Texas Wesleyan University Course Syllabus

Fall 2018

Course: HIS 4328-40 Ancient Greece and Rome


Instructor: Christopher Ohan

Meeting: Tuesdays 7-9:30 p.m. in EJW B26

Phone: 817-531-4913

Office: PMC 244

E-mail: cohan@txwes.edu

Office Hours: Mon/Wed 11-1 (in ASC), Tue 9-12, 4-6, Thurs 9-12, or by appointment

Web: http://www.historymuse.net



“I declare

That later on,

Even in an age unlike our own,

Someone will remember who we are.”

―Sappho, Come Close


Course description: “The course surveys the history of Ancient Greece and Rome from the Bronze Age to approximately 500 B.C. The goal of this course is to provide the student with an appreciation of the major events, personages, and historical trends that shaped what has been called "the climax of antiquity.”


Learning Outcomes:  Upon successful completion of this class, you should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the history and significance of various ancient civilizations considered over the semester.  You should be able to trace the origin of various ideological concepts (whether philosophical or religious) from this period and compare, analytically, events and issues from this period to various issues in the contemporary world.  To make these comparisons, you will become familiar with various types of sources from the period, including text, art and artifact.  Through the exam essays, book reviews and the research paper, you should be able to employ basic historical methods of research.  Through the readings, in-class discussions and writing assignments, you should acquire the ability to distinguish between and use primary and secondary sources for the period.


Course Learning Objectives                                                                           Degree Program Goals


Objective 1: Students completing this course will develop a basic understanding of the interplay of events and ideology as both shaped the history of Ancient Greece and Rome.

1. Develop a general knowledge of human history, including a basic chronology of both western and non-western societies covering time periods from the ancient to the modern.

Objective 2: a. Students will understand how different historical interpretations pertaining to this period.  b. They will understand the influential intellectual trends within Greek and Roman history.

2.  Understand Historical Interpretation and Historiography.


Objective 3: They will also be introduced to the historian’s craft and the important of sources in formulating sound arguments.  Students should appreciate and interpret multiple forms of evidence (textual, visual, oral, statistical, artifacts from material culture); differentiate between primary and secondary sources and understand how each is used via

  1. reading primary sources relative to the period.
  2. writing a research paper using primary and secondary sources.
  3. writing a critical book review.
  4. writing DBQ essays using primary sources.
  5. using computer software to produce all assignments.

3. Learn the various skills associated with the craft of history. These skills include:

a. Reading Comprehension and Cognitive Skills

b. Historical Thinking Skills

c. Research Skills

d. Written Communication Skills

e. Oral Communication Skills

f. Computer Literacy

Objective 4:  This course will prepare those students seeking secondary certification to perform well on the history and social studies content exams.

4. Students completing a major in the Department of History will be prepared to enter graduate programs in History, teach History in secondary or middle schools, or enter other careers open to graduates with degrees in the Liberal Arts.


Required Texts:

Winks, Ancient Mediterranean World (Oxford, 2004)

Bailkey, Readings in Ancient History (7th ed., Cengage, 2012)

Strauss, Battle of Salamis (Simon & Schuster, 2004)


Instructional Methods/Class Format:  Most classes will consist of some lecture but should be primarily discussions of primary sources.  Do not hesitate to bring up relevant questions and comments.  On the university level, and especially in an upper-level class, I assume that you will complete the assigned readings for each week.  It is also assumed that you will attend all classes.


Student Workload Expectation: Each class is 2.5 hours in duration.  Most classes have chapter reading amounting to 20-25 pages and 15-20 pages from the primary source reader or online.  I expect that you spend enough time with the primary sources so that we can discuss them in class.  Your research will rely on your finding and examining source material (primary and secondary), developing a research question, formulating a thesis, and drafting a paper; this process requires diligence, discipline and time for reflection.  Any written assignments (book review, take-home exams, and research paper) should be grammatical, logical and adhere to assignment guidelines.  If you have trouble with grammar/writing, please take advantage of the Academic Success Center.




Class Participation


Strauss Review

Research Paper



Midterm Exam


Final Exam







Grades will be assigned according to the following percentages: 90-100=A; 80-89=B; 70-79=C; 60-69=D; 0-59=F


Exams:  Exams will out-of-class written essays that respond to a question prompt.  The midterm essay is due on 9 October.  The final exam is due 11 December.  Both must be turned in via Blackboard by 7 pm on those dates.


