In the college curriculum, “Classics” primarily refers to the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, with special focus on Greece and Rome. Classicists are interested in how the peoples of these cultures and civilizations have inspired traditions that have shaped the world from the medieval cultures of Christian Europe and the Islamic Middle East to today’s America.
The Greeks give us Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, political ideas of freedom and democracy, the beautiful poetry of the tragic hero, intellectual foundations of science and philosophy, and some of the most striking art and architecture the world has ever seen. The Romans give us the political development of republican thinking and practice, technological developments, terrific comedies, stoic philosophy and an extraordinary empire within which Christianity had its origins.
Classics is a multidisciplinary enterprise. Language study is necessary to help us think like a Roman or a Greek, but work in Classics involves attention to many fields - history, philosophy, religion, art and theatre among them. Since the classical Mediterranean world included lands on three continents (Africa, Asia, Europe), Classics is very much a multicultural endeavor.
A few Classics majors go on to careers as high school Latin teachers or college professors of Classics. Most majors and minors, however, regard Classics as a way to acquire a well-rounded education and a lifelong ability to see beyond the busy surface of the world around us. Law, ministry and medicine are common professions of our graduates, but others do everything from Bible translation to work in the banking industry.
Courses in Latin and Greek are available every semester, and the department also offers courses in Hebrew regularly.