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Fall 2019

CLAS 70100 Greek Rhetoric and Stylistics
Prof. David Petrain, Wed. 4:15-6:15 PM, 3 credits
Graduate Center, Room 3310B
An in-depth review of the morphology and syntax of Classical Greek through exercises in composition and stylistic analysis of a variety of authors. Individual weeks will be devoted to exploring the resources and current scholarship available on such topics as accentuation; particles; verbal tense and aspect; word order; syntax; prosody and rhythm; etc.
 In advance of the first class session, students should acquire a copy of Eleanor Dickey's An introduction to the composition and analysis of Greek prose (CUP 2016) ISBN: 9780521184250

CLAS 71200 Aeschylus: Poetry, Democracy and War
Prof. Peter Meineck, Thurs. 6:30-8:30 PM, 3 credits
NYU, Silver Center, Room 503A
Aeschylus was born in Eleusis in the sixth century and died in Gela in the  fifth. Throughout these tumultous times he was said to have fought the Persians at the Battle of Marathon, been evacuated  from Athens, lost a bother at Salamis, witnessed Athens fighting on six fronts including in Egypt and the edges of the Persian empire and visited Sicily where he produced works and experimented with new dramatic forms. This new course, part of a book project, will survey the six extant works of Aeschylus, examine the question of Prometheus Bound, and look closely at the fragments. This will be set alongside the rapidly developing cultural and social environment of Attica and the wider Aegean, Mediterranean, African and Anatolian cultures of the late sixth and early fifth century BCE. Students will each pick one work to focus on and read closely while surveying the others. 

CLAS 71400 Homer’s Odyssey
Prof. David Schur, Wed. 6:30-8:30 PM, 3 credits
Graduate Center, Room 3310B
This class focuses on the Odyssey as a literary composition. Working closely with the Greek, we will explore how various formal features (such as diction and narrative structure) put key themes in interesting perspectives. Special attention will be given to prominent types of imagery (such as paths, animals, and weaving) in the broader context of Greek thought.
 
CLAS 72100 Lucan's Bellum Civile
Prof. Matthew McGowan, Tue. 6:30-8:30 PM, 3 credits
NYU, Silver Center, Room 503A
This course covers Lucan’s Bellum Civile or Pharsalia in its entirety. We will tackle roughly one book per week of Lucan’s epic on the civil war between Caesar and Pompey and then spend the final third of the course on the reception of the Pharsalia in the medieval and early modern periods. Our aim is to situate Lucan’s poem in its immediate historical context and in relation to the broader tradition of Greek and Latin literature. In addition to surveying an array of contemporary scholarship, we will regularly consult ancient and Renaissance commentaries, which will be provided to the class in the form of a course-packet. Over the course of the semester each student will be expected to deliver an oral report and to lead the subsequent group discussion. There will be a midterm exam and final research paper. 

CLAS 73200 Sovereignty in Roman Law
Prof. Michael Peachin and Prof. Andrew Monson, Tue. 4:15-6:15 PM, 3 credits
NYU, Silver Center, Room 503A
Students will examine the concept of sovereignty and its relation to the law in the Hellenistic and Roman imperial period. One aspect of the course will be theoretical: how do we define sovereignty and legitimacy? We will read passages from several ancient authors (e.g. Aristotle, Polybius, Cicero) as well as modern constitutional and legal theorists from Jean Bodin to Max Weber. The emphasis in the course, however, will be on the historical aspect: to what extent did the rule of law and constitutional order exist in practice in city-states, federations, kingdoms, and empires? For the Hellenistic period, we will focus on the nature of Macedonian monarchy from Alexander onwards and its relation to the semi-autonomous Greek city-states as well as Near Eastern traditions of law and sovereignty, including kings' role as lawgivers and judges. For the Roman empire we will proceed similarly, though focusing now on the nature of the Roman emperor’s roles as lawgiver, lawyer, and legal advisor. Was the emperor truly sovereign vis à vis the law? And if he was, when and how did this come about? In additional to secondary literature, we will examine case studies for both the Hellenistic and the Roman period by reading inscriptions, papyri, and historical accounts.

CLAS 81100 Aristotle’s Rhetoric
Prof. Laura Viidebaum, Thurs. 4:15-6:15 PM, 3 credits
NYU, Silver Center, Room 503A
Aristotle’s Rhetoric is a fascinating work that is as complex and influential as it is
controversial. Despite unsolved questions about its actual composition and difficult
afterlife, the Rhetoric continues to serve as the starting point for theoretical reflections on
rhetoric, oratory and prose writing. In this course we will aim to get an overall idea of the
Rhetoric and delve into questions about its language, composition, subject matter, and
position within Aristotle’s corpus. We’ll think about the commentary tradition and will
also look at the impact and afterlife of the Rhetoric, particularly in the way in which it
has contributed to discussions about ancient emotions. We will read the work in the
original Greek, though students should have a read through the whole of the Rhetoric in
translation before the start of the semester. For the original, we’ll work with W. D. Ross’
edition of Aristotle’s Rhetoric (OCT, 1959). We’ll have weekly reading assignments,
comprising of passages of the Rhetoric and relevant secondary literature, a midterm and a
final assignment, which will highly likely be a summary effort to produce a commentary
of Book 3 of the Rhetoric.

CLAS 71800 Thucydides, Politics, Philosophy
Prof. Jennifer Roberts, Mon. 6:30-8:30 PM, 3 credits
Graduate Center, Room 3306
This interdisciplinary course will be guided in part by the particular interests of the students who choose to enroll in it: historians, classicists, archaeologists, political scientists, philosophers.  Although there will be common readings, students are encouraged to pursue their own perspectives on Thucydides while at the same time coming to appreciate his relevance to other disciplines.  The text will be read in English, but I am happy to meet separately with students who would like to read selections in the original Greek.
 
A masterpiece of both narrative and analysis, Thucydides’ account of the war between the Athenian Empire and Peloponnesian League also merits study as a work of profound philosophical import.  The work of a man filled with a plangent sense of the sorrows of the human condition, Thucydides’ history offered a non-fiction counterpart to the tragic drama of his contemporaries Sophocles and Euripides.  
 
The father of political science, Thucydides has often been labeled the father of political realism.  We will explore in what ways this is and is not accurate.  Thucydides has been co-opted by one generation after another, on one continent after another, as a spokesman for its own society and identified as the one person who best understood the problems of the day.  From monarchists to republicans in Europe to 20th and 21st century American neoconservatives, his readers have proudly cited him in defense of their ideologies. Today students of international relations wring their hands over the newly dubbed menace, “the Thucydides trap,” a concept that draws parallels between the diplomatic situation that led up to the Peloponnesian War and America’s growing tensions with China.  Both Thucydides and his legacy will be the subjects of this course.