Archaic and Classical Greek History

History 105A

Fall 2016
Randall Souza
141 McCone
Day & Time: 
MWF 10-11A
  • This course satisfies the Pre-Modern Requirement for the History Major.
  • In this course we will investigate Greek history from the Bronze Age to the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BCE. We will address topics including politics, the military, literary and material culture, religion, philosophy, society, economics, athletics, women, and slavery, and we will devote special attention to Crete, Sparta, Athens, Persia, and Macedon. While lectures and our textbook will provide a historical narrative and highlight key questions, students will have the opportunity to engage substantially with the ancient evidence, including historians like Herodotus and Thucydides as well as material culture and original historical documents. 

    The ancient Greeks, from whom so much of Western culture is derived, were paradoxical. They held radically progressive ideas about social life while at the same time exhibiting a basically conservative mindset. They could be broadly inclusive and ready to accept foreign influences while still insisting on their own superiority. They participated in a culture spread widely across the Mediterranean while also maintaining significant local distinctions. We will face their familiarity to us and their strangeness to us as we learn to appreciate the world in which these ancient individuals lived. 

    This course has three main objectives, which are variations of fundamental practices of history.  The first is to understand the historical development of the ancient Greek Mediterranean, and in particular the major trends in sociopolitical consolidation and diversification. The second is to learn to critically evaluate evidence of different kinds (i.e. textual, documentary, archaeological) in the service of this historical understanding. The third is to compose arguments about the ancient Greeks, including political, military, religious, social, artistic, and economic life among other topics, and to support those arguments with interpreted evidence in persuasive writing. 

    The course will include both lectures and discussions. The four short papers will offer you the opportunity to engage with the primary and secondary sources in a manner that should prepare you for success on the paper and the exams. Our discussions will also involve practicing the kind of thinking necessary for success on those assignments and in achieving the goals of the course.

    Course Books

    The Landmark Thucydides by Strassler, Robert Free Press. ISBN: 978-0684827902 Required
    The Landmark Herodotus by Strassler, Robert Anchor Books. ISBN: 978-1400031146 Required
    Ancient Greece: Social and Historical Documents from Archaic Times to the Death of Alexander. Third edition. by Dillon, Matthew & Garland, Lynda Routledge . ISBN: 978-0-415-47330-9 Required
    Greece in the Making. Second edition. by Osborne, Robin Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-46992-0 Required