Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?
Not to know what happened before you were born is always to remain a child. For what is a human being’s life if through the memory of things past it is not woven into the lives of those who came before? - Cicero, Orator 120
Classics is the study of the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. To study classics is to engage critically with the works of Homer, Sappho, Sophocles, Plato, Caesar, Cicero, and Vergil among many others, and to try to understand the cultures and circumstances that produced them.
Students of classics enter into a world that stretches from Europe to Western Asia and North Africa, and in time from the Stone Age to the fall of Constantinople and beyond. Classicists study great civilizations such as those of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Crete, Etruria, Hellenic Greece, Persia, Rome, Israel and Byzantium. Christianity, Islam, the Renaissance and modern science were inspired by admiration of and rivalry with ancient humanism. The modern world is unthinkable without the legacy of classical antiquity.
Liberal arts education was born in the seven great subjects of the ancient curriculum, the Trivium or "three roads" of Grammar, Rhetoric (including literature), and Logic, and the Quadrivium or "four roads" of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. As such, classics lies at the root and core of modern liberal arts studies. Classics involves archaeology, art, architecture, history, literature, economics, gender studies, philosophy, theater studies and other disciplines. No field gives its students a wider experience of the liberal arts than classics.It is not surprising that a field as rich and influential as classics should be rewarding to the practical life of those who study it. Training in classics is training for life. Students of the classics can and do go on to careers in law, medicine, government, business, religion, journalism, advertising, acting, as well as pursue advanced academic work in classics, literature, women's studies, education, religious studies and more. No degree is more versatile.
Department of Classics
Email Robert Proctor, Acting Chair 2013-2014