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CLAS 1110: Tyranny, Democracy and Empire: Noah Davies-Mason

Departmental OER for Classics 1110

Course Description, Golas

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the literatures of select classical cultures -- in our case, primarily Ancient Greek culture. Literature is understood broadly as inclusive of all written documents. We will read epic poetry, history, lyric poetry, tragedy, comedy, public oratory, and philosophical dialogues. Each of these texts will reveal different aspects of Greek thought and culture, a culture that has been hugely influential in the development of European culture, and, in a different way, on Islamic culture as well. We will give attention to a broad scope of social, historical, philosophical, and literary issues.


Course Goals: This course aims to develop skills associated with thinking about ancient texts, especially reading and writing.  At the end of the semester, students will be able (1) to read ancient texts critically, (2) to write in an exploratory way about our readings, (3) to write analytically about ancient texts, and (4) to demonstrate a broad familiarity with the cultural contexts of our texts.


Course Information

CLAS 1110 MW11

Tyranny, Democracy, Empire: Classical Cultures         

Instructor: Noah Davies-Mason

Brooklyn College                                                                  


Spring 2019                                                                           

Office: 2408 Boylan Hall

M/W 11:00-12:15PM                                                            

Office hours: Wed 12:30-1PM

Classroom: Boylan 3408


Course Requirements and Policies

Required Texts: This course is being run as part of the Online Educational Resources (OER) initiative at Brooklyn College and so all required readings are available on the Brooklyn Library website, here: Most are password protected pdf’s. I will share the password in class and on Blackboard. Any readings that are not available on the OER website, will be distributed either in class or on Blackboard. Page number not made explicit on the syllabus will be indicated in due course.


Assessment  percentage point scale
Participation 30% 300
Midterm 20% 200
Final 20% 200
Digital Book 30% 300
Total 100% 1000


Letter grade equivalents:

A+ = 97-100    B+ = 87-89      C+ = 77-79      D+ = 67-69               F = below 60

A   = 93-96      B   = 83-86       C   = 73-76       D   = 63-66

A-  = 90-92      B-  = 80-82       C-  = 70-72       D-  = 60-62


I. Participation will be evaluated partially by your peers (10%) and partially by me (20%). Classwork will primarily revolve around a set of questions that will be provided on Blackboard to accompany every reading. In your permanent teams (formed on day 1), you will discuss and help each other flesh out your answers to each of the questions. One team will be asked to present their answers to each of the questions in every class. I will evaluate your performance based on your team’s overall response to all questions. Your teammates will evaluate your participation based on your contribution to team in terms of attendance, preparedness, productive contribution, respect, and flexibility.


II-III. The midterm and final will test your knowledge of key concepts and the historical context, based on class lectures, discussions, and readings.


IV. As a cumulative project for this class, you will write a Digital Book, which will address the themes and topics found in the readings for this course. On the day of the final exam you will submit a 21-page digital book. This is something you should work on throughout the semester and develop in response to the readings. One approach is to develop answers to the starred (*) questions for each class. I will look at two drafts of your digital book before the submission of the final draft. The criteria at each stage will be that (1) you meet a certain length, (2) that your writing be clear, and (3) that your writing be interesting.


Academic Integrity: The following is the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity: “Simply put, plagiarism is intellectual theft, using someone else’s ideas and words without clearly acknowledging that these words and ideas are not your own. We will learn the appropriate protocols for acknowledging that we have borrowed other people’s words and ideas. It is your responsibility, however, never to take someone else’s work, words, and ideas and pretend that they are your own. If you do this, you have committed plagiarism, and the penalties are severe. You will be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs and will receive an F for the offending work. If the offense is repeated, you will receive an F for the course. For further information on your rights and responsibilities as a Brooklyn College student, please refer to CUNY's policy on academic integrity at its on-line location: As a CUNY and Brooklyn College student you are responsible for knowing and adhering to this policy.  If the policy is unclear to you, speak to a professor or academic counselor.  To avoid inadvertent plagiarism, make sure that you always cite the source where you found your material.  Internet sources must be footnoted and are not allowed in all classes.” Accordingly, all written essays for this class must be uploaded to SafeAssign via BlackBloard.  You will find information on how to use BB and SafeAssign here: In-person individual help is available in the library.  Your paper will not be given a final grade until a SafeAssign report is generated.


Policy on Attendance:

Attendance is required. You are expected to be in the classroom promptly for each meeting. A functioning classroom requires the presence and engagement of all parties involved. I will take attendance at the beginning of class. There will be a sign in sheet for those who arrive late to class. Three (3) latenesses will count as an absence. If you miss more than four (4) classes your grade will drop one full letter grade for each additional absence. If you miss more than six (6) classes you will fail the course. If extreme circumstances prevent you from fulfilling these requirements and you have given me prior notice, certain accommodations will be considered.


How to Prepare for Class:

For every class, you will be assigned a difficult text from ancient Greece, so it is important that you develop a successful strategy for doing the readings successfully. For every reading, you should plan to give yourself at least 2 full hours to read through the text while making notes and responding to the provided questions. Silence your phone and minimize any other possible distractions. For some, the readings may take longer (that does NOT make you a slow reader; difficult texts take time to read!), so you should plan accordingly.






Student Writing Center:

In addition to coming to my office hours, I strongly encourage you to visit the Learning Center (1300 Boylan Hall) for help with your writing. Revision is important to the process of writing and outside criticism helps to expedite it.



In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services please provide your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him/her.





Schedule of Class Sessions and Assignments

** Note that this schedule and syllabus are subject to revision, which would be announced in class and on Blackboard. Some readings do not have specific page numbers here – these will be announced in class and on Blackboard.


1. M Jan 28 Introduction

2. W Jan 30 Homer Iliad 1


3. M Feb 4 Homer Iliad 3 (and Sappho fr.16)

4. W Feb 6 Homer Iliad 6 (and Mimnermus fr.2, Simonides eleg. 19+20)


5. M Feb 11 Iliad 9 (and Archilochus fr. 5)

6. W Feb 13 Iliad 16 (and Xenophanes fr.11 D-K, fr. 14-16 D-K)


 M Feb 18 (NO CLASS: College Closed)

7. W Feb 20 Iliad 18 and 19


8. M Feb 25 Iliad 22 (Tyrtaeus fr. 10)

9. W Feb 27 Iliad 24


10. M Mar 4 SNOW DAY

11. W Mar 6 Gorgias Encomium of Helen and Lysias On the Murder of Eratosthenes


12. M Mar 11 Thucydides (Historical Method)

13. W Mar 13 Thucydides (Funeral Oration and Plague) First Draft of Digital Book


14. M Mar 18 Thucydides (Mytilenean Debate and Melian Dialogue)

15. W Mar 20 Sophocles Antigone


16. M Mar 25 Sophocles Antigone

17. W Mar 27 Midterm


18. M Apr 1 Euripides Medea

19. W Apr 3 Euripides Medea


20. M Apr 8 Aristophanes Clouds

21. W Apr 10 Aristophanes Clouds


22. M Apr 15 Plato Apology of Socrates

23. W Apr 17 Plato Apology of Socrates Second Draft of Digital Book


M Apr 22 (NO CLASS: Spring Break)

W Apr 24 (NO CLASS: Spring Break)


24. M Apr 29 Plato Crito

25. W May 1 Plato Symposium


26. M May 6 Plato Symposium

27. W May 8 Catullus Select Poems


28. M May 13 Catullus Select Poems

W May 15, Reading Day (Snow day make-up) Catullus Select Poems



W May 22 10:30AM -12:30 PM (Same Room) Final Draft of Digital Book



Readings and Resources

Further Resources