America and Antiquity
Classics 160D1
Professor Rob Groves
[email protected]
Learning Services Building #211
GATs: James Duffy ([email protected])
Jesse Munoz ([email protected])
MWF 11:00-11:50
Soc. Sci. 100
Office Hours: M 12-1, Th 12:30-1:30
Matthew Harder ([email protected])
Chantel Osborne ([email protected])
One way to view the United States is as a place of new beginnings: a new world, a young country, freed from
the historical problems which plague the old world. And yet, for all that, the U.S. has deep roots in the
civilization of Ancient Greece and Rome, roots that not only shaped our founding fathers and many of our
greatest politicians, but also continue to shape our arts, literature, politics, and culture. In this course, we will
explore those roots, and think about what connections can be found between America and Antiquity, why
those connections exist, and how they are important to us today.
Goals: By the end of this course, you should have a good sense of America’s long cultural roots in Greece
and Rome. This means, you will have a good sense for major Greek, Roman, and American events and
figures, what happened, and when, and what lessons people have drawn from them. You will also get a
strong sense of several ways in which the cultures of the Greeks and Romans compare and contrast with
American culture, both of the present day, and the past. You will also develop your ability to read
complicated texts, and make thoughtful connections between ancient texts and the modern world in academic
Required Texts: ............................................................................................................................................. 2
Grades and Assignments:.............................................................................................................................. 2
Schedule of Topics and Readings: ................................................................................................................. 4
Extra Credit Opportunities: ........................................................................................................................... 7
Policies: ......................................................................................................................................................... 8
Required Texts:
Livy: The Early History of Rome, Books I-V (Aubrey de Selincourt, Translator)
Plutarch: Greek Lives (Waterfield, Translator)
Plutarch: Roman Lives (Waterfield, Translator)
Various materials which will be made available via D2L (our course website)
Please note that there are alternate versions of many of these texts, but that you are strongly discouraged
from using editions other than the ones I have chosen. I chose editions primarily for their readability and
affordability. Choosing, for example, a free online edition has several disadvantages: 1.) The English may be
old-fashioned and thus significantly harder to read. 2.) The page and section numbers may be significantly
different which may make it hard for you to know which sections of a work I expect you to read. 3.) When
passages appear in lecture or on exams, they will appear in the version I’ve chosen.
Grades and Assignments:
The class will not be curved, and a standard scale will be used. (A=90+, B=80+, C=70+, D=60+, E=59.9).
Your grade will be based on your performance on the following assessments and activities:
Exam 1:
Exam 2:
Final Exam:
Writing Assignments:
Short “Pop Paragraphs”
Commonplace Blog Posts:
Expansion Paper:
(12x1% each)
100% (100%)
Attendance will not be taken. You are adults and are free to come when you wish to learn and to not
come when you do not wish to learn. That said, I have found that students who miss class regularly (say,
once a week or more,) generally do quite badly in the class. Many fail. This is your education so make your
choices. If you do come to class, please observe the classroom behavior guidelines below.
We will have a mini-exam, which will help insure that we are all oriented to some basic facts about the
Greeks and Romans, and have a sense of space and time. This exam will take no more than about 15 minutes,
and will be entirely based on memorization. The exam will be held at the beginning of class on Wednesday,
September 4.
We will have two midterm exams, which will cover the material from the first half of the class. These will
be given in class on 9/30 and 11/4, and you will have the entire class period to complete them. You should
expect to be able to identify both famous figures and events from the readings and from lecture. Given a
passage from one of the readings, you should be able to identify it and its subject. Given a name or event,
you should be able to identify important information about that person/event (date, importance, culture, etc.)
The midterms will focus only on the material leading up to them. (In other words they are not comprehensive,
except for the material from the mini-exam which I expect you will have internalized).
The final exam will cover the entire course, but will weight things since the second exam. You will be
prepared for the kinds of questions on the final by the midterm and the writing assignments. You will be
asked to both provide details on specific materials and to integrate and synthesize across the course.
Please note that make-up exams will only be granted in the event of a documented medical or family
Short “Pop Paragraphs” will occur once every week or two, either at the beginning or the end of class.
Paragraphs at the beginning of class will test your understanding of the readings due that day. Paragraphs at
the end of class will ask you to engage with the day’s lecture material. Paragraphs will be graded very
leniently: 100% for decent answers, 80% for answers which show some knowledge but some major confusion
or ignorance and 50% for answers which show no knowledge. If you miss a “Pop Essay” you will earn a 0.
