φασὶ γὰρ τὴν Γῆν βαρουμένην ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπων πολυπληθίας, μηδεμιᾶς ἀνθρώπων οὔσης εὐσεβείας, αἰτῆσαι τὸν Δία κουφισθῆναι τοῦ ἄχθους· τὸν δὲ Δία πρῶτον μὲν εὐθὺς ποιῆσαι τὸν Θηβαϊκὸν πόλεμον, δι᾿ οὗ πολλοὺς πάνυ ἀπώλεσεν, ὕστερον δὲ πάλιν τὸν Ἰλιακόν, συμβούλωι τῷ Μώμῳ χρησάμενος, ἣν Διὸς βουλὴν Ὅμηρός φησιν.
They say that the Earth, weighed down by overpopulation (since human beings knew no reverence), asked Zeus to lighten her burden. They say that Zeus first brought about the Theban War, by which he destroyed very many men, and that he then, with Disgrace as his counsellor, caused the Trojan War. Homer called this the Plan of Zeus.
Course Description and Objectives
CLST 450 is an advanced, five-credit course in Greek and Latin literature in translation. Most people today are familiar with the Trojan war either through Homer's Iliad and Odyssey or through the movie Troy starring Brad Pitt. The latter differs in many ways from Homer's story of the war, and this gives rise to much wailing and gnashing of teeth about Hollywood "ruining" the epics. Yet, one could say the same of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, of whose titular characters one has but brief mention in the Iliad and the other exists not at all in Homeric epic. In fact, ancient traditions of the Trojan war covered much ground that Homer did not and gave rise to a vast body of later literature that differed from Homer's epics in interesting ways. Not every story, play, or even movie about the Trojan war derives from the Iliad. In this course, we read non-Homeric accounts of the Trojan war and its aftermath to understand the broader literary context that gave rise to the medieval, Renaissance, and modern stories of the Trojan war. Along the way, students will gain exposure to a variety of ancient genres, from epic poetry to tragedy to sophistic rhetoric to elegy, and to secondary scholarship on ancient literature.
This course is designated WP2: upon successful completion of the course, you will have two of the three necessary Writing Proficiency points. This means that at least 30% of the course grade must derive from scholarly writing that teaches you the writing style and conventions of the scholarly field, in this case classical studies, as well as techniques for integrating evidence into academic papers and developing evidence-based arguments. Moreover, you will write multiple drafts of assigned papers and receive suggestions for revision of drafts.
Class Times and Location
CLST 450 meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 PM to 2:10 PM in Old Main 585. Our first class is Thursday, January 5, and the final regular class is Thursday, March 9. There are no Tuesday or Thursday holidays during the winter quarter. The final examination is scheduled for Monday, March 13, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.
- Tuesday and Thursday: 10:00 AM –11:00 AM
- Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
CLST 450 is taught in English, with texts translated into English from Greek or Latin.
Most ancient literature and some medieval and Renaissance literature may be found freely available on the internet in translations prepared more than seventy years ago and thus out of copyright. You are free to use any translation you like, and some students find free texts from the internet acceptable for their use. More recent translations are also available for sale, generally for ten dollars, and many students find the newer translations easier to read and paper books easier to handle. For those who wish to purchase printed books, I have asked the bookstore to make available the following modern translations:
- Fagles, R. 2010. Vergil: The Æneid. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0143106296
- Meineck, P. and Woodruff, P. 2007. Sophocles: Four Tragedies. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett. ISBN 978-0872207639
- Melville, A. 2009. Ovid: Metamorphoses. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199537372
- Svarlien, D. 2012. Euripides: Andromache, Hecuba, Trojan Women. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett. ISBN 978-1603847353
Other readings are linked from the individual assignments. Click on the assignment on the calendar at the bottom of this syllabus, or in the Modules List, or the Assignment List, or wherever you see the assignment, and you will find more information on the assignment. If the assignment is not in one of the textbooks listed above, there will be a link to the reading. Some readings, like those from Dares the Phrygian or Dictys of Crete or Guido de Columnis, are no longer in print and difficult to find online, so I have provided a PDF for you.
Disabilities and Accommodations
I am more than happy to make accommodations for students with disabilities or other special needs. So that the Disability Resources for Students (DRS) office can ensure that your needs are being met appropriately, all requests for accommodation must be made through DRS.
