AP/HUMA1100 9.0 A: Worlds of Ancient Greece and Rome

Offered by: HUMA


Fall 2019






Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

A study of the classical world with a view to understanding the origin and evolution of some of the literary, philosophical and political ideals of ancient Greece and Rome. Materials for this study will be drawn from Greek and Roman literature in translation, with illustration from the plastic arts. Course credit exclusion: AP/HUMA 1710 6.00.

Course Website

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    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details


Lectures Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. LAS C Mohamed Khimji

Tutorial 1 Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. R N830A Mohamed Khimji

Tutorial 2 Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. HNE B10 Mohamed Khimji

Tutorial 3 Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. ATK 005 Mohamed Khimji

Tutorial 4 Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. SC 211 Mohamed Khimji

Tutorial 5 Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. FC 105 Mohamed Khimji

Tutorial 6 Fridays at 8:30 a.m. VH 3000 Lee Danes

Tutorial 7 Mondays at 8:30 a.m. R N812 Lee Danes

Tutorial 8 Mondays at 4:30 a.m. VH 2005 Elizaveta Poliakova

    Expanded Course Description

This first-year Foundations-level course is a careful, disciplined, and serious study of important primary texts from ancient Greece and Rome, composed or written between ~ 700 B.C.E. (before the Common Era) to ~ 90 C.E. (Common Era), considered in translation from ancient Greek and Latin into English. Our purpose in studying these texts which, for this year, have been drawn exclusively from ancient Greek and Roman epic poetry and tragedy, is to think critically about the fundamental ideas, values, and principles on the basis of which the ancient Greeks and Romans understood themselves, their relationships to others, and the world in which they lived. In the final part of the year, we shall examine the ancient Greeks and Romans from both a biblical and a modern standpoint in order to better grasp the essential distinctiveness of their life and thought and, in so doing, the essential distinctiveness of our life and thought. Students who are committed to engaging with the issues discussed in the assigned texts, lectures, and tutorials will develop their reading comprehension, critical thinking, powers of interpretation and analysis, and oral and written communication skills.

This course is divided into four distinct – yet interrelated – units. In Unit 1, we focus on The Iliad – literally: “the story of Troy (Ilion)” – which is regarded as one of the most important myths in Greek antiquity. Unit 2 is focused on four ancient Greek and Roman tragedies from Aeschylus, Euripides, and Seneca. Continuing with the theme of Troy, each of these tragedies concerns critical events that took place prior to, and after, the Trojan War. In Unit 3, we study the greatest Latin epic in the ancient world – The Aeneid (literally, “the story of Aeneas”)– and its historical and cultural relevance at the beginning of the Roman Empire. In Unit 4, we develop a critical analysis of ancient Greek and Roman values from a biblical and modern philosophical standpoint. First, we study the most comprehensive Gospel of the New Testament, Matthew, which, like the other three Gospels, was produced during the early Roman Empire; then, we work through the philosophical masterpiece by Immanuel Kant: Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. We conclude the course with a study of what many Classical scholars regard as the greatest of all the surviving ancient Greek tragedies: Oedipus the King.

