Greek History and Historiography
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understanding.
With this course, the student will gain in-depth knowledge and a corresponding understanding of a crucial phase in the history of classical Greece and of the historical method and narrative technique of one of the greatest historians of the ancient world.
Applying knowledge and understanding.
Thanks to the paradigmatic value of the models proposed, which have exerted great influence both on ancient and modern historiography and on modern and contemporary political analysis, the student will be able to apply knowledge and understanding in the study of other historical and historiographical issues, both ancient and modern.
The student, thanks to the content of the course and to the teaching methods, can develop his autonomy of judgment in the study of primary sources and secondary literature.
By studying a particular subject agreed with the teacher, the student can refine his communicative skills in the exposition of the results of his individual research to the teacher and his classmates.
The experience gained in the course will enable the student to develop those learning skills that are necessary to continue studying autonomously or to successfully integrate into working life, such as teaching in secondary schools or business and professional working environments.
A good preparation on the political history of archaic and classical Greece and a sufficient level of knowledge of the ancient Greek language.
Course contents summary
The course is in a single Unit (6 CFU = 36 hours, comprehensive of frontal lessons and tutorials): November, 13th-December, 20th 2017. Its title is: "The divided Greece: reading and commenting on the 3rd Book of Thucydides' 'Histories'".
The Unit, continuing from that of the previous academic year, will offer an in-depth investigation of the main episodes of the 3rd Book of Thucydides’ work, dedicated to the central years of the so-called 'Archidamian' stage of the Peloponnesian War (beginning of 428 BC-beginning of 425 BC). In the academic year 2016-2017, the revolt of Lesbos and its repression (chapters 1-50) had been analysed; this year will be read and commented on the chapters concerning the tragic fate of Plataea (52-68), the Corcyrean civil war (69-85), the first Athenian expedition to Sicily and the bloody war campaigns in North-Western Greece (86-116). The study of this phase of the Peloponnesian War will turn out to be a privileged point of view for examining closely the historical method and the narrative technique of Thucydides as well as some of the main themes and aspects of the clash between Athens and Sparta and the respective allies.
1. Text and translations of Thucydides:
The standard edition of Thucydides' work will be: THUCYDIDIS Historiae, recensuit I.B. ALBERTI, I-III, Romae 1972-2000.
The 3rd Book can be read in one of the following currently available Italian translations:
- TUCIDIDE, La guerra del Peloponneso, a cura di C. Moreschini, F. Ferrari, G. Daverio Rocchi, Milano, BUR, 1985;
- TUCIDIDE, La guerra del Peloponneso, edizione con testo greco a fronte a cura di L. Canfora, Torino, Einaudi-Gallimard, 1996 (the translation of the 3rd Book is by M. Cagnetta);
- TUCIDIDE, Le Storie, a cura di G. Donini, I-II, Torino, UTET, 2005.
The chief commentaries of the 3rd Book are the following:
- A.W. GOMME, A Historical Commentary on Thucydides. The Ten Years' War, II: Books II-III, Oxford 1956;
- S. HORNBLOWER, A Commentary on Thucydides, I: Books I-III, Oxford 1991;
- THUCYDIDES, History 3, edited with translation and commentary by P.J. Rhodes, Warminster, Aris & Phillips, 1994.
2. The Peloponnesian War:
It is recommended to read the following book: U. FANTASIA, La guerra del Peloponneso, Roma, Carocci, 2012.
3. The Greek historiography:
It is recommended to read the following book: M: BETTALLI (ed.), Introduzione alla storiografia greca, nuova edizione, Roma, Carocci, 2009.
Further specific bibliography will be indicated at the beginning of the course.
The hours of frontal lessons will be integrated with seminars during which individual students will engage in in-depth analyses of specific topics or will comment parts of the text only briefly dealt with in classes – all this with the aid of the reference works and additional scholarship recommended by the teacher.
Assessment methods and criteria
Learning assessment will consist of the participation to a seminar and an oral examination. The minimum requirement to pass the exam (18-23/30) is for the student to be able to understand at a basic level the texts proposed by the teacher during the exam, to demonstrate a sufficient mastery of the topics dealt with in the frontal lessons, to express him/herself with a minimum of correctness, to develop at a sufficient level his/her own research on the topic agreed upon with the teacher. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the students who produce evidence of a more than sufficient or good level in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded to the students who demonstrate a full mastery of the content of the course, a thorough competence in dealing with research tools and methodology, the ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts and to use the adequate specialized vocabulary, the capacity of making autonomous judgments. A fail is determined by the lack of an understanding of the minimum content of the course or of the texts proposed at the exam, the inability to express oneself adequately and to produce an autonomous reflection on the topic agreed upon with the teacher.