Great Books II: Foundational Texts of Ancient Romegreat-books-ii-clrc

This rigorous Socratic tutorial covers the literary, historic, and philosophic classics of the Romans and the Early Church. The class provides a unique vehicle for understanding the roots of our culture: the fundamental concepts and choices of the past 4500 years.

To study and understand the long stream of history and thought, and to comprehend our place in that stream, is to increase our appreciation of our cultural inheritance, our ability to  use wisely and build faithfully upon that inheritance, and our ability to understand and respond to history. Along with literature, this course will engage with the events, persons, and ideas of Roman antiquity through Socratic discussion, debate, and analysis.

This class meets once a week. Classes are two hours in length. Students should expect approximately 6 hours of homework (reading, study questions, and composition) per week. Because of this rigorous amount of work, the course may be counted for up to two high school credits, depending on your state's requirements.

Great Books II is a course in Literature, History, and Composition.

Literature and History:

Major themes in the course come from the works themselves including the values they endorse and the metaphors for understanding life they offer. Texts include the following in their entirety:

Texts include the following in their entirety:
1) Virgil - Aeneid
2) Livy - The Early History of Rome
3) Plutarch - Lives
4) Sallust - Jugurthine War, Conspiracy of Catiline
5) Caesar, The Conquest of Gaul
6) Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
7) Shakespeare, Antony & Cleopatra 
8) Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome
9) Early Christian Fathers (Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin, Irenaeus)
10) Eusebius - The History of the Church
11) Athanasius - On the Incarnation
12) Augustine - Confessions

Composition:

This course continues to refine students’ writing skills through the study of classical rhetoric. Students will be able to identify and analyze the structure of spoken and written communication, applying the techniques to their own writing about the literature and history of Rome, and the writings of the early Church fathers, as Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Students read and discuss primary sources from the Great Books II Literature and History texts and compose weekly summae – written responses of approximately 300 words in response to ideas presented in the texts. Other writing assignments include classical rhetorical exercises, literary analysis, writing about history, persuasive writing, and occasional creative responses to texts. The writing process is emphasized — from outline to draft to revision. Students receive extensive feedback from the instructor at each stage of this process with multiple opportunities to revise and re-submit their work. Students learn to use MLA format for in-text citations and bibliographic references for each essay and summa.

Additional Note:

The CLRC Great Books program focuses on literary and historical primary sources from the ancient world through the Renaissance and the early modern world. The literature is read for its own merit and studied within the historical and cultural time period in which it was written.

In Year 1, as we read the Iliad and Odyssey, the backdrop of Homer’s great epic is an assumed faith in the Olympian pantheon. Students are not required to express belief in Zeus, Hera, Apollo and the other Olympian gods. The class will not seek to criticize or disprove the religious underpinning of the text. However, students must understand that this is the religious assumption on which the epic is based. Similarly, Year 2 focuses on the Foundational Texts of Ancient Rome. In the first semester students study the preChristian authors Vergil, Caesar, Livy, Sallust, Tacitus and Plutarch. The second semester moves on to the period of history which is dominated by the rise of the Christian Church. Students read Eusebius, Augustine, Athanasius and other early Christian writers. These texts and this period of history are essential to an understanding of the texts studied in Great Books 3 – the period of the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance – which is dominated by the conflict of Faith and Reason. As with the religion of Ancient Greece and Rome, students are not required to subscribe to belief in particular Christian doctrines, but they should understand that foundational texts of the Christian faith will be read in the second half of Year 2.

Students from all faiths and creeds are encouraged to read, understand, and write about the texts through the lens of their own beliefs, in an environment of open, caring, and conscientiously moderated discussion. Students who have questions or doubts reading ancient Greek and Roman texts, or texts of the early Christian church, may wish to contact the instructor for more information or choose a CLRC Literature and Composition class instead.

“Thank you for suggesting that my daughter consider taking Mrs. Turscak’s Great Books course series.  The reading, writing, context and discussions have formed, informed, refined, and prepared her profoundly.”
-- Tonya L., Louisiana

What students have to say about the importance of reading, discussing, and wrestling deeply with the Great Books:

"The Great Books do not discuss beliefs and ideas that are 'ancient,' but rather ones that transcend time and culture, are part of our lives today, and likely will be as long as humanity endures."

