From the early days of film to very recent Hollywood blockbusters, ancient Greek and Roman history and culture has been a popular subject and influence for film-makers. In this freshman seminar we will watch and discuss a selection of films that depict and transform the ancient world. The selection will be quite varied (not just film "epics"), including silent film, classic Hollywood films, world cinema, and contemporary popular movies. We will think about films that retell ancient mythology, that are adaptations of ancient literature, and that are set in the Roman Empire; we will also watch films that are about making ancient-world-inspired movies. The idea is to think about these films as creative works in their own right and as modern receptions of ancient Greece and Rome. The emphasis will more on what these films can tell us about the modern world than on what these films say about antiquity.
Students will be expected to watch one film per week (available for streaming at a time of their convenience; subtitled when not in English) and think about it; the meetings will be discussion-based and the instructor will provide any necessary ancient background.