Syllabus Archive for Ancient History Courses


The AAH’s Committee on Teaching has solicited and collected these syllabi, which span the amazing breadth of ancient history. In this archive, the Committee strives to reflect the diversity of course types and institutions that AAH members represent. Each syllabus is preceded by a cover letter contextualizing the course. We hope that these courses are helpful for members in designing and refreshing their own.


We welcome new submissions! If you would like to submit a syllabus of your own for consideration, please do so via this form.
You can also contact the Committee at


***Please note that copyright remains with the original author of the syllabus.***


Historical Surveys


World Civilizations to the Beginning of the Modern Era (Dry)

In this course we will trace human civilizations from their origins to the era of global interaction (the 16th century) by exploring their cultural, social, religious, economic, and political institutions. We will draw comparisons in order to illustrate the diversity and similarity among civilizations and in order to develop a global view of world systems.


The Ancient Mediterranean World (Blouin)

An introduction to the main features of the Mediterranean world from the development of agriculture to the spread of Islam. Long term socio-economic and cultural continuities and ruptures will be underlined, while attention will be dedicated to primary sources and disciplinary issues.


The Rise of Ancient Greece (LaBuff)

Political, social, and cultural development of the Greek-speaking world from the Early Iron Age to the reigns of Philip and Alexander “the Great” of Macedon.


Archaic and Classical Greece, 750-323 BCE (Lee)

This course provides an overview of Archaic and Classical Greek history, with an emphasis on Athens during the era of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). We will employ textual and archaeological evidence to study ancient Greek politics, warfare, society, and culture. Class lectures focus on the analysis of ancient sources and the discussion of major historical problems in Archaic and Classical history. In addition, the class will reconstruct the experience of citizens in Classical Athens by taking part in assemblies and law courts.


Achaemenid Persia, ca. 550-330 BCE (Lee)

This course provides an overview of ancient Persia from the time of Cyrus to Alexander. Topics include the development of Achaemenid imperialism, economic and social history of the empire, art and architecture, and cultural interactions amongst Persians, Greeks, and others. We will employ textual and archaeological evidence to study Achaemenid politics, warfare, society, and culture.


The Hellenistic World from Alexander to Cleopatra (LaBuff)

Political, social, and cultural development of the multi-cultural Hellenistic world that emerged in the wake of Alexander of Macedon’s conquest of the Persian Empire, stretching from Spain in the west to India in the east, until the Roman and Parthian conquests of these regions, culminating with the death of Cleopatra.


Ancient Rome (Clark)

This course is an introduction to the history of ancient Rome, from its origins as a small village through its growth into a Mediterranean empire (and, ultimately, collapse). We will approach Roman history chronologically, discussing developments in politics, culture, economics, and military expansion, and thematically, exploring Roman religions, laws, and daily life.


Thematic Courses


Ethnic Identity in Antiquity (LaBuff)

This section of the History Senior Seminar will explore how notions of collective self were formed, evolved, and contested through the encounters of various societies in the ancient world. We will seek to understand how identity as a “people,” or ethnic identity, was conceived of, formulated, and expressed in several pre-modern contexts, including the Greek world, Egypt, Judea, and East Asia.


Sexuality and Politics in Antiquity (LaBuff)

Explores the ways in which sexual behavior and identity intersected with power relations in various ancient societies, shaping “citizen” identities and socio-political relations within democratic and other institutional contexts, as well as setting and challenging limits imposed upon non-dominant gender groups. While a major focus of this course will be devoted to ancient Greek sexuality, equal emphasis will be placed on developing a trans-regional and comparative approach to the erotics of power. As such, we will also investigate the sexual politics of ancient Rome, China, India, Japan, and the Americas.


Science and Technology in Ancient Greece and Rome (Connolly)

The primary focus of the course will be on the scientific knowledge and technological skills of the Ancient Greeks and Romans and their importance for the development of science and technology from the medieval period through to today. We will explore the foundations of science and technology of the ancient Mediterranean world within their cultural context to examine the impetus for them and explore them within their professional context to explain the development of science and technology as professions, their division into disciplines, and the development of scientific methods and approaches.


Athens on Trial (Gorman)

We will use forensic Attic oratory to reconstruct public and private law and legal procedures in democratic Athens in the 5th to 4th centuries BCE. Topics include: assault, homicide, theft, hubris, slander, legitimacy of marriages and children, inheritance disputes,
prostitution, and false witnessing.


Alexander(s) the Great (LaBuff)

This course will use the figure of Alexander of Macedon as a lens to comparatively study how cultures throughout the world and across time have used a common past in similar and different ways. Students will investigate how Alexander serves as an important hero
(or anti-hero) for Greeks, Romans, modern academics, Persians, Jews, Arabs, Indians, Europeans, and Africans, and they will seek to understand why he is the focus of current debates about Greco-Macedonian national identities and the history of sexuality.



Home | Membership | Meetings | Publications | Contact webmaster

AAH Logo