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English 2350: Backgrounds of Western Literature

Fall 2018: Section 010 @ 8 TR, OAG 112
The Rise & Fall of Athens in Golden Age Drama:
From Ephialtes to Socrates

Ed Tober, Assistant Professor
Department of English and Languages
Office Hours: MWF 9:30-11:30  

Course Description.

Professor Tober's ENGLISH 2350 will introduce students to and rehearse them in textual, contextual, and intertextual strategies for thematically analyzing and interpreting classical Greek literature as an artifact of Athenian socio-cultural history, especially re The Peloponnesian War. 

Course Requirements.


Daily assignments must be concluded on time and in class for credit--period--so do not give/send me any "excuses," as no class assignments are ever individually waived. Grades on daily assignments are, for the most part, quantitative; that is, a grade of  means that all aspects of the assignment were completed with a reasonable level of relevance and detail. A grade other than √ reflects a relative level of incompleteness, and a zero means you were not present to do that day's classwork (since attendance is mandatory). Your daily grade will be computed using the following rubric:

From the 100 at which your daily average begins,
each 0 subtracts 7 points,
each ½ subtracts 4 points,
- subtracts 2 points,
√ subtracts 0 points, and
each + adds 2 points (so your Daily Grade could exceed 100).


A late paper (ME 1 and/or ME 2) will be penalized ten points per day, beginning at the time due, but will not be accepted more than three calendar days late. If you do not submit one by that time, you will receive a zero, unless you have made a prior arrangement with me. Major Essays 1 and 2 are mandatory (i.e., you cannot pass the course if you do not submit both of them or otherwise make a zero on either). However, you may opt out of Major Essay 3 (Final Exam) if you are satisfied with your grades on ME 1 and 2 as the best 2 of the 3 assigned major essays.

In Fall 2015, Tarleton began differentiating between a failed grade in a class because a student never attended (F0 grade), stopped attending or stopped regularly submitting assignments at some point in the semester (FX grade), or because the student did not pass the course (F) but attended and submitted assignments the entire semester. These grades will be noted on the official transcript. Stopping or never attending class or submitting assignments can result in the student having to return aid monies received.  For more information see the Tarleton Financial Aid website.

Students are expected to be familiar with Tarleton's Academic Integrity and Academic Conduct policies on the Judicial Affairswebsite and should be aware that academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and will be punished severely. If I suspect that academic misconduct has occurred (plagiarism, copying from an unauthorized source, copying with another student, etc.), I reserve the right to examine a student on the content or any other facet of submitted work. Moreover, since there are no collaborative assignments in this course, I expect all submitted work to be done independently.

It is the policy of Tarleton State University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws. If you are a student with a disability seeking accommodations for this course, please contact the Center for Access and Academic Testing at 254.968.9400 or The office is located in Math 201. More information can be found at, in the University Catalog, or at Students are instructed to deliver their letters of accommodation during office hours or by appointment, not before or after class, to allow time for a conversation about the request.

The following breaches of academic decorum will not be tolerated: sleeping in class, rudeness to another student, private conversations, leaving class without notice (unless physically ill, of course), playing with/listening to electronic devices (cell phones must be out of sight), etc. Frankly, these are "common sense" conventions for classroom courtesy, and failure to comply will result in a zero for that day's class exercise.

Tarleton State University provides an academically challenging education where learning is grounded in real-world experiences and effective teaching, research, scholarship, and service. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is rich in history and tradition while being committed to student success and diversity. Tarleton strives to develop moral and ethical thinkers, scholars, and leaders who demonstrate civility and integrity, while contributing meaningfully and responsibly to a global society.

ASSIGNED BOOKS (to purchase).

Aeschylus. Oresteia. Translated by Peter Meineck. Hackett Publishing, 1998. 

Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus. Translated by Peter Meineck and Paul Woodruff. Hackett Publishing, 2000. 