In the course of our study of the assigned primary texts – six of which students will need to purchase and two of which are available online – we shall examine the meaning and significance of recurring ideas and themes: fate, knowledge, the gods, omens, oracles, revenge, justice, honour, glory, power, death, and the relationship between body and soul. What is fate? What is the content of this idea in the texts we are reading? Can fate be known? If so, how? Does knowing one’s fate enable one to change it? If yes, and if fate is not a fixed destiny, then what could fate mean? If no, and if fate is necessity, then of what use is one’s “knowledge”, and how is it different from lacking knowledge? On the other hand, if fate is unknown, in what sense is it unknown? Is it altogether unknowable? In the ancient Greek tragedy Agamemnon, the old men of Argos, who, in this play, express the standpoint of public opinion, advise: “those only learn who suffer; and the future you shall know when it has come; before then, forget it. It is grief too soon given.” What does this counsel mean? If the future is known (suffered) only once it has “come”, once one’s fate has been realized, how is the future distinguishable from the present (and vice-versa)? What is the meaning of a “future” if human beings have no power to create it? What is the meaning of a “present” that is necessarily the fulfillment of this “future”? To what degree does the idea of fate indicate that what happens in the world is due to causes over which human beings have no control and, therefore, no power to change? Why do the ancient Greeks and Romans, in both their myths and lived history, look to “omens”, which they understood to be divine signs that appear in nature, when omens are interpretable, and were in fact interpreted, in opposite ways? Similarly, why did the ancient Greeks and Romans seek help from oracles, e.g., at Delphi, which, we learn, so often left the questioner even more perplexed? Is it because oracles, like omens, are believed to come from the gods? Who, and what, are the gods? Are they forces of nature? Are they supernatural? Are they like human beings or completely different from them? Do they dispense fate or are they determined by fate? Why are the gods depicted in all of these contrary ways? Given that the gods, including Love (Aphrodite, Venus), are so often depicted as cruel, if not completely indifferent to human suffering, what does the importance of these gods in ancient Greek and Roman life, and the dependence of human beings upon them, indicate to us about how human beings in Greco-Roman antiquity understood themselves? Is the fluid hierarchy in the divine world and the competitive struggles among the gods mirrored in the hierarchies and competitive struggles among human beings? In both The Iliad and The Aeneid, the proper analogue of a god-like hero is a lion or a wolf and the proper analogue of a common man is a goat or a lamb. Why do human beings view themselves in the likeness of nature? And how are we in the modern world to comprehend this vision of the world?

For this course, students are neither expected nor required to have any prior knowledge of ancient Greek or Roman literature. However, as this course is an analytical study of important primary texts from ancient Greece and Rome, and of the relationships among the core ideas in these texts, the knowledge gained will be cumulative, i.e., each primary text in this course will be discussed in relation to the prior assigned readings and will, therefore, build upon them. Thus, students who want to reap a good harvest should be prepared to sow good seed. This means that students are expected to be students and to do what serious students in university do: read the assigned material on time, be prepared and attentive in lectures and tutorials, and engage seriously with the content discussed. To assist in this process, lectures throughout the year will be audio-recorded and made available for all students to review as many times as needed.

    Additional Requirements


Students who are not officially enrolled in this course and who want to enroll, or
students who are enrolled but who want to change tutorials, should make their
preferred changes through the online course enrolment system. The final date to add
this course, or change tutorials without permission from the Course Director, is
September 17, 2019.


This course is registered with “Moodle”, an online course management website. To
log into Moodle, you will need your Passport York ID and password. Sign in at
https://moodle.yorku.ca/?mycourses to access the course syllabus, audiotaped
recordings of lectures, important supplementary documents, assignments, links to
upload essays, links to videos and images, general helpful information, e-mail
announcements, and updates about the course. Please note that assignment grades
will not be posted on Moodle. Assignment grades will normally be released only
when assignments are returned.
You are responsible for all material uploaded on Moodle. A Moodle account is
not merely optional in this course; it is a requirement. Please log in to Moodle
regularly. Please also check regularly the e-mail that you have registered with
Moodle. In the event of an emergency, e.g., any unexpected cancellation of classes, a
message will be posted on Moodle and then sent, automatically, to the e-mail address
you have registered on Moodle.

    Required Course Text / Readings

Every student is expected to bring to lectures and tutorials the required translations/editions of the texts listed below at the time we study them. Different translations will not suffice. While electronic copies of the exact same texts with the same translations are acceptable, students are strongly encouraged to purchase print (paperback) copies. The paperback editions are listed below in the order in which we shall study them. Six books need to be purchased; two works (each marked with an asterisk [*]) are available online.