“Pop Essays” cannot be made up, but you will be allowed to drop your lowest few scores (to be determined).
You should bring a piece of blank paper and a writing utensil to class every day in case we have a “pop
As we will talk about on the first day of class, there is a long tradition of not just passively reading, but
actively appropriating one’s reading and taking the most important elements from it. A few centuries ago,
this would have been done via something called a Commonplace Book, which each student would write
down quotes he thought were interesting, or worth holding on to. The modern equivalent to this tradition is
the blog. As participants in this great tradition, you will find a quote or selection from the day’s readings that
are interesting TO YOU and use that for the basis of a Commonplace Blog Post on your blog for this
A separate sheet is available on D2L to guide you through the format and substance of a Commonplace Blog
Post as well as how to submit them, so here I will discuss how they will be graded. The Commonplace Blog
Post will be graded according to the following rubric:
The post conforms to expectations of length
The post conforms to expectations of content
The post conforms to expectations of style and grammar
The post is interesting, thought-provoking, unusual, and/or engaging
Commonplace Blog Posts should be based on a specific reading (not simply on something I mention in
lecture) and they must be submitted within the week that they cover. You should do at least 12 blog posts
over the course of the semester (each worth 1%), and may only submit one per week. There are more than
12 weeks in the semester, so some weeks you may choose not to do any posts (perhaps when you have other
midterms, important social events, or are ill). You may even find it helpful to write a blog post after each
reading but then post the best one. This could be an effective way to organize your thoughts and prepare for
I will take a few interesting and well composed posts each week and post them as a news item on D2L
anonymously. If you do not want your writing to be used for such a topic, please write “PLEASE DO NOT
USE THIS IN THE COMMONPLACE HIGHLIGHT REEL at the bottom of your post.” If you prefer to
The Expansion paper will be approximately 3 pages long, and will build upon the work in your
Commonplace Blog Posts. More information about the paper will come out later in the semester.
Two notes on Readings: 1.) Some of the readings may be unusual or challenging. Do your best to
follow the main ideas and do not sweat it if there are things you do not understand! This is an important
skill to develop! 2.) I know that things like Wikipedia and Sparknotes exist, but here is why they are a poor
replacement for actually reading the primary sources: We are not just interested in the content of the books
we read, but also the WAY in which the information is presented. It’s not just important that Romulus
founds Rome, but also how Livy tells the story. While the former is easy to get from Wikipedia or
Sparksnotes, the latter is not as easy. Furthermore, the time you spend reading a full source actually MAKES
YOU LEARN the material. Shortcutting the reading means you’ll be less prepared for the exam.
Schedule of Topics and Readings:
Note that the readings are to be done before class on the day they are assigned below.
Unit 0: Orienting ourselves
Week 1
M (8/26):
W (8/28):
F (8/30):
Week 2
M (9/2):
W (9/4):
Readings Due
Assignments Due
Introduction; A Classical Education: Course Syllabus
Part I.
Meet the Greeks
None—prepare for Mini Exam
Meet the Romans
None—prepare for Mini Exam
Labor Day—NO CLASS
CC: Colonies and Colonialism
Several documents
on Colonies
(see D2L)
F (9/6):
Week 3
M (9/9):
Introduction to Unit 1:
Debates in Persia and Philadelphia
Herodotus +
Hamilton and King
(see D2L)
Early Greek Monarchy
Selections from
Homer’s Iliad
W (9/11):
CC: Religion and Religious
F (9/13):
Solonian Athens (Oligarchy?)
Lucian, On
Sacrifices; Sources
on Roman Religion;
Pliny’s letters to
(See D2L)
Plutarch: Solon
Lycurgan Sparta (Oligarchy?)
Peisistratus and sons (Tyranny)
Cleisthenic Democracy
Plutarch: Lycurgus
The Strength of Democracy
The Weakness of Democracy
The Fall of Democracy
Plutarch: Pericles
Week 4
M (9/16):
W (9/28):
F (9/20):
Week 5
M (9/23):
W (9/25):
F (9/27):
Week 6
M (9/30):
W (10/2):
F (10/4):
Week 7
M (10/7):
W (10/9):
First Exam
Early Roman Monarchy I: The
Early Roman Monarchy II: The End
The Roman Republic I: The Good
Old Days
The Roman Republic II: Popular
Reforms and Military Problems
CC: Gender and Sexuality
F (10/11):
Week 8
M (10/14): CC: Geography, Exploration, and
W (10/16): Flash Forward to Roman Emperors
F (10/18): Conclusion of Unit 1:
Polybius and Adams on Mixed
Exam 1
Livy 1 [1/2]—pages
Livy 1 [2/2]—pages
Suetonius: Nero
Polybius + Adams’
“All men would be
tyrants if they
could” +
Adams’ “Thoughts
on Government”
+Selections from
Defense of
Constitution of the
(See D2L)
[parents weekend!]
