Honors | Ideas & Experience - Ancient
H211 | 9677 | Rollins

This section satisfies the COAS Intensive Writing Requirement and
automatically enrolls you in W333. If you do not wish to have W333
credit you must--on your own--drop the W333 registration.

Kierkegaard once remarked that we live our lives in the present but
understand them only in the past. could this casual observation, more
generally, also be the reason why we might want to study the history
of how our culture evolved, that is, to understand more about
ourselves? Could a study of the particular transmission of the
Greco-Roman civilization into the Western world actually tell us
something about ourselves in Bloomington in 2002? And what is it about
these particular books specifically that seem to resonate such a rare
greatness that is visionary, prophetic, and even transformative to us
in the West?

This class will begin with a discussion of the idea of culture and
then read, discuss, and write critically about selected works in the
Greco-Roman world to learn how each demonstrated something visionary
and transformative about their respective cultures that we have, in
turn, seen valuable enough to make a part of our own culture.
Throughout the semester--during our discussion of these works--I will
ask students where their own sensibilities seem to fall: to the
intellectual tradition of the Greeks or to the Romans. Then at the end
of the semester when we read Hamlet, we will choose up sides (Greeks
and Romans) and have it out in a series of practical and intellectual
challenges (somewhat like the TV series "The Survivors") which will
take us to different campus venues, including the Art Museum, trying
to show how Horatio's claim that "I am more an antique Roman than a
Dane," might be recast as "I am more antique Roman (or Greek) than
Greek (or Roman). Finally, you will be asked to explain, with copious
examples from the reading list, class discussions--both in and outside
the classroom--why you are more an "antique Roman or Greek."

We will write a series of short papers and one long paper. There are
no tests.

Aristotle, Poetics
Cicero, On the Good Life
Homer, Odyssey
Ovid, The Heroides
Plato, The Republic
Shakespeare, Hamlet
Sophocles, Antigone
Virgil, The Aeneid