Aristophanes. Lysistrata. Translated by Sarah Ruden. Hackett Publishing, 2003. 

Plato. The Trial and Death of Socrates. Translated by G.M.A. Grube. Hackett Publishing, 2000. 


Waterfield,Robin. Athens: A History. Basic Books, 2004.

Thucydides. Book II (abridged). History of the Peloponnesian War. Trans. Richard Crawley. 15 August 2018 <>.

Thucydides. Book III, Chapter 17. History of the Peloponnesian War. Trans. Richard Crawley. 15 August 2018 <>.

Guide to MLA Documentation.

Purdue OWL. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide."

Course Calendar.


08-28    Hand out and Discuss Syllabus; Watch The Greeks (to 30 min)

08-30   Hand out KISO for Foley, "Introduction to Aeschylus' Oresteia" (vi-xxxvi); Watch The Greeks (30 min to 80 min)

09-04   Documentary Notes for Staging Classical Tragedy (30 min.); Handout Oresteia Reading Previews (3)   

09-06    Foley KISO Due; Hand out Waterfield, Athens (75-86), Text and KISO

09-11    Aeschylus, "Agamemnon" (3-66), Reading Preview Due; Hand out Aristotelian Poetics

09-13    Finish Aeschylus, "Agamemnon" (3-66), Reading Preview

09-18    Aeschylus, "Libation Bearers" (68-113), Reading Preview Due; Hand out Major Essay 1 Prompt/Rhetorical Guide

09-20    Finsh "Libation Bearers" RP; Waterfield, Athens (75-86), KISO Due; Hand out Waterfield, Athens (175-191), Text and KISO

09-25    Aeschylus, "The Furies" (117-160), Reading Preview Due; Hand out Thucydides, Book II excerpt and Reading Preview

09-27    Waterfield, Athens (175-191), KISO Due; Hand out KISO for Meineck and Woodruff, "Introduction to Oedipus Tyrannus" (vii-xxviii); Watch The Greeks re Pericles (18 min.)

10-02    Thucydides, Book II (abridged), Reading Preview Due; Hand out Oedipus Tyrannus Reading Previews (2)

10-04    Finish Thucydides, Book II, RP; Meineck and Woodruff (vii-xxviii) KISO Due

10-09    MAJOR ESSAY 1 DUE; Watch excerpt from Oedipus Rex (1957)

10-11    Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, Reading Preview 1 (1-31) Due

10-16    Continue w/ Oedipus Tyrannus, RP 1

10-18    Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, Reading Preview 2 (31-63) Due; Hand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Major Essay 2; Hand out KISO for Ruden, "Ancient Greek Warfare" (86-97)

10-23    Finish Discussion of Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, Reading Preview 2; Hand out Thucydides, Book III, excerpt ("Melian Dialogue") and Reading Preview; Hand out Waterfield, Athens (192-199), Text and KISO

10-25    Ruden KISO (86-97) Due; Hand out Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Reading Preview

10-30    Thucydides, Book III ("Melian Dialogue"), Reading Preview and Waterfield, Athens (192-199), KISO Due

11-01    Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Reading Preview, Questions 1-4, Due; Hand out Waterfield, Athens (200-213), Text and KISO

11-06    Finish Lysistrata RP, 5-9

11-08    Waterfield, Athens (200-213), KISO Due; Handout: Plato Reading Previews

11-13    MAJOR ESSAY 2 DUE; Hand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Major Essay 3, Option 1; Video: Trial of Socrates. Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corp., 1982.

11-15    Plato, Euthyphro, Reading Preview Due

11-20    Plato, Apology, Reading Preview Due


11-27    Finish Plato, Apology, Reading Preview

11-29    Plato, Crito and Phaedo, Reading Preview Due; Hand out Prompt/Rhetorical Guide for Major Essay 3, Option 2

12-04    Finish Plato Discussion; Deadline for Extra Credit re Xenophon; Return ME 2

 12-11   FINAL EXAM: 8-10:30