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HIS 169 — Greece and Rome: A New Account of Antiquity

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Sep 30—Nov 18
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Oct 2
Unit: 1
Tuition: $410
Instructor(s): Michael Shanks, Gary Devore
Status: Closed
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 30—Nov 18
8 weeks
Drop By
Oct 2
1 Unit
Michael Shanks, Gary Devore
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
This course will be a tour through more than a thousand years of history, 700 BCE to 450 CE, as we debunk misconceptions about Greco-Roman antiquity and explore fresh ideas about what drove the motor of ancient history. We will look beyond conventional stories of the rise of Greek civilization, the fall of the Roman Republic, dynastic struggles, and military crises, and instead explore antiquity through the life experiences of individuals both humble and powerful, including ordinary farmers and charismatic leaders. As we visit the princely societies of Bronze Age Europe to see how the stage was set for the successful development of city-states in the Mediterranean, we will see how the Greeks and Romans combined the community values established by warrior bands of Europe with a sense of civic membership associated with the experiences of city life in the Near East. We will explore everyday life in a Greek city and in a Roman outpost at the edge of the empire, debunk the myth that the Greeks invented philosophy, and discover how those whom the Greeks called barbarians were key to creating the foundations of Europe. Students will come away from the course with a new view of antiquity, centered on people’s experiences, and a fresh way of understanding innovation, community, democracy, and empire today.

Michael Shanks, Professor of Classics; Professor of Archaeology, Stanford

Michael Shanks is a specialist in long-term humanistic views of social change, design, and innovation. He is a senior faculty member in the Archaeology Center; the Program in Writing and Rhetoric; Science, Technology and Society; Urban Studies; and the Center for Design Research at Stanford. He pursues fieldwork into the Roman borders of Scotland, and he also advises businesses and organizations on managing change.

Gary Devore, Archaeologist

Gary Devore has excavated in the ancient ruins of Pompeii and also at sites near Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England. He was one of the directors and principal investigators of Binchester Roman Excavations, and is a former director of the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project, Porta Stabia. Devore received a PhD from the University of Bradford (UK) and taught at Stanford for a decade.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Paul Cartledge, Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780199601349)
(Required) Hugh Bowden, Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780198706151)
(Required) David M. Gwynn, The Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780199595112)
(Required) Christopher Kelly, The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780192803917)
(Recommended) Amanda H. Podany, The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780195377996)
(Recommended) Christopher Smith, The Etruscans: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780199547913)
(Recommended) Peter Salway, Roman Britain: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780198712169)
(Recommended) Gillian Clark, Late Antiquity: A Very Short Introduction (ISBN 9780199546206)