No Courses Offered, Fall 2017


Spring 2018


History 180: Cities and Empires

This course introduces the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean -the vast, culturally diverse regions that have deeply influenced the modern world. The course begins by exploring the agricultural and urban revolutions - and the forms of kingship and divinity - that evolved in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It then looks to the globalization of the Bronze Age, to new interactions between "East" and "West," and to the concepts of citizenship, polis-structure, and Hellenic identity that developed in the Greek-speaking world. From there, it analyzes the conquests of Alexander the Great as forging a new internationalism - the Hellenistic - with transformed approaches to political power, urbanism, and identity. The focus then shifts, to Rome's meteoric rise to empire and position as arbiter of pan-Mediterranean citizenship - a citizenship ultimately defined in Christian terms. From about 3000 BCE to the fifth century CE, this course is therefore an investigation into grand-narrative processes and interpretations of continuity, change, and power. It also introduces the various forms of evidence encountered by historians of the ancient world, from literary to epigraphic and archaeological.

Prof. Davies, 4 credits, MWF 1:00-1:50pm

-Fulfills the department's Pre-Modern requirement.


History 215: Pompeii - Beyond the Time Capsule

On a summer day in 79 CE, the Roman city of Pompeii was engulfed by a catastrophic eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius. Over a millennium later, this once unremarkable small city began to be rediscovered, and it quickly captured the imaginations of early archaeologists, collectors, travelers, and writers of the Grand Tour era. To this day, Pompeii remains one of the most popular, informative, and yet vastly misunderstood archaeological sites. For Pompeii is more than a city entombed, a time capsule buried in one moment, to be uncovered in another, and then preserved for eternal display. This course explores what lies beyond this immediate image of Pompeii. It reveals the many layers with which the remains from the site tell of multiple phases in the city's history and multiple geologic events both prior to and during the 79 eruption. At the same time, it highlights the history of intervention at the site as emblematic of some of the deepest problems inherent in the acts of excavation, interpretation, and preservation. The course then considers the extent to which Pompeii constitutes a "typical" Roman city, by on the one hand studying what its remains can reveal about Roman society, culture, and daily life, while on the other hand viewing those remains in both a regional and an empire-wide context. We will explore the streets, homes, shops, sanctuaries, and tombs of Pompeii but with an eye looking outward, not only to the complexities of the ancient Roman world but also to an ongoing, ever fluid history of engaging with the past. May be taken for credit toward the Classics major.

Prof. Davies, 4 credits, TTh 1:00-2:20pm

-Fulfills the department's Pre-Modern requirement.


History 320: Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World

By the age of 33, Alexander had conquered an empire that extended over most of the eastern Mediterranean world, but he would not live to rule it. At his death, his empire fractured, re-emerging more than 20 years later as the four great kingdoms of the Hellenistic Age. From the meteoric career of Alexander, through the bitter power struggles of his successors, culminating in the dramatic last stand of Cleopatra, this course will examine the way in which this Graeco-Macedonian expansion reshaped the Mediterranean world even as the conquerors themselves were altered by the very peoples they had subjugated. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between foreign conqueror and subject culture, the creation of royal dynasties, the development of ruler-worship, and the question of "Hellenization."

Prof. Davies, 4 credits, TTh 10:00-11:20am

-Fulfills the department's Pre-Modern requirement.