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COURSE NAME: "Introduction to the History of Ancient Greece"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Massimo Betello
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM 5:45 PM

This course examines the history of Ancient Greece from the Archaic Age to the Age of Alexander, the seventh through fourth centuries B.C.E. Focus will be on the rise of Athens and Sparta as the most influential city states in Greece; the development of their respective political, military and social systems; and the causes of the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War that paved the way for the rise of Macedon and domination of the Greek world, first under Philip II, and then his son, Alexander the Great, until his death in 323 B.C.E.  Readings in translation will include Herodotus, Aristophanes, Plato, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plutarch.

The objective of this course is to survey the history of Ancient Greece, from its Bronze Age prehistory, through the Greek victory over the Persians, to the Macedonian domination and consequences of the death of Alexander the Great. Throughout this course we will explore some of the major issues in Greek history: we will use both recent scholarly discussions (and videos) and primary sources, but also artistic, archaeological and epigraphic materials.


- identify the main events, fact, characters,and geographical places of Ancient Greek history
- compare and contrast the functions and powers of the poleis and states that  made up Ancient Greece
- explain the significance of selected archeological, epigraphic, numismatic and literary sources of Greek history
- illustrate how Greek historians were influenced in their creation of Greek history
- critically evaluate the stereotypes surrounding ancient Greece

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A Brief History of Ancient Greece (4th edition)Sarah B. Pomeroy and othersOxford University Press, [2015]9780190925338 BUY/RENT THIS BOOK ONLY THROUGH THE PLATFORM PERUSALL. NO OTHER FORMATS ARE ACCEPTED IN THIS COURSE.
Ancient Greece from Homer to Alexander : The EvidenceJoseph Roisman and J. C. YardleyJohn Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 20119781118300947 EBOOK available from JCU library

Readings and comments.The readings and videos that are part of this assessment method must be accessed from Moodle through Perusall links. Perusall.com is the online platform where these readings are to be done, and no other ways are accepted for these assignments. Readings are to be done before coming to class.5
2 testsThese short tests are intended to foster a regular study and allow the students to be ready for the major exams. Questions will test both factual knowledge (events, date, people etc.), and the comprehension of fundamental historical concepts. Format: short answers, multiple choices, true-false, identifications, map questions, fill-in-the-blanks. 20
Midterm examThe topics tested will be those of the first half of the semester.25
Final examThe topics tested will be those of the second half of the semester only30
One ProjectThe project can take the shape of either a group presentation or a paper.10
Forum DiscussionEvery couple of weeks or so, the professor will post between two and three questions on the Moodle forum of the week. 5
Class participationParticipation (in person or remotely) to the class will be also evaluated. Students are expected to participate to class discussion and to express their questions, doubts, and perplexities.5

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Up to six absences are allowed in this course without consequences. More than 6 absences regardless of the reason (that is, missing more than 20% of the course) will have you fail the course.

No justification for any absence is allowed in this course: six absences are enough to cover any event.

Only extended medical emergencies are justified absences. No other reason count as a justified absence: finger-print appointments, sickness, trips, etc. are not justified.

Absences due to lack of registration into the class at the beginning of the semester still count against the 6 absence as the student is missing parts of the course.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


1.      Introduction to the course and material.

2.      The Greek World in the Bronze Age: The Minoan-Mycenean Civilization

3.      The Dark Age of Greece and the Eight Century Renaissance

4.      Archaic Greece

5.      Sparta

6.      The Growth of Athens

7.      The Persian Wars

8.      The Growth of Athenian Democracy

9.      Greece on the Eve of the Peloponnesian War

10.  The Peloponnesian War Part I,

11.  The Peloponnesian War Part II,

12.  The Crisis of the Polis and the Age of Shifting

13.  Philip II and the Rise of Macedon

14.  Alexander the Great

15.  Alexander's Successors and the Cosmopolis