Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies (GRE, LAT, CLA)

Academic Catalog: 2019–2020

  • Yurie Hong, Chairperson
  • Eric Dugdale (On leave, 2019–2020)
  • Seán Easton
  • Alice Hu (Visiting, 2019–2020)
  • Margaretha Kramer (Visiting, 2019–2020)
  • Mary McHugh (On leave, Spring 2020)
  • Matthew Panciera

The Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies introduces students to the languages, histories, and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

Students who study classics learn about the Trojan war with Homer, contemplate what constitutes ‘the good life’ with Socrates and Plato, make contact with everyday Greeks and Romans by examining the graffiti, artifacts, and monuments they left behind, and consider ancient people’s experiences of family, love, war, politics, and theater through the writings of poets, historians, orators, and dramatists. Knowledge of ancient languages and cultures provide students with the linguistic, conceptual, and analytical skills to succeed in a range of careers, including medicine, seminary, law, non-profit work, business, journalism, government work, etc.

In addition, the study of classics provides a solid basis for understanding the many modern languages, institutions, artistic and literary works that were inspired by the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Because our modern world differs in important ways from these ancient cultures, the study of classics also promotes reflective examination of the ways we think, speak, and act today. In short, engagement with the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome enriches students’ lives and provides them with the foundational skills and knowledge that will shape their opportunities and experiences into the future.

The department offers two types of classes: 1) Language courses in Greek and Latin, which equip students to read ancient literature in the original and dive deep into the stories and ideas of the Greeks and Romans, and 2) Classical Studies courses which provide students with a broad overview of Greek and Roman art, architecture, literature, history, and society and do not require knowledge of Latin or Greek.

Students may choose between an Ancient Greek Studies Major or a Classical Languages Major focusing on Greek and/or Latin language and literature. Classes are designed with sensitivity to the diverse needs, interests, and goals of all students. Since reading texts in their original language is the cornerstone of our interdisciplinary subject, all majors will take some language. Students, however, have considerable choice in planning their course of study. Those who are interested in double-majoring with another department or program or in designing their major around a particular interest, such as religions of the ancient world, are encouraged to consult with their advisor to select relevant courses. Students who are considering studying classics at the graduate level should consult the department about specific coursework.

All students, regardless of major focus, will have the opportunity to consider 1) the cultural and historical significance of ancient literature, art, and institutions, 2) relationships between different groups within the Greek and Roman world (e.g., women, slaves, non-citizens, etc.), 3) connections between Greece and Rome and other cultures of the Mediterranean (e.g. the Near East and Northern Africa), and 4) the many ways that the ancient and modern worlds offer valuable perspectives on one another. The department encourages students to travel abroad and study Greek and Roman cultures in their original setting and is happy to assist interested students with finding college programs and archaeological digs in Greece, Italy, or related areas.

Ancient Greek Studies Major:

The major consists of eight courses:

  1. Three courses in Greek
  2. Two courses in Classical Studies
  3. Two additional courses chosen from Classical Studies, Greek or Latin. With the consent of the Chair of the Department of Classics, students may count towards the major a course from another department if the course is substantially relevant to their study of the ancient world. Chair approval prior to enrolling in the course is highly recommended.
  4. CLA-399 Classics Capstone Seminar

The Classical Languages major provides students with an opportunity to delve deeply into the ancient world through the study of ancient Greek and/or Latin language. Students will gain extensive familiarity with the literature, history, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome through close reading of ancient texts, such as Homer, Plato, Cicero, and Virgil, which will enable them to explore in a more intensive way the nuances and complexities of ancient thought. Students will take additional courses in English, which will provide a broader historical and cultural view of the world of the ancient Greeks, as well as courses comparing ancient and modern concepts and societies, which will make clear the continued relevance of antiquity to the modern world. Over the course of the major and especially in the Classics Capstone seminar, students will be exposed to an array of methodological approaches and analytical tools, which will develop the critical thinking and communication skills that students will carry with them into their lives, whichever field or career they choose to pursue

Classical Languages Major: 

The major consists of ten courses:

  1. Six courses in Latin or Greek, including two at the 300 level
  2. Two courses in Classical Studies
  3. One additional course chosen from Classical Studies, Greek, or Latin. With the consent of the Chair of the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classics, students may count towards the major a course from another department if the course is substantially relevant to their study of the ancient world. Chair approval prior to enrolling in the course is highly recommended.
  4. CLA-399 Classics Capstone Seminar

Classical Languages Major with Honors: 

In addition to fulfilling all the regular requirements for the major, students should:

  1. Have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 in the major at the time of application.
  2. Register for the Capstone Seminar in the spring semester of the junior year, if possible.
  3. Conduct a research project culminating in a thesis during the fall of the senior year. The thesis is registered as CLA-398 Honors Thesis (.25 course), is presented publicly, and must receive a grade of B or better to qualify for honors.
  4. Finally, Honors majors are strongly encouraged to take at least one year of study of a second classical language.

