Archaic Greece

HIST 4113/6113 • Fall 2023

This course counts towards the Histories of Knowledge, Belief and VisionHistories of Statemaking and the Limits of Power Concentrations

Chigi Vase

The Chigi Vase, a Protocorinthian olpe from about 650 BCE

Instructor: Dr. Charles E. Muntz
Time: MWF 9:40-10:30 pm
Place: CHPN 0424
Dr. Muntz's Office: 408 Old Main
Office Hours: M 1:00-2:30 pm and by appointment
Phone: (479) 575-5891


History of Greece from the late Bronze Age to the end of the Persian Wars. This class will focus particularly on the sources involved with reconstructing early Greek history, especially Herodotus and Homer, on the development of the Greek city-state or polis, and on the interaction between the Greeks and Near-eastern peoples during this period, culminating in the wars between the Greeks and the Persian Empire.

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduates)

  • Students will be able to evaluate the ancient sources for the Archaic Greek period and the problems with using them.
  • Students will understand the evolution of the Greek city state and the development of the political systems leading to the first democracy.
  • Students will understand the development of Greek culture in art, literature, philosophy, and other fields.
  • Students will be able to describe the relationship of Archaic Greece and the ancient Near East and Egypt, culminating in the Persian invasions.

Learning Outcomes (Graduates) - all of the above, plus

  • Engage with and evaluate modern scholarship on Archaic Greece
  • Assess historiographic trends on Archaic Greece

Covid Policies

This is a face-to-face class, and students are expected attend as long as they are healthy. But the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing, so if you feel sick you should not come to class. Get tested - take-home tests are readily available - and if it is positive let the instructor know ASAP. The Health Center page has information on how long to isolate.

If you have to miss class, for Covid or any other reason, you need to take responsibility for finding out what we went over that day - think of it as an opportunity to make friends with your classmates, so you can borrow and copy notes. And of course, if you have any questions about material you can ask me. Extensions for paper deadlines and alternatives to the graded class discussions will also be available as needed, but again you need to email me for instructions.


Exams: There will be an in-class midterm on October 9, and a final exam on Monday December 11 at 10:15-12:15. Both will consist of essay questions, so you will need to bring an exam booklet (blue or green). Study guides will be made available prior to the exams.

Short Paper: A 1600-1800 word paper analyzing a theme from Homer's Iliad, due September 22 by 5pm. Instructions can be found here.

Long Paper (Undergraduates): A 3200-3600 word paper analyzing Herodotus’s portrayal of the barbarians and what it shows about the Greeks. Due December 7 by 5pm. Instructions can be found here.

Long Paper (Graduates): A 3500-4000 word research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the professor, due December 8 by 5pm. You can find helpful links for research here.

Grading Policies
Formatting Guidelines

Class Discussion: Certain class periods are set aside for class discussions. Questions based on the primary sources to get things started can be found here, but feel free to raise other issues or questions on your own. 

Grade Breakdown:

Participation: 15% 
Paper 1: 15% 
Paper 2: 30% 
Midterm: 15% 
Final: 25%

Reading Materials

Required Texts (Make Sure You Get These Translations):
Curd, Patricia. A Presocratics Reader. ISBN 1603843051
Fagles, Robert. Homer: The Iliad. ISBN 9780140445923
Lombardo, Stanley. Hesiod: Works & Days, Theogony. ISBN 0872201791
Miller, Andrew. Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation. ISBN 0872202917
Sommerstein, Alan. The Persians and Other Plays. ISBN 014044999X
Sélincourt, A. Herodotus: The Histories. ISBN 9780140449082

Other texts will be made available via links under the Daily Topics

A guide to transliterating Greek

Super resource if you need to look up a person or topic (much better than Wikipedia or other web sources):
The Oxford Classical Dictionary


Academic Integrity: As a core part of its mission, the University of Arkansas provides students with the opportunity to further their educational goals through programs of study and research in an environment that promotes freedom of inquiry and academic responsibility. Accomplishing this mission is only possible when intellectual honesty and individual integrity prevail.

