J-term Syllabus, 2013

January 7-January 26, 2013


This course offers an intensive study of the literature and material culture of ancient Greece from the Archaic and Classical Periods, approximately from 1100 to 323 BCE. Through readings, research projects, and interactions with scholars and curators, students will develop a thorough familiarity with the material culture from the ancient world. This engagement will also include aspects of contemporary Greece, the traditions that animate the modern society, the relationship Modern Greeks have with their cultural legacy. Students need no previous experience with the country’s native language to apply although the students will be expected to master some basic language proficiency during the course.

More specifically, at the end of this course students should be able to

  1. identify the locations of major archaeological sites and connect those sites to specific artifacts, structures, societies, events, and people of historical significance, demonstrating a firm grasp of the chronology of ancient Greece as reflected in the archaeological record
  2. identify, analyze, and interpret the literature, structures, and artifacts representative of the cultures that inhabited the sites they visit during this travel-study experience and discuss those cultural elements with reference to the historical contexts from which they emerged
  3. be able to use the knowledge and background as outlined above to discuss sites, structures, and artifacts they have not seen before with reference to appropriate comparanda and demonstrate an ability to synthesize their experience with the material culture into a broader understanding of ancient Greek societies

Course Requirements

Grading for this course will be based on the following components

Preparation and Engagment

To make your visits to archaeological sites and museums as productive as possible, you will need to prepare in advance by working through the assigned readings, participating in the preview and review sessions in the evenings, and mastering the compendium of basic and vital information.

Readings. The readings fall into three categories: primary sources (i.e., texts authored by ancient writers), secondary literature (i.e., works by modern scholars), and guides. For most days, you will be responsible for having read in advance a selection from the primary sources and one or more of the readings from the secondary literature. Readings from ancient authors and on the history of the Greek cities on our itinerary will provide cultural background that will support your interpretation of the material remains. The readings on art and archaeology will give you a technical understanding of the field and help you to view and discuss the objects with greater insight.

Assignments for each day will appear in green next to the “Readings” label. The amount of reading will vary from day to day, so you should look ahead and plan accordingly.

We have made every effort to have the readings build and complement each other, so the visits to sites and museums and the discussions will become more informed and nuanced as the trip unfolds. We strongly urge you to do as much reading in advance of the trip as possible.

Guides. For each site or museum, we have assigned a selection from one or more guides that will help you study and understand the organization and nature of the architectural remains or items in the collection. The guides generally contain a siteplan, so you should plan on taking them with you as you visit the sites and museums.

Preview and Review Sessions. These meetings will take place in the evening and serve two purposes. First, they will serve as briefings on the activities and objectives for the following day. They will often include videos of the sites and collections that will help organize and focus our work on the sites. In some cases, we will discuss specific structures or artifacts that we will emphasize or study in depth the next day, so you can begin consulting the guides in preparation for you work on-site. As you consult the guides and other secondary literature, you should inform yourself about the history of the site, the materials and
architectural styles, dates of construction, and functions of the structures. For objects, you should collect information about the materials, dates, origins, functions, and the significance of the objects. Second, these meetings will enable you to reflect on your experiences and draw connections among the various readings, sites, and artifacts you studied that day and situate your observations in the context of the overall objectives of the program. To prepare for these sessions, you should document your engagement with the readings and your study at the sites by recording your observations, thoughts, and questions in a notebook. Your notebook should also contain notes from the sessions themselves.

The Compendium of Basic and Vital Information. Developing an understanding of the material culture of ancient Greece will require the mastery of some basic information such as the archectural elements associated with archaic and classical sites (for example the orders that evolved during this period), terms and concepts used to establish and discuss chronology, the topography and geography of the region, and names and dates of significant people and events. You will also be responsible for identifying, analyzing, and interpreting a core set of literary readings, sites, structures, and artifacts. We encourage you to use your journals to compile

Taking an active role in all of the activities and discussions and keeping a journal with your notes will constitute twenty-five percent of your final grade.


In the outline of activities, assignments, and examinations below, you will note that for each site or museum we have scheduled a presentation. Each member of the class will be responsibile for one or more of these presentations, which will enrich and complement our work in that particular setting. You will receive your assigned topics in advance in consultation with the directors of the course. You should prepare your presentation as much as possible in advance of the trip, making use of resources available on the Sakai worksite for this course, on your individual campuses, and via the Internet. Here are some guidelines and notes for these presentations:

  • Each presentation should last approximately 15-20 minutes. You should aim for clarity and concision with the goal of providing information that will make the work on the site more productive and interesting.
  • Each presentation should, if possible, include an activity. For example, if your topic concerns flora, you should have the group identify and study some plants. Having your audience feel the texture of an acanthus leaf or smell the fragrance of myrtle leaves or wild lavender would make your presentation more effective and enrich your audience’s experience. The directors will offer some guidance on these activities.
  • Handouts are welcome particularly if the information you are sharing will be of significance at later stages of the program.
  • We will record these presentations, which will become part of the archived resources for the program, so you should be mindful that future cohorts of students may be viewing your presentation to enhance their experience on a similar trip.
  • We will ask you identify 3 to 5 concepts or facts from your presentation for inclusion among the items that will all participants will be responsible for learning.

