CL190-001: Freshman Seminar

Topic: Myth, History, Magic & Movies

January 12, 2016 - April 25, 2016
DaysTimeLocationInstructorGERCreditOPUS #
11:00am - 11:50am
Candler Library 222A
Dickson, Katrina
Appropriate for First Year students.
Limited to freshmen. Topic changes to reflect changing interests of faculty and students.

The ancient world was a prime source for inspiration from the very beginnings of cinema in the early twentieth century. It was a source for not just early single scene dramas but also the first cinematic epics of Italy, most notably The Last Days of Pompeii in 1908. However, the relationship between antiquity and the film industry is a complex one which involves multiple facets and sometimes very conflicting interests. This seminar will explore issues such as the complex relationship between what movies purport to represent and what the actually represent in terms of historical content; how much deviation from reality or text is acceptable (and by whom and in what contexts); how the film industry has used ancient themes and/or texts to produce modern commentaries on society; the contributions of Classics as a discipline to the filmmaking process; the fascination with the gods and mythology in a variety of settings. No background in film or cinematography is assumed and we will, in fact, learn basic processes of how to analyze and think and talk (and write) about film.


The final list of films viewed and analyzed for the course will be based in part upon interest of the students enrolled in the course. It will most likely include the following among many others: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?; Gladiator; Clash of the Titans (1981); Satyricon, and the Percy Jackson franchise. We will also read essays on film and the ancient world as well as selections from ancient texts upon which some films claim to be based or with which they have a relationship.


In addition to other assignments, students will be responsible for studying a film or films in depth about which they will help lead discussion and which they will present to the class.


The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.