Latin Teaching Major: 

The major consists of LAT-201, 202, 301, 302, 303, 304, and 375, CLA-101 and 202, MLC-357, and all courses required for licensure, including student teaching (see Department of Education). Students interested in the Latin Teaching major should consult the department chair and the teacher education coordinator.

Classical Languages Minor: 

The minor consists of five courses:

  1. Three courses in Greek or Latin through GRE-201 or LAT-201.
  2. Two courses in Classical Studies

Classical Studies (CLA)

101 Myth and Meaning (1 course) An introduction to the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The course surveys the major gods and heroes of classical antiquity, the most significant literary and artistic influences of classical myth, and the major schools of interpretation of myth. Illustrated lectures. Small-group discussions. Particular emphasis on the power of myth to represent meaning and value. LARS, Spring semester.

103 Theatre of Greece and Rome (1 course) A study of the ancient Greek and Roman theatre. Students read and discuss a wide selection of classical tragedies and comedies and study ancient staging and production techniques, theatre architecture, and cultural contexts of Greco-Roman drama, and the influence of classical theatre on modern drama. ARTS, Spring semester.

201 Ancient Greek History and Culture (1 course) A chronological survey of Greek history and culture from the Bronze Age to Alexander the Great. Readings from Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, the tragedians, Aristophanes, and others. The class will concentrate on the rise and fall of democracy and on the nature of the Greek city state. HIPHI, Fall semester, odd years.

202 Daily Life in the Roman World (1 course) This course will examine various aspects of Roman daily life through an examination of literary sources, documentary and epigraphical evidence, and the archaeological remains of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Roman Egypt. It will include topics such as food and dining, sex, the house, baths and bathing, entertainment, work, and the life experience of slaves, freedmen, and women. Offered occasionally.

203 Ancient Peace and Conflict (1 course) We examine peacemaking efforts and violent conflicts in the Greek and Latin speaking regions of the Mediterranean world and the societies with which they interacted in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, from Bronze Age antiquity through Medieval times. Using conflict analysis and resolution as our primary critical lens, we employ a variety of historical evidence to understand pre-modern conflicts and peacemaking efforts. We also conduct comparative analysis of ancient and modern modes of conflict and resolution. HIPHISOSCI, Spring semester, even years.

211 Art and Archaeology of Greece (1 course) An introduction to the art and archaeology of Greece, focusing on the classical art of 5th century Athens. The course explores the origins and meaning of the classical style by examining the archaeological remains of the Minoans and Mycenaeans, the art and architecture of the geometric and archaic periods in Greece, and literary parallels in Homeric epic and Greek tragedy. The class studies the changes classical art underwent as it reflected the values and perceptions of the later Greeks. ARTS, Spring semester, even years.

212 Art and Archaeology of Rome (1 course) A survey of the art and archaeology of ancient Rome, beginning with its Etruscan origins, and focusing on the Republican and Imperial periods and the transition to the early Christian era. Statues, paintings, pottery, jewelry, temples, aqueducts, houses, forums, and town planning will be discussed in relationship to the culture that produced them. The course will explore Greek influence on Roman art and Roman influence on later art and architecture. ARTS, Spring semester, odd years.

213 Ancient Worlds on Screen (1 course) This course investigates television and film productions of ancient Greek and Roman history, myth, and literature with particular attention to the appropriation and depiction of Ancient Roman, Greek, and Macedonian culture in different national cinemas, including Japan, China, India, Columbia, Egypt, the U.S., and Europe. We examine works from the earliest days of cinema to the present, with special attention to ancient world stories on screen from 2000 onward. We will study modern visual narratives in conjunction with ancient source material and examine how ancient literature, themes, or myths are adapted to their cultural time and place. Offered occasionally.

221 Love, Hate, & Sex in the Ancient World & Today (1 course) This course focuses on ancient Greek and Roman concepts of love and hate in the context of social and sexual relationships and class and gender identities. This course will examine ancient literary texts as well as artistic and material artifacts. It will invite frequent comparisons to contemporary American culture and engage with topics, such as marriage, gender and gender expectations, sexual violence, and class/citizenship status. Offered occasionally.