Strauss Review:  You are responsible for completing one critical book review on the Strauss text.  The review will be turned in via Blackboard by 7 pm on 2 October.  See guidelines/formal below. We will be discussing some of the text in class on 18 September.


Research Paper:  The largest chunk of your grade is the research paper.  You should have an idea of what you’d like to research by 18 September and a working thesis by 16 October.

You may choose almost any topic dealing with ancient history but you must first clear the topic with me.  Stop by my office during regular office hours, or make an appointment to talk about your topic.  Before coming, explore your topic idea a bit.  Think of something in ancient history (egs: Egypt, Israel, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Early Islam) that interests you and do a bit of investigation.  Look up that topic in the Library’s catalog and then go to that area of the stacks and see what books are there for the topic.  Pull them off the shelf and spend some time understanding your topic.  It should narrow.  (Note: If there is a whole book on what you’d like to research, it’s too big!) Even if you’ve just been interested in something you saw in a movie, begin (but don’t end) there.  Under no circumstances should you come by and say, “I don’t know what to do for my research.”    

You must meet with me before 18 September to discuss/finalize your topic.  (Please do not wait until the last minute; this displays a lack of discipline and organization.) The class will then be divided into 3 person reading groups.  These groups will read each other’s final drafts, providing critique and constructive feedback for each.  (This aspect of collaboration at the beginning of a research project and then at the end is common among academics.)  Students will save their drafts to their OneDrive by 7 pm on 16 November, sharing it with the instructor and the members of their group.  Group members will provide comments by accessing the paper and using the comment feature in Word not later than 7 pm on 21 November.  The final paper is due 30 November, to be submitted in Blackboard by 7 pm.  See more formal paper guidelines below.

**Please note that your critique and feedback on your group members’ work will determine half of your participation grade in this course. (I will distribute guidelines for peer reviewing.)


Class Participation:  The majority of class time will be devoted to discussion.  Discussions will draw primarily on the readings.  Half of your class participation grade will consist of my evaluation of your preparedness and the level of your participation in these discussions.  Obviously, if you are consistently absent or don’t speak, your participation will not be very effective. 


Attendance is mandatory.  If you miss more than 1 class (for us, the equivalent of one week) consider the effect on your grade.  Should you miss more, please do not offer excuses, notes or request special consideration.  Keep in mind a) that “dropping a course” is perfectly legitimate when circumstances arise that prevent you from completion, and b) that I should not be expected to change class expectations based on your circumstances.  You are responsible for all class assignments regardless of attendance.  Quizzes covering assigned readings may be given at any time and factored into the course grade at the discretion of the instructor.  If you are unable to complete this course, you must withdraw from it.  The last date to withdraw with a W is 13 November.

            If you want mercy, pray; grace, see the Department of Philosophy and Religion located on the third floor of PUMC.


Internet/Blackboard:  Feel free to send email to the address above.  Keep in mind that I will not entertain discussion about grades, missed classes, philosophy, &etc over email or any other electronic medium.  In addition, this syllabus, the lecture/reading schedule, some of the course readings and any other class handouts will be posted on the above web address.  All assignments will be submitted via Blackboard.


Texas Wesleyan University Policies:


    Academic Integrity


Familiarize yourself with Wesleyan’s Student Code of Conduct.  Academics are not only devoted to learning, research, and the advancement of knowledge, but also to the development of ethically sensitive and responsible persons. By accepting membership in this class, you are joining a community characterized by free expression, free inquiry, honesty, respect for others, and participation in constructive change.  All rights and responsibilities exercised within this academic environment shall be compatible with these principles. 


