90417 - Greek Civilization: Information and Communication Technology

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide an interdisciplinary knowledge on the Information and Communication Technologies in classical civilization (oral and written culture). The classical texts will be studied as model for a critical analysis of the contemporary scenario of digital culture.

Course contents

This is a specialistic, seminar-based course, focused on technology of communication (orality and literacy) between classical and contemporary world with a particular focus on text and encyclopedia concepts and on various technologies for production, registration and transmission of informations.

Course topics:

A. Technology of orality in greek archaic civilisation: anthropology of communication, myth and oral encyclopedia.

B. Technology of writing: origins of literacy in Ancient Greece, myths, texts and evidences in the development from oral to literacy culture.

C. Documents, books and libraries: written texts, origins and developments of libraries, book-trade in the ancient world.

D. Orality, writing, text and encyclopedia in the contemporary scenario of digital communication  


The Handbook text is W.J. Ong, Oralità e scrittura. Le tecnologie della parola, trad. it. Bologna: Il Mulino, rist. 2014 (1982, 2nd ed. New York 2002).

For the specific topics covered in addition to the materials and text  on the course webpage, the following book chapters are also to be studied:

A. E.A. Havelock, Cultura orale e civiltà della scrittura. Da Omero a Platone, trad. it. Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1966, rist. 2006: chapter 4, "L'enciclopedia omerica", pp. 49-71.

B. One chapter from the book: Sapere e scrittura in Grecia, a cura di M. Detienne, Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1989 (rist. 1997) or  E.A. Havelock, L'alfabetizzazione di Omero, in Arte e comunicazione nel mondo antico. Guida storica e critica, a cura di E.A. Havelock e J.P. Hershbell, Roma-Bari: Laterza,1981, rist. 2005, pp. 1-32.

C. One from these essays: E.G. Turner, I libri nell'Atene del V e IV secolo a.C., in Libri, editori e pubblico nel mondo antico. Guida storica e critica, a cura di G. Cavallo, Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1989 (rist. 2005), pp. 3-24; L. Canfora, Le biblioteche ellenistiche, in Le biblioteche nel mondo antico e medievale, a cura di G. Cavallo, Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1989 (rist. 2004), pp. 3-28; H. Blanck, Il libro nel mondo antico, a cura di R. Otranto, Roma-Bari: Dedalo, 2008: capitolo VII "Diffusione e commercio del libro", pp. 155-180 o in alternativa capitolo VIII "Le bibllioteche", pp. 181-243.

D. L. Floridi, La quarta rivoluzione. Come l'infosfera sta trasformando il mondo, Milano: Cortina, 2017 (Oxford 2014), chapter 1 "Tempo" and chapter 2 "Spazio", pp. 1-65.

Non-attending-students is also mandatory F. Stok, I classici dal papiro a Internet, Roma: Carocci, 2012, for a better comprehension of classical tradition.

Teaching methods

A dedicated e-learning site  will offer hypertextual and digital resources, exercises and activities prepared by the lecturer, as well as cooperative tools (forum, chat, blog, wiki).

Assessment methods

The examination will consist of an oral exam that will include a discussion of the essay, as well as the course topics, a critical discussion of the suggested bibliography, texts, and other multimedia materials on the e-learning platform.

Marks will be evaluated according following criteria:

  • pass (18/30-23/30): basic and mnemonic knowledge of the arguments;
  • merit 24/30-27/30): good knowledege about sources and essays; competence on critical discussion about the contents of the course;
  • distinction (28/30-30/30): excellent knowledege about all the arguments; evidence of remarkable skills in the critical evaluation of the course contents.

Teaching tools

On the e-learning site the student will find:

  • Handouts, textual and multimedia materials;
  • forum through which the students can communicate among them and with the lecturer; blog and wiki to update class notes and ideas.

Office hours

See the website of Alessandro Iannucci