CLAS240, Ancient Societies:  Town and Country

Monmouth College, Spring 2003
TH 9:30-10:45

Dr. V. Wine

Required Texts:

  • Hesiodís Works and Days (University of California Press 1996)
  • Menanderís Dyskolos (The Ill-tempered Man) (Oxford University Press 2002)
  • Garnsey and Sallerís The Roman Empire (University of California Press 1987)
  • Finleyís The Ancient Economy (University of California Press 1999)

Course Description: 

This course examines, historically and thematically, a topic from the Greek and Roman cultures.  The focus this semester is on the relationship between the urban and rural cultures, economically and culturally.  Readings and discussion will explore the interconnection of the rural society in the development of the urban areas; the function of agriculture within the economy of both Greece and Rome; the similarities and differences in the ways the Greeks and Romans viewed rural life.  Along the way certain themes will become evident:  the farmer/soldier/citizen motif; ideal vs. real; country bumpkin vs. urbanity; rural virtues vs. urban vices; escape from the city.

Class Procedure: 

The final grade will be an average of two papers/projects and two exams.  Half of each exam grade will reflect weekly summaries and presentations.  Participation and attendance provide extra credit.

The following schedule of topics and readings gives dates of intended discussions and assignments.  The student is expected to keep informed of any changes which might be made in class and, if absent, is responsible for what is missed.

Week 1

            Tuesday, Jan. 14.    Introduction to Greek and Roman culture

            Thursday, Jan. 16.  Social and economic relationship of rural and urban areas

Week 2

            Tuesday, Jan. 21.    Hesiodís Works and Days (WD) lines 1-273

            Thursday, Jan. 23.  WD pp.1-15

Week 3

            Tuesday, Jan. 28.    WD 274-535.

            Thursday, Jan. 30.  WD pp. 16-32

Week 4

            Tuesday, Feb. 4.    WD 536-828.

            Thursday, Feb. 6.  WD pp. 33-48

Week 5

            Tuesday, Feb. 11.   Menanderís Dyskolos, Act 1

            Thursday, Feb. 13.  "The Ancients and Their Economy" (F ch.1)

Week 6

            Tuesday, Feb. 18.   Dyskolos, Acts 2-4

            Thursday, Feb. 20.  "Orders and Status" (F ch.2)

Week 7

            Tuesday, Feb. 25.   Dyskolos, Act 5

            Thursday, Feb. 27. Iliad 3.1-37 (similes from nature portraying strife), 18.541-606
            (scenes on the shield of Achilles), Odyssey 7.112-32 (gardens of Alkinoos)

Week 8

            Tuesday, Mar 4.    Test #1

            Thursday, Mar. 6.  Projects due.

Week 9           

            Tuesday, Mar 18.    "Masters and Slaves" (F ch. 3)

            Thursday, Mar 20.  "Landlords and Peasants" (F ch. 4)

Week 10

            Tuesday, Mar 25.   "Town and Country" (F ch. 5)

            Thursday, Mar 27.  Horace (Letters 1.7.46-59, 71-98; Satires 2.6.77-117, 2.2.112-36;
            Odes 1.9, 3.6.37-44; Epodes 1.2)

Week 11

            Tuesday, Apr 1.     "The State and the Economy" (F ch.6)

            Thursday, Apr 3.   "Further Thoughts" (F ch.7)

Week 12

            Tuesday, Apr 8.      A Mediterranean Empire (GS ch. 1 and 2)

            Thursday, Apr 10.  Aeneid 1.158-69 (a landscaped haven)

Week 13

            Tuesday, Apr 15.    An Underdeveloped Economy (GS ch. 3-5)

            Thursday, Apr 17.  the Roman agronomists 

Week 14

            Tuesday, Apr 22.  Pliny (Letters 5.67.7-13, 2.17.1, 3.1)

            Thursday, Apr 24.  Social hierarchy (GS ch. 6-8)

Week 15

            Tuesday, Apr 29.  the provinces

            Thursday, May 1.  Religion, culture (GS ch. 9-10)

Week 16

final exam:  projects; take-home:  c/c Greek and Roman views of rural life; "what have you learned," presence and identification of motif, function of agriculture in ancient economy and influence on politics and society


Write a paper which reflects and describes an activity which allows you to integrate this thematic study of antiquity with another area of interest.  Some ideas are to critique a piece of art, to compare other cultures or literature, to write a short paper on any of the authors we are reading (or any other author I approve) by integrating research from commentary.  You may also reference any of the recommended reading and discuss in your paper what you find interesting and relevant.  Each paper should be about four pages in length (typed); paper two may be an extension of the first paper or a completely different inquiry.

Recommended Reading:

Balsdon, J.V.P.D.  Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome.  London, 1969, chs. 4-8.

Hanson, Victor Davis.  The Other Greeks.  New York:  The Free Press, 1995.

Heitland, W. E.  Agricola.  Westport, Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1921, rpr 1970.

McKay, A.G.  Houses, Villas and Palaces in the Roman World.  London, 1975, ch. 5.

Nelson, Stephanie.  God and the Land.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1998.

Sherwin-White, A.N.  The Letters of Pliny:  a social and economic commentary.  Oxford, 1966.

Steiner, G. "Columella and Martial on Living in the Country," Classical Journal, I, pt. 2 (1954):  85-90.

Wilkinson, L.P.  The Roman Experience. London, 1975.