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ARC 41 — The Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the Etruscans

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 16—Mar 20
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jan 29
Units: 2
Tuition: $480
Instructor(s): Patrick Hunt
Status: Open
Please Note: FULL SCHEDULE: Class sessions: 10 Wednesdays, January 16 – March 20, 7:00 – 8:50 pm; Field trip to the Cantor Arts Center: Date to be announced in class
7:00—8:50 pm
Jan 16—Mar 20
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 29
2 Units
Patrick Hunt
Please Note: FULL SCHEDULE: Class sessions: 10 Wednesdays, January 16 – March 20, 7:00 – 8:50 pm; Field trip to the Cantor Arts Center: Date to be announced in class
Continuing Studies Series: Great Cornerstone Cultures: The Origins of World-Changing Civilizations

We of ten think of great civilizations—for example, the Greeks and Romans—as if they arrived fully formed. But doing so, we neglect the cultures beneath their foundations, on whose remnants those great civilizations were built. In the case of the Classical world, it is not only the Greek citystates and the Roman Empire we should examine, but also their antecedents.

The Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the Etruscans were “cornerstone cultures,” contributing to Greece and Rome’s formative literatures and mythologies, setting models and precedents for the cultures that followed, and impacting their social hierarchy and visual forms in art and architecture, as well as ideas of sovereignty and sea trade.

The Celts, Franks, and Vikings were absorbed into Europe but left their indelible stamp on the British Isles, France, Germany, Scandinavia, and other modern entities. In the ancient Near East, the Sumerians, Elamites, and Hittites laid down the foundations for the Babylonians and related peoples of the Fertile Crescent and Anatolia.

In Fall 2018, Winter 2019, and Spring 2019, we will survey these nine “cornerstone cultures,” examining their rich archaeological and textual history, which their successors could not erase. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Winter 2019 Course: The Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the Etruscans

When the Greeks tell their own history, they look back to older cultures that were mostly gone but not forgotten. Mythology is the clearest example of this: The stories from Homer onward often take place in a past Aegean world that includes Minoan Crete. Likewise, Greek heroes trace back to Minoan and Mycenaean epics of the Bronze Age. A careful study of ancient Greece also shows that Greek religion, architecture, and language found their roots in Minoan and Mycenaean cultures. Along very similar lines, the Romans absorbed much from the Etruscans before them, including again language, architecture, and a whole system of divination and omens. In many ways, Roman culture was more Etruscan than the Romans ever cared to admit.

By the end of this course, students will appreciate the most significant hallmarks of the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, and the Etruscans and understand how these cultures were assimilated into Greek and Roman cultures—into their myths, religions, languages, architecture, art, behavior, and even their political orders—before their cultures matured or their empires emerged.

This course includes a field trip to the Cantor Arts Center.

Patrick Hunt, Former Director, Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project

Patrick Hunt is the author of twenty books, including Hannibal, Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History, When Empires Clash: Twelve Great Battles in Antiquity, Wine Journeys: Myth and History, and Caravaggio (Life & Times). He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Expeditions Council. Hunt received a PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Reynolds Higgins, Minoan and Mycenaen Art (World of Art) 2nd Edition (ISBN 978-0500201848)
(Required) Nigel Jonathan Spivey , Etruscan Art (World of Art) (ISBN 978-0500203040)