Eros: A History of Love from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance

History 100AP

Fall 2017
140 Barrows
Day & Time: 
TuTh 11-12:30
Class Number: 
  • This course satisfies the Pre-Modern Requirement for the History Major.
  • What is love? An instinct, a thing of nature? Or an idea, a product of culture? European philosophers since Plato have sought answers to these questions, advancing in the process various theories about the relationship between nature, culture, and the human condition. This class considers these theories as a starting point of an historical exploration of love as represented in a variety of cultural artifacts from ancient Greece through Renaissance Italy. These include the poetry of Sappho, Ovid and Dante; Greek and Roman sculpture; ancient and medieval romances; marriage chests and wedding hymns; the letters of Abelard and Eloise; and Christian allegorical readings of the Song of Songs. The course alternates between lecture and discussion, so class attendance and student participation are required. The final grade will be based on participation, short writing assignments, two exams, and a final paper.