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 2022/2023

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 transition between orality and written culture and on development of libraries in the ancient world

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 are W.J. Ong, Oralità e scrittura. Le tecnologie della parola, trad. it. Bologna: Il Mulino, rist. 2014 (1982, 2nd ed. New York 2002) and M. Berti, V. Costa, La biblioteca di Alessandria. Storia di un paradiso perduto, Roma: Edizioni Tored, 2010.

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

The course will be carried out in an experimental mode as part of the University's teaching innovation project and will be done through 20 hours of in-presence lectures and seminars and 10 hours of distance learning.

Week 1: three in-presence lectures, totaling 10 hours to be held on Friday 11/11/2022 and Saturday 12/11/2022. In these lectures, all topics will be briefly presented;
Week 2 and 3: four e-learning ectures at a distance (10 hours) on 15/11/2022 from 2 to 5 p.m., 17/11/2022 from 2 to 4 p.m., 22/11/2022 from 2 to 5 p.m., 24/11/2022 from 2 to 4 p.m.
In these lectures, some of the planned teaching topics will be analyzed in detail, through the analysis of resources deposited on Virtual, facilitating the seminar approach and soliciting critical debate among students.
Week 4: three in-presence lectures, for a total of 10 hours, on Friday 2/12/2022 and Saturday 3/12/2022.
In these final lectures, we will return to the themes and contents of the training activity relaunched for their overall in-depth expansion. Based on the number of participants, the last of these lectures will be devoted to the presentation of case studies by the students themselves, with the duration of about 10 minutes

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