Cameron Hawkins  |  University of Rochester


Ancient History / Classical Civilization

Introduction to Classical Antiquity (with N. Gresens) (CLA 101)

This course provides an introduction to the ancient Greek and Roman worlds and to the varied disciplinary approaches that inform our study of classical antiquity. Students will explore touchstones in the literature, mythology, history, art, and archaeology of ancient Greece and Rome; these include the Trojan War, the Olympic Games, Athenian culture in the age of democracy, the rise and fall of Rome’s empire, the violence of the Colosseum, and the emergence of Christianity. In the process, students will become familiar with key aspects of Greek and Roman culture while learning about how we in the modern world construct our knowledge of the past.

History of the Ancient Roman World (CLA 121 / HIS 121)

In this course, we will survey some of the major problems in Roman History, with particular emphasis on the period between the third century BCE and the second century CE (that is, the period in which the city of Rome became the capital of an expanding and multicultural empire).  We will explore how the development and articulation of Roman imperial power during this period affected not only the ancient world's political life, but also its demography, its economy, and its culture.  Considerable attention will be devoted to questions of method:  how do we answer questions about the Roman past?


Ancient History / Classical Civilization

Ancient Greek and Roman Historiography (CLA 220 / HIS 296)

This course will provide a survey of the most important historical writers of the Greek and Roman world. We will read extensive selections from their work in translation, and discuss both the development of historiography as a literary genre and the development of history as a discipline in the ancient world. Finally, we will consider the implications these findings hold for our ability to use the works of Greek and Roman historical writers in our own efforts to construct narratives of the past.

The Greeks and the Persian Empire (CLA 224 / HIS 2xx)

From the mid sixth century BCE until the end of the fourth century BCE, Greek city-states engaged repeatedly in warfare, diplomacy, and cultural exchange with the vast Persian Empire.  In this course we will explore what the ancient evidence can tell us about episodes of such engagement, and about the ways in which these episodes shaped the historical development of both the Persian Empire and the Greek world.  All sources will be read in English translation.


Ancient History / Classical Civilization

History of the Ancient Greek World (CLA 120 / HIS 120)

This course will introduce students to key problems in the study of ancient Greece.  The course will begin with the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations of the late Bronze Age and will end with the Hellenistic kingdoms that emerged after the death of Alexander the Great, and will consider select topics in political, social, and cultural history.  Considerable attention will be devoted to questions of method:  how do we answer questions about the Greek past?

Alexander the Great (CLA 123 / HIS 199)

This course provides both a survey of the career of Alexander the Great and an introduction to the historiographical traditions (ancient and modern) that shape our understanding of his legacy. We will focus primarily on two clusters of problems. First, we will examine what Alexander's career can tell us about the dynamics of ancient empires. Second, we will grapple with the interpretative challenges generated by our sources, which consist largely of literary accounts produced by authors who wrote long after Alexander's own lifetime and who relied on earlier texts that no longer survive.

Economy and Society in Classical Antiquity (CLA 221 / HIS 283)

In this course we will explore the nature and development of Greek and Roman economies, the ways in which these economies intersected with social and political structures, and the strategies of men and women who lived in them. We will devote considerable attention to issues of methodology: what questions should we ask about ancient economic life, and with what evidence can we answer them?  All sources will be read in English translation.

Slavery in Classical Antiquity (CLA 222 / CLT 222 / HIS 291)

In this course we will explore Greek and Roman slavery by discussing a series of specific problems:  the historical origins of slavery in ancient Greece and Rome; the ideologies constructed by slaveholders to justify enslavement and control their slaves; the nature of master—slave relationships and the ways in which factors like a slave's gender and education affected the social and economic realities of these relationships; and the extent to which slaves could realistically hope for manumission.  We will also devote considerable time to a basic problem of method:  given that much of our evidence reflects the views of the slaveholding elite, is it possible to reconstruct the experiences of slaves themselves?  All sources will be read in English translation.

War and Society in Classical Antiquity (CLA 223 / HIS 237)

In this course we will study the interplay between warfare and the political, social, and economic structures of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. We will explore motivations for and ideologies of armed conflict, the impact of war on political and cultural development, the evolution of tactics and strategy, and the effects of hegemonic and imperial expansion on both the conquerors and the conquered. The course readings will incorporate foundational modern perspectives, but will emphasize ancient sources.  All ancient sources will be read in English translation.

Greek / Latin

Xenophon (CGR 221)

In this course, we will read extensive selections from Xenophon’s Anabasis.  We will also devote class time to discussions of Xenophon’s contribution to the development of historiography as a literary genre, and to discussions of the text’s value as a source for questions related to the social and military history of the ancient Greek world.

Herodotus (CGR 222)

This course offers students an opportunity to develop their skills as readers of Classical Greek by studying excerpts from the work of Herodotus — both the oldest piece of extended prose narrative to survive from the Ancient Greek world, and a text that became a model for later Greek authors interested in the systematic exploration of history.  The course will focus heavily on translation, but it will also feature key works of modern scholarship designed to foster contemplation and discussion about both historiography in general and Herodotus’ approach to history in particular.

Courses - Ancient History, Classical Civilization, Greek & Latin


Athens:  Ancient City, Modern Capital (with E. Jusino)

Athens is the vibrant and cosmopolitan capital of modern Greece, but it is also a city with a long past – a past which remains visible today not only in its many museums and archaeological sites, but also in its layout and architecture.  This course is a biennial travel course, scehduled over spring break, which makes use of these material remnants of the city's past to provide students with a hands-on introduction to the history of Athens and the culture of its people, ancient and contemporary.  It begins with the emergence of Athens as an independent city-state in a world of ancient Greek city-states; it touches on the city's later role as both an imperial power and as a state subjugated by larger empires; and it concludes by considering the significance of Athens to the modern Greek nation-state.

More information is available here.