Classical Studies 28 = History 28
The Worlds of Late Antiquity
Fall 1994

          `To see what has become self-evident as
          something that was not originally self-evident
          is the task of all historical reflection.'
                Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age

                                                Tuesday/Thursday 12:00-1:15
                                                                  Towne 309
                                                             J.J. O'Donnell
                                  Office:  710 Williams (M/Th. 10:30-11:45)

This course will explore the communities of the late antique
Mediterranean and European worlds.  The center of attention will be
the Italian peninsula during the sixth century, but lectures and
discussions will range over a period from roughly 200 to 800 A.D.

Classroom lectures will be supplemented by discussion on an e-mail
list, "".  In order to participate in this
discussion, you must have an e-mail account.  An attached page   
gives instructions for getting such an account.  Participation in
this discussion is required.

Course Requirements:

  1.   Assigned readings for discussion by e-mail.  As term begins,
there are some shortages in available copies of texts.  Accordingly
reading assignments will be announced in class and posted on the
gopher/WWW servers.  First text will be Ammianus Marcellinus (n.b.
copies on bookstore shelves both for this course and for Classical 
Studies 145).  Read pp. 1-233 by 15 Sept., pp. 234-433 by 22 Sept.

  2.  Mid-term examination on the text of Roger Collins, Early
Medieval Europe (St. Martin's Press paperback).  Examination at the
usual class hour and usual room on 8 November.

  2.  Write two short analytical papers (may be studies of
individual works of late antique literature or of modern
scholarship) for distribution on the course e-mail list by
specified dates. These papers will be thus "published" and will be
subject to discussion by the whole class.  First paper due on the
network before class on 18 October.  Second paper due on the
network before class on 6 December.

  3.  Final Examination:  Wednesday, 21 December, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Will cover all assigned texts (see next page).

            Assigned Texts available at University Bookstore

  Ammianus Marcellinus The Later Roman Empire (Penguin paperback)
  Augustine, Confessions (Doubleday paperback)
  Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy  (Penguin paperback)
  Cassiodorus, Variae (U. Penn. Press paperback)
  Brown, Peter, The Body and Society (Columbia U. paperback)
  Lane Fox, Robin, Pagans and Christians (Harper paperback)

                             Assigned Papers

You will write two 6-10 page essays for this course.  Bibliography
for readings that may lead to suitable topics may be found on the
course's WWW server.  There are several important points to be kept
in mind.

  1.  One paper must deal chiefly with a late antique primary
     source; one paper must deal chiefly with a modern
     critic/interpreter of the late antique world.  No paper may
     deal chiefly with any of the seven books required for the
  2.  All papers will be submitted by transmission to the e-mail list; accordingly they will be
     "published" to the whole class, and you will all be expected
     to read all of them and to be prepared to discuss them.
  3.  Accordingly, a privileged form of second paper, dealing with
     a modern critic/interpreter of the late antique world, will be
     one that takes up a paper written by another student in the
     class and deals with it intelligently, responsibly,
     thoughtfully, carrying the discussion forward, perhaps
     disagreeing, perhaps supplementing on the basis of further
     reading as well.  Remember, such papers will also be published
     to the whole class and hence read by the author of the
     original paper.
Papers are judged, like other parts of this course, for attention
to detail, lucidity of thought, and clarity and correctness of
expression.  But a very large part of a good paper is a good paper
topic.  What makes a good paper?
  1. Asking a good question.  To do this, you must have

   already read around in the material and thought seriously
     about it.
  2. Refining the question to make it lead to a good paper.
     A 6-10 page paper can't answer all life's questions at once.
     Focus the question, narrow it down.  I much prefer that you do
     something small well than do something large poorly.  
  3.  Make sure that you have the materials and the skills to  
     write the paper.  If all the materials you need are in
     Ukrainian, make sure you know Ukrainian!  On a more mundane
     level, don't assume that all the books you will need are going
     to be lying there in the library the night before the paper is
     due.  Better to plan ahead for a good topic and make sure you
     have good materials than to have to change your topic at the
     last minute to suit available materials.
  4.  Outline -- REVISE! -- Use the spell-checker!  -- THEN