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CLST 300


The advanced study of a specific topic in Mediterranean civilizations or literature. Recent courses have treated such topics as Plato on Love and Pleasure, Gender in the Greek and Roman World, Damnation and Salvation, Socrates--The Mind and the Myth, Great Archaeological Discoveries, Greek and Roman Law, and Ancient History and Film. May be repeated for credit with topic changes. Information on upcoming topics courses can be found on the departmental Web page.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

David Guinee

300A: Tps:Performing Culture: Ancient Drama & Society

Most of us encounter Greek tragedies in isolation, as required readings in Greek and Roman mythology or culture surveys. Many have read the _Ajax_ as an example of the 'heroic temper' and a prime example of Sophoclean tragedy. Ajax, outraged by a slight to his honor, who tries to murder his commanders and then ultimately commits suicide in shame. The play, however, was performed at a particular time and place, during a festival in which Athenians paid tribute to orphaned children whose fathers had died in battle. This is but one small example of how context matters to Greek and Roman tragedies and comedies; they are performed within specific cultural conditions and themselves perform the culture.

In this course we will read a wide range of Greek tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, Greek comedies by Aristophanes and Menander, Roman comedies by Terence and Plautus, and the horrific Neronian-era tragedies of Seneca. All of these are foundational texts for later tragedy and comedy. Our focus will be on plays less frequently encountered in introductory Classics courses. While exploring the literary and dramatic qualities of the texts we will also investigate how drama serves to express and respond to particular cultural moments.