Classical Studies
GRE 1-205-2016

Imagining Greece: Pausanias' Periegesis Hellados

Temple of Poseidon, Sounion

Instructor: Dr. John Gruber-Miller, College Hall 312, Ext. x4326

Class Hours: M-F 10-11; 1-3 p.m.

Office Hours: M W F 11 a.m.-12 noon, and by appointment

Required Texts:

Goals of the Course

  • to become more proficient at interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal communication in Greek
  • to read the most famous example of Greek travel writing, along with relevant other discourse genres and texts that illuminate Greek history, religion, and culture
  • to become a traveler through Greece, learning about the organization of space in the Greek world and the monuments, mythology, religious rituals, and history of ancient Greece
  • to become familiar with the cultural, religious, and literary background of the Second Sophistic
  • to better understand how each of us constructs an imaginative topography of the ancient world
  • to learn to read Greek prose aloud and to appreciate the aural dimension in understanding works that were meant to be heard

Course Format and Requirements

Greek reading: I don't expect perfect comprehension of every text we read, but I do want you to work at it diligently, have questions about the reading, and show that you have been thinking about the meaning of the Greek and the meaning of the text. We will begin with a moderate amount of reading while you get acquainted with Pausanias' style and vocabulary, and then we will gradually increase the amount of reading as the course progresses.

Daily journal: In order for you to discover what strategies help you most develop your ability to read, write, and speak ancient Greek, you will keep a brief daily journal in English that details what strategies you used as you prepared for class. Some possible categories: learning vocabulary, reviewing grammar, reading the text, and re-reading/reviewing the text. Possible strategies may include reading the text several times before looking up any words; making guesses of the meaning of the word before looking it up in the dictionary or looking at the notes; writing comprehension questions about the text; or writing out a summary of the text in Greek. You will explain the strategy, the amount of time spent, whether you did it with others or on your own, and a brief assessment of how much that strategy helped you or not. Trying out new strategies along with using old ones is an important way to help you understand how you learn best.

English reading: In order to get an overview of Pausanias, we will read all intervening sections of the Periegesis in translation along with other authors that influenced Pausanias or were contemporary with him.

Collaborative work: Collaboration is an essential skill for success both in and outside of the academic world. By working with several others on various tasks, you can take advantage of different people's strengths, e.g. specific knowledge, ability to explain ideas and concepts, talent for asking good questions, aptitude for negotiating difficulties, organizational skills, leadership, and humor. Working together gives you an opportunity to learn from each other, test out ideas, and tackle a larger problem than a single person could easily do in the same amount of time. At the same time, working together can be difficult because of different expectations and experience. Learning when to stand firm and when to compromise and when to prod are difficult skills that take lots of practice.

At the beginning of the course, small groups will work at reviewing grammar and going over homework. Throughout the course, small groups will meet to work at reading comprehension of the Greek text.

Grammar Guru: Throughout the course, you will become the expert on a grammar topic to be covered in class. You will present an overview of the topic and lead the class in learning that topic. In addition, the student experts will create an activity to help the rest of the class learn the topic. Possible activities might include a skit, puzzle, game, an oral question-answer drill, or a set of sentences to translate. Preference should be given to activities that combine visual, aural, and perhaps textual. If possible, please do not use an activity that anohter group has already used. You may use any of the grammars or Greek composition books for ideas. The best presentations engage the rest of the class, summarize and condense the information in a way that makes sense to you (and others), include something visual (an overhead, a handout, an outline on the board), and provide Greek sentences that exemplify each type. Most presentations should be no more than 20 minutes, with no more than 5 minutes summarizing the grammar point and the rest of the time practicing.

Vocabulary Vizier: Throughout the course, you will organize and present vocabulary on a particular topic, such as words of coming and going, military vocabulary, topographical terms, religious vocabulary, etc. You can organize such words graphically, by synonyms, by logical connections, etc.--whatever you think will help people remember them. You can find such words by 1) exploring the DCC Greek Core Vocabulary of 500 words; 2) reviewing the appropriate chapters and the glossary from Athenaze; 3) scouring specific chapters of Pausanias that are most likely to use the words you are looking for and the combined 50-70% list of Pausanias most frequent vocabulary. Finally, you can type the English word in the Liddell & Scott Lexicon at Perseus. Like the grammar guru activities, plan to create an oral activity to help everyone learn the vocabulary you have come up with.

