Greece and Italy: An Artistic and Literary Odyssey

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 75
Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Compare offerings and share your lists with others.

Taught by

Andrew Reece
classical art and literature
2020 Krotscheck, Ulrike
classics, archaeology

Classical Greece and Rome and Renaissance Italy made some of the Western world's most extraordinary contributions to the written word and the visual arts. These accomplishments continue to captivate artists and thinkers, giving them models and standards to admire, emulate, struggle against, or reject—but rarely to ignore. We will study the texts and monuments of ancient Greece, from the Bronze Age to the Roman period, and Italy, especially Rome and Florence, from the Etruscan period through the 16th century. We will read authors including Homer, Sappho, Virgil, Dante, and Petrarch; artists we study will include Phidias, Praxiteles, Giotto, and Michelangelo. Throughout the program, we will also learn about modern rediscoveries and reinterpretations of these periods. 

In fall, we will investigate the rise of the Greek polis, or city-state, from the ashes of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, as well as that of the Etruscans in what is now Tuscany. In addition to reading primary source materials, we will study the surviving architecture, sculpture, painting, and pottery. Students will have the option of studying ancient Greek or Latin language, or learning digital photography. In winter, our focus will be on the Roman appropriation of Greek art and thought and the later Florentine rediscovery and interpretation of the Classical past. We'll study how the Italians drew on the ideas of classical literature and learning as the basis for revolutions both in artistic practices and the conception of humanity. Greek and Latin students will continue learning the languages, while the photography students will move on to film. In spring - which had been designated as a study-abroad quarter before the pandemic began to intensify in the fall - we will resume our study of Greek and Italian art and literature that we were unable to consider in the first two quarters, as well as to learn more about how modern writers, artists, and scholars have understood and reacted to them.

Throughout the program, students will interpret the texts and monuments in essays, and their mastery of the historical contexts and artistic styles will be strengthened and assessed in written exams. In winter and spring, original research projects will help us reach a new level of understanding of an aspect of our study of special interest to each of us. Participants in the language and photography electives will share their work. 

To successfully participate in this program fall quarter, students will need access to a computer with a functioning camera and microphone, and reliable high-speed internet. Students will also need books, notebooks, pens and good will and humor in these uncertain times along with a willingness to experiment with learning remotely. Students can expect our remote teaching to be around 10 hours of synchronous (scheduled) coursework per week, using Zoom and Canvas, in addition to at least 24 hours for preparation and completion of assignments. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous participation if conditions require.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

The arts, humanities, education.


Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Variable Credit Options:

Students may enroll for discrete components of the program for four to twelve credits. Contact faculty for options.

Online learning:
  • Fall Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
  • Winter and Spring: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 75

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 9:00 am

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:

Fall-Spring 2022-23

2020-08-10This program is now fully remote in fall