Core Studies 1.1 Classical Civilizations

Professor John Van Sickle




PURPOSE: to help you to REread what you have read for the class & begin to form

some ideas & express them in an effective manner. 

Since you are expected to REread assigned material, think about it & express

yourself effectively, you do NOT need to seek out & report the opinions of

others in books not assigned.


PRACTICAL HINTS: in order to think carefully & express yourself effectively, you

need to find & present evidence. For this you will want to do three things: 


1) look for themes that are related to your subject,

2 ) quote the words accurately & identify them in the regular way

that is illustrated in the course web site [click here].

3) analyze the quoted words carefully.

For guidelines to reading & taking notes, review the PROTOCOL. 

For the actual technique of effective writing and for the length and format of

the essay see the web site []


Some Possible Topics


  1. “Them vs Us”: attitudes of this sort occur in several works we have read.
    In your essay, quote examples from the reading to show the kinds of differences emphasized.

  2. Using evidence from works we have read, describe the main
    components of “Mediterranean Culture.” How is this cultural model specific to the Mediterranean environment?

  3. “Journeys Define Culture”: how do different kinds of journeys figure in the readings assigned?

  4. From your reading, document typically Greek attitudes to new places & people? What does a typical Greek expect to find in others? What does this tell us about Greek culture?

  5. Compare the accounts of different cities in your reading. What are some of the main similarities among the cities described? What are some main differences?

  6. Read again Homer, Odyssey 9.116-141: what features of the place does Homer emphasize? What uses does he imagine them having for anyone who comes upon such a place? How do these uses relate to the model of culture described on the Shield of Achilles (Iliad 18.478-607)?