Academic Dishonesty is a breach of the Student Code of Conduct.  Dishonesty includes:

1.     Plagiarism, representing the work of another as one's own work;

2.     Preparing work for another that is to be used as that person's own work;

3.     Cheating by any method or means;

4.     Knowingly and willfully falsifying or manufacturing scientific or educational data and representing the same to be the result of scientific or scholarly experiment or research;

5.     Knowingly furnishing false information to a university official relative to academic matters;

6.     Soliciting, aiding, abetting, concealing, or attempting conduct in violation of this code.


Academic Dishonesty will not be tolerated in this course. Any offense will result in an F in the class (not simply on the assignment) and be referred to the appropriate academic officials for adjudication. If you have any questions regarding this subject please see me.  For a detailed description and further clarification, please see the link for “Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty” on my website, the 2017-2019 Wesleyan Catalog (p. 84-86), or the Student Handbook.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


·   Texas Wesleyan University adheres to a disability policy which is in keeping with relevant federal law. The University will provide appropriate accommodation as determined by the Director of the Counseling Center, Dr. Michael Ellison. Students must notify instructors of any permanent or temporary disabilities and must provide documentation regarding those disabilities prior to the granting of an accommodation. For assistance, students should consult with Dr. Ellison at mellison@txwes.edu or via phone at (817) 531-7565.


·   Course syllabi are intended to provide students with basic information concerning the course. The syllabus can be viewed as a 'blueprint' for the course; changes in the syllabus can be made and students will be informed of any substantive changes concerning examinations, the grading or attendance policies and changes in project assignments.


Unified Discrimination and Harassment Reporting (Including Title IX)


As noted in the catalog under the Unified Discrimination and Harassment Policy, Texas Wesleyan University is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and sexual harassment.  If you have experienced any such discrimination or harassment, including gender- or sex-based forms, know that help and support are available from the following resources:

  Complete online incident report at https://txwes.edu/incident-report-form/

  Contact Campus Conduct Hotline (24 hours a day): (866) 943-5787

  Campus security (24 hours a day): (817) 531-4911

  Dean of Students: deanofstudents@txwes.edu OR (817) 531-4872

  Please be aware that all Texas Wesleyan University employees, other than designated confidential resources (i.e., Community Counseling Center) are required to report credible evidence of prohibited discrimination or harassment to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or to one of the Title IX Assistant Coordinators.  If you wish to speak to someone confidentially, please contact the Community Counseling Center at (817) 531-4859 to schedule an appointment.


Note: Course syllabi are intended to provide students with basic information concerning the course. The syllabus can be viewed as a “blueprint” for the course; changes in the syllabus can be made and students will be informed of any substantive changes concerning examinations, the grading or attendance policies and changes in project assignments.



Writing for this course should employ standard academic formatting—double spaced, typed—with citations following either MLA or Chicago style—this latter style is required if you are a history major.  If you need help with this see the guides on the links page of the class website, the Wesleyan library or the instructor.  Correct use of source information and citations is assumed on the college level.  Failure to cite or format in the appropriate style will result in a lower grade.  See Grading Guidelines on the class webpage for specific grading criteria regarding written work. 


Statement of Understanding:


As a professional, I follow the American or western model of higher education.  According to this model the instructor encourages the students to think critically.  This is not merely the expression of an opinion, but well-thought, structured and supported arguments.  Do not be surprised if I voice an unconventional argument—particularly as we relate much of the course content to current events.  My purpose is not to express my own opinion but to challenge you to think critically about the topics being considered.  If you find yourself offended by something said in the classroom, consider than in the Humanities and Social Sciences “Truth” is at best elusive and tolerance essential. 


A valid method of instruction that has been used in the east and west for centuries, since 500 BCE, was founded in Greece; the Socratic method is based on rhetorical argumentation.  Rhetorical argument, in the classical sense, means the following: to inform, to convince, to explore, to make decisions, and even to meditate, as odd that may sound.  Although arguments may at times “pique” you emotionally, as an educated person you must learn to weigh ideas and use logic and not emotion to counter the argument.  Scholars of pedagogy agree that we learn best when we are confronted with a problem or, put another way, when we are humbled or taken out of our comfort zones; this, by the way, is the essence of the term offendere.  Therefore you should not consider a critique from me or anyone else in the class to be a negative attack or an occasion for anger and vengeance, but an opportunity for critical thought and reflection.  Moreover, and most importantly, education requires us to be tolerant of ideas that we may not understand and to consider values that we do not embrace.  Tolerance means that we allow others to believe a certain way even though we do not believe it; it does not mean that we have to embrace that belief.  If, however, we do not open our minds enough to understand ideas that we might disagree with, then we all will live in shallow, ignorant worlds of like minds and never come to agreement about anything except among people who thing just like us.  The latter is not characteristic of a university and as a member of Wesleyan’s academic community, I assume that you agree. 


