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PHI 113 — Ancient Wisdom: Classical Greek Thinking from Homer to Socrates

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Sep 24—Dec 10
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 7
Units: 2
Tuition: $485
Instructor(s): Josef Chytry
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on October 15, October 22, and November 19
7:00—9:05 pm
Sep 24—Dec 10
9 weeks
Drop By
Oct 7
2 Units
Josef Chytry
Please Note: No class on October 15, October 22, and November 19
One of the hallmark periods of Western civilization was the flowering of classical culture in ancient Greece, which gave rise to a style of thinking called “philosophy” (philosophia) that culminated in the work of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. That ancient classical culture also produced other forms of knowledge—poetry, drama, and history, to name a few—which equally contributed to what we might call a larger tradition of ancient wisdom.

This course will start with a survey of the epic tradition of thought, most closely associated with Homer’s Iliad, which became a fount of ancient wisdom and the educational basis of Athenian culture, largely thanks to the Athenian legislator Solon. Especially during the 5th century BCE , Athens made important intellectual contributions with the invention of tragic drama by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, as well as the histories by Herodotus and Thucydides. When Athens lost the Peloponnesian War, the harvest of classical wisdom found its culminating expression in Aristophanes’ Frogs, Euripides’ Bacchae, and Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus. Students will read these essential classical texts, with an eye toward how they gave rise to ancient wisdom. The course will also look ahead to the rationalist philosophies of Plato and Socrates and their legacies in the schools of Hellenistic philosophy and Medieval Scholasticism.

Josef Chytry, Senior Adjunct Professor in Critical Studies, California College of the Arts; Managing Editor, ICC Journal, UC Berkeley

Josef Chytry is the author of Mountain of Paradise: Reflections on the Emergence of Greater California as a World Civilization and The Aesthetic State: A Quest in Modern German Thought. He received a DPhil in politics and the history of ideas from the University of Oxford and was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in philosophy at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

Textbooks for this course:

Please Note: Any edition of the required course books is acceptable.
(Required) Homer, Iliad
(Required) Pindar, Poems
(Required) Aeschylus, Oresteian Trilogy
(Required) Sophocles, Oedipus Trilogy
(Required) Herodotus, History
(Required) Thucydides, History of the Peoloponnesian War
(Required) Aristophanes, Plays
(Required) Euripides, The Bacchae