Classical Antiquity and Sustainability


Course Number: CLA 2521.. General Education Requirement: H. Class number: 11396. Credits: 03. Times: T4 (10:40 am – 11:30 am), R4-5 (10:40 am – 12:35 am). Room(s): FLG 0230 (T) / FLG 0270 (R). CLA 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 Requirements and 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.

Attendance and General Course Policy

  • 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 quiz days (see calendar below) students are required to bring to class a laptop, handheld, or other web-enabled device that would allow them to connect to e-learning. Please note: all quizzes and exams in CLA 2521 are to be taken in class. Taking an assignment outside of class without the instructor’s approval will be considered a violation of the UF Honor Code (see be below) and will be subject to the appropriate sanctions.
  • 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.
  • Questions. All questions on administrative matters (grading, etc.) can be addressed to the instructor’s assistant(s); for questions pertaining to the content of the lectures, students should consult directly with the instructor
  • Honor Code. Students in CLA 2521 are expected to comply with the Academic Honor Code. of the University of Florida and must sign the CLA 2521 Honor Pledge before January 21, 2020. 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.

ADA Requirements

Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation. For information about services available to students with special needs, contact the Disability Resource Center.

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 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 Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at”


Calendar of Assignments

02 JAN 09 Introduction. Basic Concepts (classnotes)
03 JAN 14 Egypt (classnotes)
04 JAN 16 Egypt (classnotes)
05 JAN 21 Egypt (classnotes)
06 JAN 23 Egypt (classnotes)
07 JAN 28 QUIZ 1 on sessions  2-6
08 JAN 30 Greece: The geographic space (Thommen ch.1)
09 FEB 04 Greece: The geographic space (Thommen ch.1)
10 FEB 06 Greece: People and nature (Thommen ch. 2)
11 FEB 11 Greece: People and nature (Thommen ch. 2)
12 FEB 13 Greece: Agriculture (Thommen ch. 3)
13 FEB 18 QUIZ 2 on session  2-11
14 FEB 20 Greece: Agriculture (Thommen ch. 3). Forests and timber (Thommen ch. 4)
15 FEB 25 Greece: Forests and timber (Thommen ch. 4)
16 FEB 27 MIDTERM EXAMINATION on sessions 2-15 (same room and time as class)
17 MAR 10 Greece: Gardens. Animals. Food (Thommen chs. 5-7)
18 MAR 12 Greece: Fire and water (Thommen ch. 8)
19 MAR 17 Greece: Earthquakes and volcanoes. Mining (Thommen chs. 9-10)
20 MAR 19 Rome: The geographic space. People and nature (Thommen chs.11-12)
21 MAR 24 QUIZ 3 on sessions 2-19
22 MAR 26 Rome: Agriculture (Thommen ch.13)
23 MAR 31 Rome: Forests and timber. Gardens (Thommen chs.14-15)
24 APR 02 Rome: Animals. Food (Thommen chs.16-17)
25 APR 07 Rome: Animals. Food (Thommen chs.16-17)
26 APR 09 Rome: Fire and water (Thommen ch.18)
27 APR 14 Rome: Earthquakes and volcanoes. Mining (Thommen chs.19-20)
28 APR 16 Flex Day
29 APR 21 QUIZ 4 on sessions 2-28
30 APR 30 FINAL EXAMINATION on sessions 2-29 (same room as class, 7:30 am – 9:30 am)