I respect students who respect learning, so please do not show disrespect to me or your fellow students by asking to submit papers late or by asking for extra credit when you couldn’t meet the credit standards laid out in this syllabus.  Also, if you turn in writing that does not meet the standards set for class, you will receive the grade you deserve.  That grade does not reflect anything personal; it is strictly a professional assessment of academic work.  I have many years of experience on the university level, so I am fully aware of how to score historical writing.  Although I am always happy to explain why you earned a particular grade on an assignment, please think carefully before asking me to change a grade; to do so is tantamount to asking me to undermine the integrity and professional standards to which I try to adhere.  It is also an insult to the students who earned a higher grade.  I will protect the students who earned those grades. 


My Goal in teaching this class is that you develop an understanding of the history of ancient Greece and Rome from multiple perspectives.  In our class, ideas will hold precedence over facts, dates, and the like.  History is NOT about memorization of factual information but a discipline that analyzes, interprets and creates an account of the past.  It is important that you consider the classroom an open forum for discussion—of anything related to the themes and topics of the course.  (Of course, any argument—whether spoken or written—must be supported.)  While I (or other students) may challenge beliefs/perspectives, realize that the purpose is not to change them.  That said, an open/tolerant attitude is essential in this class.  Remember—this is a college course where you ought to be able to discuss things openly and intelligently.  If you choose to be intolerant and interrupt class discussion, I reserve the right to you to leave the classroom.


As a goal, historians strive to be objective.  Therefore, for the purposes of this class regarding the religious and political beliefs that are held by the various groups we will examine, all are equally valid.  That is, while faith and organized religion as well as political beliefs certainly affected the period, we will avoid arguments that suggest one group or religion has any more claim to absolute “Truth” than another.



Book Review Format (please consult the book review rubric: https://lat.taskstream.com/rubricExternal/awcwcscwcyc2cqct)


1.       5-6 pages typewritten, double-spaced.  Title page, if used, does NOT count.  Observe the normal rules of writing such as standard one-inch margins, page numbering, etc. 

2.       Full bibliographic citation on the title page or at the top of the first page.  (Consult an MLA or Chicago style guide if you’ve forgotten how to do this.  Do NOT make up your own form.)

3.       Brief introduction to the topic or subject of the book.  Why is this topic or subject important to the period of history being covered?

4.       Summarize the author’s thesis (argument) and main points concisely but fully.  (What do you think the author is trying to accomplish by writing the book?)

5.       Briefly say something regarding the author’s qualifications.

6.       Critique the book.  (What you’re doing is analogous to what happens in a courtroom. Consider yourself the judge and the author a lawyer who has presented an argument/case.  It’s up to you, having read his/her argument/case to decide whether or not her claims have validity.)  Based on your answer to #4 do you find his/her arguments and conclusions convincing?  How does s/he do in terms of accomplishing his purpose for writing?  Do not walk fences or resort to elementary tactics such as pleading ignorance.  (This should be about one-half of your paper.)

(6a. If the book is a work of literature, you’ll still consider what the author is trying to accomplish, but you’ll need to think about what the work says about the time period or place in which it’s set, the characters, the environment, etc.  For example, you’d look at it the same way an historian would look at More’s Utopia or possibly Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Those works are good literature but say a lot about the time period in which they were written.)

7.       While a review does not usually include the readers own opinion, you may provide a brief personal evaluation of no more than one paragraph.  Be sure to explain and support your opinion carefully and coherently.  At this point in your academic career, you ought to have an informed opinion.  “Informed” suggests that you’re offering specific evidence as to how and why you agree or disagree.

8.       This is not a research paper, so formal footnoting is not necessary.  If you do quote or draw on information that is not your own, simply use a parenthetical reference according to Turabian/Chicago style. 

9.       Papers which are turned in after the time they are due will be penalized one letter grade for each day.  No papers which are more than four days late will be accepted.  If you or someone close to you is looking like they’re coming down with the latest disease or that they might need emergency surgery, turn it in early.  If you want mercy or grace, see above.


Research Paper Format


1.       7-11 pages typewritten, double-spaced.  Title page, if used, does NOT count.  Observe the normal rules of writing (using either MLA or Chicago style; the latter is required of History majors) such as standard one inch margins, page numbering, etc.  (Consult an MLA handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style. 

