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HIST 3291—Ancient Greece

Three Semester Hours

JC 8/14


University Requisite: student must be a sophomore, junior, or senior

Course Overview

Begins with the emergence of the ancient Greeks of the Mycenaean Age and Homer’s epics, moving on to the emergence of city-states with a focus on Athens and Sparta. Will also cover political and military history from the Persian wars to the conquests of Alexander the Great. Students will also learn about the society and culture of ancient Greece, including topics such as slavery, women’s lives, religion and philosophy. Assigned reading includes histories, poems, philosophy, and dramatic works, as well as visual arts and archaeological evidence. 

Methods of Course Instruction

All material for this course is print-based. Instructor and students communicate and exchange materials through postal mail. 

Textbooks and Supplies

  • Pomeroy, Sarah, et al. A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society and Culture. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press. [ISBN: 9780199981557]
  • Homer. The Essential Iliad. Hackett Press, 2000. [ISBN: 9780872205420]
  • Herodotus. On the War for Greek Freedom: Selections from the Histories. Hackett Press, 2003. [ISBN: 9780872206670]
  • Thucydides. On Justice, Power and Human Nature. Hackett Press. 1993. [ISBN: 9780872201682]
  • Plato. Five Dialogues. 2nd ed. Hackett Press, 2002. [ISBN: 9780872206335]

Number of Lessons

The course has 14 lessons, including one midcourse examination and one final examination. The topics include:

  • Lesson 1: The Earliest Greeks: Archeology and Poetry
  • Lesson 2: Homer’s Iliad: Warfare, Religion, and Society in Early Greece
  • Lesson 3: The Archaic Age: Emergence of Athens and Sparta
  • Lesson 4: Persian Wars: Rise of the Persian Empire and the Invasion by Darius
  • Lesson 5: Persian Wars: Xerxes’ Invasion
  • Lesson 6: The Origins of the Peloponnesian War
  • Lesson 7: Midcourse Examination Information
  • Lesson 8: The Peloponnesian War: Does Might Make Right?
  • Lesson 9: Athenian Democracy: Pros and Cons
  • Lesson 10: Daily Life in Ancient Greece: Women, Families, and Society
  • Lesson 11: Daily Life in Ancient Greece: Religion
  • Lesson 12: Philosophy and Law Courts: The Trial of Socrates
  • Lesson 13: Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic World, and Beyond
  • Lesson 14: Final Examination Information

Types of Writing Assignments

  • Lessons: Each lesson will end with a worksheet with questions about the assigned readings. You may use your notes and books while completing these assignments. 
  • Essays: You will write two essays based on questions about the primary source readings. You may choose your two essays from four options. Each essay will be 3–4 pages (double-spaced) or 1,000–1,500 words handwritten (roughly 5–7 pages, depending on the individual's handwriting) and will draw on examples from the ancient texts that will support your argument.

Grading Criteria

  • 2 short essays (3–4 pages): 30% (15% each)
  • 12 lessons with assignments/quizzes: 36% (3% each)
  • Midterm Exam: 14%
  • Final Exam: 20%