sculpture of Constantine
Ancient Literature

How Did Constantine Alter the Course of the Roman Empire?

June 18, 2017

In the course, Books That Matter: The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Professor Leo Damrosch examines this great work from multiple perspectives; as a vast historical chronicle, as a compelling masterpiece of literature, as a sharp commentary on cultural mores, and as a cautionary tale to Enlightenment Europe. […]

Painting featuring Odysseus and other people
Ancient Literature

Odysseus, Master of Schemes

December 23, 2016

Odysseus was a legendary king of ancient Ithaca, an island in the Ionian Sea. Look at Odysseus as the awed Greek hero celebrated in Homer’s Odyssey and other poems related to the Trojan War. We’ll pay particular attention to the ways in which Odysseus’s scheming and lies lead to heroic triumphs—and nearly kill him. […]

Odysseus talks to the cyclops by a flock of sheep
Ancient Literature

How Odysseus Fooled a Cyclops

December 19, 2016

Odysseus’s adventures with the Cyclops Polyphemus reveal much about the character of Odysseus and the complexities facing a hero leaving the Trojan War for home. […]

Domenico di Michelino Dante and His Poem (1465) fresco, in the dome of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence (Florence's cathedral). Dante Alighieri is shown holding a copy of his epic poem The Divine Comedy. He is pointing to a procession of sinners being lead down to the circles of Hell on the left. Behind him are the seven terraces of Purgatory, with Adam and Eve representing Earthly Paradise on top. Above them, the sun and the moon represent Heavenly Paradise, whilst on the right is Dante's home city of Florence. The illustration of Florence is self referencial, depicting the recently completed and much celebrated cathedral dome inside which the fresco is painted.
Ancient Literature

Dante’s Paradise: The Sphere of Wisdom

December 14, 2016

On their journey through Paradise, Dante and Beatrice visit the fourth sphere—the so-called sphere of the Sun—and meet the wisest persons to ever live. But rather than […]