Jeremy is not happy with the way I teach my class. He wants battles and politics, while my lectures are filled with social and cultural history. Covering the Greeks, I spent as much time on Sappho as on the Peloponnesian War, and more time on Aristotle than on Pericles. I make it clear to my students that I am more interested in the history of ideas than in the history of wars. I've got sixteen weeks to get from prehistory to the Reformation -- and that means lots of things are going to get left out.
Jeremy said, plaintively, "I think the siege of Potidea is more important than Sappho." I told him I sympathized with, but did not share, his perspective. I told him I'd love to be able to cover everything in sixteen weeks, but that time constraints force me to make what are entirely subjective (but ultimately defensible) decisions. And I choose to emphasize religious, social and cultural history at the expense of military, political, and economic narratives. In teaching the past, there's so much more to say than can ever be said in one class or one semester. Good teachers prioritize, sifting and picking and choosing and deciding. Some things get lost. And in my class, you're going to miss out on many a battle, but you're going to get plenty on women and plenty on the divine. And I'll happily defend those judgment calls.