This presentation will account for fifteen percent of your final grade.

Contributing to the “New Pausanias”

During the program, you will read selections from Pausanias’ Guide to Greece, one of the first surviving travelogues and along with the works of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (Vitruvius) and Gaius Plinius Secondus (Pliny the Elder) one of the first art historical documents. Pausanias provides modern readers with an idea of how the sites appeared in the second century CE when he visited them. You will work as a member of team on updating Pausanias for a particular site. These revised travelogues will form part of materials subsequent students and visitors on these programs will use when visiting the sites. They should contain the following elements:

  • directions on how to get to the site which reflect current modes of transportation and routes along with data about distances and traveling time
  • verbal descriptions of significant architectural features (for the sites) or artifacts (for museums) (both ancient and modern) supplemented with digital imagery and appropriate metadata for the images (e.g., location, direction, and time of the image)
  • a commentary on at least one of the structures or works of art consisting of information about, for example, the construction or conservation of the artifact, how it was or is currently being used, its significance over time, or any activities associated with it.

This revised entry will account for fifteen percent of your final grade.


There will be three hourly examinations during the trip as outlined in the schedule below. Each examination will consist of two parts.  The first part will focus on the your familiarity with the readings, mastery of the information in the compendium, and your engagement with the material culture through your experiences on sites and in museums. It will typically present you with a selection concepts, terms, sites, structures, and objects and ask you to identify and discuss a subset of the items. It might also contain a map and ask you to locate the sites you have studied. In the second part you will answer one or more short essay questions that deal with broader issues of culture and society that we will develop through the reading, visits to the sites, and discussions. Each examination will account for fifteen percent of your final grade.


The readings for the course will be available on the Sakai worksite for the program under “Resources.”

Primary Sources
Aeschylus Oresteia: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides.
Alcman 1 (“Partheneion”)
Bacchylides Odes 17, 18.
Herodotus Histories 1.29-33
Homeric Poetry Odyssey 1-4, 15.1-300, Hymn to Demeter
Pausanias Guide to Greece.

1.1.1-1.30.4 (Athens)

1.32.3-6 (Marathon)

1.36.3-1.38.7 (Eleusis)

2.1.1-2.5.3 (Corinth)

2.15.1-2.25.9 (Argolid)

3.11.1-3.20.8 (Lakonia)

5.6.7-5.20.10 (Olympia)

9.5.1-9.17.5 (Thebes)

10.5.3-10.32.1 (Delphi)

Pindar Olympian 1, 2, 13; Nemean 8
Tyrtaeus 8, 9
Secondary Readings
Biers, William R. The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996.

“Archaeology in Greece” (13-22)

“The Mycenaeans” (62-96)

“The Dark Ages” (97-109)

“The Geometric Period” (110-131)

“The Orientalizing Period” (132-153)

“The Archaic Period” (154-193)

“The Fifth Century” (194-246)

“The Fourth Century” (247-283)

Cartledge, Paul Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

“Archaeology in Greece” (13-22)

“Mycenae” (23-34)

“Argos” (35-45)

“Sparta” (70-86)

“Athens” (89-112)

“Thebes” (131-142)

Pullen, Daniel “The Early Bronze Age inGreece,” 19-46. In The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Aravantinos, Vassilios The Archaeological Museum of Thebes. Athens: Olkos, 2010.
Barber, Robin Blue Guide: Greece.6th edition. London: A & C Black, 2003.

“The Monuments of Ancient Greece,” by Nicolas Coldstream (13-31)

“History of Athens” (89)

“2: The Acropolis” (91-95)

[Note: the information about the Acropolis Museum is no longer accurate, since the new museum opened in June 2009. Please refer to The Acropolis Museum: Short Guide, as noted below.]

