Classics 130 - The Trojan War: history or myth?

Professor: Dr. Kim Shelton

Office: 7209 Dwinelle Hall

Day/Time: TTh 11:00 - 12:30

Office Hours: T 9:30-11 and W 2-3:30pm or by appt.

Place: 79 Dwinelle Hall



Course Description:
This course will explore the evidence for the Trojan War, one of the greatest stories ever told: literary, historical, visual and archaeological. The history of the search for the reality behind Homer's epic and its scholarship will be examined as well as detailed analyses of the theories currently in play. Through reading, visual analysis, discussion and writing - students will discover for themselves the ancient world of the heroes and their legends. Was there ever an actual war between two powerful Bronze Age Aegean cultures? Did Hektor and Achilles ever really clash on the battlefield? Was Helen really "a face that launched 1000 ships?"

Grading and attendance policy:
The course-work will consist of illustrated lectures, extensive reading, and class discussion. There will be three writing assignments, each of a different style, all pertaining to aspects of the myth and its history, such as: research, comparative analysis, theoretical analysis/opinion, and critique/review. Information necessary for the completion of the writing assignments will be presented in class and especially through class discussion, so attendance and participation are vital.
Grades will be based primarily on the writing assignments (75%) together with a grade for participation (25%), which includes brief class presentations. All papers (hard copies only accepted) must be turned in on their scheduled day in class. Other arrangements will be possible only for genuine emergencies and must be scheduled in advance. Deadlines that conflict with athletic or other academic obligations and religious holidays should be brought to my attention with written documentation at least 14 days in advance for other arrangements to be made.

Written assignments will be graded as follows: (A++=100, A+=98, A=95, A-=93, A--/B++=90, B+=88, B=85, B-=83, B--/C++=80, etc.). To receive credit as a P/NP basis, you will need to complete all of the assignments and accomplish a final average of at least 70%.

Required Readings:

Wood, In Search of the Trojan War
Shanower, The Age of Bronze I: A Thousand Ships and The Age of Bronze II: Sacrifice
Homer, The Iliad  (any translation is fine – I recommend for this class Lombardo’s)
Fields, Troy c. 1700-1250 BC and Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC

Articles posted on the Bcourses site:


Academic Honesty:

There will be no tolerance for academic dishonesty in this class. Offending actions can result in no credit and no chance to make up the assignment; failing the

course; and you may be subject to judiciary action. To avoid academic dishonesty, be sure to appropriately cite someone else’s words, phrases, and ideas.

If you are confused about what requires a citation, please ask. For further information on citation styles and Berkeley’s policies please refer to these websites: