Greek History and Historiography
Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the class, students should be able to:
1. Know in depth one of the major figures of ancient Greece and the relevant historical context; understand the appropriate methodologies of source criticism and the main schools of thought of the modern and contemporary scholarly debates on this crucial figure of the classical tradition (knowledge and understanding).
2. Apply the critical and methodological tools learnt in class (including the gathering of bibliographical material) to the understanding of other sources and other complex historical and historiographical issues, both ancient and modern (applying knowledge and understanding).
3. Know how to analyze and judge autonomously primary sources and secondary literature, and know how to develop personal critical reflections and original arguments on complex historical and historiographical issues (making judgments).
4. Know how to communicate and present with clarity, verbally or in writing, specialized contents related to complex historical and historiographical issues as well as the reasoning underlying personal reflections and original arguments (communication skills).
5. Develop the learning skills necessary for pursuing further studies autonomously or entering successfully the world of work, either teaching in secondary schools or joining business and professional lines of work (learning skills).
A good knowledge of the political history of classical Greece and a sufficient acquaintance with the ancient Greek language.
Course contents summary
The course consists of a single unit (6 cfu = 30 hours) whose title is “Pericles’ figure between historiography and biography” and is scheduled from April 6 to May 8 2020. This unit offers an in-depth discussion of the life and figure of Pericles in the context of the Athenian democracy of the fifth century BCE through the analysis of the most important available sources, in particular some passages from the first and second book of Thucydides’ work and the “Life of Pericles” by Plutarch. The unit aims not only at reconstructing some of the most significant aspects of Pericles’ life and figure but also at clarifying in what ways sources of different genres and goals contribute to outline the portrait of one of the leading figures of Athenian politics during the classical age. The instructor will bring to the students’ attention also the modern and contemporary scholarly debates on Pericles’ figure.
1. Primary sources
Thucydides, “The Peloponnesian War”, books I-II (in particular: 1.139-145; 2.13-22, 34-46, 55-65).
Plutarco, “Parallel Lives. Pericles and Fabius Maximus” (only the life of Pericles).
At the beginning of the class, the instructor will indicate the most important critical editions and commentaries that students are encouraged to use.
2. Secondary literature
V. Azoulay, “Pericle. La democrazia ateniese alla prova di un grand’uomo”, Einaudi, 2017.
The instructor will indicate further specific bibliography at the beginning of the class.
The class consists of both lectures and workshops. During workshops, students will present to the instructor and classmates the results of the individual research projects they carried out autonomously and on their own under the supervision of the instructor. This research project will concern the in-depth analysis of a specific topic or section of text covered only cursorily during lectures and will make use of reference texts and further bibliography. Non-attending students are expected to contact the instructor directly to receive information about the teaching material and make arrangements for carrying out the individual research project.
Assessment methods and criteria
The learning assessment consists of the presentation of the individual research project (50% of the final grade) and an oral examination (50% of the final grade).
Students will be able to pass the exam (18-23/30) if they demonstrate, at least to a sufficient degree, that they understand and are capable of commenting the texts discussed in class and proposed by the instructor during the exam, know the topics covered in class, orient themselves in the use of the appropriate methodologies of textual criticism and in the discussion of the main schools of thought of the scholarly debates, are able to develop personal critical reflections and arguments in the research project agreed upon with the instructor, and express themselves in a relatively clear manner.
Students who do not fulfill these basic requirements will fail the exam.
Students will achieve middle-range grades (24-27/30) if they demonstrate to fulfill to a more than sufficient or good degree the requirements listed above.
Students will achieve higher grades (28-30/30 cum laude) if they demonstrate that they fully understand and comment autonomously on the texts discussed in class and proposed by the instructor during the exam, have a solid mastery of the topics covered in class, the appropriate methodologies of textual criticism, and the main schools of thought of the scholarly debates, are able to develop critical reflections and original arguments in the research project agreed upon with the instructor, know how to gather autonomously the necessary bibliographical material, and express themselves in a clear manner and with the adequate specialized vocabulary.