Each University of Arkansas student is required to be familiar with and abide by the University’s ‘Academic Integrity Policy’ which may be found at Students with questions about how these policies apply to a particular course or assignment should immediately contact their instructor.

Equal Access: University of Arkansas Academic Policy Series 1520.10 requires that students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact me privately at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through the Center for Educational Access (contact 479-575-3104 or visit for more information on registration procedures).

Unauthorized Websites or Internet Resources: There are many websites claiming to offer study aids to students, but in using such websites, students could find themselves in violation of our University’s Academic Integrity and Code of Student Life policies. These websites include (but are not limited to) Quizlet, Bartleby, Course Hero, Chegg, and Clutch Prep, as well as AI such as ChatGPT. The U of A does not endorse the use of these products in an unethical manner. These websites may encourage students to upload course materials, such as test questions, individual assignments, and examples of graded material. Such materials are the intellectual property of instructors, the university, or publishers and may not be distributed without prior authorization. Furthermore, paying for academic work to be completed on your behalf and submitting it for academic credit is considered ‘contract cheating’ per the Academic Integrity Policy. Students found responsible for this type of violation face a grading penalty of ‘XF’ and a minimum one-semester academic suspension per the University of Arkansas Sanction Rubric. Please let me know if you are uncertain about the use of a website.

Unauthorized Recording by Student: Recording, or transmission of a recording, of all or any portion of a class is prohibited unless the recording is necessary for educational accommodation as expressly authorized and documented through the Center for Educational Access with proper advance notice to the instructor. Unauthorized recordings may violate federal law, state law, and university policies. Student-made recordings are subject to the same restrictions as instructor- made recordings. Failure to comply with this provision will result in a referral to the Office of Student Standards and Conduct for potential charges under the Code of Student Life. In situations where the recordings are used to gain an academic advantage, it may also be considered a violation of the University of Arkansas' academic integrity policy.

Recording of Class Lectures: By attending this class, student understands the course is being recorded and consents to being recorded for official university educational purposes. Be aware that incidental recording may also occur before and after official class times.

Unauthorized Use and Distribution of Class Notes: Third parties may attempt to connect with you to buy your notes and other course information from this class. I will consider distributing course materials to a third party without my authorization a violation of my intellectual property rights and/or copyright law as well as a violation of the University of Arkansas' academic integrity policy. Continued enrollment in this class signifies your intent to abide by the policy. Any violation will be reported to the Office of Academic Initiatives and Integrity.

Please be aware that such class materials that may have already been given to such third parties may contain errors, which could affect your performance or grade. If a third party should contact you regarding such an offer, I would appreciate your bringing this to my attention. We all play a part in creating a course climate of integrity.

Inclement Weather: Classes will be held unless the University cancels them.

Miscellaneous: Please turn off and put away all cell phones and any other non-course related items and finish any food you might be eating before coming into class. Please remain seated during class - if you need to use the lavatory, do so before or after class.

Emergency Procedures 

Many types of emergencies can occur on campus; instructions for specific emergencies such as severe weather, active shooter, or fire can be found at  

Severe Weather (Tornado Warning): Follow the directions of the instructor or emergency personnel. Seek shelter in the basement or interior room or hallway on the lowest floor, putting as many walls as possible between you and the outside. If you are in a multi-story building, and you cannot get to the lowest floor, pick a hallway in the center of the building. Stay in the center of the room, away from exterior walls, windows, and doors.

Violence / Active Shooter (CADD):

  • CALL: 9-1-1
  • AVOID: If possible, self-evacuate to a safe area outside the building.  Follow directions of police officers.
  • DENY: Barricade the door with desk, chairs, bookcases or any items.  Move to a place inside the room where you are not visible.  Turn off the lights and remain quiet.  Remain there until told by police it’s safe.
  • DEFEND: Use chairs, desks, cell phones or whatever is immediately available to distract and/or defend yourself and others from attack.