1. Homer. The Iliad. Translated by Richmond Lattimore. ISBN 9780226470498.
2. Seneca. Thyestes.* Available online in PDF: link will be posted on Moodle.
3. Euripides. Iphigenia at Aulis. Translated by W. S. Merwin and George E. Dimock, Jr. ISBN 9780195077094.
4. Aeschylus. Aeschylus II: The Oresteia. Edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore. Third Edition, edited by Mark Griffith and Glenn W. Most. ISBN 9780226311470.
5. Virgil. The Aeneid. Translated by Robert Fitzgerald. ISBN 9780679729525.
6. The Gospel of Matthew.* Available online in PDF: link will be posted on Moodle.
7. Kant, Immanuel. Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. Translated by James W. Ellington. ISBN 9780872201668.
8. Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Translated by David Grene. ISBN 9780226768687.

All of these required print editions can be purchased on the lower floor of the York bookstore under the course number and heading. Note: HUMA 1100 9.0 (our course) and HUMA 1105 9.0 (another course) are side-by-side on the bookshelf. Please be careful not to confuse the books specific to each course with one another. Students can also purchase these books online, e.g., through amazon.ca. If you order your books online, please make sure that you purchase the assigned edition and translation of each text. One way that you can make sure that you purchase the correct editions online is to do an advanced search for the books by their ISBNs (ISBN = International Standard Book Number). The ISBN is usually found in the opening pages of a published book (it appears with the details about the publisher). Images of the covers of the texts we are using are uploaded on Moodle (under “Topic 1”).

It is extremely helpful to underline, highlight, and make notes in the print editions of the assigned texts as we work through them in lectures and tutorials. If you choose to do this, library copies and electronic copies of the texts in this course will not be sufficient. Please do not under any circumstances mark in any way any text that you sign out from the library!


Two modern theatre stage productions of ancient Greek tragedies will supplement and compliment your reading for Weeks 10, 11, 23, and 24. Visit the following links to access these productions (reminders will be posted on Moodle):

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7sdZQ1BDs0&t=1233s
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZyQNOkLfNE

Oedipus Rex: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TonLOAkc1OY

    Weighting of Course
Assessment Value Due Date (or period of assessment)
Tutorial preparedness and
10% Assessed weekly
Tutorial test on The Iliad
(Unit 1)
Essay assignment on The
15%, 20%, 25%, or 30% Test given in tutorial
during the week of
November 4-8, 2019
Essay assignment due on
November 19, 2019
December examination on
material covered in four
ancient tragedies (Unit 2)
15%, 20%, 25%, or 30% During Fall examination
period (Dec. 5 – 20, 2019)
Tutorial test on The Aeneid
(Unit 3)
15%, 20%, 25%, or 30% Test given in tutorial
during the week of
February 24 – 28, 2020
Final examination on the
Gospel of Matthew,
Grounding for the Metaphysics
of Morals, and Oedipus the
King (Unit 4)OREssay assignment on the
Gospel of Matthew,
Grounding for the Metaphysics
of Morals, and Oedipus the
15%, 20%, 25%, or 30% Exam held during Spring
examination period (April
7 – 25, 2020)
Essay assignment due on
the date of the final exam


Tutorial participation and preparedness: Value = 10%

“Preparedness” involves attending tutorials prepared, i.e., with the assigned text to
be discussed in that tutorial, having read the assigned material, and having studied
and taken notes on the lectures that week. “Participation” involves listening
attentively, sharing ideas, and asking informed questions. Since the tutorial
preparedness and participation grade depends on being in tutorials, it is
impossible for students who do not attend tutorials regularly to do well in
this part of their assessment. On the other hand, students who do not miss classes,
who are fully prepared, and who pay attention when they come to class can expect to receive full