“3: The Areópagus, Mouseíon, Pnyx, and Hill of the Nymphs” (95)

“4: From Síntagma Square to the Kerameikós and the Academy” (97-98)

“5: The ‘Theseíon’ and the Agorá” (99-104)

“16: From Athens to Eleusis (Eléfsis)” (130-141)

“21: From Athens to Marathon. Rhamnous” (160-167)

“26: Corinth to Mycenae (Mikínes), Argos, and Návplio” (211-221)

“27: Myceane (Mikínes)” (221-232)

“28: Návplio, Tiryns (Tírintha) and the Argive Heraíon (Iraío)” (232-243)

“29: Návplio to Epidauros (Epídhavros) and the Argolic Peninsula” (243-248)

“31: Trípolis to Sparta, Mistrá” (257-268)

“37: Olympia” (310-327)

“41: Athens to Thebes (Thíva). Central Boeotia (Viotía)” (346-352)

“46: Delphi (Dhelfí)” (389-403)

We have also included the following selections that may be of interest:

“Byzantine Art and Architecture in Greece,” by Karin M. Skawran (31-40)

“Post-Byzantine Monuments: Frankish, Venetian and Ottoman Greece” by Peter Lock (41 46)

“Greek Vernacular Architecture: An Outline” by Peter Lock (46-49)

“Modern Greek History” by Richard Clogg (49-55)

“Greek Folk Art” by Jane Cocking (56-60)

Camp II, John McK. The Athenian Agora: A Short Guide. Athens: American School of Classical Studies Athens, 2003.
Colonia, Rosina The Archaeological Museum of Delphi. Athens: Olkos, 2006.
Eleftheratou, Stamatia, ed. Acropolis Museum: Short Guide. Athens: Acropolis Museum, 2011.
Hatzi, Georgia E. The Archeological Museum of Olympia. Athens: Olkos, 2008.
Kaltsas, Nikolaos The National Archaeological Museum. Athens: Olkos, 2007.
Kavvadias, George and Giannikapani, Eutychia, eds. South Slope of the Acropolis: Brief history and tour. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, 2004.
Mee, Christopher and Spawforth, Antony Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

“Perachora” (167-171)
Miller, Stephen G. et al. Nemea: A Guide to the Site and Museum. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeolgocial Receipts Fund, 2004.
Papaggeli, Kalliopi Elefis: The Archaeological Site and the Museum. Athens: Olkos, 2002.
Steinhauer, George Marathon and the Archaeological Museum. Athens: Olkos, 2009.
Zafeiropoulou, Diana, ed. The National Archaeological Museum. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund, 2005.

Online Resources

The Acropolis Museum

The Kerameikos (a project of the German Archaeological Institute) [German]

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

The Nemea Center at the University of Berkeley

Olympia in Odysseus, the website of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Delphi in Odysseus, the website of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Other Recommended Reading

Papadimitriou, Nikolas et al. Museum of Cycladic Art: A brief guide. Athens: Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation Museum of Cycladic Art, 2007.

Kavvadias, George and Giannikapani, Eutychia, eds. North, East and West Slopes of the Arcropolis: Brief history and tour. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, 2004.

Kavvadias, George and Giannikapani, Eutychia, eds. Hills of Philopappos – Pnyx – Nymphs: Brief history and tour. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, 2004.

Kavvadias, George and Giannikapani, Eutychia, eds. Roman Agora – Library of Hadrian: Brief history and tour. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, 2004.

