Classics

Director of undergraduate studies: Andrew Johnston, 204 Phelps Hall

The Department of Classics offers a major in Classics, concentrating in either Greek or Latin literature, or in both literatures; a major in Classical Civilization; and, in conjunction with the Hellenic Studies program, a major in Ancient and Modern Greek. The diversity of subject matter covered by these majors makes Classics an excellent partner in interdepartmental major programs. Programs for all majors must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies (DUS).

Course numbering

All CLCV courses are taught in translation, with no knowledge of Greek or Latin required. CLCV courses numbered 001–099 are first-year seminars, with enrollment limited to eighteen. CLCV courses numbered at the 100-level and 200-level are primarily introductory, lecture-style courses, which may or may not include a discussion-section component. CLCV courses numbered at the 300-level are discussion-oriented seminars, with enrollment limited to fifteen. 

For courses in Ancient Greek (GREK) and Latin language (LATN), those at the 100-level are introductory and intermediate courses (L1, L2, L3, and L4), while those at the 400-level are advanced seminar-style courses (L5).

Placement Procedures

Students are encouraged to take courses as advanced as they can handle with profit and pleasure. The department, recognizing the great variety of preparation in ancient languages, wishes to accommodate incoming students in as flexible a manner as possible. Students who plan either to begin or to continue the study of Greek or Latin should consult members of the departmental faculty as soon as possible.

Students who have had the equivalent of two years of college-level instruction may try a 400-level course. It is possible to take GREK 141 or LATN 141 after a 400-level course, or to be admitted to a 400-level course after completion of GREK 131 or LATN 131. First-year students are encouraged to take advantage of the initial course selection period before course schedules are due to find the most appropriate course.

Requirements of the Major in Classics

The major in Classics is primarily a liberal arts major. It provides a rigorous interdisciplinary education in the literature, material culture, and history that underlie Western civilization and other humanities disciplines; it can also provide foundational disciplinary expertise for students who wish to do professional graduate work. Students develop a mastery of the classical languages, become acquainted with important periods and major authors in Greek and Roman literature, and develop the linguistic, historical, and theoretical interpretative tools to analyze classical antiquity and its relevance in the modern world. All courses in the department emphasize a combination of precise analysis, original thought, creativity, and breadth of historical inquiry. Courses in other literatures, in history, in art history, and in philosophy are strongly recommended for students enrolled in the Classics major.

The candidate for the Classics major may elect either the standard or the intensive major. In both of these majors the department recognizes two kinds of concentration, one aiming at knowledge of both ancient literatures, the other concentrating on either Greek or Latin literature.

The standard major The standard major in two literatures requires no fewer than ten term courses. These include six language courses in both Greek and Latin at the level of 390 or above, and must include GREK 403 or LATN 390. Also required are one course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece (CLCV at the 100- or 200-level), one course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture ofancient Rome (CLCV at the 100- or 200-level), one course in a related field in ancient history, and one course in a related field in ancient history, ancient philosophy, classical art and archaeology, or classical civilization.

Students majoring in one literature (Greek or Latin) are required to take no fewer than ten term courses. These include six language courses in that literature level of 390 or above, and must include GREK 403 or LATN 390. Also required are one course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece (CLCV at the 100- or 200-level), one course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of of ancient Rome (CLCV at the 100- or 200-level), a  course in ancient history related to the chosen literature, and an additional course in ancient history, classical art and archaeology, or ancient philosophy. Students are encouraged to do some work in the second language and may substitute two terms at the intermediate level (131 and 141) or higher in the second language for two 400-level courses in the major literature. 

The intensive major Students who desire a larger measure of independence than the standard major offers may elect the intensive major. In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the standard major (in both literatures, in Greek, or in Latin), students in the intensive major write a senior essay under the regular guidance of a faculty adviser. 

Combined B.A./M.A. degree Exceptionally able and well-prepared students may complete a course of study leading to the simultaneous award of the B.A. and M.A. degrees after eight terms of enrollment. See Academic Regulations, section K, Special Arrangements, “Simultaneous Award of the Bachelor's and Master's Degrees” in the Academic Regulations. Interested students should consult the DUS prior to the sixth term of enrollment for specific requirements in Classics.

