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JMU in Ancient Greece

(offered every other year, from mid-May to mid-June)

We invite you to join us in an exploration of the world of the Ancient Greeks. Our program will consist of two main parts: half will be devoted to Greek philosophy, history, and literature, and half will introduce you to Greek mathematics. No background in any of these fields is necessary. All that’s required is your own intellectual curiosity about the Ancient World, as well as a desire to visit many of sites we’ll be discussing.

In addition to the time spent on the courses-—classroom lectures and discussions, as well as group activities and site visits-—we’ve also structured the program to allow you the freedom to explore on your own during our non-class periods. Though you will be spending some of this time reading and preparing for the classroom activities, there will also be opportunities for interacting with the locals, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach. As you’ll find, Greece has plenty to offer.

Now for a bit more on the academic side of the program. Each student will receive credit for two 3-credit courses: PHIL 240 (Greek Philosophy in Context), and Math 103 (The Mathematics of Euclid). It may be possible to have one or both classes count towards requirements in other majors or programs (Classics or General Education, for instance), but you’ll need to clear that with us first.

Professor Bolyard will cover the philosophy, history, and literature of the Ancient world, and we’ll focus on some of the enduring questions of philosophy: What is real, and what is illusion? What is the proper goal of a good life? What is love really all about? In addition, we’ll read Hesiod and excerpts from some of the earliest historians, Herodotus and Thucydides.

Professor Thelwell will help you learn math as the Greeks did - on the shores of the Mediterranean, involved in open discussion and discourse. Modern mathematics was born in Greece. The writing of Euclid, cataloguing the tremendous contributions of the Pythagorean school, will serve as the foundation for the course. The treatment is visual - and the topics will include geometry, algebra, and basic number theory. Bring a compass and ruler, and learn as you explore the country and its culture!

Instructional methods include lectures, guided tours, journal assignments and/or papers, and exams. Students will enroll in both classes for a total of 6 credit hours.

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