CLSC 318

Greek and Roman Religion

Students examine the religions of ancient Greece and Rom and the ways in which these religious systems functioned within the context of their societies. 'Religion' meant something very different to the Greeks and Romans than it does to modern Americans: it penetrated daily life, politics and law in ways that can seem foreign to us. The course utilizes literary, archaeological and artistic evidence to understand religious practices from the time of the Greek city-states to the establishment of Christianity as the Roman state religion. Topics covered include Greek and Roman conceptions of divinity, temples and sanctuaries, rituals, personal or family religion, gender roles within ancient religion, and the existence of mystery cults. Students read both primary and secondary works to understand Greek and Roman religion as a system of 'things done' (ritual) and 'things said' (prayer, myth, etc.) and discuss the extent to which it is proper to add the phrase 'things believed.'