Hellenistic Literature

To access the materials for this course, please see our Greek Course page.

Sunoikisis offers one Greek course and one Latin course every fall, beginning in September. This inter-institutional collaborative course focuses on the evolution of Greek literature during the Hellenistic period, which begins with the conquest of Alexander the Great and the founding of the Museum at Alexandria by Ptolemy I Soter. This course is specifically designed for advanced students and will include a rigorous study of the cultural and historical context during the Hellenistic period in the Mediterranean.

Because this course addresses both literature and context, students are expected to synthesize a wide variety of materials. These will include selections of three major authors of the period, Callimachus, Theocritus, and Apollonius of Rhodes, as well as epigrams from other writers including Meleager, Asclepiades, Philodemus, and Posidippus.

Topics of study will include the cultural and scholarly context of Alexandria, the poets’ engagement with literary predecessors, performance, religion, and gender. Each week the common session (attended by all students and faculty) will focus on one aspect of that context. A number of participating faculty members and guest lecturers will lead these common sessions, offering a range of perspectives and approaches to the material. Students will meet locally with mentors on their home campuses to concentrate more closely on issues of language, translation and interpretation of assigned readings. Students will submit weekly response papers, through which they can expand on and synthesize issues that arise in the readings and common sessions as well as engage with secondary literature and the views of others in the class. Students will complete an online midterm and final examination.