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 both a crucial phase in the history of classical Greece and the correct methodologies of source criticism. He will also realize how much historical traditions are influenced by the ideological background.
Applying knowledge and understanding.
Thanks to the paradigmatic value of the texts 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.
Una buona preparazione sulla storia politica della Grecia arcaica e classica e un sufficiente livello di conoscenza della lingua greca.
Course contents summary
The course is in a single Unit (6 CFU = 30 hours) which will take place February, 4th-March, 6th 2019. Its title is: "Democracy in crisis: the oligarchic coup at Athens in 411 BC". The Unit will offer a close analysis of the temporary overthrow of Athenian democracy, in 411 BC, by the Four Hundred regime. What is more interesting, from the historiographical point of view, is that the two sources that tell the story (the 8th Book of the "Histories" of Thucydides and a few chapters of the "Constitution of the Athenians" attributed to Aristotle) give different, sometimes radically different, versions. The Unit aims not only to reconstruct the actual course of events, but will try to clarify the way in which the two different versions have originated and their historiographical and ideological assumptions. So, the analysis of this dramatic episode will offer a privileged point of view for the study of the internal history of Athens in the age of the Peloponnesian War and of the way in which historical traditions and memories take shape in a period of profound political division.
1. Primary sources.
The standard edition of Thucydides' work is: Thucydidis Historiae, recensuit I.B. Alberti, I-III, Romae 1972-2000. The standard edition of the "Constitution of the Athenians" is: Aristotele, "La Costituzione degli Ateniesi", ed. by P. J. Rhodes (Fondazione Lorenzo Valla/Mondadori), Milan 2016. One copy of the parts of Thucydides' VIII book and of Aristotle's work that will be analysed in class will be uploaded on http://elly.dusic.unipr.it before the beginning of the course.
The chief commentaries of Thucydides' VIII book are the following: (A.W. Gomme), A. Andrewes, K.J. Dover, "A Historical Commentary on Thucydides", vol. V: Book VIII, Oxford 1981; S. Hornblower, "A Commentary on Thucydides", III: Books 5.25-8.109, Oxford 2008. The already mentioned edition of the “Consitution of the Athenians” contains an excellent (Italian) commentary by P.J. Rhodes.
The most complete and updated recent monograph on the subject of the course is: P. A. Tuci, "La fragilità della democrazia. Manipolazione istituzionale ed eversione nel colpo di Stato oligarchico del 411 a.C. ad Atene", Milano, LED Edizioni, 2013.
It is recommended to read the following book: M: BETTALLI (ed.), Introduzione alla storiografia greca, new edition, 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.