Greece in the Classical Age: 490 to 323 B.C.


This is a one-semester course.

One of the great periods in all of human history was the Classical Age in Greece, when the Greeks developed so much of what is significant in the modern world: democracy, trial by jury, the rule of law, philosophy, the concept and writing of history, and mathematics, as well as the theater, with comedy and tragedy. These were the years of the preeminence of Athens with the building program of Pericles on the Acropolis and the victory of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War, followed by the rise of the Macedonian monarchy led by Philip and Alexander. In this course we will explore many of the achievements, major events, and outstanding figures of this period.

The design of this course is to develop in students a fundamental understanding of the ancient Greeks so that they can readily absorb and make sense of the details of Greek history. We will not spend a lot of time on specific battles, but students will learn how battles were fought—and that is not how Hollywood depicts them in films. We will look at the strategies and thinking that motivated different polities and factions in the Greek world. We will focus on the things that made Sparta unique among the Greeks, as well as on the strategy that Athens developed to make it preeminent in the fifth century. We will focus on understanding the Peloponnesian Wars rather than on refighting them. We will address the issue of how we know what we know about the Greeks and such questions as how we can weigh the veracity of the written sources. At bottom we believe that history should be fun and fascinating, not dry and boring, and we will try to convey the intellectual excitement that can be found in exploring a period as important as Greece in the Classical Age.




Thomas M. Kemnitz

Class Details

Live Class: Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m. ET

Duration: One semester: January 14 to May 18

For Ages:
Any child age ten or older with a college-level reading ability should be able to do well in this course.

Student Expectations:
There will be reading and questions each week; student assignments will be due prior to the next class.

Student Support:
Teacher is available by email.

Weekly assessment of student work

The Word Within the Word I, color edition PURCHASE THIS BOOK


Approximate weekly time allotment:
Three to four hours a week in addition to the live class time