Classics is the study of ancient Greek and Roman cultures, and their still vibrant legacy
These are not dead languages and ideas
There’s this ancient Greek notion we still subscribe to called “democracy.” Not to mention other things we like such as tragedy, comedy, political science, history, mathematics and a way of looking at things referred to as the scientific method.
For millennia in the West the very definition of “education” was a working knowledge of Greek and Latin and their texts. We refer to current cultural icons as “classic” by analogy to this respect for the Greeks and Romans. Classics are still the foundation for many other disciplines.
Three major world religions began in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. In-depth study of the historical, political and linguistic context of their development helps us understand where we came from and who we are as human beings.
Our department is excavating an ancient Roman site in the Umbria region of Italy. You can be part of the archaeological field school there. In addition, we offer many other opportunities to travel to places such as Athens and Istanbul.
Careers Made easy
Classics might seem specialized, but since it’s the foundation of all liberal education it’s as broad as it can be. Many students find it a natural fit for a double major, pairing classics with philosophy, art history, English, religion, theatre arts, even biology.
Grad schools and employers appreciate this education. Go to law school or pursue disciplines such as political science, civil engineering or theater, all founded on classical ideas.
We take regular trips to the Metropolitan Museum in New York to see its amazing collection of antiquities. If that’s not adequate, intern there. It’s been done, and we can help.
While I was explaining some myths to my friends, it hit me that stories—like those of Hector and Perseus—are extremely important to me. I want to be a writer and I realized that the classics are too important a component of literature and of my own story and interests for me to ignore.
Classics education has always been very important to universities both abroad and in the United States. It’s nice keeping that tradition alive. It’s also expanded my interests to a more worldly place. Learning languages absolutely opens up a whole new way to experience things.
John R. Lenz
Associate professor & chair
I once had a student tell me that he went to a job interview and got the job because they talked about the Greek historian Thucydides the whole time. As for me, I’m researching ancient Greek religion and how it differed from, and evolved into, Christianity.
Ph.D., Columbia University
John D. Muccigrosso
I run the Vicus ad Martis Tudertium Project, an archaeological excavation in Umbria that’s open as a field school to students. I take a special interest in Italian archaeology. In Italy more than anywhere else, you’re much more likely to hit something if you put a hole in the ground.
Ph.D., University of Michigan
- Tax and estate lawyer, Wharton, Aldhizer and Weaver
- Assistant professor of classics, Yale
New Haven, Conn.
- Senior outbound logistics analyst, Johnson & Johnson
Learn more about when you graduate
My Favorite Course
“Ancient Greek was my favorite because they were tiny classes that John Lenz was teaching. There was a lot of individual attention and it was awesome learning a language that almost no one knows anymore.”