Off-Campus Studies

Members of the Classics faculty offer J-term courses taught every other January in Greece, Turkey, Italy, and the U.K., under the auspices of Luther College’s Center for Global Learning. The following are examples of some of the classes that have been taught in the past or will be taught in future years:

Classics 299: In Search of the Trojan War (January 2013, 2019)
Taught by Prof. Dan Davis
This course explores the culture, archaeology, and physical setting of the two earliest epic masterpieces of Western literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Both works draw heavily on myth and folktales, but archaeology over the past 150 years has shown that they are set in specific regions, islands, cities, and palaces dating to the Aegean Bronze Age (1500-1200 B.C.). Our itinerary takes us to ancient sites in both Greece and Turkey, including Athens (and museums), Agamemnon's Mycenae, Nestor's Pylos, Olympia (home of the Olympic Games), Delphi (the holiest sanctuary of ancient Greece), Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus), Miletus, Priene, Ephesus, Pergamon, and, finally, Troy itself. Each day we will spend time analyzing how the Homeric tradition was used and manipulated by individuals and city-states in the ancient world, and how the Iliad and Odyssey have been interpreted and reinterpreted through the ages, including modern times. 

Classics 299: The Rise and Fall of Rome (January 2015, 2021)
Taught by Prof. Dan Davis
This course, taught completely in Italy, will explore the rise, floruit, and fall of Rome, from Etruscan beginnings in the 7th century B.C., to the rise of the Republic in the 3rd to 1st century B.C., to the rise and fall of the empire during the 1st to 3rd century A.D. The first stage of our itinerary will take us to Rome itself, where we will tour the ancient forum, the Vatican and other major museums, and related ancient sites. The second stage will take us north to Tuscany, where we will explore several Etruscan archaeological sites to gain perspective on Rome's origins. After a three-day stay in Florence to visit sites and museums we will return to Rome for a day of study and classroom instruction. The third stage will take us south to Campania and sites on the Bay of Naples. In Naples we will visit the famous archaeological museum, then make excursions to Herculaneum, Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and Capri. The course will conclude in Rome, where we will continue our tour of archaeological sites from the heyday of the Roman Empire, including the various imperial fora, monuments, and villas. The course will analyze the mechanisms with which Rome built a long-lasting Republic, and how that Republic transitioned into empire via a series of constitutional and military crises. We will reflect on the nature and evolution of the empire, what sustained it, how and why it fell, and the ways in which Roman material culture influenced the Renaissance and Western civilization.

Classics 299: Roman Britain & Hadrian's Wall (January 2017, 2023)
Taught by Prof. Dan Davis
This course explores the Roman experience in Britain, including the invasions of the Caesar and Claudius, the establishment of Roman camps, forts, and settlements in the south and central areas, and the great walls of Hadrian and Antoninus in the north. Ancient texts will serve as our historical guide, and archaeology will illuminate the interaction of Romans with native Britons during the 1st-5th centuries A.D. The course includes a two-day visit to the British Museum, a trip to Roman Bath, participation in a Roman reenactment group, and a long day-hike along Hadrian's Wall.