Greece and Italy: An Artistic and Literary Odyssey

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
OlympiaStudy Abroad
Olympia +
study abroad option
Class Size: 75
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Andrew Reece
classical art and literature
2020 Krotscheck, Ulrike
classics, archaeology

Classical Greece and Rome and Renaissance Italy made some of the Western world's most extraordinary contributions to the written word and the visual arts. These accomplishments continue to captivate artists and thinkers, giving them models and standards to admire, emulate, struggle against, or reject—but rarely to ignore. We will study the texts and monuments of ancient Greece, from the Bronze Age to the Roman period, and Italy, especially Rome and Florence, from the Etruscan period through the 16th century. We will read authors including Homer, Sappho, Virgil, Dante, and Petrarch; artists we study will include Phidias, Praxiteles, Giotto, and Michelangelo. Throughout the program, we will also learn about modern rediscoveries and reinterpretations of these periods, culminating in our own journey to Greece and Italy. 

In fall, we will investigate the rise of the Greek polis, or city-state, from the ashes of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, as well as that of the Etruscans in what is now Tuscany. In addition to reading primary source materials, we will study the surviving architecture, sculpture, painting, and pottery. Students will have the option of studying ancient Greek or Latin language, or learning black and white film photography. In winter, our focus will be on the Roman appropriation of Greek art and thought and the later Florentine rediscovery and interpretation of the Classical past. We'll study how the Italians drew on the ideas of classical literature and learning as the basis for revolutions both in artistic practices and the conception of humanity. Greek and Latin students will continue learning the languages, while the photography students will move on to color.

In spring, if conditions allow, students will travel to Greece and Italy for seven weeks to visit, study, and hold seminars in sites and cities synonymous with the Classical world and the Renaissance. The first three weeks will be in Greece, where we will start in Crete, focusing our attention on the Minoan civilization. Next, we will travel through mainland Greece, visiting numerous sites including Athens, Corinth, Olympia, and Delphi. The final weeks will be spent in Italy, using Rome and Florence as our main bases but making side trips to nearby sites and cities, such as Pompeii and Siena.

Throughout the program, students will interpret the texts and monuments in essays, and their mastery of the historical contexts and artistic styles will be strengthened and assessed in written exams. Those continuing on to the study-abroad component will maintain academic travel journals in which we synthesize our on-campus learning with the experiences in country. We will share our discoveries and complete evaluations in Florence, after which time students are free to return home or to continue their travels.

To successfully participate in this program fall quarter, students will need access to a computer with a functioning camera and microphone, and reliable high-speed internet. Students will also need books, notebooks, pens and good will and humor in these uncertain times along with a willingness to experiment with learning remotely. Students can expect our remote teaching to be around 10 hours of synchronous (scheduled) coursework per week, using Zoom and Canvas, in addition to at least 24 hours for preparation and completion of assignments. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous participation if conditions require.

Study abroad:

Study Abroad:

1.               Special Expenses: $TBD  (Estimated expenses students will cover themselves for airfare, food, and local transportation when students are on their own)

2.               Required Student Fee: ~$5000   (Fee covers group expenses for services organized by college, including travel within country, lodging, and entrance fees)

3.               Administrative Fee:   $400   (Nonrefundable deposit to cover administrative costs of running study abroad)

Students participating in the seven-week study abroad component in spring should expect to pay an additional fee of approx. $4,800 - $5,000 (depending upon currency valuation). This does not include airfare or most food in Italy (students will have kitchens), but does include travel within and between the two countries, lodging, breakfast in Greece, and entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites. A $200 deposit is due by Dec. 1, 2020. For details on study abroad, visit or contact Michael Clifthorne at

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

The arts, humanities, education.


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Fall Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
  • Winter and Spring: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 75

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 9:00 am
SEM 2 A1105 - Lecture

Located in: Olympia

2020-08-10This program is now fully remote in fall