Classical Civilizations Course Descriptions

If you haven't studied Latin, you can here at Duquesne University. These language courses can be taken both by those who have already studied classical languages at school and by those who have not yet had the opportunity to learn Latin.

If learning languages isn't your main interest, the department has courses to suit you, too. There are courses in ancient literature, ancient history and ancient archaeology for you to choose.

Want to know what we're offering next semester?

Fall 2020 Course Offerings

Classical History and Archeology

CLSX 104: Introduction to Archaeology
An overview of the discipline of archaeology. We will consider the discipline's aims, history, theories, and methods, and will devote special attention to its modern practice, problems, ethical concerns, and significance. The course will address the nature of archaeological evidence, how we interpret it, and what we should do with it. 

CLSX 111: Art History: Ancient to Medieval World 
A chronologically oriented, detailed presentation of the history of Western art. This survey deals with Near Eastern, Greek, Roman, Early Christian, and Medieval art. 

CLSX 115: Great Discoveries in Archaeology
This course looks at the history of famous archaeological discoveries around the world and how those discoveries have helped us to understand our shared past and cultural heritage. We will focus on a series of key archaeological discoveries that over time have captured the public's imagination. By exploring and scrutinizing these discoveries, students address pivotal archaeological questions about our shared heritage, as well as how changing archaeological sciences lead to changing interpretations. The course will present the relevant archaeologists, while addressing the role of nationalism, colonialism, and looting in archaeology's history as a discipline. 

CLSX 120: Greek and Roman Civilizations
A survey of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, concentrating upon important facets of history, society, archaeology, and culture. We shall touch on subjects such as politics, daily life, and religion, but also gain familiarity with the major arts, such as theatre, literature, and the visual arts.

CLSX 185: Cult and Cosmos in Ancient Athens
This course explores the archaeological remains relating to the religious and philosophical life of ancient Athenians. It provides an archaeological and religious introduction to the city, from the Iron Age to the Late Roman period. We will investigate Athenian topography and monuments, with special attention given to its varied shrines, sanctuaries, and rituals. Students will reflect on the connection between the religious life of the city and the ideas of its most famous philosophers. 

CLSX 206: Christian Mysticism
The course centers on the mystical theology of Christian religion. The main texts will be the Bible and primary texts from the tradition of Christian mystical writings. With an eye on discerning the internal logic of Christianity as a whole (not just its doctrines but it rituals and spiritual disciplines too), the course begins with a reflection on a paradigm of Christian theology that emphasizes the "iconic" nature of God-talk; this paradigm views theological words and ideas as the "letters" that seek to express the spiritual reality of God's ineffable mystery without reducing it to a verbal or conceptual idol. This is the essence of written testimonies to mystical experience in the Christian tradition. The mystical and the esoteric are necessary for understanding the doctrinal and exoteric truth claims in the entirety of the Christian tradition. As one illustration, the course applies this paradigm of "iconic" writing as a lens for interpreting the development of classical Christological and Trinitarian doctrine, as well as the development of the theology of grace. Finally it examines several primary texts by spiritual-mystical theologians from the tradition. Overall the focus of the course is on the symbiosis of Christian mysticism and a Christological-Trinitarian doctrine of God. The course will include writings by authors such as Origen, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, John Cassian, Maximus the Confessor, Richard of St. Victor, Anselm, Bernard of Clairvaux, Bonaventure, Meister Eckhart, John Ruusbroec, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Francis de Sales.

CLSX 208: Ancient Pompeii
A study of the eruption of Vesuvius and the human settlements it buried. We will investigate the history of Pompeii and the snapshot its destruction provides for life in a Roman city. We will consider domestic life and the space of the home, urban planning and infrastructure, civic centers, entertainment complexes, sanctuaries, and cemeteries. We will compare Pompeii with other sites located on the slopes of Vesuvius, including Herculaneum, several wealthy villas, and the agricultural sites of the north slopes.

CLSX 210: Caput Mundi: Rome as Center of a Diverse World (ITALY CAMPUS ONLY)
An overview of the cultural history of Rome from c. 400 BC to AD 590. This course uses the city of Rome with its abundance of archaeological sites and museums to provide a comprehensive overview of the Roman world, its history, culture and society. 

CLSX 213: Western Civilization I
An introductory survey of the origins and characteristics of European Civilization, emphasizing the personalities and events and institutions that have shaped the West. 

CLSX 225: Ancient Religions of the Middle East
An exploration of ancient middle eastern religious ideas and practices through consideration of texts from ancient Israel, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria, and Palestine. Care will be given to the historical and social contexts of these religions as well as the archeological evidence for their practice. 

CLSX 228: The Birth of the Bible
Among the common questions heard in Biblical circles are: How did we get the Bible? How can we be sure that the books it contains are the books that are supposed to be there? What about all those other books-books like the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene-what are we to make out of them? This course will consider these questions and others as we seek to explain how the Bible came to be a book, and how the contents included were ultimately settled upon. This course will also include reflections on the origins of Christianity and incorporate readings from many of the so-called "other books." 

