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CLASSICS 4MR3 TheMyth&RealityOfTroy

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Kathryn Mattison


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 705

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24577

Office Hours: Monday 10:30-11:30

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to allow students to investigate the complex relationship that the Greek and Roman cultures had with the ancient and mythical city of Troy.  Trojans sit at the intersection between self and other, and are therefore seminal in the creation and propagation of identity for both the Greeks and Romans.  We will examine the archaeological remains of the city itself, then perform a close reading of key texts by Greek and Roman authors to answer some central questions, including: what is the relationship between the ‘real’ city and its representation in Greek literature?  What is the appeal of Troy to the Romans?  How does the treatment of the Trojan myth by Roman authors affect its transmission to modern times?   

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

All readings are available as PDF documents on this course’s Avenue page

Method of Assessment:

Class participation                                                                   10%

Since this is a seminar, you are expected to attend class having read the assigned readings and prepared to discuss them. Each class will typically begin with a brief lecture on the material to be discussed that period, and will then open up to discussion.  You will get out of this class as much as you are willing to put into it.  Do not be afraid to offer your opinions on the readings, even if they differ from others expressed in class.  Academic work depends on open, respectful discussion and differing views.  On presentation days, class will begin with student presentations.  Be prepared to listen attentively and offer your classmates feedback and questions on their work.

Presentation                                                                             15%

There is a sign-up sheet for presentation topics and dates.  The deadline for signing up for a topic and presentation date is January 30.  The presentation should be a reflection of the research you have done for the paper and the manner in which you have chosen to proceed with your topic. 

Presentations should be between 10 and 15 minutes long.  Prepare carefully: you will be cut off at 15 minutes to allow time for discussion and other presentations that day.    

Annotated bibliography (Due in class Feb. 13)                      10%

The annotated bibliography must include all bibliographical information for each entry and notes for each entry. The notes must include: 1) a brief summary of the source, and 2) a brief assessment of the source.  The assessment can include answering such questions as: 1) does it seem like a current and reliable source? 2) how does it fit your paper topic? 3) is it a general or specific source? (a general source is not necessarily a bad thing) 4) has the source helped you to clarify or refine your thoughts on the topic?  How so?   

Paper (Due in class March 27)                                               30%    

The paper must be between 12 and 18 pages in length.  It should be a reflection both of the source material that is appropriate for your topic and your engagement with that material.  You should clearly present your argument in the introduction and present evidence from both primary and secondary sources to support your argument.  The final product is expected to be polished, well-organized, clearly expressed, and (of course) entirely your own work.

Final Exam  (Date TBA)                                                         35%


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

The annotated bibliography is due in class on Monday, February 13th.  It is strongly recommended that you discuss your topic with me well in advance.  Late submission will result in a mark deduction of 5% per day (the weekend counts as two days) unless you provide appropriate documentation of serious illness or grievous personal distress. 

The paper is due in class on Monday, March 27th.  Late submission will result in a mark reduction of 5% per day (the weekend counts as two days), and papers will only be accepted until Thursday, April 2nd at 3pm.  After that, a mark of zero will be assigned to any outstanding paper.  Extensions will be granted only to students who make an arrangement with me before Thursday, March 16th.  Should you wish to negotiate for an extension, be prepared to provide a legitimate reason; general end of term busyness is not sufficient.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

January 9  Introduction


January 16  Archaeology of Troy


“Introduction”  Joachim Latacz. Troy and Homer. Towards a Solution of an Old Mystery. (K. Windle and R. Ireland, trans). Oxford 2004.

“The Early Bronze Age: Troy I” Carl W. Blegen Troy and the Trojans. London 1963.


January 23  Trojan Surroundings; Iconography


“The Kingdom of Priam” Trevor Bryce The Trojans and their Neighbours. New York 2006.

“Excerpts from the Trojan War” Susan Woodford The Trojan War in Ancient Art. London 1993.


January 30  Homer (Deadline to sign up for presentation/paper topics)


“Book 3” & “Book 6” Homer Iliad (Stanley Lombardo, trans.). Indianapolis 1997

Book 3; Book 6


February 6  Homer


“Book 7” & “Book 12” & “Book 22” Homer Iliad (Stanley Lombardo, trans.)

Book 7; Book 12; Book 22


February 13  Homer  *Annotated Bibliography Due In Class*


“Book 24” Homer Iliad (Stanley Lombardo, trans.)

Book 24

“Homer and the Archaic Age” Andrew Erskine Troy Between Greece and Rome. Oxford 2001


February 27  Greek Tragedy


“Rhesus” Euripides Rhesus (Richmond Lattimore, trans.). Chicago 1958.


March 6  Greek Tragedy


“The Trojan Women” Euripides Trojan Women (Richmond Lattimore, trans.)

“Athenians and Trojans” Casey Dué The Captive Woman’s Lament in Greek Tragedy. Austin 2006.


March 13  From Greece to Rome


“Book II” & “Book III” Virgil Aeneid (Stanley Lombardo, trans.). Indianapolis 2005.

Book 2; Book 3


March 20  Presentations; Virgil


“Book VI” & “Book XII” Virgil Aeneid (Stanley Lombardo, trans.)

Book 6; Book 12

“Romanitas” Yasmin Syed Vergil’s Aeneid  and the Roman Self.  Subject and Nation in Literary Discourse. Ann Arbor 2005.


March 27   *Papers Due In Class*; Presentations; Seneca


“Trojan Women” Seneca Trojan Women (Frederick Ahl, trans.). Ithaca 1986.


April 3  Presentations; Reception


“From the Classical Tradition” Lorna Hardwick Reception Studies. Cambridge 2003.

Eric Shanower Age of Bronze