Politics the Old Fashioned Way
Alexander the Great
FYS Fall 2010
A brilliant master of public image, Alexander the Great of Macedonia was a
spectacularly successful and powerful political figure. His carefully crafted
images were enhanced and transmitted through the media of the day: literary and
historical works, inscribed dedications, sculpture, coins, and architecture.
In addition, this ruler fostered state cults that approached personality cults. An
appreciation of this ancient spin master is especially relevant as we look at recent,
contemporary, and future political events, such as Indecision 2000, Decision 2004,
California Mediacracy, Decision 2008, and Decision 2010, Presidential heroizing /
demonizing in a time of short- and long-term international crises, Presidential and
Presidential candidate image-crafting in time of war.
Alexander inspired nearly visceral reactions that were at one extreme or another, strong
loyalty bordering upon fanaticism on the one hand, utter hatred on the other. It was
impossible to remain neutral. This bipolarity has extended even to modern scholarship,
with some scholars seeing such rulers as enlightened despots, others as cruel tyrants.
Course Goals
The purpose of the course is to examine how this superstar ruler acquired such images and
learn how to look behind the images at the ruler himself. During the first part of the course,
we will consider how ancient written sources, monuments, coins, and sculpture drove
images of power. We will read selected passages in translation from, e.g., Arrian, and
epigraphical evidence. We will also examine ancient buildings, sculpture, and coins that
served to enhance the imperial image. Furthermore, contemporary and recent works on
Alexander will be read critically to enable the student to see how Classical scholarship
itself, shaped by its own social and political contexts, has helped to reshape the very
historical figures that they portray.
The second part of the course will be devoted to the Classical Greek background, against
which Alexander developed a new paradigm of leadership. Athens traditionally was seen as
the center of gravity for Hellenic culture. Alexander and his successors tried to mediate
between the increasing political and military centrality of Macedonia and the traditional
Hellenic culture embodied by Athens. We will examine 5th century Athenian political and
cultural institutions, and finish up the course by reading some 5th century literature.
FYS
FYS seminars focus on developing the student's abilities in the following areas: reading,
writing, critical thinking, research, informed discussion, and creativity. Through this
particular section the student will learn to assess critically and interpret an array of
sources, both ancient and modern, and to synthesize seemingly disparate classes of
evidence. In addition to common readings, students will work individually and in groups on
specific topics, e.g. W. Tarn on Alexander the Great (Tarn is strongly in the pro-Alexander
camp), and will learn how to evaluate and interpret such sources. You will, therefore, be
engaged in research, critical reading, and critical writing.
While a small part of class time will be devoted to providing the basic background for
Classical-Hellenistic Greece, most class time will be used for class discussion and for
research project presentations.
Mechanics
In terms of the semester schedule, the course is loaded pretty heavily at the front end. We
meet for many hours during Orientation Week. Your first graded work (apart from class
participation) is due on (Aug. 21) Aug. 26. This means that you will have feedback - a good
thing! - on college level work very early in the semester.
Students in the course are expected to adhere to the provisions of the SU Honor Code, and
to add and sign the pledge: ""I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work
and am unaware of anyone who has not." While you may study together, ultimately all
work (except for group projects) must be your work alone.
Southwestern University will make reasonable accommodations for students with
documented disabilities. To arrange accommodations students should contact the Assistant
Director of Access and Academic Resources within the Center for Academic Success
(Prothro Center room 120; phone 863-1286; e-mail [email protected]). Students
seeking accommodations should notify the Assistant Director of Access and Academic
Resources at least two weeks before services are needed. It is the student's responsibility
to discuss any necessary accommodations with the appropriate faculty member.
Requirements
Examinations.
There will be two during the semester, including the final. The first exam covers material
relating to Alexander the Great and includes objective questions (for example, fill in the
blank) and essays. The final contains objective questions relating to material after the first
exam, and essay questions relating to material from the entire course, including
Presentations #2 (see below). Please note that make-up exams are the rare exception, not
the rule, and are allowed at the discretion of the instructor; such matters must be arranged
in advance of the regularly scheduled exam time.
Papers/Projects.
There will be two short papers/projects. Paper #1 is to be about 5 pages in length.
Paper/Project #2 may be a traditional paper or a multi-media presentation. A list of
suggested topics will be provided by the instructor, although students may propose their
own topics; student-proposed topics must be approved by the instructor in advance.
Presentations.
Each student will prepare and present to the class two oral presentations. Students will
work in groups or three or four. The first presentation will focus on Alexander, the second
on a study of how a later (ancient through contemporary) program compares to image
promotion of Alexander. Students may make these presentations with computer support
(e.g. web browser or Microsoft Powerpoint) (the instructor will provide help with
technological issues). Included in the documentation submitted separately to the instructor
is to be an outline of each student's contribution to the project. Attendance is mandatory
for all students at these classes and all material presented becomes course content for all
students.
Diversity on Campus: An FYS Conversation.
A requirement for all FYS sections, this folds nicely into the academic content for the course
(Alexander's notion of cosmopolitanism).
Class participation/Attendance.
Students are expected to attend class. Lectures/ discussions are not re-runs of assignments.
The grade for preparation/class participation will be based upon attendance and upon
participation in class discussion; class discussion means "quality" and not necessarily
"quantity." Class discussion also reveals to a certain extent preparation. Participation in
Presentations will also affect this grade.
In class, students should feel free to express their own opinions on various matters related
to the course and to ask questions. Students' interpretations need not necessarily be the
same as those of the instructor. As long as interpretations are based upon reasoned
assessments of the evidence (literary, historical, archaeological), they are as valid as the
instructor's.
This concept has been reinforced through cooperative work of SU students and faculty,
which resulted in a provision of the SU Academic Rights for Students. It bears repeating
here:
Faculty members should encourage free thought and expression both in the
classroom and out. Students are entitled to disagree with interpretation of data or
views of a faculty member and reserve judgment in matters of opinion, but this
disagreement does not excuse them from learning the content of any course for which
they are enrolled or from demonstrating skills and competencies required by a faculty
member. Students should be evaluated solely on academic performance.
Note: Make-up exams, presentations, and late papers are the exception, and not the
rule, and permission will not be granted automatically. Make-ups must be arranged with
the instructor in advance of the regularly scheduled time, and will be given (or not) at the
discretion of the instructor.
Grading
Graded work:




