103A.002 Spring 2016 The Roman Experience: Family Life in the Roman Empire

In this course we will explore what it was like to live in the Roman Empire. This is not an easy task given the size and diversity of Rome’s dominion, but it is possible to get a sense of the Roman experience through a close look at the nuclear family, which was and, arguably, continues to be the fundamental unit of society.

101.001 Spring 2016 Research Topics in Ancient Greek and Roman History

This course is open to all students intending to write a thesis on any topic in ancient Greek and Roman history. Class meetings in the first couple of weeks will explore different models of research and writing in ancient history. Students will then pursue a research topic of their own choosing, in consultation with the instructor. Subsequent meetings will allow students to share their work with one another, and will facilitate the process of rethinking, rewriting, and finishing on time.

100AP Spring 2016 Shipwrecked – Conversion, Redemption, and Salvation in Ship-wreck Narratives

The course will focus  on several crucial shipwreck narratives, in the Odyssey,  the Acts of the Apostles and other Christian writings referring to the Apostle Paul, in Shakespeare’s Tempest and Dafoe’s Robinson Crusoe, to identify how narratives of ship-wreck and similar naval catastrophes encapsulate encounters with the divine, conversion experiences, questions of religious identity, and concepts of paradise.

185A Spring 2016 The History of Christianity through 1250

The course deals with the origins of Christianity and the first eleven centuries of its expansion into a major institutional, social, and intellectual force shaping Western Europe. The central themes are the mechanisms and conditions shaping this expansion rather than a chronological account to present this process as a model of "institutionalization" (or not!) of religious movements.

280A Spring 2016 Introduction to Byzantine Studies

This seminar offers a general introduction to Byzantine studies and an investigation of special topics within the discipline. Weeks 1-9 cover the period from the 7th until the 15th centuries in chronological sequence. The remaining weeks are dedicated to particular aspects of Byzantine studies: the survival of Byzantine culture after the political end of the empire in 1453; Byzantium and the Slavs; Byzantine economy; Byzantine literary culture; recent approaches Byzantine art, archeology, and material culture.

103A.002 Fall 2015 Civil Discord and Violence in the Ancient World

This seminar explores the settings, motivations, and consequences of civil strife and violence in the ancient Greek and Roman world. The Greek historian Thucydides wrote that “the sufferings which fell upon cities because of internal discord were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur, as long as the nature of mankind remains the same.” His cynical prediction has proven true, both for the ancient world and the present day.

280A Fall 2015 Property and Power in the Ancient Greek World

Property occupies a curious place in both the ideology and the practice of ancient Greek states. With a deep admiration for landed property that extended to an ideological opposition to the sale of land, the Greeks nevertheless had a thriving market for land in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. They distinguished sharply between public and private property, but the ways in which such properties were used suggests that the boundary between the two was in practice quite problematically blurry.

280A/285A Fall 2015 Advanced Studies in Ancient History

On Wealth.  As exemplified by the publication of Peter Brown's Through the Eye of a Needle, questions relating to the conceptualization and treatment of poverty and the poor in a Christianized later Roman Empire have been of considerable importance in recent scholarship.  A closer look -- for example at the subtitle fo Brown's work -- makes it clear that wealth rather than poverty lies at the heart of these issues.  Phrased differently, since most of our sources were written by persons who possessed things, who were in fact wealthy,


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