CLSS-266 The Legacy of Alexander the Great
This course is a study of impact of the life and campaigns of Alexander the Great on the cultural production of the period that followed his death. It begins with a survey of Alexander’s life and the complexities posed by the sources for it. The bulk of the class will focus on the way in which the art and literature of the period that followed his death (the so-called Hellenistic period) responded to and engaged the political, social, and cultural changes wrought by his campaigns. Topics will include, among others, the tension between cultural continuity and change; the representation of the ruler and his relationship to the gods; artists’ engagement with inherited generic conventions; and the treatment of (the nature of) heroism. Students will read the complete corpora of poets like Apollonius of Rhodes, Callimachus, and Theocritus, as well as select passages of Aratus, Lycophron, and others; some works of late Classical and Hellenistic philosophy, including selections of Aristotole and Epicurus; and a series of philosophical texts. Some attention will also be paid to the plastic and graphic arts.
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