Classical Studies

WINTER 2011

Classical Studies 11

Topics in Greek and Roman Social and Economic History
Greek and Roman Engineering and Technology

Roger Ulrich

This course offers an introduction to the most important machines and processes of Greek and Roman technology. Emphasis is on the practical implications and applications of ancient technologies and engineering. Within the broad range of technologies surveyed, students focus on specific case studies to provide deeper analysis and understanding of individual topics.

Professor Ulrich worked with students in this class by breaking them down into two smaller groups and visiting the Yale collection in the Hood’s Bernstein Study-Storage Center.  Focus was placed on stone-cutting techniques and the observations of tool marks and on the firing techniques of ancient ceramics (primarily Attic black-figure and red-figure pottery).  The observations by the students were paired with class presentations on the same topics: quarrying and stone-cutting, ceramic production, and the casting of bronze (for the last of these the class examined the small bronzes from the loan).

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Classical Studies 19 = History 94.7

Methods and Theory in Ancient History
Paul Christesen

This course is designed to introduce the student to the various types of documentary evidence available to the ancient historian and to the various perspectives for framing and answering historical questions. The class considers the interpretive methodologies for each type of document (coin, inscription, papyrus) as well as the particular historical context in which these documents were produced. Topics include the function of coinage and economic thinking in the ancient world and the political significance of the publication of law.

Professor Christesen discussed the cistophor of Hadrian (2009.110.14) from the Yale collection and other coins from the Hood’s collection. He asked the students to consider the interpretive methodologies for coins as well as the particular historical context in which these documents were produced. Topics included the function of coinage and economic thinking in the ancient world.

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Classical Studies 22

Greek Classical Archaeology: City-States and Pan-Hellenic Sanctuaries
Jeremy Rutter

From the allied Greeks’ expulsion of Persian invaders through their great victories at Plataea and Mykale in 479 BCE to their catastrophic defeat by Philip, Alexander, and the Macedonians at Chaeronea in 338 BCE, the history of Greek culture is that of dozens of individual city-states in constant competition for hegemony in a wide variety of different arenas, from battlefield to stadium to pan-Hellenic sanctuary. In this course, particular attention is paid to the material cultural achievements of the richest and artistically most influential of these poleis, the city of Athens, when that city developed the western world’s first democracy, built the Parthenon, and played host to the schools established by Plato and Aristotle.

Professor Rutter and his students gathered in the Hood’s Bernstein Study-Storage Center to examine objects from both the Yale University Art Gallery and the Hood’s own collection in preparation for their final paper in which they would examine the concept of femininity in the classical world. Students were asked to either explore the ideals for feminine beauty as it is represented in the objects, or, alternatively, to determine what they can deduce about the everyday lives of women in the classical world.

Once Professor Rutter had explained the basics of the assignment, he encouraged the class to observe the details of the objects and discuss them. He answered the students’ questions relating to technique and context, and pushed the class by asking them why certain features would appear different than other representations they have seen, or what they think certain unusual objects were used for. The discussion then moved to broader questions about ancient Greek culture: were women only ever depicted for their beauty? Why is that? Why don’t we ever expect to see an ugly woman, or a woman depicted comically?

In the assignment, Professor Rutter required students to dig deep into the bibliographic resources available through the library and museum’s archives, as well as to find several comparative objects to support their arguments. The students were encouraged to return to the Study-Storage Center during designated open hours on their own to take further notes and detailed photographs to illustrate their papers. Having the objects readily available to the students was crucial in the project.

This report was prepared by student intern Francie Middleton.

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Student essay

Courtship Scenes in Fifth-Century Attic Pottery: A Closer Look at Classical Iconography
by Elizabeth Neill, Class of 2013.

Video

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Dartmouth students  Brendan Dooley ’12 (Art History 21) and Elizabeth Neill ’13 (Classical Studies 22) discuss their coursework on a red-figure column krater from the fifth century BCE.

SPRING 2011

Classical Studies 25

Early Roman Imperial Archaeology: The First Emperors
Roger Ulrich

Through archaeological sites and related artifacts, this course examines the Roman empire as it was transformed under the rule of the emperors. It begins with a close look at the first emperor, Augustus, then continues with an examination of the reigns of the Julio-Claudians, Flavians, and Trajan. Discussion focuses on how ancient Italic traditions were transformed to suit the needs of the Imperial government. The most dramatic change in religious practice is the development of the Imperial cult. Site analysis stresses the need for an imperial idiom, the accommodation of urban masses and the promotion of a sense of a shared cultural experience. The course also examines the technological developments that led to Rome’s ‘architectural revolution.

