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CC 222 : Syllabus
Intro Goals Instructor Texts Grading Policies

The tragedians of 5th-century BCE Athens created plays whose relevance and potency have endured into the twenty-first century.

CC 222 surveys the remaining dramas of the three greatest Athenian playwrights, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, in an effort to discover the secrets and continuing appeal of the genre of tragedy.

Students in this course will approach ancient tragedy from different perspectives and contexts -- mythological, historical, cultural, theatrical, and more -- in order to understand how it functions as drama, myth and social commentary.

Students of CC 222 will

  • explore the content, scope, and structure of Athenian tragedy;
  • discern how tragedy operates as a genre; and
  • compare the sensibilities of ancient and modern audiences.

Furthermore, students will develop critical reading and thinking skills through class discussion, performance, and written exercises.

Professor Dan Curley    
Office: 212 Filene Hall
Hours: MF 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Telephone: 518.580.5463
email: dcurley@skidmore.edu

The following required books are available in the Skidmore Shop:

  • Aeschylus: The Oresteia. Translated by Peter Meineck. Hackett, 1998.

  • Five volumes in the "Chicago" series (D. Grene and R. Lattimore, ed.). NOTE: all are 3rd edition, 2013.

    -- Sophocles I and II.
    -- Euripides I, II, and V.

In addition, students should purchase two packages of Rigid Wrap plaster cloth (also available in the Skidmore Shop) for our mask-making exercise.


Class participation (20%)

Class participation involves more than just attendance or coming to class on time. Students must also keep up with the readings and assignments, participate actively during all sessions, and maintain an environment that promotes the exchange of ideas.

For policies on attendance, see below under Policies.

Assignments to be completed in advance of each session, as well as topics to be covered in class, are listed on the Calendar.

The class participation grade also includes the Reflections due before major discussions of each play.

Midterm examination (15%)

The midterm exam, scheduled for Wednesday, March 7, will test students' mastery of the authors, texts, themes, and motifs explored to date. Expect further information about two weeks before the exam.

Note: The final examination is scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Currently, no final exam is planned, but the instructor reserves the right to hold one if the semester project derails. Please make your travel plans accordingly.

Masks (15%)

On Monday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 11, students will pair off and help each other make masks akin to those worn by ancient actors. Students will decorate and rehearse their masks in preparation for an in-class exercise on Thursday, April 18.

Further details here.

Stagings (15%)

The class will be divided into smaller groups ("troupes"), each of which will recreate scenes from plays on our reading list.

Guidelines and requirements here.

Semester project (35%)

The semester project will test your knowledge of tragedy on many different levels, from narrative to presentation to reception. Working as a group, students will write an original Greek tragedy in English -- that is, compose a play with the format and subject matter of the plays studied this term -- and perform it before a Skidmore audience.

A formal presentation of the project -- indoors or outdoors -- is slated for late April or perhaps very early May. Note that much of the preliminary work is due on Saturday evenings.

Guidelines and requirements here.



Attendance at all sessions is mandatory. Absences due to illness or some other emergency must be excused before class. Late excuses will not be accepted.

Academic integrity

Skidmore's Academic Integrity Handbook (p. 6) defines plagiarism as "copying, paraphrasing, or imitating another person's ideas, information, data, words, descriptions, choice of evidence, structure of argument, and so on." It does not matter whether that person's work appears in print or on the web.

Cases of plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, will be referred to the Office of Academic Advising for appropriate sanctions.


Unless required as an accommodation (such as for a disability), laptops and tablets should not be used during class.

Likewise, phones must be silenced and stored away. If using a phone during class, you might be asked to leave.

If a laptop or other device is determined to be essential (not just desirable) for your learning, you will be asked to fill out and sign an agreement form that defines appropriate in-class use.


If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you must formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator for Student Access Services. You will also need to provide documentation that verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request.

For further information, please call 518.580.8150 or stop by the office of Student Academic Services in Starbuck Center.

Trigger warning

The material of classical studies is often violent and/or sexually explicit. Please be prepared for words, images, and discussions that might make you or your peers uncomfortable. If you have concerns about our readings, viewings, or anything else, please bring them to my attention.

Title IX statement

Skidmore College considers sexual and gender-based misconduct to be one of the most serious violations of the values and standards of the College. Unwelcome sexual contact of any form is a violation of students’ personal integrity and their right to a safe environment and therefore violates Skidmore’s values. Sexual and gender-based misconduct is also prohibited by federal regulations.

Skidmore College faculty are committed to supporting our students and upholding gender equity laws as outlined by Title IX. If a student chooses to confide in a member of Skidmore’s faculty or staff regarding an issue of sexual or gender-based misconduct, that faculty or staff member is obligated to tell Skidmore’s Title IX Deputy Coordinator.

The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will assist the student in connecting with all possible resources for support and reporting both on and off campus. Identities and details will be shared only with those who need to know to support the student and to address the situation through the college’s processes. If the student wishes to confide in a confidential resource, The Counseling Center Staff, Health Services, and Victim Advocates are all options available.

More information can be found at https://www.skidmore.edu/sgbm/ or by contacting the Title IX Deputy Coordinator.

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