Our Classical Heritage so permeates the modern world that we move through it, like the air we breathe, without thinking. (See Classics home.)
There are many connections between Classics and other departments at Connecticut College:
- The Greek Theater at Epidauros in antiquity staged productions of Athenian plays still studied and staged by the theater department.
- The proof of the Pythagorean theorem is a testament to the contribution of the Greeks to modern mathematics and to the triumph in the physical sciences of the idea that number is essential to the understanding of the universe.
- Like his great Greek predecessor Thucydides, Caesar was a major historian who recorded turning points in ancient history in which he himself had been a principal agent. No one more brilliantly embodies the complexities and contradictions of the legacy of antiquity to the present than Gaius Julius Caesar. An aristocrat who championed the poor and destroyed constitutional government at Rome, Caesar was one of the premier generals in history, a bon vivant, a lover of the great Cleopatra, an imperialist who attained to genocide in Gaul and thereby helped to shape modern Europe, an orator of genius, a cultivated gentleman, an implacable enemy and generous victor, and a dynast and prototype of the Czars and Fascists who died at the hands of men whose lives he had spared.
- The Renaissance painter Botticelli, himself deeply indebted (like the Renaissance itself) to ancient art and thought, has given us a portrait of the genius Dante, who in his greatest poem, The Divine Comedy, took the Roman poet Virgil as his model and guide for much of his Christian masterpiece. Dante's artistic fusion of the Classical Tradition and Medieval Culture in the vernacular of Florence was an important influence (along with the works of Petrarch, Boccacio and Machiavelli) in making Italian, then a Tuscan dialect of an evolved form of Latin, into the standard language of modern Italy.
- Finally, the philosophical rebel Nietzsche became the apostle of the ancient Greek spirit to the modern world. His pervasive influence inspired figures as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Nikos Kazantzakis, Ayn Rand, Paul Tillich and Jacques Derrida.
Accordingly, the Classics department at Connecticut College serves as a great resource for students in majors such as Anthropology, Art, Art History, English, the European Languages, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Theater, Government, History, Gender and Women's Studies, Music, and others. Likewise our majors supplement their work in Classics with study in many of these disciplines.
The Classics department has courses cross-listed with the philosophy and history departments, and students in English, Theater, and Art History often take our courses in Classical Mythology, Tragedy, and Epic. History majors seek out our courses in Greece, Rome, and historiography. Majors in Classical Studies may offer for the degree relevant courses from other departments with the approval of the department, and majors who are writing honors theses very often compare Classical material with works from other disciplines including European and American literature, film, religious studies and anthropology.
Please also learn more about the College's five academic interdisciplinary Centers.
Department of Classics
Email Darryl Phillips, Department Chair