Open Erga

NOTE: These instructions apply to erga from the first half of the semester. For erga submitted during the game, see the instructions here.

For this reason I was sent: to teach you to be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds. Phoenix to Achilles, Iliad 9.442-43

General Instructions

The Greek word ergon, plural erga, meeds “deed” or “accomplishment”; Homer would have pronounced it wergon, and it shares an Indo-European route with our word “work.” In our class, erga are opportunities to take a closer look at something from the class that sparked your interest or to connect your learning in the class with the wider world. They are a chance for you to produce something in a form and on a subject that is meaningful to you.

No specific erga are required for the course. Instead, you must complete a set of erga to earn the final grade you’ve set as your goal for the course. You can find the details here.

Below, you will find a list of possible erga to complete during Part One of the course (in Part Two, your erga will take the form of researched notes about your character). If you have any doubts about whether something would count as an ergon or be an appropriate ergon to undertake, please contact us beforehand. In general, you should not repeat erga, but if you have a compelling reason for doing so, please let us know.

Some erga are complete in themselves; simply document your activity and notify us to receive credit. Most, however, will require either a piece of writing as the ergon itself, or a reflection in which you consider how participating in some activity enriched your experience of classical Athens; any such essays should be submitted in the form of a 600-900 word paper (2-3 double-spaced pages). For credit on any ergon, email your reflection or other evidence to both of us: &


There are rolling submission windows for erga throughout the semester. You can only submit one ergon per submission window, so plan to space them out throughout the semester. Unless you have received an extension from us, you must email your ergon to both of us by 5:00pm on the final day of the submission window.

  • 9/12 – 9/21: open ergon
  • 9/22-10/5: open ergon
  • 10/6-10/26: open ergon
  • 10/27-11/9: game ergon
  • 11/10-11/23: game ergon
  • 11/24-12/7: game ergon

Open Ergon Ideas

Again, please note that these instructions do not apply after Oct. 26th; for erga during the game, click here.

Here are a few sample erga you might complete for the course. Anything marked with an asterisk requires a 600–900 word reflection essay in addition to participating in the activity described; other erga should simply be documented so that we can witness your activity or otherwise know that you completed it.

  • Museum Visit: Join the class’s visit to the Penn Museum in September, and complete the scavenger hunt.
  • Helping Friends (without harming enemies): Create and share a review document or activity that would help future students in this class.
  • Listen and Learn*: attend a classics lecture, visit a museum, or attend a Classically-relevant performance, then compose a reflection about the experience.
    • Bryn Mawr hosts a weekly classics lecture: click here for the schedule to see whether any upcoming lectures sound interesting to you.
    • Lutnick Library gallery currently hosts a selection of Greek vases for our class – check them out, and write a reflection about them!
    • Relevant local museums include the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or the Barnes Foundation Museum; if you’re interested in visiting another museum (perhaps over Fall Break), let us know!
  • Artistic Response*: Create a work of art (painting, drawing, music, sculpture, textile, etc.) responding to material or ideas from the class.
  • Sources of Inspiration*: Create a set of persuasive images, memes, documents, videos, etc. explaining why a Haverford or Bryn Mawr students should study ancient Athens.
  • Author Talk: conduct an “interview” with a famous (or obscure) inhabitant of classical Athens; you might write out a script, or record your interview with a friend.
  • Podcast: record a short (less than 10 minute) audio podcast on a compelling aspect of Athenian culture.
  • Ancient Fanfic: Compose a short piece in the style of one of the classical authors we’ve read this semester.
  • Literary Analysis: Write a short essay analyzing the central themes or meaning of one of our assigned primary texts (e.g. Aristophanes’ Knights, Plato’s Apology), or of a portion of a longer text (e.g. one book of Plato’s Republic).
  • Article Report: Use JSTOR, L’Annee Philologique, or some of the other library resources mentioned in this guide to locate a recent article (i.e. published in your lifetime) in an academic journal that deals with an issue connected to classical Athens; read the article, and write a short essay analyzing its argument. For this assignment, make sure you are reading a reliable scholarly article, not simply something written as entertainment and posted online; if you have doubts or questions about how to find such an article, consult one of us!
  • Marathon: Perform in the staged reading of Aristophanes.
  • Panathenaic Festival*: During the Athens simulation, we will hold a Panathenaic (“All Athens”) Festival, during which there will be several opportunities to compete in athletic, musical, and poetic competitions. Participate in one of these and write a reflection about it!
  • Rhetor or Rhapsodos*: Memorize and recite a short poem or passage from one of our assigned texts, or another ancient Greek text (in translation or the original). You can schedule a time to recite your text in class, or record yourself reciting in another public setting
  • Invent an Ergon*: complete a worthy ergon of your own design. Be sure to get your project approved by us before you begin working.