Credit/D/Fail Courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major.

Senior Requirement 

For the standard major At the end of the senior year the student majoring in both Greek and Latin takes a comprehensive examination in the history of Greek and Latin literature and culture and in translation of both languages; the student majoring in either Greek or Latin takes a senior departmental examination in the history of the literature of the major and in translation of that literature.

For the intensive major Students may write a one-term essay in either the fall or spring (CLSS 492), or they may write a two-term essay (CLSS 490 and 491) starting in the fall of their senior year. A brief prospectus of the essay must be submitted, preferably at the end of the junior year and in no case later than the end of September of the senior year. The candidate must submit two copies of the senior essay to the DUS no later than December 6 (CLSS 492) or April 17 (CLSS 490491 or 492) of the senior year.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 10 term courses

Specific courses required GREK 403 or LATN 390

Distribution of coursesTwo literatures—6 courses in both langs at level 390 or above, with one of those being GREK 403 or LATN 390; 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece, and 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Rome; 1 course in ancient hist; 1 addtl course in ancient hist, classical art and archaeology, ancient philosophy, or classical civ; One literature—6 courses in lit at level 390 or above, with one of those being GREK 403 for the Greek major and LATN 390 for the Latin major; 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece, and 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Rome; 1 course in ancient hist related to lit of major; 1 addtl course in ancient hist, classical art and archaeology, ancient philosophy, or classical civ

Substitution permitted One literature—2 courses in the other literature numbered 131 or higher for 2 courses in the major literature at 400 level

Senior requirementTwo literatures—senior dept exam in hist and translation of Greek and Latin lit; One literature—senior dept exam in hist and translation of major lit

Intensive major Senior essay (CLSS 490, 491 or CLSS 492) in addition to above


Requirements of the Major in Classical Civilization

The major in Classical Civilization is designed to offer students an opportunity to study an entire Western civilization in its many diverse but related aspects. The literature, history, philosophy, religion, art, archaeology, and other aspects of Greek and Roman antiquity from the earliest beginnings in Greece to the Middle Ages are studied for their intrinsic artistic value, their historical significance, and their power to illuminate problems confronting contemporary societies. Each year, the department offers courses that focus on ways that subsequent ages have used and made sense of classical antiquity. Ancient texts are studied primarily in translation, under the guidance of instructors who have expertise in Greek and Latin.

Candidates for the major complete at least twelve term courses (including the senior essay) in Classics and related departments. Of these, two must be in ancient history and/or classical art and archaeology; and two must be in Greek or Latin, or both, numbered 131 or higher (the latter courses should be completed by the end of the junior year). Students must also take one course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece (CLCV at the 100- or 200-level), and one term course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Rome (CLCV at the 100- or 200-level). It is strongly recommended that candidates elect one course each in the general areas of ancient epic, drama, philosophy, Roman civilization, and the classical tradition. Candidates for the major are encouraged to take related courses in other departments.

Credit/D/Fail Courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major.

Senior Requirement 

Students research and complete an original research project, usually an essay, under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Students choose either a two-term senior project for two course credits (CLCV 450451) or a one-term senior project for one course credit (CLCV 452). Students who elect the one-term senior project need to take one additional course towards the major. A brief prospectus of the project must be submitted to the DUS, preferably at the end of the junior year and in no case later than the end of September of the senior year. The completed project must be submitted to the department no later than December 6 (CLCV 452) or April 17 (CLCV 450451 or CLCV 452) of the senior year.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 term courses (incl a two-term senior essay, or a one-term senior essay and an additional course)

Specific courses required None

Distribution of courses 4 courses with the designation CLCV at the 100- or 200-level, including at least 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece, and 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Rome

Senior requirement Senior project (CLCV 450, 451 or CLCV 452 and an additional course)


Requirements Of the Major in Ancient and Modern Greek

The major in Ancient and Modern Greek offers students an opportunity to integrate the study of postclassical 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 study of both ancient and modern Greek allows the student to appreciate how familiarity with one enriches understanding of the other, and to chart the development of a language which has one of the oldest continuous written traditions in the world. 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 are encouraged to develop a sense of the continuity of Greek language and culture, and an understanding of how Byzantine and modern forms relate to their ancient forebears.