Daily Topics and Reading Assignments

Week 1
August 21: Introduction: The World of the Bronze Age

August 23: Homer and the Homeric Questions
    Iliad 1-3

August 25: Oral Epic as an Historical Source
    Iliad 4-5

Week 2
August 28: Homer Discussion 1
    Iliad 6-8

August 30: The World of the Mycenaeans
    Iliad 9-10

September 1: The Collapse
    Iliad 11-12

Week 3
September 4: Labor Day Holiday

September 6: The Trojan War: Fact or Fiction?
    Iliad 13-14

September 8: The Dark Ages
    Iliad 15-16

Week 4
September 11: Homer Discussion 2
    Iliad 17-18

September 13: The Dawn of the Archaic Period: The Aristocracy
    Iliad 19-20

September 15: The Dawn of the Archaic Period: The Community
    Iliad 21-22

Week 5
September 18: Homer Discussion 3
    Iliad 23-24

September 20: Sources Beyond Homer
    Sources for the Lelantine War

September 22: Rise of the Polis / First Paper Due

Week 6
September 25: Growth of the State
    Greek Lyric: Archilochus, Callinus, Semonides, Mimnermus

September 27: The World of Greek Lyric
    Greek Lyric: Sappho, Stesichorus, Theognis, Ibycus, Anacreon

September 29: The View from Below
    Hesiod: Works and Days
    Get started on Herodotus, Book 2

Week 7
October 2: Trade
    Herodotus, Book 2.1-110

October 4: The Greeks in Egypt Discussion
    Herodotus, Book 2.111-182

October 6: Colonization
    Herodotus, Book 4.147-159

Week 8
October 9: Midterm

October 11: Orientalizing 1
    Hesiod: Theogony

October 13: Orientalizing 2
    Pre-Socratics: The Milesians, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus

Week 9
October 16: Fall Break

October 18: The Pre-Socratics
    Pre-Socratics: Parmenides, Zeno, Empedocles

October 20: Hoplite Warfare
    Herodotus, Book 4.1-82, 4.103-117 (this isn’t important for hoplites, but you should read it for the final paper)

Week 10
October 23: The Tyrants
    Herodotus, Book 5.92
    Lyric Poetry: Alcaeus

Octobner 25: Sparta
    Greek Lyric: Tyrtaeus
    Plutarch: Life of Lycurgus

October 27: Athens 1: Solon
    Greek Lyric: Solon
    Constitution of the Athenians 1-12
    Herodotus 1.59-64

Week 11
October 30: Athens 2: Pisistratids
    Constitution of the Athenians 13-19
    Herodotus 5.55-93

November 1: The Birth of Tragedy Discussion
    Aeschylus: Suppliants, Danaid Trilogy Fragments

November 3: Polis & Panhellenism in the 6th Century
    Greek Lyric: Pindar, Olympian Odes (p. 126-146)

Week 12
November 6: Athens 3: ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ
    Constitution of the Athenians 20-22

November 8: The Rise of Persia
    Herodotus 1.1-106

November 10: Herodotus Discussion 1
    Herodotus 1.107-216, 3.80-88

Week 13
November 13:  The Ionian Revolt
    Herodotus 5.30-38, 5.49-51, 5.97-126

November 15: The Marathon Campaign
    Herodotus 6.94-140 

November 17: Herodotus Discussion 2
    Herodotus 7.1-60

Week 14
November 20: The Invasion of Xerxes
    Herodotus 7.100-239

November 22: Thanksgiving Break

November 24: Thanksgiving Break

Week 15
November 27: Divine Salamis
    Herodotus 8.1-115

November 29: The Defeat of the Persians
    Herodotus 8.140-9.70

December 1: Herodotus Discussion 3
    Herodotus 9.71-122

Week 16
December 4: The Legacy of the Persian Wars
    Aeschylus: Persians    
    Greek Lyric: Simonides

December 6: Epilogue and Review

December 7: Final Paper Due by 5pm

Final Exam: Monday, December 11, 10:15-12:15pm