- TBA Epic, Lyric, and Tragedy (3 hours)
Through the classical studies course, students will be introduced to three major genres of classical Greek and Roman literature and will study the works of some of the most prominent authors of classical literature, Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, Pindar, Aeschylus, Catullus, Horace, and Vergil. In addition to close literary interpretations and discussions, the course offers an introduction to classical mythology and culture. The program's service-learning component with the children in the Roma village near Hexamilia (as described below) is an integral part of our course on ancient literature. Both raise fundamental questions about the ways human beings interact with each other and choose to live their lives. In the ancient texts we will encounter heroes (such as Achilles, Odysseus, and Aeneas), lovers (in the poems of Sappho and Catullus), victors (like the Olympic winners in Pindar's epinician odes), and tragic losers (for instance King Xerxes and his vanquished Persians). The texts also address the treatment of strangers and non-indigenous people as well as the sacred laws of hospitality (for instance in the Odyssey and the Aeneid). Course participants will be asked to make connections between the ancient stories and the modern-day social tensions and personal hardships found in the Gypsy camp and thereby reflect upon some of the most enduring questions of human existence.
- TBA Archaeology and Religion (3 hours)
The archaeology course introduces students to the field through readings, visits to archaeological sites, student reports, and participation in actual archaeological field work. The course will focus on the role of religion in ancient Greek and Roman society, especially as it is illuminated by the findings of archaeology. There will be two major explorations of archaeology and religion: the first will be investigation of the ancient concept of "sanctuary," especially as it is evidenced in the demarcation and construction of "sacred space." The second will be ancient concepts of "service," especially in terms of service to the deities. Some attention will be given to the development of these two concepts during the Roman and Byzantine periods.
- Dr. Scott Nash, Columbus Roberts Professor of New Testament, College of Liberal Arts
Service Project Description:
The program's service-learning project will involve helping the children in the Roma village near Hexamilia. Students will participate in an on-going program to assist the Roma, or Gypsy, population of Greece sponsored by Children's Ark Roma Education. The Roma population of European countries has experienced increasing discrimination and economic deprivation. Greece has one of the largest Roma populations in Europe, perhaps as many as 300,000. Roma children regularly become involved in theft, drugs, and prostitution at an early age. The objective of this program is to enable Roma children to enter into, and succeed in, the Greek educational system. Roma children who go to school in Greece typically drop out after one or two years; no Roma child has ever entered or graduated from high school. This is partly due to the Greek system of education, which relies heavily on homework and tutoring, but it is mostly a result of the lack of concern or support for formal education within the Roma community. CARE has established a preparatory school in a large Roma village in the town of Hexamilia, which lies only a few miles north of the city of Corinth. Mercer students helped in the early launch of this program in 2009. In 2011, students assisted in refurbishing the school and worked directly with the children. This year's team will work to expand the current educational programs provided at the center. During the two-week stay in nearby ancient Corinth, Mercer students will travel daily to the CARE center and provide both manual labor for building projects and instructional leadership in the educational and recreational programs.
Archaeological Field Experience
Because the two academic courses focus on the literature and culture of classical Greece, students may engage in archaeological field work at the site of the Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia (near Ancient Corinth) sponsored by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. After learning first-hand about archaeological field work, students will visit several of the major archaeological sites in southern Greece, including Corinth, Nemea, Mycenae, Epidauros, and Athens.
Tentative Travel Dates: TBA
For more information, e-mail MercerOnMission@mercer.edu or call (478) 301-2992.