Classical Studies

CLAS 100 Greece & Rome

In a 2009 survey of Canadian undergraduate students, 87% of the respondents believed that Gerard Butler led the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.  Ninety-one percent of the respondents indicated that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in order to face down Xena Warrior Princess. If you are among these numbers, and are in the midst of giving yourself a congratulatory pat on the back, do the future of Western culture a favour and register for CLAS 100 Introduction to the Civilizations of Greece and Rome. Today's high school and university curriculum sadly neglects the classical world. This course aims to remedy this shortcoming by providing students with an introduction to the history and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. To this end we will discuss important historical developments such as the emergence of civilization in Greece, the expansion of Classical Athens, and the growth and consolidation of the Roman empire. But we will also devote a considerable portion of the course to an examination of other topics such as (but not limited to) Athenian democracy, Roman leisure, artistic production, religious practice, and daily life.


CLAS 110 Greek & Latin Elements in English

Even though ancient Greek and Latin are no longer spoken today, this course will explain how vital they are to modern English! This class will appeal to students curious about word origins or desire to expand their vocabularies in all academic disciplines. We will examine how Latin has injected the arts and sciences with its beneficial and elegant influence; and we will analyse how an enthusiasm for Greek is practical and dynamic-but not lethal. (Note that almost every verb, noun, and adjective above has a classical source!)


CLAS 120 Latin and Greek in Scientific Terminology

An introduction to the Greek and Latin roots of scientific terminology.  Through a study of Greek and Latin word elements, principles of formation and pronunciation, this course provides students with an understanding of the technical terms employed in fields such as anatomy, biology and medicine.


CLAS 150 Latin Language I

Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Sigmund Freud, and Will Ferrell. Beyond their extraordinary contributions to the political, scientific and artistic life of the last one hundred years, one thing unites these individuals: as undergraduates they all majored in Latin. No doubt these cultural giants were well aware of Latin's coolness factor, and the street credibility it confers. But they also realized there was no skirting one undeniable and universal truth: success in this life and the next depends on one's knowledge of Latin. Be forewarned: learning Latin is not for the weak, humble, or pathetic. Many who register will be overwhelmed with self doubt as they are ground to dust under the wheels of my chariot, distraught by the peals of laughter reverberating throughout the classroom. But for those who endure there awaits one sure reward: a mitochlorian count that is off the charts.


CLAS 151 Latin Language II

In September it begins as a hushed murmur in room 322 of Campion College. By October it has evolved into a growing din. By November and December it has matured into an earsplitting chant thundering across campus: "More Latin! More Latin!" These words burst forth from the mouths of students ravenous for the Roman language, voracious consumers of ancient goodness. To satiate this hunger the College bows down and offers CLAS 151 Latin Language II. This course serves up an indulgent smorgasbord of Latinity. I-stem nouns of the third declension? You bet! Interrogative pronouns and adjectives? Yup! The passive periphrastic? Is the Pope Jesuit? It is, in sum, every undergraduate's dream come true.


CLAS 160 Greek Language I

After a year sitting on the sidelines, CLAS 160 Greek Language I is back. And it's in a foul mood.  In fact, it boasts it will put a pedagogical beat down on any student who plucks up enough courage to step into the Attic octagon.   Oh sure, you have a certain swagger and snap in your step because you've taken a bit of French, or are confident in your abilities because a second cousin twice removed once claimed she knew a bit of German.   Think again.  CLAS 160 will deliver a left hook of the aorist tense, an uppercut of indirect statements, and then finish it all off by kicking you while you are down.   All without breaking a sweat.   Bring it.


CLAS 161 Greek Language II

In this second half of our introduction to the glamourous Greek language of ancient Athens and its neighbours, we’ll add to our treasure house of useful vocabulary and immerse ourselves in entertaining grammar so that students can learn to read with more ease and confidence. We’ll also focus on exploring classical Greek culture and society.


