Marc Witkin

Eve Adler Professor of Classics

 work(802) 443-5664
 Twilight Hall 213



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CLAS 0150 / CMLT 0150 - Greek and Roman Epic Poetry      

Greek and Roman Epic Poetry
Would Achilles and Hector have risked their lives and sacred honor had they understood human life and the Olympian gods as Homer portrays them in the Iliad? Why do those gods decide to withdraw from men altogether following the Trojan War, and why is Odysseus the man Athena chooses to help her carry out that project? And why, according to the Roman poet Vergil, do these gods command Aeneas, a defeated Trojan, to found an Italian town that will ultimately conquer the Greek cities that conquered Troy, replacing the Greek polis with a universal empire that will end all wars of human freedom? Through close study of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and Vergil's Aeneid, we explore how the epic tradition helped shape Greece and Rome, and define their contributions to European civilization. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. CMP EUR LIT PHL

Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

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CLAS 0152 - Greek Tragedy      

Greek Tragedy
A survey of selected tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, exploring the relation between tragedy and political freedom and empire in fifth century B.C. Athens. The course examines the tragic poets' use of traditional Greek myths to question not only the wisdom of contemporary Athenian imperialism but also traditional Greek views on relations between the sexes; between the family and the city; between man's presumed dignity and his belief in gods. Mythical and historical background is supplied through additional readings from Homer and Thucydides. The course asks how the tragedians managed to raise publicly, in the most solemn religious settings, the kind of questions for which Socrates was later put to death. The course culminates in a reading of Aristotle's Poetics. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. EUR LIT PHL

Spring 2015

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CLAS 0275 / PHIL 0275 - Greek Philosophy      

Greek Philosophy: The Problem of Socrates
Why did Socrates “call philosophy down from the heavens, set her in the cities of men and also their homes, and compel her to ask questions about life and morals and things good and evil”? Why was philosophy indifferent to man, then considered dangerous to men when it did pay attention? How was philosophy ultimately transformed by Plato and Aristotle as a consequence of the examination of human knowledge that Socrates made intrinsic to philosophy? In this course we will consider the central questions of ancient Greek philosophy from the pre-Socratics through Plato and Aristotle by focusing on what Nietzsche called "the Problem of Socrates": why Socrates abandoned "pre-Socratic" natural science in order to examine the opinions of his fellow Athenians, and why they put him to death for corruption and impiety. Texts will include selected fragments of the pre-Socratics and sophists, works of Aristophanes, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle , and Nietzsche. 3 hrs. lect disc. EUR LIT PHL

Fall 2013

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CLAS 0420 - Seminar in Classical Lit      

Seminar in Classical Literature: The Humanism of Herodotus
Herodotus (485-424 BC), “the Father of History,” is also regarded as the first sociologist and ethnographer. The plan and argument of his work, however, including its many fantastic stories, disclose a philosophic intention that resists easy categorization. Herodotus’ subject is the “Greek miracle”: how the tiny and fractious cities of Greece took concerted action against the overwhelming might of the Persian kings who invaded Greece in 490 and 479 BC. The story of this unlikely triumph of political freedom and limited government over despotic empire is told against the background of the Afro-Asiatic origins of Greek civilization, which Herodotus uncovers in wide-ranging investigations of the customs and religions of Greece, Lydia, Media, Persia, Egypt, Libya, and Scythia. In this seminar we will pursue a close reading of Herodotus in translation; the seminar is open to all students with some previous background in Greek and/or Roman literature. 3 hrs. sem. EUR LIT

Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2018

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CLAS 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
(Approval required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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CLAS 0505 - Ind Senior Project      

(Approval Required)

Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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CLAS 0700 - Sr Essay Classics/Cy      

Senior Essay for Classics/Classical Studies Majors
(Approval required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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CLAS 1001 - Thucydides' Peloponnesian War      

Thucydides’ /Peloponnesian War/: History, Poetry, and Philosophy in Fifth-Century Athens
Athens and Sparta fought a fratricidal war during the last quarter of the fifth century B.C., and Thucydides’ account of it is our most important source for knowledge about Greece during that period. While Thucydides emphasizes his concern for facts, he admits he invented all of the speeches he attributes to historical persons in his narrative; he never calls himself an “historian” in our sense of the term.  He compares himself favorably to the poet Homer, while making a claim that is arguably philosophic: no one need write up any future human event, Thucydides says, because his account of the Peloponnesian War reveals what will happen everywhere and always, as long as human nature remains the same.  Through a close reading of Thucydides’ text, we will examine the interrelation of history, poetry, and philosophy in the ancient Greek setting in which these disciplines first came to be distinguished in the West.  EUR HIS PHL WTR

Winter 2016

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GREK 0102 - Beginning Greek II      

Beginning Greek II
This course completes the introductory course offered in Winter Term and will conclude with a reading of Plato's dialogue, Ion. 6 hrs. lect. LNG

Spring 2014, Spring 2016

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GREK 0301 - Readings in Greek Literature I      

Readings in Greek Literature I
Readings in major authors. 3 hrs. lect. LIT LNG

Fall 2015

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GREK 0401 - Adv Readings Greek Lit I      

Advanced Readings in Greek Literature: Homer's /Iliad/
Readings in major authors. 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2014

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GREK 0402 - Adv Readings Greek Literature      

Advanced Readings in Greek Literature II: Greek Cosmology–Hesiod and Plato
Readings in major authors. 3 hrs. lect.

Spring 2015

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LATN 0502 - Advanced Readings in Latin IV      

Advanced Readings in Latin IV: Flavian Literature
Readings in major authors. 3 hrs lect.

Spring 2015

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LITS 0701 - Independent Reading Course      

Independent Reading Course
Intended for majors in literary studies preparing for the senior comprehensive examinations. At the conclusion of this course, students will take a one-hour oral examination (part of the senior comprehensive examination) in a specialization of their choice. (Approval Required) (Staff)

Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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Eve Adler Department of Classics

Twilight Hall
50 Franklin Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

fax 802-443-2077