Week 9
M (10/21): Abraham Lincoln and 3 Civil Wars
[Funeral Oration, Assassination]
W (10/23): CC: Race and Slavery
F (10/25): The Roman Civil War I
Week 10
M (10/28): The Roman Civil War II
W (10/30): CC: Witches and Ghost Stories
F (11/1):
Roman Civil War III
Week 11
M (11/4):
W (11/6):
Second Exam
Artistic Responses to Civil Wars
F (11/8):
CC: Sports and Entertainment
Week 12
M (11/11): Veteran’s Day—NO CLASS
W (11/13): The Assassination
F (11/15):
A Second Civil War
Tracks from
Gettysburg, Funeral
(See D2L)
Plutarch : Caesar
(Selections TBD)
Plutarch: Pompey
(Selections TBD)
Plutarch: Cato
Minor (Selections)
Lucan, Photographs
Whitman, Horace
Plutarch: Brutus
(selections TBD)
Plutarch: Anthony
(selections TBD)
Week 13
M (11/18): Classical Architecture in America
W (11/20): Neo-Classical American Art
F (11/22): Ancient Themes in Modern Pop and
Country Music
Week 14
M (11/25): Hollywood on the Classics
W (11/27): Creative Project Day (and CC:
F (11/29): Thanksgiving Break—NO CLASS
Week 15
M (12/2): Greek Tragedy and its Legacy I
W (12/4): Greek Tragedy and its Legacy II
F (12/6):
Greek Tragedy and its Legacy III
Week 16
M (12/9):
Greek Tragedy and its Legacy IV
Paper Due
Libation (selections)
Mourning Becomes
W (12/11): Conclusion: A Classical Education:
Part II
F (12/ 13): Final Exam 10:30-12:30
Final Exam
Extra Credit Opportunities:
Twitter Back Channel:
I will use twitter for two purposes in this class. 1.) to disseminate links to interesting videos, websites, etc.
that come up but which do not merit spamming everyone's inbox with and, more importantly, 2.) as a way to
check for confusion, questions, or clarifications in lecture. In a 400- person class, it can be hard to voice
your confusion or ask questions. If you need clarification or wish to know more about something, simply
tweet your comments or questions to @160D1. I will pause during lecture to check the twitter feed and
respond to comments or questions. I encourage you to follow @160D1 to receive the extra links too.
Twitter is in no way required, but I hope many of you will take advantage of the opportunity to interact with
me in this extra way which the numbers make impossible otherwise.
If you decide to tweet your questions and/or comments at least once every other week over the course of
the class, you are entitled to earn 1.5% of your final course grade in extra credit. To be awarded this, please
be sure a.) your twitter account has a name that is recognizably yours (and not someone else's) attached to it,
b.) that your twitter account is public. If you have a private account, I won’t be able to see your tweets, and
thus you’ll be tweeting to no one! I will distribute a form you may fill out to be awarded the extra credit
Note: You must tweet throughout the course, not merely at the end, but I will award partial credit to people
who tweeted a little but not enough to meet the full requirements.
Not a twitter user already?
Twitter is free and easy to use and is compatible with almost any kind of technology with an internet
connection and/or text messaging (computers, laptops, smartphones, not-so-smartphones, tablets, etc.). On
smartphones and tablets, simply download the twitter app. Otherwise, create an account at and
you’ll find ways to set up your device. You’ll want to “follow” @160D1. And when you have a
question/comment, you’ll want to start it with “@160D1” so that I will see it. I will occasionally use hashtags
(e.g.: #Caesar #tyranny) to help group relevant material and you are welcome to use them as well. I am not a
twitter expert, but if I can help you get going, I’m more than happy to!
Creative Projects:
The material we are dealing with is rich and interesting, and in a class as large as this one, it’s hard to find time
to allow students to really wrestle with the material and the rich and creative ways that many would like to.
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to take our source material (that is, our readings) and do
something creative with it. This could be an art project, a skit, a song, a spoken word poem, a sewing project,
a film, whatever! On Nov. 27, I have set aside class time for anyone doing such a project to briefly present it
to the class. Doing a creative project can earn you up to an additional 2.5% on your final grade. The only
requirements are as follows: a.) the material must be relevant to the course, b.)You must clear your project
with me NO LATER THAN Nov. 20th (and preferably significantly before).You are definitely welcome
(encouraged, in fact!) to work with your classmates on a group project, though to earn full points, a bigger
group should produce a better, and bigger, project.
