This course explores the geography, archaeology, mythology, and history of a specific region in the classical world: Thessaly, Greece. Together, we will discuss ancient texts and modern analyses in order to obtain a greater understanding of the region’s character and the unique culture it had, which differs it from the other areas in Greece. We believe that by avoiding the common survey-course method of many university-offered classes and instead providing a hyper-focused course on one area of the ancient world, the student can feel like they’ve done more than scratch the surface of the field, and that there is far more to read into and study than what the average person imagines when thinking of the traditionally “Classical” realm. Our reason for exploring all these different facets of one area also play into our hope that you, the student, will get to experience some part of each of the many fields which cover the study of ancient history. Perhaps you may find yourself drawn to the pages of a story containing wondrous and unbelievable things such as snakes laying their eggs in a man’s ear and giving him the ability to understand the language of all the animals. Perhaps you may be most comfortable brushing the dust off old maps and charting the course of ancient heroes, arguing the location of the places they visited based on the most minuscule details. Or perhaps your home is in the trenches we have dug into the land all over the Mediterranean, along with all the other archaeologists pulling out sherds and shattered bones from the wreckage, attempting to discern what really happened back then. Only time will tell, and perhaps this class may help. *No prerequisites*
One of our goals with this class is to read a wide variety of material, ranging from geographical descriptions given by Strabo to modern papers discussing some of the ancient sites he could go and visit, which we now only have the ruins of. But do not despair, for we will also be reading interesting narratives and myths provided by authors, including Pseudo Apollodorus and his Library. All texts will be provided in PDF form or in a link (NO MATERIALS WILL NEED TO BE PURCHASED FOR THIS CLASS). While we’ll only be reading selections from these works, you are encouraged to read further on your own outside of the class in order to pursue the parts of Thessaly which most interest you.