The Summer Classics Institute is a week-long opportunity for secondary school teachers, community college faculty, and the general public, to study the classics with renowned scholars, earn Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) credit, and make new friends who are interested in studying the history and literature that forms the basis for most western thought.
Athens in Glory and Defeat
Laramie, June 16-21, 2013
Lorenzo Garcia, Jr., Assistant Professor of Classics, University of New Mexico
Deborah Sneed, Graduate Student in Classics, University of Colorado
All lectures will begin at 7:00 p.m. in College of Law room 186.
Sunday, June 16
“The Great Greek War and its Great Historian,” Philip Holt
Monday, June 17
“Leaders in War and Bravery: The Ideology of War in Fifth-Century Athens, ” Kurt Raaflaub
Tuesday, June 18
“The Archaeology of Democracy: The Agora of Classical Athens,” Deborah Sneed
Wednesday, June 19
“Eutopian Dystopias: Plato and Aristophanes on Remaking the State,” Lorenzo Garcia
Thursday, June 20
“Inventing a New Genre: Herodotus, Thucydides, and the Challenge of Writing Large-Scale Prose History,” Kurt Raaflaub
The seminar will consist of discussions of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, our principal source for that conflict and a masterpiece of historic writing.
Study questions and background notes on the Thucydides readings will be posted on the website.
No supplementary readings are suggested, but for interested parties two good general works on the war are available: A New History of the Peloponnesian War by Lawrence Tritle (Kurt’s text; see below) and a longer work by Donald Kagan, The Peloponnesian War (New York: Penguin 2004).
Reading assignments are as follows. All passages are cited by book and chapter numbers.
Monday, June 17: The Beginnings of the War
Book I 1, 20-23, 66-88, 139-146
Book II 10-24
Tuesday, June 18: The Democracy in Wartime
Book II 34-65
Book III 1-6, 25-28, 35-50, 70-84
Wed. June 19: The Archidamian War and the Peace of Nicias
Book IV 1-41
Book V 14-20, 84-116
Thursday, June 20: Alcibiades and Syracuse
Book VI 1, 6-32, 61, 88 (last paragraph)-105
Book VII 1-19, 27-28
Friday, June 21: The Turning Point
Book VII 36-87
There are four mini-courses in two time slots, morning and afternoon. Participants may choose one from each time slot.
Aristophanes and Athens: Comedy and the Common Man, with Lorenzo Garcia
Ancient Greek comedy (kōmōidía) is a fascinating genre: it is at once ribald and precious, light-hearted and mean-spirited, laugh-out-loud funny and outright inscrutable, utterly profane and deeply religious, politically daring yet somehow safe from reprisal. Aristophanes criticized contemporary politicians and the shortcomings of his fellow Athenians in plays whose imaginative, topsy-turvy plots are unrivaled in any national literature before or since. Unlike much of Greek literature written by the elite and for the elite, Aristophanes’ plays give us something closer to an everyman’s point of view: what’s wrong the city, and what we should do about it. This course covers four of Aristophanes’ best known plays dealing with the politics and public concerns of late 5th century Athens.
Book: Aristophanes, Complete Plays, translated by Paul Roche. (New York: Penguin, 2005)
Sparta: History and Legends of Athens’ Antagonist, with Philip Holt
Sparta is best known, with awe or repugnance, for its rigorous and pervasive militarism as it trained its (male) citizens relentlessly for war. Hence it was to Sparta that other Greeks turned out of fear of the growing imperial power of Athens. But the real Spartan system shows a lot more nuances and paradoxes than that. Sparta was actually ahead of most of the rest of Greece in political development, and their organization was so effective that the Spartans kept it even as cracks appeared in the façade. Sparta had the finest army in Greece, and it was especially reluctant to commit it to war. Spartans did not always play by their own rules; they had intriguing and plotting like everybody else. And finally, Sparta was not what you probably think it was: much of what has been handed down about it is legend.
Book: Plutarch, On Sparta, translated by Richard J. A. Talbert (New York: Penguin, 2005).
The Archaeology of Athens, with Deborah Sneed
History is not written only in books. The physical city owyclinst 13 sparta syllabusAthens provides a useful avenue for understanding the culture, society, and thinking of Athenians before and during the Peloponnesian War. The grandeur of Athens is a comment on the city’s conception of its role and status in the Greek world. This course will examine the physical and social contexts of Athenian life in the second half of the fifth century BCE—not just the physical city itself, but also different facets of Athenian society such as life in the countryside, religion, changes in art and mythology, and the roles of women and the family in society. Evidence for broader understanding of Athenian culture will be drawn from religious and secular architecture, grave monuments, vase painting, and fortifications.
Democracy at War, with Kurt Raaflaub
Athens was governed by a democracy which was unprecedented in scale and exceptional in the intensity of political activity and the demands it placed on its citizens. Democracy also went hand in hand with war: under democratic rule, Athens formed an empire (a first in Greek history) and pursued policies that had brought it into a war of some kind in two out of every three years. This drive culminated in Athens’ long and bitter war with Sparta and ended in a disastrous defeat. This course will focus on the connections between democracy and war, based on ancient sources. Topics explored will include Athens’ military organization and the military responsibilities of its citizens; some remarkably bellicose decision making on matters of war; the strains of war on society, including youth and the home front; and concepts and theories of peace.
Book: A New History of the Peloponnesian War, Lawrence A. Tritle (Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell 2009).
Download study guides for Kurt Raaflaub mini-course by clicking links below.
Registration fees are as follows:
As of June 3, 2013 there are no more rooms available.
General Participant with no room- $125
Miscellaneous optional expenses:
Parking Pass- $25
PTSB Credit- $10
There is a $15 cancellation fee for registrants.
To pay, click the PayPal link below, or send a check to:
Wyoming Humanities Council
1315 E. Lewis St.
Laramie WY, 82072