This course fuliflls the Upper Level Humanities course requirement in CLA and the Writing Intensive requirement in the University. It forms part of the Ancient Mediterranean Studies Minor and counts also toward a major or minor in Classics.
Please note that as this course is under revision and its instructor adapts his teaching to suit student needs, requirements and schedule are subject to change.
General Description and Purpose: A comparative study and close reading of the major heroic epics of ancient Indo-European culture: Gilgamesh (Mesopotamia), Iliad and Odyssey (Greece), Aeneid(Rome) and Mahabharata (India). Topics to be discussed include the warrior ethic, heroic friendship, oral vs. literate poetry, the social function of epic and its historicity, myth and epic, and the changing nature of heroism. We will also pay attention to the heritage of classical epic in the modern world. Students will leave with a thorough understanding of this genre that is so important for Western and World literature.
Approach to teaching and class dynamics: I would like to see this course function as a quasi-seminar with a high level of student participation through discussion and reports, with students working closely with me and each other. Technology will also feature here, as students use the Internet, including the World Wide Web and Perseus, an exciting multi-media resource for studying ancient Greek civilization, in class. Please note that I am available in my office every day, and my door is open; I am here to help you understand this material. Since there are no pre-requisites for this course, it is likely that you will encounter some ideas or texts that are new and "foreign" to you. Please ask questions in class, post them to Blackboard or come see me if you need more help; don't wait until the term is almost over! There is no such thing as a "dumb" question; questions are actually one of the best contributions you can make to class
Web Site: The web site for this class (www.temple.edu/classics/epic.html), which contains study guides and links to outside resources. You can read the guides on-line, save them to disk, or print them. We will also be using Blackboard (blackboard.temple.edu). You will need an astro account to access Blackboard. This is required, as you will post some of your course work to Blackboard. Course materials and details on assignments will be on Blackboard. I will also post key terms and lecture summaries and previews ("Talking Points" under "Communication") there.
Evaluation: Participation will be an important part; this will include giving brief oral reports. Assignments are on Blackboard; click on Assignments.
Rules: This syllabus is a contract among all of us. We all have rights and responsibilities to see that this course runs as well as possible. You expect me to be here; I expect you as well. Occasional absences are inevitable, so in such cases please call me and leave a message on my voicemail. Similarly, just as I expect you to submit quality work on time, you have every right to expect me to help you to succeed and to return your work in a timely manner. All work in this class must be your own; please also make yourself acquainted with the rules on plagiarism: (http://www.temple.edu/bulletin/ugradbulletin/policies_part2.htm#pac).
Books: Available at the University Bookstore, under GHR Classics. Please use these editions
The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Jackson, Bolchazy Carducci
Homer, The Iliad, translated by Fagles, Penguin
Homer, The Odyssey, translated by Fagles, Penguin
Virgil, The Aeneid, translated by Mandelbaum, Bantam
Buck, Mahbharata University of California Press
I realize the reading load will seem at times heavy, especially at first, as you accustom yourself to this different kind of literature. I will provide you with study guides at the web site as much as possible.
1/17-19 Introduction: and begin Iliad (see study guide)
1/22-26 Iliad 1-7 (brief paper due Monday)
1/29-2/2 Iliad 7-15
2/5-9 continue Iliad. Quiz covers through Book 12. Gilgamesh discussion starts Wednesday or Friday. (Post stage 1 of character project by Friday)
2/12-16 conclude Gilgamesh Iliad 16-24
2/19-23 Homer transition week
2/26-3/2 Odyssey 1-4 (post stage 2 of character project by Friday)
3/12-16 Odyssey 5-8
3/19-23 Odyssey 8-15
3/26-30 Odyssey 16-24 (final version of character project due)
4/2-6 Aeneid 1-6. Focus on 1,2,4,6. For Book 5, just read 1-140 and 950-end.
4/9-13 Aeneid 7-12. paper proposal due Friday
4/30 LAST CLASS final paper due