Western Washington University encourages students to seek assistance and support at the onset of an illness, difficulty, or crisis.
In the case of a medical concern or question, please contact the Health Center. The Health Center can forward documentation of medical leaves-of-absence to all your professors for you, which students facing medical problems find to be a great help.
In the case of an emotional or psychological concern or question, please contact the Counseling Center.
In the case of a family or personal crisis or emergency, please contact the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students can forward documentation of your crisis to all your professors for you and coordinate make-up work.
This is a literature class. We read ancient literature (primary sources) and modern scholarship (secondary readings). Keep up with the reading.
Attendance and Participation (10%)
This class relies on your active participation in discussions, and therefore it relies on your attendance. I realize that emergencies do arise, so I will drop two absences (ten percent of our sessions). After that, you must show me a good reason for being absent, or I will begin deducting points from your attendance and participation grade.
Since the attendance function in Canvas cannot drop or excuse absences for university-sponsored activities, I use single-point assignments (labelled AP and the date) to track attendance. Canvas is already set to drop the two lowest absence grades. This means that, by the third class, two attendance grades will appear greyed-out in the grades; if you have no absences, two will be greyed-out anyway, because the lowest two scores out of three perfect scores are still perfect.
There will be unannounced quizzes in class. These will involve writing, often creative writing, and often with a collaborative component. You are free to use your books and notes. If you're absent when a quiz is given, you'll be able to make it up by e-mail.
Midterm Examination (20%)
The midterm will cover the Greek authors whom we have read. The exam will consist of essay questions: you will be able to choose a few questions to answer from a larger pool of questions. For more details, see the Midterm Examination page in Canvas.
Final Examination (20%)
The final exam will cover the Latin authors. The exam will consist of essay questions: you will be able to choose a few questions to answer from a larger pool of questions. For more details, see the Final Examination page in Canvas.
Research Paper (30%)
Since this is a WP2 class, scholarly writing must account for at least 30% of your grade. In this class, you will practice the writing style and conventions of conference papers in classical studies. To this end, you should familiarize yourself with (or memorize) the course style guide.
In classical studies, as in many other disciplines of the humanities, one generally writes term papers which then become conference papers, presented before one's academic peers at a gathering of scholars interested in the field of study. With input from the conference, one then revises one's paper into a journal article and submits it to a journal, where it is read carefully by one or more experts who offer advice on revising the paper again before publication. Published articles then become the basis for chapters in a monograph published by a scholarly press. At each stage, from the conference paper to the journal article to the book, the author makes countless revisions guided by input from others. Also at each stage, the ideas presented become entries in the scholar's curriculum vitæ or academic resumé.
In this course, we shall mimic the process of writing a seven or eight page paper for a conference. First, each student will choose a topic, develop a preliminary thesis statement with some basic research, and write a brief abstract, which is an advertisement for the paper to be presented later. This is how one proposes a paper topic for a conference. Then, students will research their topics and develop an outline and basic bibliography. Next, students will write a rough draft. I shall provide detailed feedback on the rough draft for students' use in revision. At the end of the term, students will present their papers as if at a conference for classical studies. Finally, students will submit to me final drafts of their papers.
Your final paper should be seven to eight pages (not including bibliography) with at least five secondary sources. Be sure to follow the style guide for formatting.
- Abstract (10 points)
- Outline and Preliminary Bibliography (10 points)
- Rough Draft (30 points)
- Presentation (10 points)—to be scheduled the last few classes of the course;
- Final Draft (40 points)
Handy links for research:
- jstor.org—JStor provides PDFs of articles from many journals; it works better if you access it from campus or the VPN to the campus network
- scholar.google.com—Google Scholar searches over articles and books; it works better if you access it from campus or a VPN to the campus network
- onesearch.library.wwu.edu/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?vid=WWU—OneSearch integrates WWU's library catalogue with other databases.
- I've also compiled a brief bibliography of secondary sources that might strike your fancy.
Below you will find a schedule of all exams, quizzes, assignments, readings, and so forth.
This syllabus is subject to change. Changes, if any, will be announced in class. Since the syllabus is on Canvas, students will have the latest information available at all times. Students will be held responsible for all changes.
Canvas provides feeds to which you can subscribe, to keep all your course info in your favorite calendar program like Apple's Calendar or Microsoft Outlook. For details, see the Canvas Guide on Calendar.
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
To add some comments, click the "Edit" link at the top.