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Extended Study to Greece 

Classics 251 and 251E: The Ancient Greek City
Students at the Acropolis in Greece
Director: Professor Geoff Benson, Assistant Professor of the Classics 
On-campus course: Spring 2017
Travel dates: May 24 – June 13, 2017
Course credit: .5 credit, linked with CLAS 251  

On-campus class followed by three weeks in Athens, Greece


Greek 121 and 122 or a higher-level language course in Ancient Greek, as well as permission of Professor Benson. CLAS 251 must be successfully completed in the spring 2017 semester, immediately before the extended study.


Ancient Athens is the focus of the course that will trace the rise of the Greek citizen-state, or polis, with all of its political, economic, social and religious institutions. Students will stay in a small hotel in central Athens within walking distance of most archaeological excavations and museums.

The course will examine the different structures that defined the identity of an individual in ancient Greece in chronological sequence, from the earliest urban centers of the Bronze Age up to the conquest of the independent city-states by Philip of Macedon in 338 BCE. The identity of an individual, not only within a single polity but also within the broader Pan-Hellenic context, will be investigated. A major theme will be global interaction between the different populations and cultures of North Africa, the Near East, and the Greek world. The latter was comprised of numerous city-states, established from the shores of the Black Sea to the East all the way to France and Spain in the West, which gave shape to the development of Hellenic civilization. The course will focus on three moments when such interactions were most intense: the Bronze Age, the Persian Wars of the 5th century BCE, and the early Hellenistic Age.

The extended study introduces students at first hand to the physical settings where Greek urban life developed and made its fundamental contribution to western civilization. Most days will be devoted to visiting archaeological sites and museums throughout Athens and the surrounding area of Attica. One three-day field trip to Corinth and the Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries at Olympia and Delphi and another three-day field trip to Santorini are planned, as well as daytrips to Mycenae, Epidauros, Marathon, Piraeus, and Eleusis.

Prerequisites are Greek 121 and 122 or a higher level Ancient Greek language course. In order to participate, the on-campus seminar CLAS 251 must be successfully completed for one credit in the spring semester immediately preceding the extended study program.