Classroom Behavior:
• I Promise that...
◦ I will do my very best to respect your time by beginning and ending lecture at the times
appointed by the registrar.
◦ I will do my very best to ensure that everyone in the room can see and hear all material.
◦ I will do my best to be sure that I am using your time and energy to help you gain knowledge
and skills that you will value.
◦ I will post my lecture slides on the course website in a timely manner.
NOTE: These slides are meant to help clarify your notes and recall details; They are NOT a
replacement for the lecture in any way. Students who try to skip lecture and just review the
slides online will miss out on a LOT of material and will likely do poorly in the course.
• In return, I expect the following from you in class:
◦ Arrive on time and do not leave before I have finished for the day.
▪ If you MUST be late or leave early, please sit near the back and on the aisle so you disturb
as few others as possible.
◦ Avoid distracting me and your fellow students, especially if you choose to use an electronic device
in class (phone, tablet, laptop).
▪ Be sure that the sound is off for the duration of the class.
▪ If you choose to divert your attention from class with social media, news, or games, be sure
that you are not also diverting your neighbors' attention.
o If you plan to do something other than take notes on your laptop, please sit
near the back of the class so that you do not distract those behind you.
▪ Be aware that communication goes two ways. Even while I'm talking I will survey the
audience to be sure my message is being communicated effectively. Realize that
conspicuously doing things other than paying attention to lecture sends a clear message to
me about your respect for me and our work together. You are easier to spot than you think.
◦Participate in all class activities, from small group discussions and activities to class-wide activities.
On Missing Class: I will be treating you like the adults you are. I am aware that this class is not your
life and acknowledge that it is possible that something else may take precedence over your time in
class. You are responsible for getting notes on what you've missed from your colleagues. Please note that this
class revolves around our time together and simply doing the reading or getting notes will most likely result in
failure.I strongly encourage students who have missed class to come to office hours to discuss the readings
from the day they missed. This is a great way to help regain material lost, but I cannot reproduce
lecture in office hours. You will earn a zero for missed quizzes.
On Recording: If you would like to record class for personal use (for later study, for example), please
contact me. I am generally happy to allow this with certain conditions, most importantly that you do not
distribute your recording. Video or audio taping without my expressed permission is not permitted and I will
ask you to leave the class.
On Academic Honesty: I am HIGHLY devoted to maintaining the UA's Code of Academic Integrity.
Cheating and Plagiarism are not only dishonest, they destroy the value of the system of which
we are all parts. Submission of any work that is not wholly your own violates this policy and will be
dealt with swiftly and without mercy. As a baseline, expect to earn a 0 on a paper, exam or quiz that was even
partly the result of academic misconduct. Please contact me if you have any questions about what is fair or
appropriate. You should also familiarize yourself with the information found here:
NOTE: Most cases of academic misconduct I have encountered were the result of students’ being
up against a deadline and starting the assignment too late. There are two ways to avoid this: start
assignments early, and if you find yourself in a crunch, take the late penalty rather than plagiarizing.
Better 5 or 10% off rather than 100% off (and possible disciplinary action).
Contacting You:
I will make regular announcements via the course website (D2L) which you should also use to post
on and read the discussion board etc. Be sure your email is updated and that you check it regularly.
Contacting me:
Email ([email protected]) is the best way to get a hold of me. I check it often and
will reply as quickly as I can. That said, do not count on me responding to my email immediately.
Your TA will also be a valuable resource and he will tell you how to contact him.
While I'm happy to answer most quick questions by email, any substantive discussion of course
material or performance on a paper or exam is best handled in person in office hours!
On Disability Accomodation and Access: It is the University’s goal that learning experiences be
as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability,
please let me know immediately so that we can discuss options. You are also welcome to contact Disability
Resources (520-621-3268) to establish reasonable accommodations.
Please be aware that the accessible table and chairs in this room should remain available for students
who find that standard classroom seating is not usable.
On Respect: We will cover issues of class, slavery, race, and sexuality. You are encouraged to form your
own opinions about the Greeks’ and Romans’ values and disagree with others. Simply remember to express
your views and to disagree with others with the respect which this academic environment deserves.
Threatening behavior in particular is prohibited (
On the syllabus: The information contained in this syllabus, other than the grading and absence policies,
may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.