Professor Ulrich asked his students to write their term paper on one of the objects on loan from Yale. He presented the instructions during a teaching session in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center. He asked the students to begin with a careful description of their object. This was to include physical features such as dimensions, material, and state of preservation. Discussion was to include comparisons of the object to others of its type. The second part of their paper was reserved for analysis of the object.

The objects included in this assignment raise different kinds of questions. For example:

What can you say about the Fayum portraits that is applicable to the idea of Roman portraiture in general? What is more specific to the area these come from (Roman Egypt, an area known as the “Fayum”)?

  • The image of the boy on the grave stele from North Africa raises questions about how provincials wished to imitate Roman forms.  But there are other elements of the relief that seem specifically associated with North Africa.  Can you find out more about the detailed motifs carved above and below the boy? What does this tell us about the status of children in Roman-period North Africa?
  • The small votive bronzes raise questions about domestic religion. What was the function of the Roman Lar?  What features do all Lares share (if any?).

This second half of the paper required undertaking some research about the particular object, and some background reading on Roman religion or portraiture. The students also were asked to include comparative examples of their objects and provide illustrations of their comparanda. They were encouraged to return to the Hood to observe the objects in more detail. The students also had access to view all the images in high resolution using Zoomify™ on Dartmouth’s online course website system (Blackboard).

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FALL 2011

Classical Studies 5

The Heroic Vision: Epics of Greece and Rome
Timothy Perry

Why does epic poetry repeatedly depict heroes fighting against the gods? Whether Diomedes’ rout of Aphrodite, Achilles’ struggle against the river Xanthus, Capaneus’ testing of the gods, or Hannibal’s threat to Jupiter, classical literature has frequently taken theomachy (“god-fight”) to be a central theme—a preoccupation continued in Christian epic of the Renaissance and seen even today in the bestselling novels of Philip Pullman. Concentrating on theomachic scenes in selected readings in translation, we will grapple with issues as varied as human free will, the nature of divinity, the complexities of martial force, the fragility of political legitimacy, and the power and limitations of artistic expression. By the end of the class students will have gained a new perspective on some of the central works in the Western canon.   

Perry asked his students to write papers on one of the objects he discussed. For this assignment, he asked his students to discuss the following questions:

  • How has the artist chosen to depict a mythical figure or episode?
  • Why might the artist have chosen this particular figure or episode?
  • How is the depiction appropriate to the object or the context in which it was used?

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WINTER 2012

Classical Studies 18 = History  94.6

History of the Roman Empire: Roman Principate to Christian Empire
Roberta Stewart

Professor Stewart and students in Bernstein Study-Storage

This course is designed to survey the major events in the history of Rome from 31 BCE (Octavian/Augustus’ success at the battle of Actium) through the accession and rule of Septimius Severus. During this period, the Roman empire (signifying the territorial extent conquered by Roman armies and administered by Roman officials) became a political community extending throughout the Mediterranean and northwards into Europe as far as Scotland. This course considers the logic of the Roman system: the mechanisms promoting the political identity of diverse peoples as Roman, and the endurance of local traditions within the Roman world; the reasoning whereby the overarching leadership of a single individual was conceived as necessary and good, and the evolving relationship between the princeps and the Roman senatorial aristocracy with a tradition of competitive participation and self identity in politics at Rome; the definition of the Roman frontiers and the role of the army in the assimilation of non-Roman peoples.

The students were given a research assignment based on  numismatic materials. The selection focused on Hadrianic coins. The students had to use the coins to ask—and answer—specific historical questions related to public policy: why did Hadrian spend most of his time traveling the Mediterranean world, and why did he mint at Rome an extensive series of coins that illustrate those travels? Coins of Augustus and of Trajan illustrate the traditional numismatic subjects of conquered provinces (Augustus’s “Aegypto Capta”) and Roman militarism (Trajan’s denarius showing a striding Mars) and highlight, by contrast, the subject matter of Hadrian’s coins.

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Classical Studies 11

Sports and Democratization
Paul Christesen

Students in Classical Studies 11:Sports and Democratization

This course explores the relationship between sports and democratization in ancient Greece and nineteenth-century CE Britain, with a particular focus on the question of whether sports played a role in making democratization possible. We will also apply what we learn about the relationship between mass sport and democratization to think about sports in the United States in the present day.

