First-year students in Monessa Cummins’ tutorial, Humanities I: The Ancient Greek World, turn to ancient works that explore themes still relevant today, such as the fragility of human life, the basic impulses of human nature, and the question of what makes human life meaningful and worthwhile.

“The poetry, history, and philosophy of the ancient Greeks have had immense influence in shaping the cultural tradition of Western Europe,” says Cummins.

Their texts include:

  • Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey
  • Three examples of tragic drama :Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, and Euripides’ Bacchants;
  • Aristotle's analysis of epic and tragedy in his Poetics
  • Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War; and
  • Plato’s Defense of Socrates, Crito, and Drinking-Party, which illustrate philosophical questioning, reflection, and dialogue. 

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