Aug 16, 2022  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

CLA 325 - Families of the Ancient Mediterranean


In this course, we will explore the definitions, forms, and roles of families in societies of the ancient Mediterranean, focusing on ancient Greece and Rome but also considering Carthage, Egypt, and Israel. What constituted a “family” in these societies? How were ancient families integrated into social, economic, and political life? What similarities do families of the ancient Mediterranean share with one another and with modern families, and how do ancient conceptions of family differ from our own? Topics will include marriage and divorce, childbirth, adoption, parenthood, childhood, slavery, houses and households, household religion, ancestors, and inheritance patterns.  Throughout the course, we will be attentive to the diversity of families both across and within ancient societies, taking into account factors like ethnicity and social status.

The readings will be drawn largely from primary texts, including Homer, Lysias, Euripides, Plautus, Cicero, and the Roman legal code. We will also examine material evidence, ranging from the archaeology of ancient houses to inscribed tombstones to the imagery of sculptures, paintings, and coins. In addition, we will consider social-scientific approaches to ancient families, drawing on scholarship in the fields of sociology and demography.


Satisfies Classical Studies major and minor requirement.
Satisfies Classical Languages and Literature major requirement.
Satisfies Gender and Sexuality Studies major and minor requirement.
Satisfies History major requirement.
Satisfies Historical Thought Ways of Knowing requirement.