CLAS 200 Greek Mythology 

When not inventing democracy, philosophy and tragedy, the ancient Greeks enjoyed sharing stories amongst themselves. Have you heard the one about the husband who devours his pregnant wife, then gives birth to a girl through his head after having it split open with an axe? Or how about the son who castrates his father, throws what he's left holding into the sea, and watches as it turns into the goddess of sexual desire and love? Yeah, pretty weird. But how do we reconcile these strange tales with a culture that bequeathed to western civilization so much of what it holds dear? This course, through a close reading of a variety of myths, aims to demonstrate how these stories, although at first glance odd, in fact show a deep engagement with a number of social and political issues relevant to both ancient and modern culture. 


CLAS 210 Greek and Roman Epic 

This class explores the ancient mythological epics of the heroes and heroines of the Trojan War: Achilles, Odysseus, Hector, Paris, Aeneas, Helen, Penelope, and many others. We jump right into battle with Homer's war story The Iliad. The fates of the Greek heroes after the war are told in the sequel, the fantastical journey The Odyssey. Several centuries later, the Roman author Vergil wrote another "sequel," but from the Trojan point of view: the action-adventure tale The Aeneid. The poet Ovid rounds out these three narratives with a unique story-telling style in The Metamorphoses. In addition to a close reading of the texts, we will examine concepts such as the definition of a hero, the roles of the gods, fact vs. fiction, the scholarly debates of critics, and the modern reader's own perceptions.


CLAS 211 Greek Drama

My love of Classics developed at an early age. I remember my childhood years with great fondness. Each night my father would ready my bottle, tuck me snugly underneath the covers, and lull me to sleep by reading some of the Classics. There was the tale of Oedipus, the man who killed his father and married his mother. Another popular choice was the story of Phaedra, who developed a sick sexual attraction to her stepson Hippolytus. And, my father's favourite, Euripides' Bacchae, which tells how a young man was ripped limb from limb by his drunken mother. Ah, treasured moments of my youth that will stay with me forever! In this course I attempt to recreate these magical experiences with a close reading of a variety of Attic tragedies.


CLAS 220 Women in Greece and Rome

This course examines the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome through the lens of the experiences and representations of women. In order to solve the mystery of how women and men lived in those eras, we will become detectives of social history, poring over the extant source material from mythology, literature, history, medical treatises, legal texts, personal letters and other documentary evidence. We will also hunt for clues in the visual record provided by art and archeology. 


CLAS 290 Cities of Rome and Pompeii

This course examines the cities of Rome and Pompeii as they existed and flourished in the late Republic and early Principate. Through lectures, assigned readings, and visits to various sites in both cities, CLAS 290 aims to provide students with both a thorough knowledge of the topography and architecture of these two important urban centres, and also an understanding of their infrastructure and relationships with their environs.  


CLAS 290 AB Ancient and Early Christian Art

This course begins with a review of Greek and Roman art, with a focus on key words and their principles and ideals.  It then examines early Christian artistic production, with an emphasis on how craftsmen adopted and transformed the practices of their Classical predecessors.


CLAS 290AC Ancient Sport & Spectacle

Have you ever wondered what Roman gladiator fights really looked like? Or why athletes at the ancient Olympics competed in the nude? Did you know that people of all ages played team ball-sports? You can find the answers to these questions and many more in this course. We will uncover the real story on some of the most (in)famous cultural institutions of the Classical world, and talk about the social, economic, and political rationales behind sporting behaviour and spectacular performances. Ancient sporting culture, constructions of masculinity and femininity (women were athletes too), the origins of sports medicine, the celebration of victorious competitors, the role of animals and condemned prisoners, ancient music (every show needs a soundtrack!), and the logistics of putting on games and spectacular shows are all on the roster of topics to be examined.


 CLAS 291 Introduction to Classical Archaeology

An exploration of the material cultures of pre-classical and classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which archaeological methods contribute to our understanding of the history and culture of these civilizations.