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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Classical Studies View this department's website

The roots of Western civilization can be traced to the various classical cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. Our forms of government, education, religion, and artistic and literary expression all have their beginnings in ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East. Classical Studies thus serves two purposes: it introduces us to the languages, literatures and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world and it provides insights into our contemporary world by exploring the roots of Western civilization.

Requirements for the Classical Studies Major (12 Credits)

Seven credits in two of three classical languages (7)

4 credits in one language, 3 in the other from the following:

Four additional credits in courses related to the ancient Mediterranean selected in consultation with the student's advisor (4)

At least 1 of which must be a course in material culture (marked with an *)

  • ARTH 270 (TH; 4th Sem Lang Req) Roman Art and Architecture (1)*
  • ARTH 271 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greek Art and Architecture (1)*
  • CLAS 171 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Love and War, Gods and Heroes: Greek and Roman Epic Poetry (1)
  • CLAS 244 (IT; W; 4th Sem Lang Req) The Greek and Roman Stage (1)
  • CLAS 247 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Women in Roman Literature and Life (1)
  • CLAS 250 (TH; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians (1) [Crosslisted with HIST 250]
  • CLAS 260 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Gender and Sexuality in Greek Society (1) [Crosslisted with WGS 260]
  • CLAS 351 (US; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greek and Near Eastern Religion (1)
  • HIST 251 Rome: From Republic to Empire (1)
  • IDS 351 (W) Culture of Ancient Greece (1)*
  • PHIL 230 History of Philosophy: Ancient & Medieval (1)
  • REL 113 (TH) Introduction to Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (1)
  • REL 221 Hellenistic Mystery Religions (.5)
  • REL 237 (W; 4th Sem Lang Req) Introduction to Syro-Palestinian Archaeology (1)*
  • REL 340 Hebrew Torah/Pentateuch (1)
  • REL 341 Religions of the Ancient World (1)
  • RHET 231 Classical Rhetoric (1)

Senior Seminar (1)

  • CLAS 496 (W) Senior Seminar in Classical Studies (1)

Student majors will choose a topic in consultation with the Classics faculty and will read an ancient text appropriate to that topic in the original language(s) and write a substantial research paper.

Requirements for the Classical Studies Minor (5 Credits)

Two or three credits in one of the three classical languages (2 or 3)

Greek, Hebrew, or Latin

Two or three credits from the following to result in 5 total credits for the minor (2 or 3)

  • ARTH 270 (TH; 4th Sem Lang Req) Roman Art and Architecture (1)
  • ARTH 271 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greek Art and Architecture (1)
  • CLAS 171 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Love and War, Gods and Heroes: Greek and Roman Epic Poetry (1)
  • CLAS 244 (IT; W; 4th Sem Lang Req) The Greek and Roman Stage (1)
  • CLAS 247 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Women in Roman Literature and Life (1)
  • CLAS 250 (TH; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians (1) [Crosslisted with HIST 250]
  • CLAS 351 (US; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greek and Near Eastern Religion (1)
  • HIST 251 Rome: From Republic to Empire (1)
  • IDS 351 (W) Culture of Ancient Greece (1)
  • PHIL 230 History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval (1)
  • REL 113 (TH) Introduction to Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (1)
  • REL 221 Hellenistic Mystery Religions (.5)
  • REL 237 (W; 4th Sem Lang Req) Introduction to Syro-Palestinian Archaeology (1)
  • REL 340 Hebrew Torah/Pentateuch (1)
  • REL 341 Religions of the Ancient World (1)
  • RHET 231 Classical Rhetoric (1)

Faculty

  • Ortwin Knorr, Associate Professor of Classics, Chair
  • Mary R. Bachvarova, Assistant Professor of Classics

Contributing Faculty

  • David W. McCreery, Professor of Religious Studies, Chair
  • Catherine A. Collins, Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
  • Louis F. Goble, Professor of Philosophy
  • Lane C. McGaughy, George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious Studies and Ethical Studies
  • Ann M. Nicgorski, Associate Professor of Art History

Course Listings

CLAS 171 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Love and War, Gods and Heroes: Greek and Roman Epic Poetry (1)