222 Ancient Theatre & Society (1 course) This course focuses on ancient Greek and Roman concepts of love and hate in the context of social and sexual relationships and class and gender identities. This course will examine ancient literary texts as well as artistic and material artifacts. It will invite frequent comparisons to contemporary American culture and engage with topics, such as marriage, gender and gender expectations, sexual violence, and class/citizenship status. Offered occasionally.

244, 344 Special Topics in Classics (1 course, 1 course) Content will vary from semester to semester. Courses will explore a topic or issue in depth and students will read, write and discuss. Offered occasionally.

268, 368 Career Exploration, Internship (Course value to be determined) Off-campus employment experiences related to the student’s major. See description of Internship Program. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior status. Fall and Spring semesters and Summer.

291, 391 Independent Study (Course value to be determined) Fall and Spring semesters and January Interim.

331 Ancient and Modern Identities (1 course) This course explores the various ways the Greeks and Romans speculated about and defined human difference. In this course we explore a variety of theories from antiquity that constitute what we today call race/ethnicity and how these ideas about identity manifested in ancient writings and images. The course includes readings from ancient poetry, drama, medical texts, geography, ethnography, philosophy, etc. We explore these ancient theories from Homer to Late Antiquity as well as how these theories were received in later times, with a special emphasis on the reception of ancient environmental theories of identity in the modern United States. Offered occasionally.

398 Honors Thesis (.25 course) In the fall or Spring semester of the senior year, honors majors write a major thesis involving independent research under the direction of a member of the Classics faculty. The work is preceded by a series of colloquia with faculty members on research methods in classics, ideally through participation in the Classics Capstone Seminar. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

399 Classics Capstone Seminar (1 course) The goals of this seminar are three: to familiarize students with the variety of disciplinary methods used in the field of classics, to prepare students for independent research, and to integrate the academic experiences of Classics majors concentrating in different ancient languages. Each year the seminar will have a specific topic chosen by the instructor. The seminar will culminate in a significant research paper and presentation by each student. Prerequisite: junior status and at least one year of an ancient language. The seminar may be repeated for credit and is open to non-majors with permission of the department chair. WRITD, Spring semester.

Greek (GRE)

101 Exploring the Greek World (1 course) This course introduces students to ancient Greek language and culture. Students master Greek vocabulary, grammar, and syntax by reading passages closely adapted from famous Greek works such as those by Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plato. Students will also learn about Greek cities and the history, geography, and archaeology of Greece and the ancient Mediterranean. Fall semester.

102 Living on the Margin in Ancient Athens (1 course) This course builds on linguistic and cultural knowledge of ancient Greek language and culture learned in Greek 101. Students will gain greater appreciation and mastery over the nuances and complexities of Greek grammar by reading passages closely adapted from famous Greek works such as those by Aristophanes, Demosthenes, and Euripides. Students will also explore themes of social marginality with regard to women, slaves, and the elderly, especially in the context of the Athenian legal system. Prerequisite: GRE-101, Spring semester.

201, 301 Athenian Revolutions (1 course, 1 course) In this course, students will consolidate their knowledge of Greek language and culture by reading selected passages of poetry and prose in the original as well as in English. This course will focus on the political, intellectual, and social revolutions of Athens during the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. Readings will be drawn from a range of sources such as history, philosophy, drama, Homer, etc. Prerequisites: GRE-201: GRE-102 or equivalent, GRE-301: Two Level II or III GRE courses, Fall semester, odd years.

202, 302 Real Greeks (1 course, 1 course) In this course, students will consolidate their knowledge of Greek language and culture by reading selected passages of poetry and prose in the original as well as in English. This course will spotlight the experiences and concerns of real Greeks (i.e. not mythical or literary figures). Readings will be drawn from a range of sources such as history, legal speeches, drama, Homer, inscriptions, etc. Prerequisites: GRE-202: GRE-201, GRE-302: Two Level II or III GRE courses, Fall semester, even years.

211, 311 Life and Death in Homer (1 course, 1 course) In this course, students will hone their understanding and appreciation of ancient Greek language and culture. Readings will consist of unadapted passages of the Iliad and/or the Odyssey. This course will cover a variety of topics such as Greek concepts of the hero, and representations of life, death, and interpersonal relationships in Homeric epic. Students will also explore art and archaeological remains that tell us more about the Homeric world, and the beliefs, values, lives, and fantasies that these earliest surviving poems reveal. Prerequisites: GRE-211: One Level II or III GRE course, GRE-311: Two Level II or III GRE courses, Spring semester, even years.

