Ancient Religious Reflections:
Sacred Places Past and Present

Department of Classics
Monmouth College


NOTE:  This schedule will remain "in progress" throughout the semester. It will be modified as needed. Students are advised to consult this schedule periodically for changes, modifications, and additions.
Part I Introduction to Sacred Places
Tuesday, August 26
Course Introductions
Class Definitions and Impressions of Sacred and Sacred Places. Here are the results: Responses 2014
Writing Assignment
Thursday, August 28
Discussion about Mormon temples as sacred places.
Look at these websites for important vocabulary and definitions: Sacred Places (General)
Tuesday, September 2
Today we look at La Mesquite, the Grand Mosque of Cordoba
Gray, Martin. Sacred Sites: Places of Peace and Power. Read the essay on this website ( Write out five questions you had as you read the section of the article you were assigned. Then write out a 100-word summary of  this section of the article in your own words.
Thursday, September 4
Prepare a five-minute statement on your own sense of sacred space to share orally with the class. Here is Prof. Sienkewicz' statement. Be sure to bring a written copy of your statement to hand in.
Tuesday, September 9
For today write a reflection in which you consider your own statement of sacred space in the context of what other members of the class said. Has your view of sacred space changed in any way as a result of this conversation?
Today we look at El Camino de Santiago and  watch the beginning of Martin Sheen's The Way. Be sure to answer the questions on the handout as you watch the film.

Thursday, September 11
Watching The Way.
Tuesday, September 16
Follow-up discussion on The Way. Hand-in your written responses to the film.
Thursday, September 18
Today we look at Stonehenge as sacred space. See especially Caesar, Ed. "What Lies Beneath," Smithsonian 45 (September 2014), pp. 30-41:
Sacred Places (Specific) and Mircea Eliade and the Sacred. Skim these sites and the class will break up into groups to discuss them.
Eliade Powerpoint
Tuesday, September 23
Muir Woods
Look at the following websites for today's class: Sacred Places Around the World.
Reports on Archaeology. Sacred Places of the Ancient World
Your five-minute report should provide information on location, important dates, historical and religious importance, major features, etc.
Part II Sacred Places in Ancient Greece
Thursday, September 25
Read Pedley, Chapters 1-3
Greek Pantheon / The Pantheon / The Major Gods / 12 Olympian Gods / Genealogical Tables
Gods in Art Powerpoint / Time and Place

Tuesday, September 30
Greek Sanctuaries
Read Pedley, Chapters 4-7
Also read about the Individualized Project assignment
Part III Olympia
Thursday, October 2
Tuesday, October 7
Read Pedley, Chapter 8
Olympia Powerpoint /
Tour of Olympia / History of Ancient Olympia / Walking Tour of Olympia /The Temple of Zeus at Olympia
Also look at these websites: Olympia
The Games: Ancient Olympic Games / Olympic Origins / Olympic Events
Part IV The Shrine of Apollo (Delphi, Greece)

Thursday October 9
Read Pedley, Chapter 9

Also look at these websites: Delphi
Delphi Powerpoints: Apollo and Delphi / Delphi Stadium
Midcourse Evaluation due before you leave for fall break
Thursday, October 16
Film on Delphi. Be sure to answer the questions on the handout as you watch the film and hand-in your written responses before you leave class.
Tuesday, October 21
Due today: Prospectus for your individualized project.
Homeric Hymn to Apollo
Sienkewicz, Thomas. “Homeric Hymn to Apollo: An Analysis”: (abridged)
Thursday October 23
NO regular class. Instead there will be 15-minute individual conferences with instructor about project. Be sure to sign up for an appointment. Use class time to work on your individualized project.

Part V Common Reflective Writing Assignment
Tuesday, October 28
Ritual Animal Sacrifice
and the Common Reflective Assignment / Required Lecture / Reflective Assignment Guidelines
Prometheus / Hesiod's Works and Days / Hesiod's Theogony (For both of these readings, search "Prometheus" and read those sections.)
Roman Animal Sacrifice (Powerpoint)
Thursday, October 30
Ritual Animal Sacrifice Cont.
Monday, November 3
Attend the archaeology lecture entitled "Hammers, Axes, Bulls and Blood" at 7:30 P.M. in Pattee Auditorium. Be sure to adjust your schedule well in advance so you can be present at this lecture.

Part VI Parthenon and the Athenian Acropolis

Tuesday, November 4
Discussion about the archaeology lecture and introduction to the Parthenon
Thursday, November 6
Read Pedley Chapter 12
Tuesday, November 11 and Thursday, November 13

The Parthenon Frieze

Part VII Mecca
Tuesday, November 18
Introduction to Mecca
Thursday, November 20
We will watch "Inside Mecca".
Tuesday, November 25
We will watch "Journey to Mecca". In-class writing assignment to follow. Note: If you are not planning to attend class, please be sure to se the instructor regarding assignment you will miss.
Part VIII Class Presentations
Tuesday, December 2
Individualized Projects due and Project Presentations begin.
Thursday, December 4
Project Presentations continue.

Part IX Final Class Meeting
Thursday, December 11, 11:30 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Final Statements and Course Evaluations

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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