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Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

ClSt 309 History of Ancient Greece to Alexander the Great

Fall 2013

Loyola University Chicago Rome Center

Autumn Semester 2013 – HIST 307/CLST 309


The History of Ancient Greece, to Alexander the Great

Lecturer: Alexander Evers DPhil (Oxon)     (aevers@luc.edu)



Greece… Chosen by the Gods!! Or at least until they discovered Rome as a holiday destination… Greece, the cradle of Western civilization – if, that is, we do not take into account the regions of the Ancient Near East… In any case: it is one of the most inspiring and inspired areas of the Mediterranean world, of the world at large, bringing forth an enormous number of the most incredible and tremendous achievements of the history of mankind.


We begin our journey through time in the earliest days of the Greek world, before the horrors of war – the Trojan War – and the supposed destruction of an entire culture. We pass a new dawn, the rise of the Greek city-state, the polis, the building of the first Greek temples, the creation of new political structures, of a new society, which eventually produced all those famous highlights and landmarks we are still familiar with today. From the Mycenaeans, through the Dark Ages, to the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic period – we shall become aware of the famous phrase: blessed are the Greek!!


Course Abstract


The key objective of this course is to survey the history of Ancient Greece, from its earliest beginnings (from Minoan and Mycenaean foundations in the Bronze Age), through the political and cultural triumph of the classical Greeks (the rise of the Greek poleis, the Athenian victory over the Persians, and the development of democracy), to its autumn days (to the subjugation of the poleis under Macedonian, and subsequently Roman, domination). Not an easy task, as one of the main problems concerning the early days of the Greeks is one of dating. Also, the concept of history and historicity of the earliest Greeks themselves is totally different from our own. As far as Mycenaean and Minoan Greece are concerned, we rely mainly on the evidence provided by archaeology. What is left in writing has to be weighed with extreme care and consideration.


Throughout this course, through lectures and (mainly) seminars, we shall attack some of the major issues in the study of ancient Greek society and culture. History is never a single-minded and uniform matter. The various contributions of numerous scholars, next to our main text of Orrieux & Schmitt Pantel, are all intended to stimulate our own minds to ask further questions, and to start thinking into only few of all the possible directions towards possible answers – or mere hypotheses. Primary sources, as well as secondary literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, reveal the drama of Greek history, society, politics, and culture. These texts, both ancient and modern, contribute to our awareness of the cultural tradition in which we ourselves also stand.


Procedures and Policies


The History of Ancient Greece meets twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 09:30 until 10:45. It is expected of students to contribute for a significant part. They are responsible for completing all of the assigned readings, according to the schedule in this syllabus.

This course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior knowledge of ancient Greek history, or indeed of Greek language. It is intended that students acquire a basic knowledge and understanding of the historical background and facts of ancient Greece, as well as that of the working of historical mechanisms.


Attendance and Assessment


Attendance is mandatory. The success of each session depends to a considerable extent on the students’ presence, as well as on their preparation.


Final grade assessments will be based on the combination of two exams, and a written essay. A small percentage of the students’ grade will be derived from attendance and participation. Students opting for an Honours Contract will be given extra assignments.


It is strongly recommended to take notes, both when reading and listening. These are an indispensable part of studying and learning, often the best means to anchor your thoughts with true understanding, transform opinion into knowledge, and establish comprehension rooted in memory. To write is to learn double the amount.


Exams and essay


There will be 2 (TWO) exams, as a test of your acquired knowledge and understanding of our textbook by Orrieux & Schmitt Pantel and part of the additional literature. The textbook provides a general outline of the developments of Greek history, society and culture. The facts and the various backgrounds of events, both in time and throughout the Greek world, are the framework of any basic historical understanding and mode of thinking.


You are also required to write an essay, which needs to be submitted one week before the end of the semester. It is strongly recommended to start thinking of a suitable topic, including (some of) the appropriate material, right at the beginning of the course. You will in any case be summoned for a consult half way through the course, in order to establish an outline of the final essay. Essays count 10-15 pages.


Information MUST under all circumstances be cited. Plagiarism of any sort will result in a grade of “F” for the assignment, or, depending on the level, perhaps even for the entire course.


Essay Grading


Written work on essay assignments, and to a certain extent also the final exam, meriting the grade of “A” (excellent) must:



Written work and examinations awarded the grade of “B” (good) adequately fulfill a majority of these criteria, with areas of improvement indicated by grading remarks and comments.


The grade of “C” (average) is given when written work and examinations fail to meet most criteria, therefore indicating to the student that an appointment should be made with the professor, before the next essay assignment, to discuss methods for improvement.


Finally, the grade of “D” is assigned to written work and examinations that are simply unacceptable, according to the criteria outlined above, in which case an appointment must be made with the professor and arrangements determined for re-submitting the assignments in an acceptable form.


            Grading Percentages:


            Exam 1                        30%

            Exam 2                        30%

            Final Essay                   30%


            Participation                 10%


Students who wish to request a review of the final course grade must provide original versions of all their graded course assignments.






Course Program


Week 1:          Early Greece



Week 2:          The World of Odysseus



Week 3:          Archaic Greece – The Rise of the Polis



Week 4:          Archaic Greece – Colonisation



Week 5:          Archaic Greece – Tyranny



Week 6:          Classical Greece – Athens



Week 7:          Classical Greece – Sparta



Week 8:          Classical Greece – Democracy and Culture



Week 9:          Classical Greece – Religion



Week 10:        Classical Greece – The Age of Eloquence



Week 11:        The Hellenistic World – Alexander the Great



Week 12:        The Hellenistic World – Alexander and Beyond



John Felice Rome Center · Sullivan Center for Student Services· 6339 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660
Mailing Address: 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
800.344.ROMA · rome@luc.edu

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