Classical Languages and Literatures

The concentration in Classical Languages and Literatures combines contemporary methods in literary study with a broad range of ancient texts studied both in translation and in the original languages. Students may choose to gain competence in Latin, in Greek, or in both languages. In addition to such influential works as the Iliad and Vergil's Aeneid, courses are offered which explore less familiar but exciting options, from the political comedies of Aristophanes to the satire of Petronius and the medieval dramas of the abbess Hrosvitha. Students gain hands-on experience with the material remains of ancient literature, including medieval manuscripts in the Special Collections Library. The major may also be modified with Philosophy, Linguistics, Comparative Literature, or other subjects.

Students electing this major are required to complete a specified set of courses, including:

1. six courses in ancient Greek and/or in Latin at the intermediate (second year) or advanced level, to develop knowledge of the corpus of ancient Greek and Latin texts, to build familiarity with advanced methodologies of literary analysis, and to build research skills.
2. one course on Greek or Roman literature or systems of thought, introducing the methodologies used in studying that subject matter.
3. one course on ancient Greek or Roman history or material culture, to build familiarity with contexts for literary study and to introduce historical and archaeological methodologies.
4. two additional courses that can develop knowledge, skills and methodologies that are useful in the study of ancient texts.

All majors must also complete a Culminating Experience Requirement by doing one of the following: (a) completing a Senior Honors Project; (b) participating in a second Off-Campus Program within the Classics Department; (c) completing an independent study course in conjunction with a museum internship; or (d) taking an additional course from among the more advanced courses within the department (a list is provided), in conjunction with which they complete a substantial research project relating to the learning objectives of that course.

Learning objectives

Classical Languages and Literature majors learn to:

  1. Accurately describe linguistic elements (morphemes and syntactical relations) that convey meaning in Latin and/or in ancient Greek and explain their meaning to others; identify formal characteristics that are typical of ancient texts (such as poetic meter, stylistic and rhetorical features, metaliterary devices) and explain convincingly how these characteristics support rhetorical or aesthetic objectives.
  2. Effectively use information technology and digital media essential for the study of Greek and Latin texts in the 21st century, such as digital editions, article databases, and word-search tools.
  3. Make effective arguments both orally and in writing that demonstrate critical reading skills (such as evaluating scholarly arguments) and understanding of intellectual and/or ethical issues that arise from the study of ancient Greek and Latin texts, such as issues around production and preservation; the representation by elite, freeborn male authors of women, foreigners, and the enslaved; and the contemporary political stakes of interpreting classical texts.
  4. Effectively use subsidiary techniques for various modes of analysis in Classics, such as paleography and text criticism, methods of historical and/or archaeological analysis and other techniques such as the analysis of coins or inscriptions