Schedule of Topics and Readings

Africa in the Ancient World

CLAS/HIST240 Ancient Societies
Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois

Instructor: Thomas J. Sienkewicz (

BIA = Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity Pharaohs = The World of the Pharaohs
Lefkowitz = Not Out of Africa Cleopatra = Cleopatra: A Sourcebook
Herodotus =
For translations of his history see:
Ovid = Ovid's Metamorphoses (

Week I / Week II / Week III / Week IV / Week V / Week VI / Week VII / Week VIII / Week IX / Week X / Week XI / Week XI / Week XIII / Week XIV / Week XV / EXAM WEEK

Part I:
Introduction: Who Were the Ancient Africans?

Week I (Jan. 18)
Why Africa and Blacks in Antiquity?

Week II (Jan. 23 and 25): Read Vergil's Moretum; Summary of "Moretum" / Study Questions for "Moretum"; BIA 1-29 and 144-155; Xenophanes,
Nomenclature for Africans and Blacks
Physical Descriptions of Blacks in Antiquity: Textual Evidence and Artistic Images
Africa and Ethiopians in Greek Mythology and Religion (see Herodotus, Book II)
On Phaeton and Io, click on Ovid 1  and search for "Phaeton" and "Io".
On Perseus click on Ovid 4 and seach for "serpents" and "Andromeda". 
On Phoenix, see, Achilles Tatius, Lactantius' Phoenix and  Images of Phoenix

Part II:

Week III (Jan. 30 and Feb. 1): Read Pharaohs 13-19, 60-89-125; hieroglyph and Horace (Odes III.30)
The Old and Middle Kingdoms

Week IV (Feb. 6 and 8): Read Read Pharaohs 126-177, Herodotus II-III.66; BIA, 113-115, 2 Chronicles 9:1-12
The New Kingdom, Late Kingdom and the Nubian Pharaohs

Part III:
"Black" Athena

Week V (Feb. 13 and 15): Read BIA 121-125; Herodotus, Book I; and review Book II, 49-58; 171; 282; 282; IV, 147; V, 58, introduction to Black Athena I (on reserve); also Sienkewicz review in Magill's Literary Annual (posted in course public folder); Blacks in Antiquity; Not Out of Africa; Lefkowitz, 1-52  / Study Questions
Blacks in Egypt
Greeks and Egyptians: Aeschylus, Suppliants
"Black" Athena: African Origins of Greek Civilization?
rint Resource Report Due on Feb. 15

Week VI (Feb.20 and 22): Read Lefkowitz, pp. 53-121; Newsweek Sept. 23, 1991:42-50 ("Was Cleopatra Black?")
The Afrocentric Controversy
Ancient Images of Africa and Egypt: Euripides' Helen

Week VII (Feb. 27 and March 1):
Modern Images of Africa and Egypt: Verdi's Aida. See also Cleopatra, 207-306; Lefkowitz, 122-194
Electronic Resource Report Due on Feb. 27

Week VIII (March 6)
Unit Quiz on March 6
Fox Classics Lecture, 7:30 P.M. on March 7, in Highlander Room
Summary/Response to Fox Lecture due IN CLASS on March 8th.

Part IV:
Greece and Africa

Week VIII (March 8): Read BIA 101-104, 122-123, Homer on Eurybates, Homer on Ethiopians / Chronology / Black Presence in Classical Greece
The Bronze Age and Homer
Archaic Greece: First Encounters--Cyprus and Naucratis, Aesop
Fox Lecture paper and Mid-course evaluation Due

Week IX (March 20 and 22): Read BIA 105-109. 126-129, 123-125, Herodotus. Books VII-VIII, Asclepiades hand-out (posted in public folders)
The Project
Prospectus and Map (Geography) quiz  explained  for this project is due
Classical Greece
Hellenistic Greece: Alexandria and Cyrene

Part V:
Rome and Africa

Week X (March 27 and 29):
Timeline of Roman History / Imaging Roman Africa
Carthage: Justin on the Founding of Carthage (especially paragraphs 4-6) / Strabo on Carthage / Aristotle on the Constitution of Carthage / Study Questions on Aristotle
Dido and Aeneas: Vergil's Aeneid I and IV;
Carthage and Rome: The Punic Wars: Livy's description of Hannibal in Book XXI:.1 and 4;  Polybius on the Character of Hannibal.
Slavery in the Ancient World: Seneca on Slavery:  Epistle XLVII
Rome and African Monarchs: Masinissa and Jugurtha
BIA 109-112, 125-126, 130-136

Week XI (April 2 and 4): Read: Cleopatra, 1-204
Cleopatra Horace (Odes. I.37) hand-outs
Prospectus DUE on April 2

Week XII (April 10 and 12): Read BIA 115-120, 136-143; Apuleius, books 1-2; Apuleius Websites: Benjamin Slade's Apuleius / Golden Ass / Contents of the Golden Ass / Apuleius! The Home Page / The Metamorphoses in Latin / Lucius Apuleius
Roman North Africa
Introduction to Apuleius

Week XIII (April 17 and 19): Read Apuleius, books 3-5
Apuleius Cont.

Week XIV (April 26): Read Apuleius, books 6-8
Apuleius Cont.

Map (Geography) quiz  on April 26
Roman Africa

Part VI:
Blacks in Antiquity

Week XV (May 1 and 3): Read BIA 156-168, 182-215, Latin Poetry hand-outs; Apuleius 9-10
Blacks in Daily Life: Entertainers and Athletes
Blacks in Religion: ISIS
Individual Project Due
on May 1

May 8: Unit Quiz

Monday, May 14 at 6 P.M.:
Oral Reports and Course Evaluation

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