Graduate Courses Fall 2016
CLASS-GA 1003, Survey of Latin Literature, T & Th 12:30-1:45, Alessandro Barchiesi (NYU)
CLASS-GA 1011, Greek Rhetoric and Stylistics, W 6:30-8:30, David Petrain (CUNY)
An in-depth review of the morphology and syntax of Classical Greek through exercises in composition, with stylistic analysis of a variety of authors. Individual weeks will be devoted to exploring the resources and current scholarship available on such topics as accentuation; particles; verbal tense and aspect; word order; syntax; prosody and rhythm; etc. Over the course of the semester students will deliver presentations on selected aspects of the Greek language, and on the style of an author of their choice.
CLASS-GA 2832, Lucretius, W 4:15-6:15, Peter Simpson (CUNY)
Carmina sublimis tunc sunt peritura Lucreti
exitio terras cum dabit una dies
Sublime Lucretius' songs will die that day
All earths are to destruction giv'n away
Ovid Amores 1.15.
Praise or mockery? Is the sense that Lucretius' verses are so fine they will last to the end of the world, or that the world is so much the sport of Lucretius' ever moving atoms that nothing, however good, will survive their clashing? Ovid presumably meant it the former way. Lucretius' science compels us to read it in the latter. But is Lucretius' work even a poem? It is 'carmina' to be sure (it has the rhythm of song), yet "Homer and Empedocles have nothing in common except the meter, so it would be proper to call the one a poet and the other not a poet but a scientist" (no prizes for guessing the author of that quote). Is Lucretius a scientist or philosopher, then? Or is there real poiesis in him? His Carmen, after all, like Bizet's, begins with divine love and ends, after many a swerve, in cruel death.
In the ancient world Lucretius' influence on poets who followed him (Virgil, Horace, Ovid, et al.) is hard to overrate. He is even a clue to the poets who preceded him (notably Ennius). In the modern world, after his re-discovery in 1417 (the atoms had destroyed Lucretius' memory for a time), the influence of his work on the new science and philosophy is hard to overrate (Montaigne, Gassendi, Bacon, Hobbes, Diderot, et al.). What is Lucretius then and what his carmina? The course will explore the answers. Large parts of the poem will be read, for verse construction, coherence of argument, overall pattern. Other accounts and criticisms of Epicureanism will be looked at as well (Cicero, Diogenes of Oenoanda, Diogenes Laertius, Melchior de Polignac). Latinists, scientists, philosophers, poets (even opera singers) are all welcome.
CLASS-GA 2936, Aristotle: Metaphysics Zeta, T 4:00-6:00, Marko Malink (NYU)
3-5 Washington Place, Room 202, Philosophy Department
Book Zeta of Aristotle's Metaphysics, sometimes characterized as "the Mount Everest of ancient philosophy", is devoted to the question, What is substance (ousia)? Aristotle explores several potential answers to this question, specifying substance as subject, essence, universal, or genus. In addition, he provides a detailed exposition of hylomorphism, the view that a large number of objects are compounds of matter and form. Further questions discussed in Zeta include: Do non-substantial beings have an essence or definition? Should the parts of a thing be mentioned in the definition of that thing? What role do essences play in scientific explanations? The seminar will be a close reading of Zeta. Knowledge of Greek not required.
CLASS-GA 2963, Aeschylus, T 6:30-8:30, David Sider (NYU)
Aeschylus' Agamemnon. A slow reading of the text, with attention paid to readings, meter, myth, imagery, and meaning, as well as to the scholarship on all these matters. The other two plays of the trilogy will be read in English.
CLASS-GA 3000, The Process of Reading, Writing and Delivering: Managing Information in the Greek & Roman World, Th 2:00-4:00, Raffaella Cribiore (NYU)
This course will be based on Greek and Latin literary sources and on the papyri from Greek and Roman Egypt. It will start by giving students notions of papyrology in order to enable them to use some literary papyri. The course will inquire about the background of the creation, delivery and transmission of literary texts. Among the questions this course will address are the following. Did ancient readers make notes and how did they use them in compiling their works? Were ancient texts dictated and taken down in shorthand or were autograph copies also transmitted to us? How pronounced was the impact of listeners and students on texts that were later published? How can we explain the existence of different versions of a speech? Did authors correct their works even after they were published? What are the salient characteristics of extempore delivery?
CLASS-GA 3003, Gellius and the Tradition of Roman Antiquarianism, Th 4:15-6:15, Matthew McGowan (Fordham)
Silver Center Room 503A
This course surveys the Roman tradition of antiquarianism from the second century BCE to the sixth century CE. We will focus on the Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius (c. 125-180 CE) and read selections from Varro, Festus, and Isidore for context. The Attic Nights are presented as a collection of notes taken on evenings during a winter spent near Athens and contain information on many aspects of antiquity, including much early Latin literature that would othewise be lost. Gellius took a particular interest in questions of grammar and style, but his notes regularly touch on poetry, philosophy, history, and law as well as the manners and occupations of real people. Over the course of the semester, students will have the chance to explore different sub-genres associated with Gellius' fascinating miscellany including lexicography, literary criticism, and ethics. At the semester's end, we will consider the reception of Gellius-and Isidore-in the middle ages and renaissance as we attempt to come to terms more generally with the disposition of Roman intellectuals, grammarians, lexicographers, and miscellany writers. A course packet with the readings will be provided on the first day. Feel free to contact me with questions in advance.