The great stories of Greek and Roman epic poetry continue to inspire modern literature, art, and film. In this course, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Hesiod's Theogony, and Vergil's Aeneid will be read and discussed in English translation. Emphasis will be on plot and narrative technique, genre characteristics, changes in world view, and the reception of these poems in later periods.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement (Latin and Greek)

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Knorr

CLAS 244 (IT; W; 4th Sem Lang Req) The Greek and Roman Stage (1)

Tragedy and comedy are among the most important genres of ancient literature. The study of major plays by writers such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, and Terence will illustrate the development of ancient theater and the immense influence these dramatic creations still exert on modern Western literature and film. Emphasis will be laid on the historical context of these works, their structure and generic conventions (and the conscious play with them), and on practical issues of staging and performance.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered; Fourth Semester Language Requirement (Latin and Greek)

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Knorr

CLAS 247 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Women in Roman Literature and Life (1)

Through the study of ancient Roman texts in translation, this course explores the life experience of women in ancient Rome and the way their lives are reflected in 500 years of Roman literature. Since most Roman authors were men, students will try to reconstruct women's voices and their human experience by exploring both literary and non-literary sources, such as laws, grave inscriptions, and graffiti. In addition, students will examine artistic representations of women in the form of portrait sculptures and funerary monuments.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Knorr

CLAS 250 (TH; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greeks, Romans and Barbarians (1)

[Crosslisted with HIST 250]

Herodotus, Caesar, and Tacitus will be consulted, along with comedy, tragedy, fragments of ethnographers and passages from other primary sources to see how perceptions of barbarians changed over time, affected by the ways that Greek and Roman interaction with them changed. In order to better understand how recent history shapes our interpretation of ancient culture, we will study post-colonialist, Afro-centric, and "anti-anti-Semitic" approaches to the Greco-Roman image of Egyptians, Persians, Indians, Scythians, Libyans, Ethiopians, Phrygians, Lydians, Gauls, Britons, and Germans. Credit may not be earned for both LATIN 350 and CLASS/HIST 250.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

CLAS 260 (IT; 4th Sem Lang Req) Gender and Sexuality in Greek Society (1)

[Crosslisted with WGS 260]

This course explores Greek attitudes towards gender roles and sexuality, drawing on primary medical texts, tragedy, comedy, didactic poetry, forensic speeches, the romance novel, philosophy, early lyric poetry, and secondary scholarship about these texts. Topics include gender construction, misogyny, hysteria, virginity, marriage, rape, seduction, inheritance, female and male desire, homosexuality, and rites of passage.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

CLAS 351 (US; 4th Sem Lang Req) Greek and Near Eastern Religion (1)

Ancient Eastern Mediterranean religion cannot be understood without taking into account the interplay between economic, political and religious spheres, and the key role it played in justifying social structures, and coercing individuals to play their proper part in upholding social institutions. A variety of sociological and anthropological theories and approaches will be applied to the following topics within ancient Eastern Mediterranean religion: divination, Aphrodite, Apollo, cosmogony, festivals, and worship of the dead. The course will end with a reading of a Greek tragedy, Aeschylus' Eumenides, situating it in its religious and ritual context. Throughout students will constantly be confronted with the question, why are Greek and Near Eastern religions so similar? Can specific similarities be attributed to a common source, borrowing, membership in a single cultural area, or is this "how humans think?"

Mode of Inquiry: Understanding Society

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Alternative

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

CLAS 496 (W) Senior Seminar in Classical Studies (1)

Required course for Classical Studies majors. Students will choose a topic in consultation with Classics faculty, read a text appropriate to that topic in the ancient language(s) and write a substantial research paper. Prerequisite: Senior standing in Classical Studies or consent of instructor.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor:  Staff

GREEK 131 Elementary Ancient Greek I (1)

Introduction to the morphology and syntax of ancient Greek.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Bachvarova, Knorr

GREEK 132 Elementary Ancient Greek II (1)

Introduction to the morphology and syntax of ancient Greek.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Bachvarova, Knorr

GREEK 231 Ancient Greek Prose (1)

Reading and translation of selected ancient Greek prose texts, including works by Herodotus, Plato, Lysias and others.

Prerequisite: GREEK 131 and 132 or equivalent

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

GREEK 232 Ancient Greek Poetry (1)

Selections from Greek epic poetry or a complete Greek tragedy will be read and discussed.

