Core Curriculum 1.1
Classical Cultures


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[CC 1.1 HOME]
Tuesdays 7:30-8:30 or by appointment, 2404 Boylan Hall

I encourage you to make an appointment to see me, especially if you are having difficulty understanding the material, if you are unsure of what is expected of you, or if you would like additional resources for a topic you find interesting. Try to do this well before the exams and paper due-dates, as this is usually much more enjoyable and productive for everybody involved. Please see me after you have done the reading and consulted the study guide; come with as specific questions as you can.



Classical Cultures is an introductory study of ancient cultures through close reading of a variety of texts.  This section focuses on Greece and Rome.  We will pay particular attention to such questions as literary genre, material and performance contexts, gender, political institutions, religion, philosophy, models of culture and the creation of a classical tradition.  Students will practice close reading and communication by means of critical writing, class discussion and other methods, such as collaborative group work.

Core Curriculum common goals addressed by this course:

  • To develop the ability to think critically and creatively, to reason logically, and to express one's thought orally and in writing with clarity and precision;
  • To understand the arts, histories, and cultures of the past as a foundation for those of the present;
  • To be capable of integrating knowledge from different sources.
Course learning objectives: Students who complete this course successfully will be able to:
  • use with accuracy and precision basic terms of literary analysis relevant to the texts read in class, and describe differences among the literary genres represented by the class readings;
  • read Greek and Roman literary texts critically;
  • identify traditions and practices specific to ancient cultures and describe how they help shape the texts produced within those cultures;
  • relate Greek and Roman cultures that produced these texts to western European culture in its diversity
  • write interpretive prose that is clear and cogent;
  • make articulate contributions to discussion of classical texts; be informed readers not only of classical texts, but of their appropriation in later contexts.

To the end of accomplishing these objectives, we will work together to create a community of learning and intellectual debate. With a view to fostering this community

  • there are no free rides; everyone does the reading and everyone contributes to discussion; if you habitually come in late or are unprepared to contribute to the discussion, your grade will be penalized at the discretion of the instructor;
  • you are responsible for reading the assignment before you come to class (for help with reading for comprehension, use Study Guide, core tutors, self tests online); 
  • do not disrupt the learning environment by tardiness, leaving cell phones on, carrying on private conversations during class, or through academic dishonesty.
Click here to find out how college-level critical thinking skills (addressed by most of the course learning objectives) will be assessed in this course.

TEXTBOOKS: you should purchase all of the following books at the beginning of the semester; you MUST use the translation listed for this section in the BC Bookstore, though you may purchase the books elsewhere.

  • Aristophanes, Clouds 
  • Euripides, Medea 
  • Homer, Iliad 
  • Petronius, Satyricon 
  • Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates 
  • Plato, Symposium
  • Thucydides, Power, Justice and Human Nature (selections from Peloponnesian Wars)
  • Vergil, Aeneid (tr. R. Fitzgerald)


 1) In-class writing, quizzes, participation 15%:

  • The course will be conducted as a combination of lecture, discussion, and groupwork; therefore regular attendance and active participation is expected of every member of the class.  You will be expected to take responsibility for your own learning and for contributing in a meaningful way to the community of learning.  Active participation is taken into account in this grade.
  • Some unannounced in-class writing assignments and quizzes will be graded; some will not.
  • You must bring the appropriate text to class every day.
  • You are responsible for material learned in each class. If you must be absent, be sure to get notes and find out what happened in class from a fellow-student.  

 2) Exams 45%:

  • There will be a mid-term (20%) and a final (25%). The mid-term and final may be made up only with appropriate documentation that the absence was beyond the student's control (e.g., physician's release form, obituary) NB: oversleeping, too much work in another class, etc. are not adequate justification for missing an exam and will not result in a make-up opportunity.

 3) Writing assignments 40%:

  • Two writing assignments will be written outside of class and submitted for a grade.  Topics will be announced
    • Consult course schedule for due dates; note that papers are due AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS. NB: I do not accept late papers apart from prior negotiation.
    • Papers may be turned in two weeks before the due date, revised in response to comments, and turned in on the due date for a grade; papers may not be revised for a grade after the due date.
    • All essays written outside of class must be independently researched and typewritten or computer-processed.

The Brooklyn College Learning Center (1300 Boylan Hall) provides trained tutors to assist students needing help with their writing assignments, by appointment only.

4) Extra-Credit Option:

  • Students may earn 5 points on the final exam, by visiting the Greek Galleries at the MMA or by attending a designated lecture in the Classics.  See me for how to document your attendance.
  • NB: Although you may attend as many of the additional opportunities as you wish, only one will count toward extra credit, that is, you will not earn more extra-credit points by attending more than one event.


 98-100 A+

 93-97 A

 90-92 A-

 88-89 B+

 83-87 B

 80-82 B-

 78-79 C+

 73-77 C

 70-72 C-

 68-69 D+

 63-67 D

 60-62 D-




 I adhere rigorously to the Brooklyn College policy on academic integrity. Students who cheat on quizzes or exams or who plagiarize material for papers will be reported to the Undergraduate Academic Integrity Official and will fail (0%) the quiz, test, or paper.

The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both.  The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for implementing that policy can be found at this site:  If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that  violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST  report the violation.

Brooklyn College adheres to the New York State policy on non-attendance for religious reasons.  If you must miss a class for religious observance, you should let the professor know a reasonable amount of time in advance to allow for an appropriate make-up opportunity.  Make-up opportunities may be scheduled before the absence.

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