Classical Antiquity and Sustainability


Course Number: CLA 2521.. General Education Requirement: H. Class number(s): 11400 (on campus section) / 26291 (online section). Credits: 03. Times: T4 (10:40 am – 11:30 am), R4-5 (10:40 am – 12:35 am). Room: FAB 0103CLA 2151 is a course offered in the Department of Classical Studies. at University of Florida. Department contact: Mr. Ken Vandoren.

Course Description

An examination of classical antiquity, applying methods and theories of sustainability to explore the impact of the ancient Greeks and Romans on their environment and focusing on geography, economy, land use and classical representations of the natural world.


Textbooks and Other Study Aids

L. Thommen, An Environmental History of Ancient Greece and Rome. (CUP: Cambridge 2012.)
A folder with PDF files of the powerpoint presentations used in class (images only) is also available from this link .

Course Grading

  • Attendance (5% of final grade)
  • Four quizzes, equally weighted (30% of final grade). Format: 20 questions (10 MC, 10 T/F). Points per question: 5. Total points per quiz: 100.
  • Two exams, equally weighted (65% of final grade). Format: 50 questions (25 MC, 25 T/F). Points per question: 2. Total points per exam: 100.

Please note: Quizzes and exams are cumulative.
Grading scale:UF (see UF Grades and Grading Policies).
General information on current university policies for assigning grade points is available in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Course Policies

  • Attendance. Attendance is mandatory and will be tracked by periodical spot checks. Accruing more than 3 unexcused absences will result in a 3 pt penalty to be detracted from one’s quiz average. Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online Undergraduate Catalog.
  • Laptop policy. On-campus students are required to bring to class a laptop, handheld, or other web-enabled device that would allow them to connect to e-learning.
  • Class Etiquette. Students are strongly discouraged from leaving the class in the middle of a lecture. Those who need to do so must obtain the instructor’s permission at the beginning of class.
  • Makeup Examinations. Makeup exams are given only in extraordinary circumstances. Students who are unable to take exams at the appointed dates should notify the instructor’s assistants in advance.
  • Honor Code. Students in CLA 2521 are expected to comply with the Academic Honor Code of the University of Florida (see Academic Conduct below) and must sign the CLA 2521 Honor Pledge before February 02, 2021. Please note: students who do not sign the pledge will not be given access to graded quizzes and exams.
  • Disclaimer on Sexual and Religious Content. As ancient attitudes towards sexuality and religion differ considerably from ours, some of the material examined in this course may result offensive to modern sensibility. Students who have a problem in dealing with such topics should consult with the instructor.

Calendar of Assignments

02 JAN 14 Introduction. Basic Concepts (classnotes)
03 JAN 19 Egypt (classnotes)
04 JAN 21 Egypt (classnotes)
05 JAN 26 Egypt (classnotes)
06 JAN 28 Egypt (classnotes)
07 FEB 02 QUIZ 1 on sessions  2-6
08 FEB 04 Greece: The geographic space (Thommen ch.1)
09 FEB 09 Greece: The geographic space (Thommen ch.1)
10 FEB 11 Greece: People and nature (Thommen ch. 2)
11 FEB 16 Greece: People and nature (Thommen ch. 2)
12 FEB 18 Greece: Agriculture (Thommen ch. 3)
13 FEB 23 QUIZ 2 on session  2-11
14 FEB 25 Greece: Agriculture (Thommen ch. 3). Forests and timber (Thommen ch. 4)
15 MAR 02 Greece: Forests and timber (Thommen ch. 4)
16 MAR 04 MIDTERM EXAMINATION on sessions 2-15 (same room and time as class)
17 MAR 09 Greece: Gardens. Animals. Food (Thommen chs. 5-7)
18 MAR 11 Greece: Fire and water (Thommen ch. 8)
19 MAR 16 Greece: Earthquakes and volcanoes. Mining (Thommen chs. 9-10)
20 MAR 18 Rome: The geographic space. People and nature (Thommen chs.11-12)
21 MAR 23 QUIZ 3 on sessions 2-19
22 MAR 25 Rome: Agriculture (Thommen ch.13)
23 MAR 30 Rome: Forests and timber. Gardens (Thommen chs.14-15)
24 APR 01 Rome: Animals. Food (Thommen chs.16-17)
25 APR 06 Rome: Animals. Food (Thommen chs.16-17)
26 APR 08 Rome: Fire and water (Thommen ch.18)
27 APR 13 Rome: Earthquakes and volcanoes. Mining (Thommen chs.19-20)
28 APR 15 Flex Day
29 APR 20 QUIZ 4 on sessions 2-28
30 APR 30 FINAL EXAMINATION on sessions 2-29 (same room as class, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Our class sessions may be audio-visually recorded for students in the class to refer back and for enrolled students who are unable to attend live. Students who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are agreeing to have their video or image recorded.  If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, students who un-mute during class and participate orally are agreeing to have their voices recorded.  If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the “chat” feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live. The chat will not be recorded or shared. As in all courses, unauthorized recording and unauthorized sharing of recorded materials is prohibited.

Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, (Links to an external site.) ) by providing appropriate documentation.  Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter that must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodation.  Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester.

UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code.  On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.”  The Honor Code ( (Links to an external site.)) specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions.  Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel.  If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor or TAs in this class.

For issues with technical difficulties for Canvas, please contact the UF Help Desk at:

Any requests for make-ups due to technical issues should be accompanied by the ticket number received from the Help Desk when the problem was reported to them. The ticket number will document the time and date of the problem. You should e-mail your instructor within 24 hours of the technical difficulty if you wish to request a make-up.

Academic and Student Support

Course Evaluations

Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at (Links to an external site.). Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via (Links to an external site.). Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at (Links to an external site.).