Value = Weighted grades

As seen above on page 7, there are four written evaluations/assessments in this course (one for
each Unit). Higher quality work will be valued more heavily than lower quality
work at the end of the year. This means that your best work will be weighted at 30%;
your second-best work will be weighted at 25%; your third best work will be weighted at 20%;
and your weakest work will be weighted at 15%. If, for example, you receive 40% on your first
test, 50% on your first exam, 70% on your second test, and 80% on your final exam, your final
exam will be valued twice as heavily (30%) as your first test (15%). In this light, the weights of
each of the four evaluations will not be known until the end of the year when you have completed
all of your assignments. This grading system always works in your favour. If you do very poorly
on any test, essay, or exam, it is definitely possible to recover by doing very well on the remaining

Random seating

Students will be assigned their seats at random for both the December and April examinations. Random seating may be in effect for tutorial tests. Tutorial tests and formal exams are based on the assigned readings from the primary texts, all content discussed in lectures and tutorials, and Moodle notes for the relevant Unit. Details about the tests and exams will be made available in lectures and tutorials well in advance of the test and exam dates.

Essay option

Students who want to challenge themselves at a higher level than writing in-class tests or exams, and who have the required writing and thinking skills, will, on two occasions, have the opportunity to write formal essays (i.e., in place of the first semester tutorial test and the second semester final exam). Details about the essay option will be made available well in advance of the essay due date.

    Organization of the Course
Week Date Reading/content

To maximize your development in this course, the
assigned reading should be completed prior to the lecture  in which it is discussed*




Tue. Sept. 10

Unit 1: Ancient Greek Epic Poetry: The Story of Troy (Ilion)

The Iliad, Book 1


2 Thu. Sept. 12 The Iliad, Book 1 (cont’d)
Tue. Sept. 17 The Iliad, Books 2 and 3
3 Thu. Sept. 19 The Iliad, Books 4 and 5
Tue. Sept. 24 The Iliad, Books 6 and 8
4 Thu. Sept. 26 The Iliad, Book 9
Tue. Oct. 1 The Iliad, Book 9 (cont’d)
5 Thu. Oct. 3 The Iliad, Books 11 and 14
Tue. Oct 8 The Iliad, Books 16 and 17
write an essay instead of the in-tutorial test during the week of  Nov. 4-8.

Presentation: “How to write an analytical essay”

Tue. Oct. 15 Fall Reading Week (no classes from Sat. Oct. 12 - Fri. Oct. 18,



Thu. Oct. 17

Fall Reading Week (no classes from Sat. Oct. 12 - Fri. Oct. 18,


Tue. Oct. 22 The Iliad, Books 18 and 19
7 Thu. Oct. 24 The Iliad, Books 20 and 21
Tue. Oct. 29 The Iliad, Books 22 and 24
8 Thu. Oct. 31 Unit 2: Ancient Greek and Roman Theater: Seneca, Aeschylus,

Introduction to Greek and Roman tragedy; Thyestes 

Mon. Nov. 4 –  Fri. Nov. 8 Tutorial test on The Iliad 
Tue. Nov. 5 Thyestes
9 Thu. Nov. 7 Iphigenia at Aulis 
Tue. Nov. 12


Iphigenia at Aulis


10 Thu. Nov. 14 Agamemnon 
Tue. Nov. 19 Agamemnon

(Watch filmed stage production of Agamemnon on your own  time)

Essay assignment due on The Iliad (for students who chose this  option)


11 Thu. Nov. 21 Agamemnon 
Tue. Nov. 26 Libation Bearers 
12 Thu. Nov. 28 Libation Bearers

December exam: format and expectations

Tue. Dec. 3 Exam workshop: How to write a strong examination; sample
Wed. Dec. 4 Fall study day (university open, no classes)
Thu. Dec. 5 –  Fri. Dec. 20 The mid-year exam date will be set by the university and will  take place during the Fall exam period (Dec. 5 - 20, 2019).
Value = 20%.
Sat. Dec. 21 –   Thu. Jan. 2 Winter holidays (university closed, no classes)
13 Tue. Jan. 7 Unit 3: Roman Epic Poetry and the Early Roman Empire

