What is love? Do we need to love and be loved to be happy? But then, why do we suffer so much because of it? These are some of the questions that we will try to answer with the help of a wide selection of philosophical and literary texts from the Greek and Roman world. In particular, we will look at how the ancients tried to cope with the double nature of passionate desire: love was seen both as an uplifting force that allow us to transcend the limits of our human nature, and as a destructive power that produces baneful effects on our mind and body. At the same time, we will become familiar with debates on broader historical and philosophical issues, such as the role of passions, emotions and reason in producing a happy life, the relationship between the body and the soul, or ancient conceptions of gender and sexuality. Finally, we will see examples of how these ancient views on passionate desire have been adapted and reinvented to fit new cultural and religious contexts and ask whether they still influence the way we talk and think about love nowadays.
This class is the continuation of Greek 101. We will continue learning the basics of ancient Greek grammar, syntax and vocabulary. The goal of the introductory sequence of Ancient Greek is to develop the fundamentals of the language, so that you will be in a strong position to explore whatever aspect of the ancient Greek world you are interested in.