Disasters in the Ancient Mediterranean

The timeless monumentality of the ancient Mediterranean often conveys a sense of durability and resistance to change, but ancient societies were also proverbial for disasters, both natural and human. Poised on a fragile balance between plenty and crisis, disasters strained resources at every level, but ancient communities were nevertheless surprisingly resilient. This course explores a wide range of disasters—earthquakes and volcanoes, floods and drought, plague and famine, fires and riots, sieges and sackings, military catastrophes and genocide—to better understand the capacity of ancient communities to respond to adversity. How enduring was the impact of disaster, what resources were mobilized in response, and what were the psychological strategies for coping?

Last taught: Spring 2018 at Claremont McKenna College

Resources: Syllabus | Schedule | Reading Journal Guidelines | Writing Assignment Grading Standards | Writing Assignment Sample Rubric | Final Guidelines

Special thanks to Shane Bjornlie for sharing materials that helped me develop Disasters in the Ancient Mediterranean.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for access to additional resources pertaining to this course.