The standard major The major in Ancient and Modern Greek requires at least ten term courses. These include four term courses at the level of 390 or above in ancient Greek, a survey of the literature and culture of ancient Athens, one term course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece (a course with the designation CLCV at the 100- or  200-level), one term course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Rome (a course with the designation CLCV at the 100- or 200-level), and one term course in ancient Greek history. The language courses should include GREK 403. Candidates are encouraged to take a wide range of courses in the areas of ancient philosophy, religion, art, and architecture. In addition, no fewer than two term courses in modern Greek must be elected at the intermediate level (MGRK 130, 140) or above, as well as at least one additional term course in the history, art history, literature, or culture of the Greek-speaking Balkans or the Hellenic diaspora in the medieval, Ottoman, or modern period.

The intensive major Students who desire a larger measure of independence than the standard major offers may elect the intensive major. In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the standard major, students in the intensive major write a senior essay under the regular guidance of a faculty adviser. 

Credit/D/Fail Courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major.

Senior Requirement 

The standard major At the end of the senior year the student takes a comprehensive examination in the history of Greek literature and culture.

The intensive major Students may write a one-term essay in the fall or spring (CLSS 492), or they may write a two-term essay starting in the fall of their senior year (CLSS 490 and 491). A brief prospectus of the essay must be submitted, preferably at the end of the junior year and in no case later than the end of September of the senior year. The candidate must submit two copies of the senior essay to the DUS no later than December 6 (CLSS 492) or April 17 (CLSS 490491, or CLSS 492) of the senior year.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 10 term courses

Specific courses required GREK 403

Distribution of courses 2 term courses in ancient Greek numbered 390 or higher; 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Greece, and 1 course that covers broadly the literature and/or culture of ancient Rome; 1 term course in ancient Greek hist; 1 term course in postclassical Greek hist or culture

Senior requirement Senior dept exam

Intensive major Senior essay (CLSS 490, 491 or CLSS 492) in addition to above

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 postclassical 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 (DUS) as soon as possible in the fall.

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:

Certificate of Advanced Language Study

The Classics Department offers a Certificate of Advanced Language Study to non-majors in ancient Greek and in Latin. A certificate adviser, typically the director of undergraduate studies (DUS), advises students on the certification process and certifies to the University Registrar's Office that students have completed the stated requirements before the end of eight terms of study. The Certificate of Advanced Language Study, once certified, is listed on student transcripts. 

Requirements

Students seeking to earn the certificate are required to take four courses in ancient Greek or Latin beyond the L4 level (four L5 courses; 400-level Greek or 400-level Latin courses), at least two of which must be Yale courses designated as L5. All courses must be taken for a letter grade, and students must achieve a grade of B or above. With the approval of the certificate adviser, one course, conducted in the target language, such as an independent study course, a graduate seminar, or an advanced seminar may count toward certification requirements.

The adviser may also approve the substitution of up to two credits earned during study abroad and taught in the target language to count toward the certificate requirements. If the adviser approves courses taken outside of Yale for inclusion in the certificate requirements, students must take the necessary steps to ensure those courses appear on their transcript.

Credit/D/Fail No courses taken Credit/D/Fail may be counted toward the requirements of the certificate.

For additional questions or concerns, please contact the DUS in Classics, Andrew Johnston.

FACULTY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS

Professors Egbert Bakker, Kirk Freudenburg, Emily Greenwood, Verity Harte, Brad Inwood, Diana Kleiner, Christina Kraus, Noel Lenski, Joseph Manning

Associate Professors Milette Gaifman, Andrew Johnston, Pauline LeVen, Irene Peirano Garrison

Assistant Professor Jessica Lamont

Lecturers Francoise GerardinAnn Ellis Hanson, Susan Matheson, Timothy Robinson, Barbara Shailor, Joseph Solodow