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CLA 56 — Great Books, Big Ideas from Antiquity: Greece

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 25—Dec 4
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 8
Units: 2
Tuition: $480
Instructor(s): Christopher Krebs
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 20
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 25—Dec 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 8
2 Units
Christopher Krebs
Please Note: No class on November 20
Why read? Why read texts written hundreds, even thousands, of years ago in languages not spoken anymore? Because of their formal beauty; because they captured an ephemeral sentiment or formulated an idea for all time; because Western culture is not just built on them but with them. We owe to the Homeric poems the notion of an odyssey, to Aeschylus and his companions the “tragic,” to Herodotus the idea of history as an investigation of the past, to Cicero the art of rhetoric, to Ovid countless tales and myths and parables (of Icarus, say, or Pygmalion), and to Thucydides and Tacitus realpolitik. This course will cover literature from ancient Greece. We will read selections from the Iliad, the Odyssey, Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, Sophocles’ Antigone, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plato’s Phaedrus. Each week we will focus on a single text, and, by the end, students should have an educated idea of the history of Greek literature in its archaic and classic periods, experience with a sample of its enduring literary masterpieces, and a notion of some of the major contributions Greece made to Western civilization.

This is the first of two courses on ancient literature. The second course, in Winter 2019, will cover Lucretius to St. Augustine. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Christopher Krebs, Associate Professor of Classics, Stanford

Christopher Krebs studied Classics and philosophy in Berlin, Kiel, and Oxford and taught at Harvard before coming to Stanford. He is the author of A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich, which received the 2012 Christian Gauss Award. Krebs has also written for The Wall Street Journal and The Times Literary Supplement.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Homer (Trans. R. Lattimore), The Iliad of Homer (ISBN 978-0226470498)
(Required) Homer (Trans. R. Lattimore), The Odyssey of Homer (ISBN 860-1404209468)
(Required) M. Griffith and G. W. Most, Greek Tragedies, 3rd Edition (ISBN 978-0226035284)
(Required) Ed. R. B. Strassler, The Landmark Herodotus (ISBN 978-1400031146)
(Required) Ed. R. B. Strassler, The Landmark Thucydides (ISBN 978-0684827902)
(Required) Plato, Phaedrus (Hackett Classics) (ISBN 978-0872202207)