GREEK HISTORY (LABORATORY)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The first part of the course (Unit A) allows students to acquire a general knowledge of the political, social, and institutional history of the Greek world from the archaic age to the beginning of the Hellenistic period. At the same time, it aims at providing them with the basic critical and methodological tools necessary for reading and understanding the different types of sources.
The second part of the course (Unit B), of monographic character, aims at showing how one can construct a research about a specific topic – a topic which may also be broad and transversal enough to allow for a fruitful interaction between the different aspects of the ancient Greek society: i.e. political system, military organisation, social structure, economic resources, and ideological themes. In this Unit students are urged to a more active participation, so that in addition to acquiring knowledge and understanding, they can apply these competences to definite topics, agreed upon with the teacher, and develop their capacity for independent judgment as well as their communication skills.
No particular prerequisite is asked for, but for a good general preparation given in the secondary schools.
Course contents summary
As in the previous years, the course of Greek History will be divided into two units: the first one (A) will focus on the basics, while the second one (B) will consist of in-depth analyses.
Unit A (6 credits = 30 hours of frontal lectures plus some other hours of assisted didactic activity): February, 18th – March, 20th 2014.
The Unit, which has a preparatory and methodological character, will serve as an introduction to the history of the ancient Greek World, from the early archaic period to the death of Alexander the Great (ca. 800-323 BCE). Through the study of several translated literary and epigraphic texts and a few figurative documents, the teacher will illustrate the sources, research tools, and methodologies which allow us to reconstruct the history of archaic and classical Greece, and will deal with the main political, social, and economic issues involved.
Unit B (6 credits = 30 hours of frontal lectures plus some other hours of assisted didactic activity): April, 8th – May, 15th 2014.
The Unit B, whose title is “War and society in the archaic and classical Greece”, will offer a systematic treatment of the military organization of the Greek states from ca. 700 BCE to the reign of Philip II of Macedon (359-336 BC), as well as of the interactions between war and society on both the political and ideological plane. A particular attention will be devoted to ‘hoplitism’, currently the focus of a lively debate among scholars for its effects on society and politics in the archaic period, and to sea power as a central factor for the development of Athenian democracy and empire.
Students will prepare this Unit on the following material:
1. the topics dealt with and the sources read in class (the teacher will supply these texts);
2. one of the two following textbooks (to be studied with the support of a good historical atlas):
- C. BEARZOT, “Manuale di storia greca”, nuova edizione, Bologna, il Mulino, 2011,
- M. CORSARO-L. GALLO, “Storia greca”, Firenze, Le Monnier Università, 2010.
A collection of sources in Italian translation is provided by C. LONGO-S. FUSCAGNI, “Fonti per la storia greca: dall’età micenea all’ellenismo”, Firenze Sansoni, 1989. Students will find an excellent collection of English-translated sources, useful for the study of Greek history, in M. DILLON-L. GARLAND, “Ancient Greece: social and historical documents from archaic times to the death of Alexander”, 3rd edition, Abingdon-New York, Routledge, 2010.
As brief introductions respectively to the political and institutional aspects and to the history of Greek historiography, students may use the following books:
M. H. HANSEN, “Polis. Introduzione alla città-stato dell’antica Grecia”, Milano, Università Bocconi Editore, 2012;
M. BETTALLI (ed.), “Introduzione alla storiografia greca”, nuova edizione, Roma, Carocci editore, 2009.
Students will prepare this Unit on the following material:
1. the texts read and commented by the teacher in class (the teacher will supply this material);
2. a choice of articles, chapters of book, or books among the following texts (the teacher will give more information at the beginning of the course):
V. ILARI, “Guerra e diritto nel mondo antico, I: Guerra e diritto nel mondo greco-ellenistico fino al III secolo”, Milano, Giuffré, 1980;
V. D. HANSON (ed.), “Hoplites: The Classical Greek Battle Experience”, London-New York, Routledge, 1991;
P. JANNI, “Il mare degli antichi”, Bari, Dedalo, 1996;
K.-J. HÖLKESKAMP, “La guerra e la pace”, in S. SETTIS (ed.), “I Greci”, vol. II, 2: “Una storia greca. Definizione”, Torino, Einaudi, 1997, pp. 481-539;
V. D. HANSON, “The western way of war : infantry battle in classical Greece”, with an introduction by J. Keegan, second edition, Berkeley-Los Angeles 2000 (Italian translation of the first edition: “L’arte occidentale della guerra: descrizione di una battaglia nella Grecia classica”, Milano, Mondadori, 1990);
J. S. MORRISON, J. F. COATES, N. B. RANKOV, “The Athenian Trireme. The History and Reconstruction of an Ancient Greek Warship”, second edition. Cambridge, CUP, 2000;
H. van WEES (ed.), “War and Violence in Ancient Greece”, London, Duckworth, 2000;
H. VAN WEES, “Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities”, London, Duckworth, 2004 (Italian translation “La guerra dei Greci: miti e realtà”, Gorizia, LEG, 2009).
P. SABIN, H. VAN WEES, M. WHITBY (ed.s), “The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare, I: Greece, the Hellenistic World and the Rise of Rome”, Cambridge, CUP, 2007;
A. SCHWARTZ, “Reinstating the Hoplite: Arms, Armour and Phalanx Fighting in Archaic and Classical Greece”, Stuttgart, Steiner, 2009;
D. M. PRITCHARD (ed.), “War, Democracy and Culture in Classical Athens”, Cambridge, CUP, 2010;
F. ECHEVERRÍA, “Hoplite and Phalanx in Archaic and Classical Greece: A Reassessment”, in “Classical Philology” 107, 2012, pp. 291-318;
U. FANTASIA, “La guerra del Peloponneso”, Roma, Carocci editore, 2012;
M. BETTALLI, “Mercenari. Il mestiere delle armi nel mondo greco antico”, Roma, Carocci editore, 2013.
Teaching will consist mainly of frontal lessons, integrated with training activities and other forms of assisted didactic activity. For Unit A, these activities will consist of visits to the library, in order to directly consult collections of sources and bibliographical as well as research tools, and of workshops with small groups of students, aimed at the close analysis of literary and epigraphic texts. For Unit B, the frontal lessons will be integrated with seminars, in which the most actively involved students will present the results of their observations and research on the topics agreed upon with the teacher.
Assessment methods and criteria
Learning assessment will consist of an oral examination. Tests are not planned during the course, but the final grading will duly take into account the level of participation of the students, including training activities and workshops. In particular, for students attending Unit B, the final assessment will focus on their capacity to organize and present their own research within the seminar. In the final oral test, questions will aim at ascertaining that students, as a minimum requirement to pass the exam, master the basic knowledge of the historical development of the Greek world from the archaic age to the Hellenistic period and the main research tools, while showing the capacity to set the evidence studied in class in its proper context and find their way, with significant self-confidence, among the sources and texts pertaining to the in-depth monographic Unit.