Prerequisite: GREEK 131 and 132 or equivalent

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

GREEK 232a Hellenistic Greek Texts (1)

Reading and translation of selected Greek texts from the Greco-Roman period, including the New Testament, the Septuagint, Josephus, Philo, and the Apostolic Fathers; some attention to Hellenistic grammar, papyrology, and textual criticism.

Prerequisite: GREEK 132

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: McGaughy

GREEK 351 (US) The Religious and Ritual Context of Aeschylus' Eumenides (1)

This course will be taught concurrently with Greek and Near Eastern Religions. We will meet one extra hour per week to read the Eumenides in Greek. Attention will be paid to dialectal forms, meter, and the formal components of tragedy.

Mode of Inquiry: Understanding Society

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Fourth Semester Language Alternative

Prerequisite: GREEK 132 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

GREEK 390 Independent Study (.5-1)

Advanced study of selected Greek texts.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Knorr, McGaughy

HEBR 131: Elementary Classical Hebrew I (1)

An introduction to the original language of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Using the inductive methods, students will be introduced to the morphology and syntax of ancient Hebrew by translating selected passages from the Hebrew Bible.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: McCreery

HEBR 132: Elementary Classical Hebrew II (1)

An introduction to the original language of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Using the inductive methods, students will be introduced to the morphology and syntax of ancient Hebrew by translating selected passages from the Hebrew Bible.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: McCreery

HEBR 231: Intermediate Classical Hebrew I (1)

Reading and translation of selected passages from the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the finer points of Hebrew grammar, poetry and orthography will be examined.

Prerequisite: HEBR 131 and HEBR 132 (open to freshmen with good Hebrew background)

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: McCreery

HEBR 232: Intermediate Classical Hebrew II (1)

Reading and translation of selected passages from the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the finer points of Hebrew grammar, poetry and orthography will be examined.

Prerequisite: HEBR 131 and HEBR 132 (open to freshmen with good Hebrew background)

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: McCreery

HEBR 390 Independent Study (.5-1)

Advanced study of selected Hebrew texts

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: McCreery

LATIN 131 Elementary Latin I (1)

Introduction to the morphology, syntax and style of classical Latin.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Knorr, Nice

LATIN 132 Elementary Latin II (1)

Introduction to the morphology, syntax ans style of classical Latin.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Knorr, Nice

LATIN 231 Latin Prose (1)

Close reading of classical Latin prose authors. Texts by Cicero, Sallust, Livy, Suetonius, Seneca and/or Apuleius will be translated and discussed.

Prerequisite: LATIN 132

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Knorr, Nice

LATIN 232 Latin Poetry (1)

Close reading of classical Latin poetry. Works by Catullus, Propertius, Vergil, Horace, Ovid and others will be translated and discussed.

Prerequisite: LATIN 132

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Knorr

LATIN 350 (TH) Readings in Caesar and Tacitus: Greeks, Romans and Barbarians (1)

Taught 3 hours a week in conjunction with CLAS 250/HIST 250 (Greeks, Romans and Barbarians), one hour per week translating Caesar, and Tacitus. Herodotus, Caesar and Tacitus will be consulted, along with comedy, tragedy, fragments of ethnographers and passages from other primary sources to see how perceptions of barbarians changed over time, affected by the ways that Greek and Roman interactions with them changed. In order to better understand how recent history shapes our interpretation of ancient culture, we will study post-colonialist, Afro-centric, and "anti-anti-Semitic" approaches to the Greco-Roman image of Egyptians, Persians, Indians, Scythians, Libyans, Ethiopians, Phrygians, Lydians, Gauls, Britons, and Germans. Credit may not be earned for both LATIN 350 and CLAS/HIST 250.

Prerequisite: LATIN 232

  • Offering: Triennially in spring
  • Instructor: Bachvarova

LATIN 390 Independent Study (.5-1)

Advanced study of selected Latin texts.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Knorr, Bachvarova

LATIN 391 Advanced Reading in Latin Literature (1)

This course allows for intensive study at the third-year level of a text or texts in a single genre or time-period of Latin literature. The primary focus remains translation, but secondary readings will be incorporated and discussed. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite: Completion of LATIN 232, or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Bachvarova, Knorr