Humanitas: Ancient Greece

  • Humanitas: Ancient Greece

Humanitas: Ancient Greece


  • Rooted in the Renaissance humanists’ clarion call to return ad fontes, this brand-new upper school humanities curriculum promises to bring students “back to the sources.” Geared towards history, humanities, and humane letters courses, the Humanitas series offers a continuous, unfolding narrative of Western Civilization through a series of carefully curated primary source documents that trace the founding and beginnings of the American experiment.

    Beginning with the mythic past and moving into the concrete particulars of history, Humanitas Ancient Greece Book 1 will take the reader to the origins of the ancient Greeks. Homer and Hesiod help shape the Greek consciousness, offering later generations of Greeks distinct notions of what it means to be Greek. But the mythic vision of the cosmos is challenged in the Archaic Era as distinct political identities come into focus and the early natural philosophers deny the existence of the gods. Athens and Sparta emerge as early rivals, embodying disparate ways of life, but are unified by the threat of Persian conquest. The severely outnumbered Greeks unite in order to combat the invaders, but can they survive their own internecine conflict in the wake of the Greco-Persian Wars? Students will embark on their journey into Greece through visual art, epic, lyric poetry, tragedy, natural philosophy, and historical and political documents to discover how a small group of peoples would come to shape the world.

    In Humanitas Ancient Greece Book 2, students will discover that philosophy and culture advance as the city-states of Greece fight themselves in the Peloponnesian War. Heraclitus and Parmenides offer conflicting views of reality that will play out in the contest between the sophists and the philosophers, eventually making its way into the agora and daily life. Will truth and classical education triumph or will political expediency and moral relativism dominate? Students will watch Athens overreach with her empire, alienating her erstwhile allies, as the battle for Greece begins. Socrates chastises his native Athens amid the war, as does his fellow citizen Aristophanes. Occupied by their petty rivalries, the Greeks fail to heed warnings about or prevent the advances of Philip of Macedon until it is too late. Alexander the Great conquers the known world with remarkable alacrity, and his death just as quickly throws the order he established into chaos. Students will prepare to journey out of Greece and into Rome by encountering Archimedes in the defense of Syracuse against Rome.

    Unlike most contemporary approaches to history, which reflect the fashions and biases of the fleeting present, the Humanitas series offers students something more substantial. Following C. S. Lewis’s stout defense of reading primary sources in “On the Reading of Old Books,” Humanitas will help “persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but it is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire."

  • Paperback

    ISBN: 9781600514951

    Pages: 894

    Dimensions: 8.5in x 11in

  • Christopher Maiocca MA

    Christopher Maiocca MA

    Chris Maiocca received a Master of Arts from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Since graduating, he has taught at three classical schools and currently resides in Boise, Idaho. He is married to Robin, his wife of twenty years, with whom he has four children—Hannah, Christopher, Phoebe, and Jeremiah.