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Ancient Culture Lab: Homer's Experience and the Greek Language

Why should I take this Trinity Elective?

Have you ever wondered what is the point of studying the past? Is it all Greek to you? What is the use of ancient texts and ‘dead’ languages?

In this module, ‘Ancient Culture Lab’, we look closely at one point in the very distant past and at the early origins of Western civilization, at Homer and the Greeks, at ancient Greek language and culture, at its strange and yet (as we shall see!) familiar words, its structure and its thought.

In 12 short weeks and with the aid of easy to use ‘point-and-click’ online tools and multilingual web-based texts, we will ‘experiment’ with some of Homer’s greatest ideas. We will study elements of his thoughts and, with help from our tools, even some of his actual Greek.

Love Homer and the ancient Greeks or hate them, they are part of our world, our language, our thought and our lives. If you are studying Chemistry or English, History, Economics or Maths, and want to know why the past, Greek, and the Greek culture matter, this Trinity Elective is the module for you.

What will I learn?

  • You will learn why Homer, the ancient Greek past, and the past in general matter in our lives today.
  • You will understand why ‘dead’ languages and cultures are very much alive among us. 
  • You will learn to understand how ancient Greek works as a language and why it is both so close to the languages we use today and yet so far.

What will I do?

  • Attend weekly lectures by the Trinity’s Regius Professor of Greek, an international authority on  ancient Greek civilization and the history of culture.
  • Contribute to class discussions.
  • Work independently using various BlackBoard worksheets and practice modules.
  • Use an interactive on-line tool (the Chicago Homer – we get about eight million hits a year!)  that will allow you to read Homer in English and simultaneously provide you with a phonetic transcription of the original Greek – you can actually read ancient Greek from the very first moment and click on words of your choice to see their meaning, use, and more.
  • Learn all about the basic structure of Greek language and words. You will be able to follow key terms in Homer’s Greek’

How will this be delivered?

  • Weekly one-hour face-to-face lectures.
  • Online/App Based Interactive Tools
  • Guided readings using texts, lecture summaries, online tools, etc.
  • Online BlackBoard course worksheets.

How will this be assessed?

  • Participation in class and online discussion during term (10%)
  • Short in-class/online tests during term, intended to evaluate specific materials studied in the module sessions (20+30%)
  • Team project on a key Greek word, concept or line, which will critically and creatively examine its continuing and changing relevance across space and time (end of term 40%, 15% on the process of individual reflection, 25% on the collective output).

Who can take this Trinity Elective?

  • Any Trinity Student, except those who are studying Greek and Latin as part of their Trinity course.

More Information (PDF 169KB)