About this Course
4.7
963 ratings
240 reviews
This is a survey of ancient Greek history from the Bronze Age to the death of Socrates in 399 BCE. Along with studying the most important events and personalities, we will consider broader issues such as political and cultural values and methods of historical interpretation....
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Suggested: 3-5 hours/week

Approx. 22 hours to complete
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English

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Skills you will gain

Art HistoryGreek MythologyHistoryAncient Greece
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Suggested: 3-5 hours/week

Approx. 22 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Prehistory to Homer

We will start our first module with an overview of the physical and geographical setting for our class – “the Greek world.” Then we will move rapidly across many centuries, beginning with two Bronze Age civilizations: Minoan on the island of Crete, and Mycenaean on the mainland. Our evidence for both of these is almost purely archaeological, and so you can consider the ways scholars have interpreted material remains to build a picture of how the societies were structured. After the collapse of Mycenaean civilization, there followed the so-called Dark Ages. These four centuries pose for us the challenge of reconstructing what happened during a long period that has left relatively little evidence. We will conclude this module with an all too brief consideration of the two magnificent Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, whose stories and heroes became essential elements in Greek cultural identity. ...
Reading
6 videos (Total 96 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
Minoan Civilization (ca. 1800-1500 BCE)18m
Mycenaean Civilization (ca. 1500-1150 BCE)14m
The Dark Ages (ca. 1150-800 BCE)14m
Homer 1 - Iliad17m
Homer 2 - Odyssey19m
Reading2 readings
Reading Assignment 110m
Reading Assignment 210m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Prehistory to Homer40m

2

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

The Archaic Age (ca. 800-500 BCE)

Module 2 brings us into the turbulent, creative Archaic Age, during which the Greeks acquired a cultural identity distinct from that of their neighbors in the Eastern Mediterranean. They developed their characteristic form of community, the polis, or “city-state.” With a rebound in population, moreover, they founded numerous colonies abroad. In addition, the Greeks recovered literacy, which enabled them to write down law codes for the poleis. The newly established communities had a new form of military organization, the hoplite army, manned by citizen-soldiers. The lyric poets of that era wrote verses that address such great social changes, and also offer vivid accounts of individuals’ emotions and opinions. The module ends with another poet, Hesiod, somewhat later and less famous than Homer, but also very significant. His subjects range from the origins of the cosmos and the gods, to personal ethics, to practical advice about farming. ...
Reading
6 videos (Total 78 min), 6 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
"The Greeks Overseas": Colonization13m
Literacy, Lawgivers and Law Codes11m
The Works of Ares - Hoplite Warfare12m
New Voices, the Lyric Poets14m
Hesiod: Gods and Farmers12m
Reading6 readings
Reading Assignment 110m
Reading Assignment 210m
Reading Assignment 310m
Reading Assignment 410m
Reading Assignment 510m
Reading Assignment 610m
Quiz1 practice exercise
The Archaic Age40m

3

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Two City-States: Sparta and Athens

In Module 3 we will analyze some major political developments in the Archaic Age, which were largely responses to the huge societal changes discussed in Module 2. We will focus on Sparta and Athens. Sparta evolved into a unique hoplite-polis, famed for strict discipline and military prowess. Athens followed a very different path, showing the first traces of democracy. We will also observe how tyrannies arose in many poleis, often, paradoxically, to the community’s benefit. In fact we can now consider the historical effect of individual leaders, like the renowned lawgivers, Lycurgus of Sparta and Solon of Athens. Both men came to be revered as the “founding fathers” of their poleis. Both men also belonged to the legendary Seven Sages, who were famed for their wisdom. The module concludes with a consideration of Peisistratos, who ruled Athens as a tyrant in the mid-6th-century BCE and led the Athenians to new levels of power and prosperity....
Reading
6 videos (Total 94 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
Sparta 2 - Consolidation and the Spartan Way of Life19m
Tyrants and Sages15m
Athens 1 - The Social and Economic Situation Through 600 BCE13m
Athens 2 - Solon: Poetry, Politics and Economics17m
Athens 3 - Peisistratos: Tyranny and Civic Identity13m
Reading4 readings
Reading Assignment 110m
Reading Assignment 210m
Reading Assignment 310m
Reading Assignment 410m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Two City-States: Sparta and Athens40m

4

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Democracy. The Persian Wars

Module 4’s sessions will begin by focusing on the crucial decade at the end of the 6th century, when the Athenians instituted full democracy. In fact the development of democracy is one of the principal reasons to study Greek history. Athens was also the adopted home of Herodotus, who was the first author in the West to characterize his writing as history. Herodotus chose to recount the first great clash of cultures in the West, the conflict between Greece and Persia, and his story goes far beyond the war and its battles. He was deeply concerned with how societies define themselves. The breadth of his interests, his insight and his good humor all contribute to the appeal of his work. We will also observe how Athens, under the leadership of the brilliant general Themistocles, began to transform itself into a formidable naval power. ...
Reading
6 videos (Total 86 min), 6 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
The Reforms of Kleisthenes15m
Herodotus and the Creation of Historical Writing19m
Persian Wars 1 - From the Ionian Revolt (499-494 BCE) to the Battle of Marathon (490 BCE)15m
"Wooden Walls": Themistocles and the Athenian fleet11m
Persian Wars 2 - Endgame - to the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis (480 BCE) and Plataea (479 BCE)12m
Reading6 readings
Reading Assignment 110m
Reading Assignment 210m
Reading Assignment 310m
Reading Assignment 410m
Reading Assignment 510m
Reading Assignment 610m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Democracy. The Persian Wars40m
4.7
Briefcase

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Top Reviews

By ASApr 23rd 2018

This has been an enthralling course which introduces you to the world of the Ancient Greek. Thank you Prof. Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, and all the course creators and mentors, for this excellent course.

By MHSep 4th 2015

Brilliant course. Superbly assembled and presented material. And I love the prof's wry sense of humour!\n\nI've been wanting to learn about this subject for many years. Highly recommended.

Instructor

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, PhD

Professor
Classical Studies

About Wesleyan University

At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit. ...

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