84 Spring 2014 The Origins of Historical Writing in the Ancient West

The first historians of western civilization emerged in Israel, Greece, and Rome in the first millennium BC. They preserved information about the great empires, major personalities, and crucial events now lost to us; they established our major narratives of archetypal events such as the battle of Marathon, the foundation of Rome, and the spread of Christianity; and they have all been accused repeatedly of gross dishonesty in their portrayal of events.

185A Spring 2014 History of Christianity to 1250

Like adherents to many (but probably not most) religions, Christians looks to its origins to determine its essence. In this course we will attempt to understand those origins, from the early Roman Empire until Charlemagne’s revival of a “Roman Empire,” particularly in relation to the wider political, economic, and cultural conditions in which Christianity developed.

106A Spring 2014 The Roman Republic

“I found Rome city of brick and left it a city of marble,” boasted the first Roman emperor, Augustus. It was to be the end of the Republic. In this class, we shall investigate how Rome grew from a village of farmers into an Empire of provinces between the eighth and first centuries BCE, but not without destroying its beloved Republic in civil war. The lecture course familiarizes students with Rome’s expansionist success into an empire, first within Italy, and later across Europe and throughout the Mediterranean.

101.002 Spring 2014 Research Topics in Ancient Greek and Roman History

This course is a research seminar for students who want to write a thesis on any topic in ancient Greek and Roman history. From the start, the course is designed to accommodate students as much as possible in terms of research and writing. We shall meet as a group to present and discuss each other’s work with positive criticism regularly (6 times); or to introduce new research and writing strategies, as the students’ need requires. But most of the time students will spend on independent research and writing, but again in one-on-one consultation with the instructor.

100.002 Fall 2013 Jews in the Greco-Roman World

Under both Greek and Roman empires Jews lived both in Palestine and throughout the Mediterranean in Diaspora. This course will study the variety of Jewish experiences--their cultures, societies, political systems, and religion--from Alexander the Great's conquests until the formation of Rabbinic Judaism (from around 330 BCE to 200 CE). Special attention will go to Jewish literature such as the so-called apocrypha, Dead Sea Scrolls and New Testament, the Hasmonean kingdom, and traces of the daily life of Diaspora communities.

103A.002 Fall 2013 Public Opinion in the Greek Polis: Debate and Decline from 431 BCE to 104 CE

The polis or “city-state” is arguably the most cardinal topic in any textbook of Greek history, where it is granted but a burst of vitality in what we now call the Classical period. This course, however, takes the unorthodox view that the notion of “decline” is vital for the century-long history of the Greek polis, whose democratic institutions are the outcome of debate and conflict.

105B Fall 2013 The Greek World: 403-31 BCE

The Greek world grew to be far larger than its city-states of the fifth century. But only with increasing difficulty can we describe the political, social, and cultural history of the world as still Greek after 403 BCE. When the dust settled after a thirty-year war between Athens, Sparta, and the rest of the Peloponnese, it meant a turning point in history. This is the history of an ever-globalizing ancient world, encompassing change and continuity for Greeks, as well as Persians, Macedonians, Indians, Egyptians, Jews, and Romans.

4A Fall 2013 The Ancient Mediterranean World.

This course offers an introductory survey of the history of the ancient Mediterranean world, from the rise of city states in Mesopotamia c. 3000 BC to the transformation of the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD.


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