2.       Begin with an overview of your specific topic.  Then move into a discussion of your argument/thesis.  Explain it carefully and concisely.  This should be about 1-2 pages.

3.       The bulk of your paper will be a presentation of your sources/evidence and how they support your argument.  Specifically, which of the documents will you be using to support your argument and how?  Remember that while secondary sources are important, the strongest arguments are based on primary sources.  You should also consider which of the other sources might possibly refute your thesis and how you will address such conflicts.  4-7 pages should be about right.

4.       Next you will want to consider if your argument/thesis has already been considered by historians.  (It’s unlikely, nor it is expected that you will come up with something original.)  Who are these historians, when did they write, and what were their conclusions?  How does your thesis differ from theirs (if at all)?

5.       Conclusion.

6.       When you quote or draw on information that is not your own, use either Chicago (History majors) or MLA style.  (Consult a guide if you’ve forgotten—DO NOT make up your own style of formatting.)

7.       Late papers are penalized one letter grade per day after the due date. No papers which are more than four days late will be accepted.


Tentative Class Topic and Reading Schedule
            (This schedule may change based on the learning needs of the class.  Check the website periodically for updates/changes.)


Aug 21

Course Introduction




Myth and the Ancient Near East

Readings: Winks 1; Bailkey 1.1, 1.2; The Myth-making Outlook of the Ancient Near East



Aug 28


Babylon and Hammurabi

Readings: Winks 1; Bailkey 1.3, 1.4





Readings: Winks 1 ; Bailkey 1.5, 1.6, 1.8, 1.9, 1.11, 1.12, 1.13



Sept 4

Persia and Israel

Readings: Winks 1; Bailkey 1.10, 1.14, 1.15



Sept 11

Mycenae and Archaic Greece

Readings: Winks 2; Bailkey 2.16, 2.17, 2.18, 2.19



Sept 18

The Rise of Sparta and Athens

Readings: Winks 2; Bailkey 2.20, 2.21, 2.22, 2.23; Xenophon, “A Spartan Childhood”, “The Role of an Athenian Wife”




Greek Unity and the Persian Wars


Readings: Winks 2; Strauss, Battle of Salamis; Bailkey 2.24; “Pursuit of Excellence”; Sophocles, “Antigone”



Sept 25

The Peloponnesian War

Readings: Winks 2; Bailkey 2.25, 2.26, 2.27


Classical Athens

Readings: Winks; Bailkey 2.28, 2.29



Oct 2

The Philosophical Legacy of Classical Greece

Readings: Winks 2; Bailkey 2.30, 2.31, 2.32, 2.33



Oct 9

Midterm Exam Due @7pm




Oct 9

Alexander the Great and the Spread of Hellenistic Culture

Readings: Winks 2; Bailkey 2.34, 3.35, 3.37, 3.43, 3.44, 3.46



Oct 16

The Rise of Rome: Monarchy to Republic

Roman Republican Values

Readings: Winks 3; Bailkey 4.48, 4.49, 4.50, 4.51



Oct 23

Growth and the Punic Wars

Readings: Winks 3; Bailkey 4.55, Livy, “The Second Punic War”



Oct 30

The End of the Roman Republic

Readings: Winks 3; Bailkey 4.53, 4.54, 4.60, 4.61, 4.62, 5.64A; Sallust, Catiline’s War, The Jugurthine War, Histories; Dio Cassius, “In Defense of Caesar and Monarchy



Nov 6

The Roman Empire

Augustan Reforms and the Imperial Administration

Readings: Winks 3; Bailkey 5.63, 5.64, 5.73, 5.74; Plutarch, “Dialogue on Love”


The Pax Romana

Readings: Winks 3; Bailkey 5.65, 5.68, 5.69, 5.72



Nov 13

Diocletian Constantine and The Fall of Rome

Readings: Winks 3; Bailkey 6.78, 6.79, 6.80






Readings: Winks 3; Bailkey 6.83



Nov 27

Early Christianity

Readings: Winks 4; Bailkey 6.75, 6.76, 6.77, 6.81, 6.82



Dec 4

Rome’s Legacy

Readings: Winks 4; Bailkey 6.84, 6.85, 6.86, 6.87



Dec 11

Final Exam Due @7pm