Courses: Culture and Crisis in the Golden Age of Athens (CSTSH119A01)

Fall 2013

In the fifth century BCE, the city of Athens experienced a remarkable period of political, military, literary, and intellectual vibrancy. Against the background of establishing democracy, spearheading the defense of Greece against an expansionist Persian Empire, and creating (and losing) an empire of its own, Athenians produced stunning and influential achievements in philosophy, tragedy, comedy, sculpture, and architecture. The works of Athenians and their contemporaries will be the main sources for our investigation. As we learn about the important events and trends of this century, we will also examine the daily working of Athenian democracy, economy, love, art, science, education, and religion, with an eye to the stark contrasts inherent in Athenian culture and society. Restless, wary, elegant, vulgar, pious, and brutal, the legacy of the Athenian “Golden Age” continues to define and influence human achievement (and travails) to this day. Requirements: Enthusiastic participation in class discussions; two short papers; an in-class presentation; and occasional quizzes and two exams. Schedule permitting, we will also take a field trip to the Greek Antiquities collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum or the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology. No prior experience with Classical languages or cultures is required or expected.

Syllabus: View course syllabus

Fulfills: HU III


Haverford, Stokes Aud

Meeting Times

MW 2:30-4:00