CLAS/HIST240 Ancient Societies
Department of Classics
Monmouth College

This course is primarily directed towards students desiring to meet the requirement for graduation in the Human Societies rubric. It is a humanities course without prerequisite, designed for the student of any major. Ancient Societies also covers themes and subject matter of interest to the Classics major and other students interested in Classical antiquity and its place in Western civilization. The Monmouth College catalogue gives the following description of courses that meet the Human Societies requirement:

Humans are social beings, our lives and ideas considerably shaped by society and its institutions. Formative influences come to us from our immediate contact with others (our family and friends), from our experiences in institutions and organizations (schools, corporations, churches, and government), and from that large, subtle, pervasive set of ways of thinking and doing we call culture. Society shapes us in ways we may not suspect; the range of influences is immense. It may affect our attitudes of trust and mistrust, of optimism or pessimism; it may influence our sense of community or individual identity and provide the store of ideas within which we do our thinking.

Just as we need to understand the dimensions and characteristics of our own contemporary society, so we need a historical and extra-national perspective on ourselves. Studying the history of our society enables use to see how we became what we are and how events and developments in the past have shaped our present.

Every time it is offered Ancient Societies deals with a different aspect of social organization in the world of the ancient Mediterranean. Topics include "The Ancient Family," "Sport and Recreation in the Ancient World," "The Ancient City" and "Africa in the Ancient World." Students may take more than one Ancient Society course with different topics. While special attention is given to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the civilizations of other Mediterranean peoples, such as the Egyptians, are also discussed.

This material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any questions, you can contact him at

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