One of the most significant issues in the relationship between sport and democratization in ancient Greece is how playing and watching sport helps resolve a challenge of overriding importance: how to create social order without relying entirely on coercion. That challenge is particularly acute in democratized societies, in which the diffusion of power makes coercion less feasible than in more hierarchically organized communities. The students in this class studied the Panathenaic amphora from the Hood’s collection to explore both how the Athenians thought about themselves and the effects of sport on society.

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SPRING 2012

Classical Studies 26 

Later Roman Imperial Archaeology: The Golden Age and Beyond
Roger Ulrich

This course surveys Roman archaeology from Hadrian to Constantine. Emphasis is placed upon the Antonine and Severan emperors, then shifts rapidly over most of the mid-third century to focus on Diocletian and the tetrarchy, Constantine and the move of the capital to Constantinople. The course ends with a look at the great church of Hagia Sophia, and consideration of the debt of early Christianity to pagan religious traditions. A major component of the course is the study of the Romanization of the provinces, and, more specifically, the complex process of cultural hybridization (imported Roman traditions melding with local practices). Such sites as Baalbek, Petra, Dura-Europos, Palmyra, Roman Egypt, Tripolitania, Tunisia and Algeria, Constantinian Jerusalem, Trier, Spalato, etc., may be included.

FALL 2012

Classical Studies 6

Introduction to Classical Archaeology
Roger Ulrich

Through a survey of sites and artifacts characteristic of Greco-Roman antiquity, this course examines the basic methods and principles of Classical archaeology. During the term, students learn about the approaches useful in the interpretation of material evidence as well as of problems inherent in such evidence. At the same time, through the study of a number of major sites in roughly chronological sequence, students acquire an appreciation of the development of material culture in the Mediterranean world from prehistory to the collapse of the Roman Empire.

In preparation for a paper assignment, Professor Ulrich met with his students in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center to examine a number of objects on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery. After providing a brief overview of the assignment, he asked his students to choose one object and examine its depiction of the female figure. Students first provided a detailed description of their object, noting materials, the state of preservation, production techniques, and important physical characteristics. The second part of the paper involved a deeper analysis of the object, focusing mainly on the interpretation of the female body.

As part of their analysis, Professor Ulrich urged his students to consider some of the following questions:

  • What qualities of the female figure have been emphasized by the craftsman? Which ones have been played down?
  • If part of a larger composition, how does the setting or interaction with other figures influence your interpretation?
  • Are you able to locate any close parallels to the object in question? If so, how does your comparison affect your conclusions about how well your chosen artifact is characteristic of its type?

In the assignment, Professor Ulrich encouraged students to undertake some research on their objects through secondary sources in the library and online museum catalogs, like that of the British Museum. Students were also asked to provide comparative images of their objects. This assignment required students to observe the objects in great detail and they were urged to return to the Hood during open hours to take further notes and pictures.

This report was prepared by student intern Katelyn Burgess.

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WINTER 2013

Classical Studies 1

Antiquity Today: An Introduction to Classical Studies
Paul Christesen

Which ancient faces and personalities come alive for us when we look back at Greek and Roman antiquity? How were the Greeks and Romans like us, and how different? How and why does their world-and what we have inherited from their world-intrigue, repel, awe, amuse, or disturb us, and how much is that to do with our own preoccupations? Taking as its starting point the interface between Classical antiquity and the twenty-first century, this course explores a selection of topics that will introduce you to the different areas and disciplines that make up Classics in the new millennium.

Classical Studies 14 = History 94.3

Greek History: Archaic and Classical Greece
Paul Christesen

This course is designed to survey the major events in the history of ancient Greece from c.1600 B.C. (the emergence of palatial culture in the Mycenaean World) to 404 B.C. (the end of the Peloponnesian War). During this period, the Greeks formed individual communities and developed unique political structures, spread their culture, language, and religion throughout the Mediterranean, invented democracy (at Athens) and enshrined these values in their art and literature. This course will cover the physical setting of and the archaic legacy to the classical city-state, its economy, its civic and religious institutions, the waging of war between cities, the occurrence and ancient analysis of conflict within the city, and the public and private lives of its citizens and less well-known classes, such as women, children, slaves, etc.