CLSX 240: Bronze Age Greece
An examination of Minoan and Mycenaean history through the archaeological remains and inscribed tablets. We will consider the development and disappearance of both civilizations, while addressing larger themes within the ancient economy, politics, palace system, gender and social realities, art, and religion. We will study Greece's place within the larger life of the Mediterranean Bronze Age, especially connections with and evidence from the Trojans, Hittites, Syrians, and Egyptians. 

CLSX 244: History-Ancient Medicine
This course is designed to introduce students to some of the most significant medical theories, techniques, and personalities in ancient times, from prehistoric times, through the Egyptian temple physicians and the medicine of the ancient Near East and Israel, to Greece and Rome. Hippocrates and Galen will receive special attention. 

CLSX 245: Greek History
An investigation of Greek history from the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic Period (c. 2000-30 BCE). We will address topics including politics, the military, literary and material culture, religion, philosophy, society, economics, athletics, women, and slavery, and we will devote special attention to Crete, Sparta, Athens, Persia, Macedon, and Egypt.

CLSX 249: Ancient Egypt: Language, Literature, Culture and Biblical Connections
An investigation of the language, literature, culture and history of the ancient Egyptians. We will begin with the political unification of Egypt approximately 3100 BCE and continue through Pharaonic history until the periods of Greek and Roman occupation. This course will include a brief introduction to hieroglyphics and will explore the profound Egyptian influence on Biblical literature and history. 

CLSX 250: The Rise of Constantine and Christianity
This course will trace the development of Christianity from its unique origins in the Roman province of Judea and note the reasons for its growth throughout the entire empire. Students will examine why Christianity appealed to various ancient peoples, why traditional Roman religion had ceased to appeal and how Constantine advanced his political regime along with his personal belief in Christianity. 

CLSX 252: Roman History
An investigation of the Roman state's historical development, from its foundation to its fall (C8 BCE through C5 CE). We will explore a range of issues, including the political organs of the Republic and Empire, nature and consequences of Roman imperialism, hierarchy in Roman society, role of women, Roman army, paganism, rise of Christianity, imperial art and architecture, and demise of the Roman state. 

CLSX 255: Animals in Antiquity
This course explores Greek and Roman attitudes toward non-human animals, with special attention to views on the mental and emotional characteristics of animals. Topics include use of animals in entertainment, food choices, religion and companionship.

CLSX 257: America and Antiquity
This course begins with the Constitution of the USA, and the thinking of the founders who wrote it (especially the Federalist Papers). It then shows their debt to ancient Greek and Roman authors (Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch, and Tacitus, among others). One goal is therefore to appreciate the intellectual history that influenced the founders, but another is to understand and assess the philosophical principles they sought to enshrine. 

CLSX 280: Greek Religion
In this class we will examine the religious practices and beliefs of the ancient Greeks from the 8th century to the 3rd century BCE. The course presents a detailed introduction to the known data about ancient practices and beliefs, while contextualizing them within other societal, political and cultural aspects of Greek life. Students learn to analyze literary, epigraphical, and archaeological data pertaining to Greek religious experience. 

CLSX 300: Ancient Philosophy
This course spans the beginning of philosophy in Greece, from the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus, with readings taken primarily from Plato and Aristotle. 

CLSX 313: Archaeology and the Bible
An illumination through archaeology of the historical setting, the cultural background, and the events described in the Bible; a general introduction to the techniques of archaeological investigation and a study of the principal archaeological sites in Palestine.

CLSX 317: Archaeological History Ancient Roman World
This course will investigate the archaeology and artifacts, art, and architecture of the Roman world, from the Iron Age (c. 1000 BCE) through the reign of the emperor Constantine (in the 4th century CE). We will examine material evidence including private and public buildings, tombstones and other monuments, sculptures, paintings, mosaics, pottery, tools, and inscriptions. 

CLSX 320: Ancient Shrines
This course investigates some of the sacred spaces of the ancient world, with particular emphasis on Greek and Roman examples. Special attention will be paid to how the Greeks and Romans viewed and encountered physical monuments, temples and shrines.

CLSX 323: Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
In the course, we will focus upon the development of the Mesopotamian urban civilizations, and the Fertile Crescent in general, from the Sumerians to the time of Alexander the Great, in roughly chronological order. Attention will also be paid to the so-called peripheral regions, such as Anatolia, and Syro-Palestine (Levant) with their own archaeology and history. The emphasis throughout is upon material culture, particularly as it bears upon subjects like the political , social, religious and economic systems that allowed these great civilizations to thrive, along with the institutions and values that constituted the fabric of daily life.