212, 312 Herodotus and the World (1 course, 1 course) In this course, students will hone their understanding and appreciation of ancient Greek language and culture. Readings will consist of unadapted passages of Herodotus, the so-called “father of history” in the original. This course will cover a variety of topics such as the development of historical narrative and ethnography, migration and multiculturalism, inter-cultural exchange and conflict, and the broader geographical context of Herodotus’ work. Prerequisites: GRE-212: One Level II or III GRE course, GRE-312: Two Level II or III GRE courses, Spring semester, even years.

213, 313 Greek Tragedy: Power and Pity (1 course, 1 course) In this course, students will hone their understanding and appreciation of ancient Greek language and culture. Readings will consist of unadapted passages or whole plays from one or more of the ancient tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Students will explore a variety of topics such as representations of power and powerlessness, audience responses to tragedy, theater as a forum for grappling with contemporary concerns, and theater in the context of Athenian democracy and empire. Prerequisites: GRE-213: One Level II or III GRE course, GRE-313: Two Level II or III GRE courses, Spring semester.

244, 344 Special Topics in Greek (1 course, 1 course) Content will vary from semester to semester. Courses will explore a topic or issue in depth and students will read, write and discuss. Offered occasionally.

Latin (LAT)

101, 102 Beginning Latin I, II (1 course, 1 course) Students master grammar and syntax by reading a series of dialogues, which gradually increase in complexity. The readings, which are based on the lives of Romans during the first century CE, introduce the students to the public and private life of Imperial Rome. By the end of the second semester students will be reading substantial selections from ancient texts. Offered annually.

201 Augustus, the Poets, and Empire (1 course) In this course, students will consolidate their knowledge and appreciation of the Latin language and Roman culture by reading selected passages of poetry and prose in the original as well as in English. This course will focus on the end of the Roman republic and transition to empire when the first emperor Augustus came to power. Readings will be drawn from a range of sources such as love poetry, epic, graffiti, and official inscriptions. Students will also explore art, architecture, and the geography of Rome’s empire. Prerequisite: LAT-102 or equivalent. LARS, Fall semester.

202 Ovid: Myth and Power (1 course) In this course, students will consolidate their knowledge and appreciation of the Latin language and of Roman culture. Readings will consist of unadapted selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Latin and in English as well as some selections from Ovid’s other writings, such as his love poetry and writings from exile. Emphasis will be placed on the characteristics and techniques of Latin poetry, the place of Ovid in Roman history, influence on later writers, and contemporary criticism and interpretation. Prerequisite: LAT-201, LARS, Spring semester.

301 Roman Daily Life in Petronius and Pompeian Graffiti (1 course) This course examines various topics of Roman daily life including sex, food and dining, baths and bathing, entertainment, clothes, money, work, the Roman house, and the realities of slaves, freedmen, and women through an in-depth reading of Petronius’ Satyricon and the graffiti of Pompeii. Prerequisite: LAT-202, LARS, Fall semester, odd years.

302 Roman Love and Heartbreak (1 course) In this course, students will hone their knowledge and appreciation of Roman literature and culture, and the Latin language. Readings will consist of Roman writers’ reflections on love and heartbreak as seen in the works of Catullus, Ovid, Propertius, Tibullus, and Sulpicia. Students will also explore letters, magic spells, and prose reflections on the theme. Prerequisite: LAT-202, Spring semester, even years.

303 Women, Power, and Persecution (1 course) In this course, students will hone their knowledge and appreciation of the Latin language and of Roman culture. Readings will consist of unadapted selections of prose texts such as Tacitus, Livy, Cicero, inscriptions, etc. in Latin and in English. Students will explore themes of power and persecution, particularly as they relate to women. Prerequisite: LAT-202, Fall semester, even years.

304 Vergil and the Epic Tradition (1 course) In this course, students will hone their knowledge and appreciation of the Latin language and of Roman culture. Readings will consist of unadapted selections of Virgil’s Aeneid in the original and in English. This course will cover a variety of topics such as power, migration, and ancient and modern interpretations and reactions to the Aeneid. Prerequisite: LAT-202, Spring semester, odd year.

244, 344 Special Topics in Latin (1 course, 1 course) Content will vary from semester to semester. Courses will explore a topic or issue in depth and students will read, write, and discuss. Offered occasionally.

375 Latin Prose Composition (.5 course) Practice in composing Latin sentences and paragraphs which imitate the style and usage of Golden Age Latin. Cicero is the model. Required for the Latin major and the Latin Teaching major. Prerequisite: LAT-201 or equivalent. Offered occasionally.