The Classics department offers courses in the languages, literatures, and civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Students may choose to major in Classics, with a focus on Latin, Greek, or Greek and Latin; in Classical Civilization; or in Ancient and Modern Greek.

Students majoring in Classics develop a mastery of classical languages and become acquainted with major authors and genres in Greek and Roman literature, as well as the appropriate cultural and historical contexts for interpreting this literature. During the course of their study, students learn how to interpret Greek and Latin texts from the perspective of audiences and readers in antiquity, and to understand the way in which these texts have circulated in subsequent periods. Courses in other literatures, in history, and in philosophy are strongly recommended for students enrolled in the Classics major.

The Classical Civilization major offers students an opportunity to study the ancient Mediterranean, with a focus on ancient Greece and Rome in its many diverse but related aspects. The major spans the literature, history, philosophy, religion, art, archaeology, and other aspects of Greek and Roman antiquity from early Greek history to the early Middle Ages. Each year the department also offers a number of courses that focus on the dialogue between antiquity and modernity, exploring ways in which Greek and Roman literature, art, and thought might illuminate questions and problems confronting contemporary society. Greek and Roman texts are studied primarily in translation, under the guidance of instructors who know these texts in the original languages.

The major in Ancient and Modern Greek, offered in conjunction with the Hellenic Studies program, allows students to integrate the study of post classical Greek language, history, and culture with the departmental program in ancient Greek and classical civilization. The major covers Hellenic civilization from the Bronze Age to the modern day, and traces the development of the language and the culture across traditionally drawn boundaries. The literature, history, philosophy, religion, and art of the ancient Greek and Greco-Roman worlds are studied both as ends in themselves and also as a foundation for appreciating later (medieval, Ottoman, and modern) developments in these areas.

Students in all three majors are encouraged to pursue interests in related fields, such as linguistics, art history, archaeology, history, or philosophy.

There are no placement examinations in Latin or ancient Greek. Students who want advice about what level of course to take should consult the director of undergraduate studies as soon as practicable in the fall. The DUS will be available at the Academic Fair as noted in the Calendar for the Opening Days.

The introductory courses in ancient Greek and Latin are:

  • GREK 110, Beginning Greek: The Elements of Greek Grammar
  • GREK 120, Beginning Greek: Review of Grammar and Selected Readings
  • GREK 125, Intensive Beginning Greek
  • LATN 110, Beginning Latin: The Elements of Latin Grammar
  • LATN 120, Beginning Latin: Review of Grammar and Selected Readings
  • LATN 125, Intensive Beginning Latin

General survey courses in classical civilization include: