CIV 150W-01

Freshman Writing Seminar:

Greek and Roman Private Life
Fall, 2001

Contents of this syllabus:

Instructor: William Hutton
Office: Morton 326
Phone: 221-2993
Office hours: MWF 12-1 pm and by appointment.

Time and place of Class: MWF 11-11:50 am; Morton 340

Important Electronic Addresses:

Class web page:

Class e-mail list (see class web page for subscription instructions):

Instructor's e-mail address:

Course Description:
In this course we will read about, write about and discuss the way ordinary and not-so-ordinary people lived in ancient Greece and Rome. Topics covered will include birth, food, work, sex, religion, marriage and death. We will read original sources (in translation) to learn what the ancients themselves thought about these aspects of everyday life. We will also consider how ancient attitudes compare to modern ones, including (especially!) our own.

Course Objectives:
Here is how the W&M Faculty defines the goals of the Freshman Writing Seminar:

"The primary goal of the freshman seminar program is to help the student develop his or her ability to engage in critical thinking and independent learning. To accomplish this, the seminars provide the student with an active small-class experience that includes opportunities for discussion, writing, and other modes of expression appropriate to the subject matter of the course."

(For further information on freshman seminars, see the link on the class home page.)

To fulfill these goals, most of your work in this class will be devoted to researching, writing and re-writing various written assignments and preparing oral presentations. In addition, this freshman seminar has more specific goals related to its subject:

Joint Association of Classical Teachers, The World of Athens (Cambridge, 1984)

J. Shelton, As the Romans Did, Second edition (Oxford, 1997)

C. Carey, Trials from Classical Athens (Routledge, 1997)

D. Hacker, A Writer's Reference, Fourth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 1999)

A Course Packet of photocopied material, available at the bookstore

Some additional required readings will be available through the reserve desk at SWEM library or on Electronic Reserve through Blackboard/Courseinfo.

Course format:
In many ways this class will be different from most others you take at William & Mary. Only rarely will I be lecturing at you for a full 50 minutes. Most classes will consist of brief remarks by me followed by discussion involving the entire class. Some of these discussions will be more formal than others, and some of them will be generated and punctuated by oral reports by individual students. Our discussions will not only be on the assigned readings about the ancient cultures, but also on the process of writing and on the written work you will be doing throughout the semester. There is a heavy element of peer evaluation in this course: the other students in the class will be reading a lot of what you write and, with any luck, helping you improve your writing. We will also continue our discussions outside of class in an e-mail discussion group. This course is designed to help you become an active learner rather than a passive receptacle into which the professor pours knowledge, and for this reason, I and the rest of the class are counting on you to come to each class prepared and ready to contribute.

Assignments and Grading:
Your grade will be calculated as follows:

Explanation of Grade Components:

Important Course Policies:

No late papers or assignments will be accepted without verifiable evidence of dire circumstances. No special arrangements whatsoever will be made if you do not notify me of your dire circumstances within 48 HOURS after the deadline of the paper/assignment.

Attendance will not be recorded every day, but your absences will be noticed and will result in a lower class participation grade, if they are excessive or if they occur at particularly inopportune times (for instance, when you are scheduled to participate in group work or are supposed to be helping to critique your classmates’ work, they will SEVERELY affect your class participation grade).

Tentative Class Schedule:

This schedule presents the main topics to be discussed each week, and important scheduled deadlines and activities. More specific information on topics and reading assignments will be given as we proceed through the semester, but the DEADLINES for drafts, papers, etc. will stay the same unless there is some unforeseen calamity.


Week 1 Aug 29-31: Introduction     
Week 2 Sept 3-7: Background: History and Culture     
Week 3 Sept 10-14: Home Life: Men & Women 
Sept 14 (Friday): Library Research Orientation:  Meet at Swem (Room TBA) 
Week 4 Sept 17-21: Life in the City: Aristophanes' Comedy 
Week 5 Sept 24-28: Alcibiades: The Good Life? 

 Sept 28 (Friday): Midterm proposals due: Brief oral reports on topics 
Week 6 Oct 1-5: Love Life 

Week 7 Oct 8-12: Marriage and Death             
Oct 8 (Monday) DEADLINE for handing in draft of Midterm paper           
Oct 12 (Friday)  Critiquing session    
Week 8 Oct 15-19            
Oct 15 (Monday) NO CLASS (Fall Break)             
Oct 19 (Friday) DEADLINE for final version of Midterm paper.
Week 9 Oct 22-26: Roman Life: Background      
Week 10 Oct 29-Nov 2: Topics in Roman Society: Group work 
Week 11 Nov 5-9: Roman Homes and home life             
Nov 9  (Friday) Proposals for final papers due     
Week 12 Nov 12-16: Lives in Letters             
Nov 12 (Monday) Short reports on paper topics.
Nov 14 (Wednesday) Due date for bibliography and outline for final paper. 
Week 13 Nov 19-23: Life at Court: The Emperor's Circle             
Nov 19  (Monday) DEADLINE for first draft of final paper             
Nov 21-23: No Class; Thanksgiving      
Week 14 Nov 26-30:  Oral Reports     
Nov 26 Critiquing session             
Nov 28-30 Oral Reports  
Week 15 Dec 3-7: Oral Reports            
Dec 5 (Wednesday): DEADLINE for second draft of final paper  

DEADLINE for final version of final paper: Friday December 17.