ICSM Golden City: Rhetorical Performance in Classical Athens

Golden City: description and objectives

This guide supports the following seminar:

Classical Athens has been famously described as having been “drunk on language.” The Athenian democracy placed an extraordinarily high value on the ability of its citizens to speak, argue, entertain, and instruct by means of direct oral discourse. This seminar will engage the concept of rhetorical performance in the democratic polis. We will immerse in rhapsodic interpretation, political debate, criminal litigation, philosophical dispute and theatrical performance. We will also take part in a corresponding variety of performative experiences – in debates, mock trials, poetic recitations, and theatrical performances. The seminar will not simply work through a set of cultural masterpieces, though many of our texts are central to the Western canon. We will embody, and experience again, many of the persisting problems of democratic citizenship. (image: Demosthenes)

Library Session Learning Objectives:
  1. Evaluate resources and identify those most appropriate to your information need (card sorting)
  2. ​Identify and combine keywords for a research topic  (brainstorm)
  3. Distinguish between the catalog, databases, and open web when selecting resources; Identify the best databases relevant to a topic (database search and reflection)

Information Types, Processes and Needs

Information types, processes and needs: in class exercise.  Cards will be distributed in class.

Recommended Databases

Researching 5th-4th Century Athens:
Search tips: Adding Keywords such as--"classical or ancient" can be fairly effective at targeting ancient Athens. You might also want to try "fifth century or 5th century" as keywords. Also try searching Athens with particular people, events, or insitutions that clearly signal your interest in classical times.

Best Bets
  • EBSCO Research Library 
    The EBSCO Research Library searches across nearly 40 EBSCO databases.  Searches across subject specific indexes on the EBSCO platform
  • ARGOS (library homepage search) Includes the library catalog (books, e-books, DVDs) and most library databases.
  • Ebook Central (formerly ebrary)  Over 109,000 full-text ebooks.  They can be found in ARGOS, but when you search ARGOS, you are not searching across the full-text of the books -- just the title, table of contents and subject headings. 
Subject specific databases:
Note:  You are searching across all of the following indexes at once when searching EBSCO Research Library.  Searching one at a time allows you to focus your search in one particular discipline.
  • Communication Source
    Communication Source offers worldwide full-text content pertaining to communication, linguistics, rhetoric and discourse, speech-language pathology, media studies and related fields and includes many unique sources previously not available. Content is derived from academic journals, conference papers, conference proceedings, trade publications, magazines and periodicals. 
  • Historical Abstracts
    Abstracts to world history 1450-present (excluding North America) in historical and (related) social science literature.
  • International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text
    International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance (IBTD), includes indexing and full text for top performing arts journals.
  • Philosopher's Index
    Philosopher's Index is a bibliography of scholarly research in philosophy and related interdisciplinary fileindex to books and journals. The literature coverage dates back to 1940 and includes print and electronic journals, books, anthologies, contributions to anthologies, and book reviews.  
  • MLA International Bibliography
    The MLA International Bibliography is a classified listing and subject index of scholarly books and articles on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics which has been compiled by the Modern Language Association of America since 1926.
Fulltext Journal Collections (do not include the latest issues; smaller in scope)
  • JSTOR : For all aspects of classical Athens, this is probably our best research database. The journals covered are scholarly, and JSTOR is especially strong in History, Classics, Archaeology, Anthropolgy, Art, and Literature. It is also 100% full text. It does not cover the latest 2-3 years of journals. To prevent book reviews, check "Article" below the search slots.
  • Project Muse , Although a smaller database, it complements JSTOR. LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  

Subject Searches in the IC Library Catalog

Note: Although Homer and Hesiod predate the scope of this guide--5th-4th century Greece--their influence so saturated Greek culture that you may wish to consult our holdings for Homer, Homer--Criticism and interpretation, Troy (Extinct city), Trojan War--Literature and the war, and Hesiod--Criticism and interpretation.

Oratory, Speech and Rhetoric
Oratory, Ancient
Antiphon, ca. 480-411 B.C.--Criticism and interpretation
Isocrates--Criticism and interpretation
Rhetoric, Ancient
Speeches, addresses, etc., Greek--History and criticism
Law, Greek
Political science--Greece--History
Education, Greek

Literature & Drama
Greek literature--History and criticism
Athens (Greece)--Antiquities
Athens (Greece)--Civilization
Athens (Greece)--History
Athens (Greece)--History--Thirty Tyrants, 404-403 B.C.
Athens (Greece)--Intellectual life
Athens (Greece) Politics and government
Athens (Greece) Social conditions
Athens (Greece) Social life and customs
Athena (Greek deity)

Civilization, Western--Greek influences
Civilization, Classical  ["Classical" refers to Greece and Rome]
Greece--Civilization Greece--History Greece--History--Persian Wars, 500-449 B.C.

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MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.

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Guide credit

This guide was created by Dr. Brian Saunders, Humanties Librarian (retired 2017).