CLSX 324: Archaeology of Sicily
An investigation into the archaeology of Sicily, a cultural crossroads and contact zone for native groups, Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians, from the beginning of the Iron Age to the Roman Imperial period. This course introduces the rich and manifold body of material evidence for life in Sicily, including sculpture, architecture, ceramics, coins, and inscriptions. In addition, students will gain experience interpreting archaeological publications and critically assessing archaeological evidence. 

CLSX 401: Archaeology in the Field
This course introduces students to archaeological methodologies through fieldwork experience and on-site student-faculty research. Students learn various excavation methods, storeroom policies, artifact research concerns, and new technologies. The focus of the course changes depending on the needs of the particular research topic or field project.

CLSX 402: Archaeological Research
This course introduces students to archaeological research methodologies through student-faculty research and outreach projects. Students will approach research questions using a variety of approaches, employing artifact examination, excavation reports, archival investigation, and data analysis. The focus of the course changes depending on the needs of the particular research topic or artifact project. 

CLSX 403: Classics Internship
This is a special elective for a Classics student interested in and qualified to apprentice with an organization selected in consultation with the Department of Classics. To earn 3 credits the student must have 120 contact hours with the selected organization.

Medieval Gynecology: CLSX 406
An investigation into Greco-Roman, Early-Christian, and Medieval gynecological theories and practices. Sources include medical writers, philosophers, and theologians.
x-listing: HIST 406/506, CLSX 506

Classical Literature in Translation

CLSX 122: Etymology of Scientific Terms
Introduction to Greek and Latin elements of scientific terminology. 

CLSX 123: Classical Mythology
The major myths of Greece and Rome with special attention to contemporary interpretations of myth and the influence of myth on art and literature. 

CLSX 220: Ancient Novel
An exploration of Greek and Roman novels written in the 1st - 3rd centuries CE. Special attention will be given to the features of the genre, its cultural background, and its representations of the body, love, sex, and violence.

CLSX 224: Ancient Near Eastern Mythology
A thematic study of the mythologies of the ancient Near East, particularly Sumerian, Akkadian (Assyrian / Babylonian), Syro-Palestinian, Hittite, and Egyptian. The focus of this class will be threefold: an analysis of the material in their own right; their analogues and antecedents in Greek mythology; and finally their parallels within Biblical literature.

 CLSX 231: Ancient Epic
A study of ancient epic literature with particular attention to the techniques of oral and literary composition.

CLSX 233: Ancient Satire
Investigation of the satirical element in classical literature with special reference to the writings of Lucilius, Horace, Persius, Martial, and Juvenal.

CLSX 234: Sinners and Saints
This course examines the representations of sanctity and sin in medieval texts, and focuses specifically on the ways in which models of corporeality, sex, and gender shape notions of holiness and hellishness. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

CLSX 235: Love and Violence in Roman Poetry
This course will introduce students to representations of love and violence in the elegiac, didactic, epistolary, and epic poetry of Latin poets including Catullus, Propertius, and Ovid.

CLSX 236: Greek, Roman and Medieval Mothers
An exploration of the representation of mothers, motherhood, and the maternal body in medical, mythological, and religious literature from ancient Greece to the High Middle Ages. 

CLSX 237: Ancient Comedy
An exploration of ancient comedy with special attention to the eleven plays of Aristophanes. This course will examine the literary, the political, and the philosophical import of comic gems such as these: Socrates' conversation with the clouds; the usurpation of the Olympian gods by a flock of birds; and the refusal of the women of Athens to sleep with their husbands until the peace treaty is signed.

Ancient and Medieval Gynecology:                                                                                                                                                                                                                          An investigation into Greco-Roman, Early-Christian, and Medieval gynecological theories and practices. Sources include medical writers, philosophers, and theologians.              x-list: HIST, WSGS

Classical Languages

LATN 101: Latin I
The fundamentals of Latin grammar and syntax with exercises in translation. 

LATN 102: Basic Latin II
The fundamentals of Latin grammar and syntax with exercises in translation. 

LATN 201: Intermediate Latin I
Selections from major Latin authors. 

LATN 202: Introduction to Latin Readings II
Selections from major Latin authors. 

LATN 306: Augustan Literature (Variable)
Translation of works by authors from Augustan Era. Possible authors include Livy, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Propertius, and Tibullus.

LATN 310: Lucretius
Readings in the Latin text of De Rerum Natura with lectures on the history of Roman Epicureanism. 

LATN 311: Cicero
Readings in the speeches and letters written by the Roman orator Cicero.

LATN 315: Ovid
Readings of selections from the epic and elegiac poetry of Ovid with attention to his literary innovations. 

LATN 331: Ancient Epic

LATN 333: Minor Works of Vergil

CLSX 400: Independent Reading and Research-Latin
Provides an opportunity to do independent reading and research under the supervision of a Classics faculty member with approval.

LATN 500: Independent Reading and Research
Provides an opportunity to do independent reading and research under the supervision of a Classics faculty member with approval.

LATN 551: Latin for Reading I

LATN 553: Latin for Reading II