Discourse Director: Throughout the course, you will attempt to preview a reading by organizing a reading by sense units, grammatical chunks, transition words, expressions of time and place, and other textual organizational strategies. To make these discourse topics visible, the expert should build the text with colors or outline or highlighting the text in different ways. However, rather than present the "answers," it is better to ask the rest of the class to attempt to come up with their own interpretation first. Finally, just as with the grammar guru and vocabulary vizier, these tasks will occur in rotation so that each student will be responsible for one topic/activity per day.

Two seminars: In order to appreciate Pausanias, twice we will do seminar presentations on topics that will help us understand him within the context of his times. Each presenter will have 20 minutes to lead the class through the secondary literature on a particular topic, summarizing the author's arguments, providing examples from what we have read in Pausanias, and engaging the class. The first seminar we will focus on important background information regarding archaeology, history, and religion. The second will focus on more specific issues. Here are some suggestions for successful oral presentations.

Oral Reading: Once during the second week, you will record a passage of Pausanias (one paragraph or short section) that describes or narrates a story about one of the sites we have read about. The assignment will help you become more familiar with the places mentioned in Pausanias, develop your ability to read Greek in meaningful phrases, and learn how to use Google Earth. After recording a tour in Google Earth, you will upload it to Moodle.

Writing: Pausanias is selective in what he tells the reader about each site he visits and each monument he discusses. Sometimes he provides more information later in his narrative that adds more detail. Other times he is silent, but modern archaeological research has discovered more details about a particular site or the monuments there. Therefore, using Pausanias' text and your own research as a starting point, each week you will have the opportunity to write your own version of a Greek travel narrative. You may focus on a particular monument, a story from mythology, a historical event, an itinerary, or some combination of the above. The composition will be graded on comprehensibility (e.g. is the grammar reasonably correct), coherence (does the story flow from one paragraph to the next, use the proper transitional words, etc.), and inclusion of material relevant to your version of the monuments or events. You may add images to illustrate your text. The center eight stations in the HMC have the software program Antioch so that you may type your text in Greek with accents.

Final Project: For the final project you will integrate your knowledge into a presentation that invites other audiences to learn about one facet of the Greek world. Combining speaking, writing, video or other visual images, you will either make an ad to travel to Corinth or Olympia or curate an online museum exhibition focusing on a specific topic.

At the end of the course, you will prepare a portfolio of your writing this term, including both rough and final drafts. In addition, you will write in English a 1-2 page commentary about your progress writing Greek. What challenges did you meet and how did you attempt to overcome them? What do you feel you still need to work on as a writer? What do you wish you could have done differently? How has writing improved in terms of endings, vocabulary, and syntax? How has writing helped you understand the art, archaeology, history, or myth of the Greek world? How has writing helped you improve your ability to read Pausanias' Greek?

Testing: exam(s) will include translation/reading comprehension of both prepared and unseen passages, commentary on particular passages (grammatical, historical, and/or literary), and essay (more general questions about Greek archaeology, religion, society, literature, and culture.


  • daily preparation, participation, grammar quiz, presentations and oral reports (30%)
  • two compositions (15%)
  • final project (15%)
  • midterm (20%)
  • final (20%)


Attendance: Since our class time is devoted to using the language in context, it is essential that you come to class every day, prepared and ready to participate actively. Any unexcused absence after one missed class period will harm your final grade. If you must miss class, please inform me ahead of time if at all possible. If you have a fever and other symptoms of the flu, please send me an email each day keeping me up to date about your condition. For your health and the health of the rest of the class, please do not come to class until you have been fever-free for 24 hours.

Deadlines: no late work will be accepted. If an emergency or illness occurs, please let me know immediately so that other plans can be arranged.

Academic Integrity: Students are encouraged to work with others as they prepare homework and practice the language. Nonetheless, each student is expected to submit her or his own work on quizzes, exams, compositions, and other assignments. Click here for Cornell's policy on Academic Honesty.

Accomodations for different learning styles: Cornell College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all students.  If you have a documented learning disability and will need any accommodation in this course, you must request the accommodation(s) from me as early as possible and no later than the third day of the term. Additional information about the policies and procedures for accommodation of learning disabilities is available on the Cornell web site at

Photo Credit: Temple of Poseidon, Sounion, Attica, © John Gruber-Miller 2007

Maintained by: Last Update: September 5, 2016 7:24 pm

Professor John Gruber-Miller
GRE 1-205-2013
Ancient Greek Society, Politics, and Culture

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