Schedule of Activities, Assignments, and Examinations

Week 1
Monday, January 7 Evening Arrive at Athens International Airport by 3PM and travel by bus to Nafplion. Welcome dinner Accommodations in Nafplion:
Hotel Park
Tuesday, January 8 Reading Biers 13-22 (“Archaeology in Greece”); Cartledge 37-45 (“Argos”)
Morning Orientation
Guide: Pullen 31-36
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Nafplion:
Hotel Park
Afternoon Archaeological Museum of Argos
Guide: Barber 211-221 (“26. Corinth to Mycenae [Mikínes], Argos, and Návplio”)
Presentation: TBA
Evening Review meeting and dinner
Wednesday, January 9 Reading Biers 62-96 (“The Mycenaeans”)
Morning Tiryns
Guide: Barber 238-241 (“28.B. Tiryns [Tírintha]”)
Presentation: TBA
Guide: Demakopoulou & Divari-Valakou
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Nafplion:
Hotel Park
Afternoon Archaeological Museum in Nafplion
Evening Review meeting and dinner
Thursday, January 10 Reading Aeschylus, Agamemnon and Libation Bearers; Pausanias 2.15.4-17.7, 2.25.1-7; Cartledge, 23-34 (“Mycenae”)
Morning The site of Mycenae
Guide: Barber 221-232 (“27: Myceane [Mikínes]”)
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Nafplion:
Hotel Park
Afternoon The Archaeological Museum at Mycenae
Guide: Barber 221-232 (“27: Myceane [Mikínes]”)
Presentation: TBA
Evening Review meeting and dinner
Friday, January 11 Reading Biers 110-131 (“The Geometric Period”)
Evaluation First examination: Mycenaeans, Argos
Morning Archaeological Museum in Nafplion
Guide: TBD
Presentation: TBA
Accommodationsin Nafplion:
Hotel Park
Afternoon Examination
Evening Dinner
Saturday, January 12 Reading On site: Pindar, Nemean 8, and Herodotus 1.29-33 (story of Kleobis and Biton); Biers 97-109 (“The Dark Ages”)
Morning Argive Heraíon
Guide: Barber 241-243 (“28.C:  The Argive Heraíon [Iraío]”)
Presentation: TBA
Guide: Miller et al.
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Nafplion:
Hotel Park
Afternoon Isthmia
Guide: TBA
Presentation: TBA
Guide: TBA
Presentation: TBA
Evening Review meeting and dinner
Week 2 (1/13-1/19)
Sunday, January 13 Reading On site: Tyrtaeus 8, 9; Alcman 1; Odyssey 1-4, 15.1-300; Pausanias 3.11.1-3.20.8; Cartledge 70-86 (“Sparta”)
Morning Sparta
Guide: Barber 257-268 (“31: Trípolis to Sparta, Mistrá”)
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Sparta:
Afternoon Olive harvest
Evening Dinner
Monday, January 14 Reading
Morning Travel to Olympia Accommodations in Olympia:
Hotel Europa
Afternoon Open
Evening Preview meeting and dinner
Tuesday, January 15 Reading On-site: Pindar, Olympian 13; Pausanias 5.6.7-5.20.10 (Olympia); Pindar, Olympian 1, 2; Biers 132-153 (“The Orientalizing Period”)
Morning Visit to the site of Olympia
Site Guide: Barber 310-327 (“37: Olympia”)
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Olympia:
Hotel Europa
Afternoon Archaeological Museum at Olympia
Museum Guide: Hatzi
Presentation: TBA
Evening Preview meeting and dinner
Wednesday, Januarty 16 Reading Pindar, Pythian 8; Biers 154-193 (“The Archaic Period”)
Morning Travel to Delphi Accommodations in Delphi:
Hotel Parnassos or possibly the European Cultural Center of Delphi
Afternoon Visit to the site of Delphi
Site Guide: Barber 389-403 (“46: Delphi [Dhelfí]”)
Presentation: TBA
Evening Dinner in Arachova
Thursday, January 17 Reading
Evaluation Second examination: Sparta, Olympia, Delphi
Morning Archaeological Museum at Delphi
Museum Guide: Colonia
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Delphi:
Hotel Parnassos or possibly the European Cultural Center of Delphi
Afternoon Examination
Evening Preview meeting and dinner
Friday, January 18 Reading Pausanias 1.32.3-6 (Marathon); Cartledge 131-142 (“Thebes”); Biers 194-246 (“The Fifth Century”)
Morning Thebes
Site Guide: Barber 346-352 (“41: Athens to Thebes [Thíva]. Central Boeotia [Viotía]”)
Museum Guide: Aravantinos
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon Marathon
Site Guide: Barber 160-167 (“21: From Athens to Marathon. Rhamnous”)
Museum Guide: Steinhauer
Presentation: TBA
Evening Preview meeting and dinner
Saturday, January 19 Reading Cartledge 89-112 (“Athens”); Biers 247-283 (“The Fourth Century”)
Morning Agoraand Agora Museum
Guide: Camp
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon Kerameikosand Kerameikos Museum
Guide: Barber 97-98 (“4: From Síntagma Square to the Kerameikós and the Academy”)
Presentation: TBA
Evening Review and preview meeting and dinner
Week 3
Sunday, January 20 Reading TBD
Morning Acropolis Museum
Museum Guide: Eleftheratou (For items in the collection, see also Trianti, which predates that opening of the new museum.)
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon Acropolis and Theatre of Dionysus
Site Guide: Kavvadias and Giannikapani, South Slope of the Acropolis: Brief history and tour
Presentation: TBA
Evening Open
Monday, January 21 Reading TBD
Morning Brauron and Brauron Museum
Museum Guide: TBD
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon Thorikos, silver mines and workshop complex at Laurion, and Sounion
Site Guide: TBD
Presentation: TBA
Evening Open
Tuesday, January 22 Reading TBD
Morning Piraeus
Museum Guide: TBD
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon Aigina and Temple of Aphaia
Site Guide: TBDPresentation: TBA
Evening Open
Wednesday, January 23 Reading TBD
Morning National Archaeological Museum
Museum Guides: Zafeiropoulou and Kaltsas
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon National Archaeological Museum
Museum Guides: Zafeiropoulou and Kaltsas
Presentation: TBA
Evening Preview meeting and dinner
Thursday, January 24 Reading Pausanias 1.36.3-1.38.7 (Eleusis); Homeric Hymn to Demeter
Evaluation Third examination: Athens and Attica
Morning Eleusis
Guide: Barber 130-141 (“16: From Athens to Eleusis [Eléfsis]”)
Museum Guide: Papaggeli
Presentation: TBA
Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon Examination
Evening Open
Friday, January 25 Reading No reading assignments
Morning Open Accommodations in Athens:
Parthenon Hotel
Afternoon Open
Evening Farewell dinner
Saturday, January 26 Departures