Classical Studies 22

Greek Classical Archaeology: City States and Panhellenic Sanctuaries
Bradley Sekedat

Professor Sekedat with students in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center

From the allied Greeks’ expulsion of Persian invaders through their great victories at Plataea and Mykale in 479 B.C. to their catastrophic defeat by Philip, Alexander, and the Macedonians at Chaeronea In 338 B.C., the history of Greek culture is that of dozens of individual city-states in constant competition for hegemony in a wide variety of different arenas, from battlefield to stadium to pan-Hellenic sanctuary. In this course, particular attention is paid to the material cultural achievements of the richest and artistically most influential of these poleis, the city of Athens, when that city developed the western world’s first democracy, built the Parthenon, and played host to the schools established by Plato and Aristotle.

Professor Sekedat with CLST 22 students

 

SPRING 2013

Classical Studies 11

Topics in Greek and Roman Social and Economic History
Greek and Roman Engineering and Technology

Roger Ulrich

Professor Ulrich with CLST 11 students in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center

This course offers an introduction to the most important machines and processes of Greek and Roman technology. Emphasis is on the practical implications and applications of ancient technologies and engineering. Within the broad range of technologies surveyed, students focus on specific case studies to provide deeper analysis and understanding of individual topics.

Professor Ulrich met with his students in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center to examine a variety of objects both on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery and in the permanent collections of the Hood Museum of Art. Focus was placed on the firing practices of ancient ceramics, particularly Attic red-figure and black-figure pottery. Professor Ulrich explained the production techniques of Greek ceramic shapes, noting the importance of the development of the potter’s wheel. In a class presentation, Chloe Moon, a student in the course, discussed the decorating and firing processes involved in the production of black-figure pottery. For the last part of the session, students were presented with the opportunity to observe objects relevant to other class presentations, such as examples of Roman blown glass and mold-made terracotta lamps.

This report was prepared by student intern Katelyn Burgess.

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Classical Studies 17 = History 94.5

Roman History: The Republic
Roberta Stewart

This course surveys the history of the Roman people from 753 (traditional date of the founding of Rome) to 44 B.C. (the assassination of Julius Caesar). Topics include the development of Roman law, the conquest of all lands bordering on the Mediterranean, and the civil wars that destroyed Republican government. Particular emphasis is placed on the Roman political community: the political, religious and social factors that influenced the definition of the Roman aristocracy in the fourth century, the institutions that maintained the ascendancy of the elite, the military and political values inherent in the citizenship, the social and political mechanisms that militated against civil dissent, and the role of political values in the eventual destruction of Republican government from within.

Classical Studies 25

Early Roman Imperial Archaeology: The First Emperors
Roger Ulrich

Through archaeological sites and related artifacts, this course examines the Roman empire as it was transformed under the rule of the emperors. This course begins with a close look at the first emperor, Augustus, then continues with an examination of the reigns of the Julio-Claudians, Flavians, and Trajan. Discussion focuses on how ancient Italic traditions were transformed to suit the needs of the Imperial government (for example, the adaptation of the Republican, Hellenized Domus to the Imperial Palatia). The most dramatic change in religious practice is the development of the Imperial cult. Site analysis will stress the need for an imperial idiom, the accommodation of urban masses and the promotion of a sense of a shared cultural experience. The course will also examine the technological developments that led to Rome’s ‘architectural revolution.’

  • Sarcophagus fragment with a reclining Nereid
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    Draped figure of Dionysos
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    S.977.201, Nilotic relief thumbnail
    Portrait of a bearded man
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    Standing figurine of Jupiter, detail
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    YUAG_geniuscucullatus_thumbnail
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    Lamp in the form of a head (1)
    Head of a man, possibly reworked from a portrait of Nero, front view
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    Black-figure hydria
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    S.977.21_Sarcophagus_thumbnail
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    Red-figure squat lekythos, detail A
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    Black-figure Siana cup
    Vase in the form of a bust
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    Cup with wheel-cut decoration, view with Raising of Lazarus
    Head of a man, front view B
    Figure 3. Hearst, Obverse
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    Denarius of Julius Caesar
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    Sestertius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Hadrian, reverse
    YUAG 1938.1999, "VOTA PUBLICA"
    Sestertius of Hadrian, reverse
    Dupondius of Hadrian, reverse
    Sestertius of Hadrian, reverse
    Denarius of Trajan, reverse
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