For the complete text of this student's essay, CLICK HERE.

Fall 2020 Registration for this Course Opens on February 27.

Section A

Enrollment for this class is closed for Fall 2021.
Prerequisites: CLRC Great Books I  is essential. A similar program taken during the first year of high school (but NOT as a middle school student) may be acceptable contingent on a review of the curriculum and the student's work by the instructor. 
Instructor:  Sue Ellen Turscak, M.A. seturscak@gmail.com
Age Level:  14 - 18 years
Grade Level: 10 - 12
Minimum Enrollment Required: 4
Maximum Class Size: 14 
Tuition per Semester:  $425


Class Meets: Tuesdays, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM Pacific. (PLEASE NOTE: Class begins the week of August 30)
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Fall enrollment is closed. Students may be able to enroll with the instructor’s permission. Please contact info@clrconline.com. Spring registration opens Oct 18th.

Section B

Enrollment for this class is closed for Fall 2021.

Prerequisites: CLRC Great Books I  is essential. A similar program taken during the first year of high school (but NOT as a middle school student) may be acceptable contingent on a review of the curriculum and the student's work by the instructor. 
Instructor:  Sue Ellen Turscak, M.A. seturscak@gmail.com
Age Level:  14 - 18 years
Grade Level: 10 - 12
Minimum Enrollment Required: 4
Maximum Class Size: 14 
Tuition per Semester:  $425


Class Meets: Tuesdays, 1:00 - 3:00 PM Pacific. (PLEASE NOTE: Class begins the week of August 30)
--

Fall enrollment is closed. Students may be able to enroll with the instructor’s permission. Please contact info@clrconline.com. Spring registration opens Oct 18th.

(If you would like to enroll in this class but cannot attend at the posted time, please contact us.  We may be able to open an additional section.)

Problems Registering?    Click here    for help.  

Sue Ellen Turscak, M.A.

sue-ellen-turscak-great-books-clrcSue Ellen Turscak has been a teacher of Great Books, Literature, and Composition at Heritage Classical Academy in northeast Ohio since 2006. Prior to that she taught English for ten years at Western Reserve Academy, an independent college preparatory school, and before that, Russian language and literature at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

She earned her A.B. In History and Literature, magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1986, and a Master in Humanities, summa cum laude, from Tiffin University in 2009. Her thesis was on the forms of contemporary classical Christian education.

During the summer months, from 2010-2017, she was the director of her own Merely Players Shakespeare Camp, a two-week day camp for 7th grade through early college focused on exploring Shakespeare thematically through performance. In 2013, she was the recipient of the American Shakespeare Center’s Words in Action Award “to deserving teachers to honor their commitment in bringing Shakespeare to life for their students.”

Sue Ellen homeschooled her two children through high school. Her son works as a data scientist for a major consulting firm, and her daughter is a software developer for Microsoft. Sue Ellen resides with her husband and one very grumpy cat in Northeast Ohio, and attends St. Elia the Prophet Orthodox Church. She enjoys reading, cooking, international travel, and all things Russian and Slavic in general.

Textbooks:

Students in this course are  REQUIRED  to use the SPECIFIC EDITIONS  of the texts listed below.
In a course based on detailed discussion of classic  works, it is imperative that students use editions with the same pagination, section divisions, and line numbering.   These particular editions also contain helpful maps, summaries, etc. which are extremely valuable for students.

Amazon links for textbooks and materials are provided for the convenience of our parents and students. 
The CLRC is an Amazon Associate.


The  Aeneid
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Early History of Rome

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Jugurthine War/Conspiracy
of Cataline

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The  Conquest of Gaul

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The Annals of Imperial Rome

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Plutarch:Lives of Noble Grecians/Romans

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Early Christian Fathers
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Eusebius: The Church History

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Augustine: Confessions

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ADDITIONAL TEXTS:  Unlike the texts above, the  following   may be read in any edition, or online.   These suggested links are provided for anyone who may wish to purchase a copy of the works.

Shakespeare: Julius Caesar
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$5.39

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Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra
$5.99

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OTHER TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE INSTRUCTOR:

  1. Athanasius,   On the Incarnation