Introduction to The Aeneid; The Aeneid, Book 1 

Thu. Jan. 9 The Aeneid, Book 2 
14 Tue. Jan. 14 The Aeneid, Book 3 
Thu. Jan. 16 The Aeneid, Book 4


15 Tue. Jan. 21 The Aeneid, Book 5 (lines 1-94 and 778-1141 [omit lines 95-
Thu. Jan. 23 The Aeneid, Book 6 
16 Tue. Jan. 28 The Aeneid, Book 7 (lines 1-889 [omit lines 890-1122])
Thu. Jan. 30 The Aeneid, Book 8 (lines 1-246 and lines 491–992 [omit lines
Mon. Feb. 3 Drop deadline: last day to drop course without receiving a
grade or “W” on transcript
17 Tue. Feb. 4 The Aeneid, Book 10 
Thu. Feb. 6 The Aeneid, Book 12



Mon. Feb. 10 –

Fri. Feb. 14

Tutorial test on The Aeneid
Tue. Feb. 11 Unit 4: The Contrast between Greek/Roman and Biblical
Values: A Critical InterpretationIntroduction to the BibleThe Gospel of Matthew
Thu. Feb. 13 The Gospel of Matthew


Sat. Feb. 15 –  Fri. Feb. 21 Winter Reading Week (university open, no classes)
19 Tue. Feb. 25 The Gospel of Matthew
Thu. Feb. 27 The Gospel of Matthew
20 Tue. Mar. 3 Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Section 1



Thu. Mar. 5

Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Sections 1 and 2
21 Tue. Mar. 10 Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Section 2



Thu. Mar. 12

Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Sections 2 and 3
22 Tue. Mar. 17 Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Section 3



Thu. Mar. 19

Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Section 3
23 Tue. Mar. 24 Oedipus the King



Thu. Mar. 26

Oedipus the King

(Watch film, Oedipus Rex, on your own time)



Thu. Apr. 2

Discussion about final examination: format, expectations, and
Sun. Apr. 5 Last day to withdraw from course with “W” on transcript
Mon. Apr. 6 Winter study day (university open, no classes)
Tue. Apr. 7 –  Sat. Apr. 25 The year-end final exam will be scheduled during the Spring
exam period (Apr. 7 - 25, 2019).  Value = 20%.  Content: the  Gospel of Matthew and Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals.Essay assignment due on the exam date (for students who did  not write the final exam).
    Course Learning Objectives


To do well in this course, students should meet five basic conditions:
1. Read the assigned material attentively (i.e., actively and not passively).
2. Attend lectures and tutorials prepared, with the assigned texts. pay attention and take good notes (audio lectures will be available for all students to review and study as needed).
3. Engage seriously with the content discussed in lectures and tutorials. Think, ask questions, and do not be afraid to express yourself if you do not agree with anything that you are learning.
4. Spend quality time on tests, exams, and essays. Manage your time effectively and Begin studying for tests and exams – and writing essays – several weeks in advance of the due date.
5. show respect for their themselves, their peers, and their instructors by (1) producing honest work (academic dishonesty is a serious offence and any form of cheating will be addressed appropriately) and (2) helping to create an inspiring and enriching academic learning environment.


All lectures and tutorials in this course are centered on the assigned primary texts. It is therefore essential, not merely optional, that students bring their required texts to lectures and tutorials. Internet surfing, texting, passing notes, and parallel conversations in lectures and tutorials are not acceptable. They are disruptive to learning and may result in immediate dismissal from the lecture and/or tutorial. Cellphones and other electronic devices must be turned off, not put on vibrate mode, during all classes; laptops are permitted only for course-related work. Students are free to leave, and then return to, any lecture or tutorial, at any point, for any reason, quietly (no one needs to request permission to leave the room). Please do not bring smelly foods into lectures and/or tutorials at any time. If you spill something on the floor, please clean it up. Respect the rights of others to study without distractions in a quiet, safe, and clean environment.

    Relevant Links / Resources