemus, Horace and Vergil. We will also explore the characterizations of contemporary Italian Epicureanism in the work of their opponent Cicero, one of the most important politicians of the period. We shall consider key Epicurean themes such as friendship and pleasure, and analyze Epicurean attitudes to the passions, politics, and poetics, in a period that witnessed the political upheavals of recurring civil wars, the demise of the republican government, and the literary innovations of the ‘Neoteric’ poets.