Exams
Exam #1
Final Exam
Papers
Paper #1
Paper #2
Presentations
Presentation #1
Presentation #2
Class participation
20%
20%
10%
10%
10%
10%
20%
Final Grades
The plus and minus grading system, in effect at Southwestern, will be used for final grades.
Semester % averages will translate to the following letter grades:
INCLUSIVE GPA POINTS
GRADE
% RANGE
EQUIV.
A+ 96.7-100.0
4.00
A
93.4-96.6
4.00
A90.0-93.3
3.67
B+
86.7-89.9
3.33
B
83.4-86.6
3.00
B80.0-83.3
2.67
C+
76.7-79.9
2.33
C
73.4-76.6
2.00
C70.0-73.3
1.67
D+
66.7-69.9
1.33
D
63.4-66.6
1.00
D60.0-63.3
0.67
F
0.0-59.9
0.00
Learning Outcomes
We can articulate learning outcomes through integrating course objectives with Bloom's
taxonomy (old version):
[http://www.techdis.ac.uk/resources/files/Blooms%20taxonomy.png]
We start at the bottom:
 Knowledge: to gain control of the "data set"
 Comprehension: to begin to see connections, coherence
 Application: to identify historical problems/issues susceptible to analysis
 Analysis: with the application of data and comprehension, to compare, contrast,
differentiate, etc.
 Synthesis: After pulling it all together, to appraise, argue, support, evaluate
 "Evaluation:" Draw meaningful conclusions
Schedule
16 August - 22 August
Day
Topic
Assignment (due by beginning of class)
Monday
Aug. 16
10-12
Class 1
P. Green,
Alexander of
Macedon
(summer
reading)
Tuesday
Aug. 17
9-12
Class 2
Ancient
Romm, pp. 1-16, 24-32
Interpretatio
ns of
Alexander:
Literature I;
Library
Module,
10:00
Wednesd NO CLASS
ay
Aug. 18
http://www.southwestern.edu/departments/classics/fys/wilken
source.html
Thursday
Aug. 19
9-12
Class 3
Ancient
Borza, Intro. to Wilken, Source Problem
Interpretatio
ns of
Alexander:
Literature II
Friday
Aug. 20
10-12
Class 4
Reading
Arrian, Introduction
ancient text;
"SU
Experience"
(11:30)
Saturday
Aug. 21
Rough draft due, 5 pm (see link below)

Romm #1 PDF document

Paper #1, Rough draft Assignment
23 August - 29 August
Tuesday, Class 5
Ancient Interpretations of Alexander: Literature; Unity of Humankind
Romm #2, pp. 70-74, 94-107, 157-164; Chios Inscriptions PDF document
Thursday, Class 6
Unity of Humankind (cont.): Complexity of Identity (see link below)
Ancient Interpretations of Alexander: Ancient Iconography I
Paper #1 due (submission link below)



Chios Inscriptions PDF document
Complexity of Identity PDF document
Paper #1 Assignment

Caskey, "The Early Helladic Period in the Argolid," Hesperia 29 (1960), 285-303
PDF document
30 August - 5 September
Tuesday, Class 7
Iconography II: Rome: Howe, Powerhouses (see link below)
Thursday, Class 8
ancient and contemporary politics:
Washington Post (text version)


Howe, Powerhouses: the Seaside Villas of Campania and the Power Culture of
Rome PDF document
Roman Power Powerpoint presentation
6 September - 12 September
Tuesday, Class 9
Vergina
Read Andronikos, 218-224
Intercultural (10 am)
Thursday, Class 10
Student presentations (Alexander) (see below)
 comparing and contrasting Louis XIV of France and Alexander and their image
making/self portrayal (Kristina, Katie Nash, Marina, Kristin)
 comparing the iconographic propaganda of Alexander with that of modern day
politicians, especially Obama (Shelby, Sarah, Katie Philo, Claire)
 whether or not alexander the great was a tyrant (the guys)

FYROM Powerpoint presentation

Presentation #1 Resource

Evaluation of pres. Assignment
This week
13 September - 19 September
Tuesday
Exam #1
Thursday, Class 11
Athenian Democracy Intro. (see link below)
Introduction PDF document

20 September - 26 September
Tuesday, Class 12
Athenian Democracy II
Thucydides, Pericles' Funeral Oration
Diversity, Dorothy Lord Center Community Room
http://www.wsu.edu/%7Edee/GREECE/PERICLES.HTM
Thursday, Class 13
Paper #2, Rough Draft (5 pm)
http://www.wsu.edu/%7Edee/GREECE/PERICLES.HTM

Paper #2, rough draft Assignment
27 September - 3 October
Tuesday
Student presentations
Thursday
CLA, Olin Computer Lab 113
Paper #2, due 5 pm

Paper #2 Assignment
4 October - 10 October
Tuesday
Student Presentations
Thursday
Final Exam
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