Human and Environment in Greco-Roman Antiquity

CLCV 327/ ESPN 249 (10) COLL 300

Spring 2018

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Course Description and Objectives


Course Description:

The Greek thinker Protagoras had famously remarked that “Man is the Measure of all things”—thus, the Greeks had, on some intellectual level, banished the “natural” world from their self-conception. Nonetheless, every human society must interact with the physical surroundings, each other, and other organisms, both animal and plant. In this course we shall investigate the ecology of the ancient Greco-Roman Mediterranean world. We shall explore the interaction of humans with the physical environment and their dependence upon it, including questions of climate, how human activity impacted the natural world, species loss, ancient initiatives to address these changes, and the long-term effects of human influence on the landscape.

Course Objectives:

This course carries the COLL 300 attribute.

“COLL 300 connects you with people, places, and ideas that lift you out of your familiar surroundings and deepen the way you see yourself in the world. It asks you to use your knowledge, your emerging expertise in framing questions, and your communication skills to engage the world in a self-reflective, cross-cultural way. ... This designated course will address the Spring 2018 theme of SUSTAINABILITY, and it is organized around a special series of lectures by W&M faculty, visiting scholars, artists, and public intellectuals.”

The COLL 300 theme for Spring 2018 is SUSTAINABILITY, a theme which is at the very heart of ecology—and this theme works on two levels in our topic: